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First POST: Downplaying

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, November 6 2014

Debating what happened to the Democrats' vaunted tech-powered turnout machine in 2014; how Healthcare.gov hurt Democratic incumbents; understanding the participatory engine that is Wikipedia; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Voters Speak

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 5 2014

Inside the GOP's big listening machine; how the midterm vote played out on Facebook and Twitter; how tech isn't (and is) addressing inequality; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Hot Spots

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 23 2014

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. Read More

Why Facebook's 'Voter Megaphone' Is the Real Manipulation to Worry About

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 3 2014

Two years ago, on the morning of the 2012 election in the United States, I got an email with an urgent subject line: "You should write the story of how Facebook blew an opportunity to turn out 300k voters." The sender, a veteran progressive online activist who would prefer to remain anonymous, was upset for good reason. The election was bound to be close, and as of 10am that morning he hadn't yet seen an "I'm Voting" button on his Facebook page, nor had another colleague of his. Nor was one on my own Facebook page. Given that when Facebook deployed a similar "I Voted" button in 2010, and added messages in users' News Feeds showing them the names and faces of friends who had said they voted, the cumulative effect boosted turnout then by at least 340,000 votes, these activists had good reason to be concerned. Facebook had announced that it was going to do the same thing in 2012, and this time around its American user base had grown enormously, from 61 million to more than 160 million. A social and visible nudge like an "I 'm Voting" button had the potential to measurably increase turnout, even more so as Facebook was including a useful tool to help people find their polling places. And yet on Election Day 2012 its deployment was far from universal. Facebook was conducting research on us. Read More

First POST: Big Data Analytics

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 2 2014

Analyzing the White House report on "Big Data"; Larry Lessig starts a SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs; why Marc Andreessen is bullish on the news business; and much, much more. Read More

The Great Voter Tune-Out of 2012

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, June 21 2012

Youth voter turnout, 2012 vs 2008 primaries (courtesy Jason Rzepka)

Micah Sifry writes: It's the "'meh'-ing" of the president, says Roger Simon. "The 2012 campaign is the smallest ever," says another headline in Politico. All over the political landscape, signs abound of a dismal political season.

Now the Pew Research Center For the People & The Press is out with a meaty new survey that confirms that voter engagement with the 2012 election is down compared to the campaign of 2008. Last time around, at this point in the race, 63% of registered voters polled said they were "more interested" in the election than previously; that's now dropped to just 48% saying they're more interested than four years ago. That is, one is six registered voters have tuned DOWN their interest in the presidential battle compared to four years ago. Read More

Is It Hip? Of Presidential Candidates and Rock'n'Roll

BY Alan Rosenblatt | Friday, March 28 2008

Weighing in at not quite 2 tons of fun, the McCain Girls are tearing up the YouTube charts and shattering a whole lot of eardrums. Are they hip? Do they make John McCain hip? The jury is still out on that. And while the ... Read More