Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Anti-social media. Would this work in a country where citizens trusted the police to catch criminals?
As mob lynchings fueled by WhatsApp messages sweep India, authorities struggle to combat fake news
Five people were killed by a mob in India on Sunday after rumors spread on social media that they were child traffickers, the latest in a string of lynchings tied to fake social media messages that have left officials stunned and grappling with ways to control the rising violence.
More than a dozen people have been killed across India since May in violence fueled mainly by messages on the WhatsApp service. The cases largely feature villagers, some of whom may be using smartphones for the first time.
… In recent days, officials of WhatsApp — owned by Facebook and based in Menlo Park, Calif. — have introduced a new function that allows administrators of groups to control which members can post messages, and the company is testing a plan to label which messages are forwards. WhatsApp is expanding outreach in India as its 2019 general election looms and political parties are signing up “WhatsApp warriors” by the thousands — who, in some cases, spread incendiary content themselves.

I see many many problems with this. A good discussion topic for my students.
Amelia Harper writes:
With the 2017-18 school year going on the books as the deadliest school year in decades, school leaders are looking at ways to prevent more school tragedies. The need to protect the lives of students and teachers has caused school districts to examine a number of solutions, including the increased monitoring of online threats that may affect schools.
These programs do not monitor all social media but look for keywords that indicate threats of violence to others or self-harm. Proponents of the program say that such measures mitigate [perhaps they define it differently. Bob] threats and prevent potential suicides, another important concern. Critics of social media monitoring point to possible violation of privacy concerns, potential human rights violations, and the possible misuse of such monitoring by schools to target students of color.
Read more on Education Dive.
[From the article:
"We are talking about the government actively seeking out children’s social media accounts, both public and private, and combining this information with existing law enforcement or social services records to profile which students are threats," Amelia Vance, of the Future of Privacy Forum, told the commission, saying that such programs should targeted at only "the most serious threats."

It’s a pretty messy mess.
Facebook’s disclosures under scrutiny as federal agencies join probe of tech giant’s role in sharing data with Cambridge Analytica
A federal investigation into Facebook’s sharing of data with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica has broadened to focus on the actions and statements of the tech giant and now involves multiple agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the official inquiries.
Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Department of Justice in its inquiries about the two companies and the sharing of personal information of 71 million Americans
… The questioning from federal investigators centers on what Facebook knew three years ago and why the company didn’t reveal it at the time to its users or investors, as well as any discrepancies in more recent accounts, among other issues, according to these people.
… The probe by the FTC, which oversees consumer privacy, concerns whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree regarding its privacy practices. An FTC fine could potentially reach into the billions of dollars.

Is there a fix?
Web creator Tim Berners-Lee focuses on fixing the web
Vanity Fair/Hive: “I Was Devastated: Tim Berners-Lee, the Man Who Created the World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets. Berners-Lee has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it…
“…Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation…
He is now embarking on a third act—determined to fight back through both his celebrity status and, notably, his skill as a coder. In particular, Berners-Lee has, for some time, been working on a new software, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots…”

Perspective. Move fast, pedal your way to success?
Uber launches shared bike service in Austin, entering crowded market
… Operating under the name Jump Bikes, Uber’s service will compete in an increasingly crowded shared services market that has been ramping up ever since dockless, electric scooters started appearing in downtown areas around the country months ago.

Lyft gets into bike-share business, acquiring operator of Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike
… The ride-hailing company acquired Motivate, the operator of Capital Bikeshare and New York’s Citi Bike, among other bikeshare services, in a deal believed to be valued at least $250 million. The company will introduce “Lyft Bikes,” seizing on the momentum around dockless and pedal-assist e-bikes in major U.S. cities

(Related) Find (map) your options.
Citymapper adds dockless bikes and scooters to its urban transport app
Citymapper has been adding a multitude of transport options to its popular city transit app over the past few weeks, with dockless bikes and motorized scooters now appearing globally.

Perspective. Is this always a bad thing?
Co-opting the Constitution: How Corporations Influence American Law
. In his new book, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler explores the 200-year history of how businesses have molded jurisprudence.

Something for website students.

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