I’m interested in what social media should do for us as citizens in a democracy. We talk about social media as a digital public sphere, invoking Habermas and coffeehouses frequented by the bourgeoisie. Before we ask whether the internet succeeds as a public sphere, we ought to ask whether that’s actually what we want it to be.
Monday, June 04, 2018
My Software Architecture class is designing an App to replace physical ATMs. This article could be useful.
No-fees mobile bank Chime raises $70M Series C, valuing its business at $500M
… The startup is one of several challenger banks gaining popularity with a younger, millennial audience who sees no need for a bank with physical branches, and who are sick of being penalized by hefty fees for things like overdrafts or dropping below a minimum balance – fees that take advantage of consumers at their most vulnerable points in their financial lives.
Perhaps I will create an App to capture your soul. The market should be HUGE!
Ancestry wants your spit, your DNA and your trust. Should you give them all three?
… In the age of Facebook and Google, consumers seem comfortable surrendering their personal information to corporations that aggregate it and monetize it. But Ancestry and other DNA testing companies have added an audacious tweak: Consumers are now paying to hand over their genetic code, their most sensitive individual identifier, to companies that could monetize it far into the future.
Ancestry officials say they have state-of-the-art systems to prevent hacking and security breaches. So far the company has sidestepped privacy scandals that tripped up companies like Facebook, which allowed a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, to access data from 50 million customers, or government agencies like the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which a few years ago exposed more than a million personnel records and security clearance data to hackers.
But a three-month review by McClatchy, including visits to Ancestry’s headquarters and a main testing lab, reveals a pattern of breached promises to customers, security concerns and inflated marketing pledges that could give consumers some pause:
Would this work in the US?
WhatsApp is a black box for fake news. Verificado 2018 is making real progress fixing that.
Fact-checking the Mexican election on WhatsApp. Fake news on WhatsApp is a really hard problem to solve. News is spread in closed exchanges and messages are encrypted, making it impossible to know how what’s being spread or how many people are seeing it. False information doesn’t just come as text, but as images and memes. WhatsApp is also by far the most popular social platform in many countries — including Mexico, which holds its general election July 1 (with more than 10,000 candidates running for general and local office).
Verificado 2018, a collaborative election reporting and fact-checking initiative led by Animal Político, AJ+ Español, and Pop-Up Newsroom, is trying to intervene in the spread of fake news on WhatsApp — and having some success. Verificado’s mission is broad; it launched in March and has partners in 28 of Mexico’s 32 states. It’s fact-checking and producing content across multiple social platforms, not just WhatsApp — but I was particularly intrigued by what it’s doing there.
Clearly, Microsoft thought Githum was worth more than the $2 Billion being kicked around yesterday.
Microsoft to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion
Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share and collaborate to create the future. Together, the two companies will empower developers to achieve more at every stage of the development lifecycle, accelerate enterprise use of GitHub, and bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.
… GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects — and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device.
Can social media have a positive effect on democracy?
Columbia Journalism Review: “Given the seemingly never-ending litany of transgressions we find all around us on social-media platforms—whether it’s Facebook giving up data to Cambridge Analytica and being manipulated by Russian trolls, or Twitter’s complicity in racism and online harassment—it’s difficult to imagine a case being made that social media in general is anything but a looming danger to society and democracy. Despite this, however, Ethan Zuckerman—who runs the Center for Civic Media at MIT and teaches at MIT’s Media Lab—did his best to put together a list of the ways in which social media can or should help democracy and society, in a post he published Wednesday on his blog and at Medium. Whether his argument ultimately succeeds or not is hard to say, but it’s a worthwhile question. As Zuckerman puts it:
Zuckerman uses as his template an essay that Columbia journalism professor (and CJR board member) Michael Schudson wrote as part of his 2008 book Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press, in which he argues that good journalism can accomplish a number of things that are worthwhile for society—including informing the public, investigating important issues, analyzing complex topics and serving as a tool for social empathy…”
Always worth following up on Amit’s ideas. (Some I want to try)
The 101 Most Useful Websites on the Internet
Here are the most useful websites on the Internet that will make you smarter, increase productivity and help you learn new skills. These incredibly useful websites solve at least one problem really well.
powtoon.com — create engaging whiteboard videos and presentations with your own voiceovers. Also see videoscribe.co.
mockaroo.com — download mock data to fill the rows in your Excel spreadsheet.
thunkable.com — build your own apps for Android and iOS by dragging blocks instead of writing code. Also see: glitch.com.