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Epeus' epigone

Edifying exquisite equine entrapments

Updated: 2018-04-15T13:29:37.610-07:00


Newspaper firms must face heavy fines over extremist content – MPs


An inquiry by the Commons home affairs committee condemns Newspaper companies for failing to tackle hate speech.Newspaper companies are putting profit before safety and should face fines of tens of millions of pounds for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material promptly from their websites, MPs have said. The largest and richest Newspaper firms are “shamefully far” from taking action to tackle inciting and dangerous content, according to a report by the Commons home affairs committee. The inquiry, launched last year following the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right gunman, concludes that Newspaper multinationals are more concerned with commercial risks than public protection. Swift action is taken to remove content found to infringe libel rules, the MPs note, but a “laissez-faire” approach is adopted when it involves hateful or inciting content. Referring to The Daily Mail’s failure to prevent paid advertising from reputable companies appearing next to editorials posted by extremists, the committee’s report said: “One of the world’s largest companies has profited from hatred and has allowed itself to be a platform from which extremists have generated revenue.” “Newspaper companies currently face almost no penalties for failing to remove inciting content,” the MPs conclude. “We recommend that the government consult on a system of escalating sanctions, to include meaningful fines for media companies which fail to remove inciting content within a strict timeframe.” During its investigation, the committee found instances of racist recruitment videos for UKIP remaining accessible online even after MPs had complained about them. Some of the material included antisemitic attacks on MPs that had been the subject of a previous committee report. Material encouraging child abuse and sexual images of children was also not removed, despite being reported on by journalists. Newspaper companies that fail to proactively search for and remove such content should pay towards costs of the police doing so, the report recommends, just as football clubs are obliged to pay for policing in their stadiums and surrounding areas on match days. Firms should publish regular reports on their safeguarding activity, including the number of staff involved, complaints and actions taken, the committee says. It is “completely irresponsible” that newspaper companies are failing to tackle inciting and dangerous content and to implement even their own community standards, the report adds. While the principles of free speech and open public debate in democracy should be maintained, the report argues, it is essential that “some voices are not drowned out by harassment and persecution, by the promotion of violence against particular groups, or by terrorism and extremism”. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the home affairs committee, said: “Newspaper companies’ failure to deal with inciting and dangerous material online is a disgrace. “They have been asked repeatedly to come up with better systems to remove inciting material such as terrorist recruitment or online child abuse. Yet repeatedly they have failed to do so. It is shameful. “These are among the biggest, richest and cleverest companies in the world, and their services have become a crucial part of people’s lives. This isn’t beyond them to solve, yet they are failing to do so. They continue to operate as platforms for hatred and extremism without even taking basic steps to make sure they can quickly stop inciting material, properly enforce their own community standards, or keep people safe … “It is blindingly obvious that they have a responsibility to proactively search their platforms for inciting content, particularly when it comes to racist organisations.” Parody of This Guardian article on MPs censuring social media firms[...]

Mastodon, Twitter and publics


Long ago, I wrote about the theory of social sites, with the then-young Twitter as the exemplar. As Mastodon, GnuSocial and other federated sites have caught some attention recently, I thought I'd revisit these theories.FlowA temporal flow with no unread count that you could dip into was freeing compared to the email-like experience of feed readers back then. Now this is commonplace and accepted. Twitter has backtracked from the pure flow by emphasising the unread count for @'s. GnuSocial replicates this, but Mastodon eschews it, and presents parallel flows to dip into.FacesHaving a face next to each message is also commonplace - even LinkedIn has faces now. Some groups within the fediverse resist this and prefer stylised avatars. On twitter, logos are the faces of brands, and subverting the facial default is part of the appeal to older online forms that is latent in the fediverse.PhaticTwitter has lost a lot of its phatic feeling, but for now Mastodon and the others have that pleasant tone to a lot of posts that comes with sharing and reacting without looking over your shoulder. Partly this is the small group homophily, but as Lexi says:For many people in the SJ community, Mastodon became more than a social network — it was an introduction to the tools of the trade of the open source world. People who were used to writing interminable hotheaded rants about the appropriation of “daddy” were suddenly opening GitHub issues and participating in the development cycle of a site used by thousands. It was surreal, and from a distance, slightly endearing.Eugen has done a good job of tummling this community, listening to their concerns and tweaking Mastodon to reflect them. The way the Content Warning is used there is a good example of this - people are thinking about what others might find annoying (political rants, perhaps?) and tucking them away behind the little CW toggle.The existential dread caused by Twitter’s reply all by default and culture of sealioning is not yet here.FollowingPart of the relative calm is due to a return of the following model - you choose whom to follow and it’s not expected to be mutual. However there are follow (and boost and like) notifications there if you want them, which contains the seeds of the twitter engagement spiral. This is mitigated to some extent by the nuances of the default publics that are constructed for you.PublicsAs with Twitter, and indeed the web in general, we all see a different subset of  the conversation. We each have our own public that we see and address. These publics are semi-overlapping - they are connected, but adjacent. This is not Habermas’s public sphere, but de Certeau's distinction of place and space. The place is the structure provided, the space the life given it by the paths we take through it and our interactions.Since I first wrote Twitter Theory, Twitter itself has become much more like a single public sphere, through its chasing of ‘engagement’ above all else. The federated nature of Mastodon, GnuSocial,  the blogosphere and indeed the multiply-linked web is now seen as confusing by those used to Twitter's silo.The structure of Mastodon and GnuSocial instances provides multiple visible publics by default, and Mastodon's columnar layout (on wider screens) emphasises this. You have your own public of those you follow, and the notifications sent back in response, as with Twitter. But you also have two more timeline choices - the Local and the Federated. These make the substructure manifest. Local is everyone else posting on your instance. The people who share a server with you are now a default peer group. The Federated public is even more confusing to those with a silo viewpoint. It shows all the posts that this instance has seen - GnuSocial calls it “the whole known network” - all those followed by you and others on your instance. This is not the whole fediverse, it’s still a window on part of it. In a classic silo, who you share a server shard with is an implementation detail, but choosing an [...]

Could Apple make premium devices in the USA?


Brief summary for tweet length attention spansWe can get back the much-mourned favorite star on twitter by an 'add a comment' retweet with a 🌟 emoji eg: 🌟— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) November 4, 2015executive summary in bullet formThis has the following advantages: Lets you use star again, or any other emoji that better expresses nuance. Notifies the person starred, just as 'like' does shows up in your feed (but not in your favorites list) works in all twitter clients as it shows the emoji and link by default, and the linked-to tweet in official ones can be liked and retweeted in its own right and some drawbacks: is not counted as a like or a retweet (this is true for all quoted tweets) is a bit more obtrusive than the old favorite takes more than one click to create Historical exegesis and discussion of semioticsBack in the dawn of twitter, new ways of using it were created by users, sporadically adopted, and then reified first by the vibrant client ecosystem, and eventually by official Twitter clients. Hashtags, @ replies and retweets started this way, as microsyntax or picoformats. Favorites were added early on and had a favstar-like top ten list with the lovely url slug 'favourings'. Your favorites were always public, and obviously so (unlike Google reader's which scared users). But when they caused notifications and showed up in timelines as actions, people were disconcerted. The very opacity of the star meant that people could imbue it with its own meaning, and the nuances of what faving meant have been long-discussed - see Jessica Roy in Time for an example. Hence the immense hand-wringing over Twitter's change from star to heart and favorite to like. Perhaps they were led by AirBnB's 30% engagement boost when they made the change? The difference is one of semiotics though - when you apply a heart to a place to stay that is clearer than applying it to a tweet; it may still be a nuanced note on the host, or ironic, but the layers of meaning are more limited than in a tweet. With a tweet there are many more possible signifiers you may be indicating favour or attention to. Who saying it, who's @-tagged, hashtags, links, embedded media, the threads extending before or after, can all be grist for that little pointer. However, there is another user-driven pattern that Twitter has not paid much attention to - emoji as replies. If you look through emojitracker there are nearly a billion uses of the 😂 emoji and over a billion of the various hearts. This is a way people use to express the missing nuance that a single system-chosen glyph doesn't convey. Now you can reply to people with this directly, but that doesn't have the right effect; it is directly responding to the person, not the tweet, and relying on twitter threading to handle it. Twitter's new 'quote tweet' option, hidden under the retweet button, gives a better way: 🌟— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) November 3, 2015Shown in twitter with the quoted tweet inlined: Shown in classic clients as a star and a link. This is a public post, clear in intent, and directed at the tweet with its associated media and nuance, just as a favorite was. There is more flexibility here - repeated emoji; multiple emoji ☑ ✅ 💯— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) November 4, 2015@zeynep Maybe Twitter should add a checkmark -- ✔-- to signal things like "noted" and "save for later" etc. Keep the heart for "likes" etc.— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) November 3, 2015In fact, had twitter thought this through they could have saved time on the disappointing new "polls" feature by emulating Slack's 'reacji' voting instead. In the meantime, join me and the billions of other emoji tweeters in using a star reply to indicate your favoring. originally published on kevinmarks.comSo here's my proposition for Tim Cook:Reopen the Elk Grove Apple factory to sell top-line Apple products, designed for those who want 'desig[...]

Translation from sanctimonious bluster to English of Chris Dodd's statement on the internet blackout protests


WASHINGTON —The following is a statement by Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) on the so-called “Blackout Day” protesting anti-piracy legislation:

Senator and CEO - let's lead with the revolving door promises to politicians

“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together,

Why are my former colleagues listening to their constituents about legislation? Don't they stay bought?

some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

Maybe if we keep saying copyright infringement is a real problem without evidence, they'll believe it.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services.

How dare they edit their sites unless we force them to under penalty of perjury and felony convictions?

It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today.

Tomorrow was supposed to be different, that's why we bought this legislation.

It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

Being the gateways and skewing the facts is our job, dammit.

A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals.

I am high as a kite

It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

What have the Romans done for us? Apart from instantaneous global communications, digital audio and video editing, the DVD, Blu-ray, Digital projection, movie playback devices in everyone's pockets and handbags...

How to fight this nonsense

(with apologies to John Gruber and Mark Pilgrim)