The fight for policy is often fought along K Street not in the Capitol or in the White House. In Gucci Gulch the future of industries is worked out. Who gets government largess, who does not. Who gets what contract, who does not. Who gets surveilled and…
It may still.
Continue reading How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet
4 years ago I founded a small social media constancy. The idea was to manage the coming deluge of social media for businesses. Turned out to be a pretty good idea.
At first many businesses didn’t believe that social media was going to be as important as it has become. What seemed completely obvious to me was still not obvious to most businesses even into 2009. Then people began to wake up and the rest is history. Before I knew it I had Fortune 1000 companies emailing me. Companies which just 9 months before had no interest.
It has been a fascinating ride and one with many twists and turns.
Social media is by its nature a constantly evolving thing. This is one of 2 great challenges for businesses in today’s online world. Should a business spend time developing a Google+ presence? Many did. Not such a good idea, at this point. What about Foursquare? What happens if a company spends a million dollars on a social media engagement strategy only to have the environment turn on a dime?
The other great challenge is managing the crush of information which comes from doing social media well.
I can say from experience that this is a colossal task, and one that people have not yet figured out. So if you know how to run algos and know how to pick good trees from the forest, I suggest you look long and hard at a career in big data. It’s only going to get bigger.
Last week in Dubai, Russia, China, the Arab countries, and much of Africa voted to end the Internet as an international , free and open space. They have voted instead to allow for the partitioning of the Net, in an effort to keep information – and people well regulated.
“The Internet Society came to this meeting in the hopes that revisions to the treaty would focus on competition, liberalization, free flow of information and independent regulation – things that have clearly worked in the field of telecommunications,” she said. “Instead, these concepts seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text.”
I was on social media from the first drops of rain on. Of course I tend to spend a fair amount of time in various social media anyway. But as of last night it seemed as if everyone in the universe was on Facebook and Twitter- which apparently they were according to the attached article.
I did notice a common phenomenon last night. It usually started with a post that read something like “Winds getting strong.” Followed by “Lights are flickering.” And then that person vanished. That’s what happened to me last night.
“Here’s the top 10 shared terms by U.S. Facebook users as of this morning, compared to the 24 hours from Sunday to Monday morning, as shared by Facebook’s journalism program manager Vadim Lavrusik. Before Sandy hit, people were discussing weather forecasting and sending well wishes to friends in affected areas. Then as the storm hit over night, people began sharing their personal situation to reassure loved ones.”
Click here for the story.
If you’re doing anything sketchy (which of course you wouldn’t) think twice before you do it on Facebook.
“Facebook and other social platforms are watching users’ chats for criminal activity and notifying police if any suspicious behavior is detected, according to a report.
The screening process begins with scanning software that monitors chats for words or phrases that signal something might be amiss, such as an exchange of personal information or vulgar language.”
Do you? Many people do. The settings they set on Facebook, and the search algorithms in Google and other places serve to create intelectual ecosystems online which reinforce our preconcieved notions. Liberals get liberal news. Conservatives get conservative news. Its a loop which reinforces itself until we have drinks at Thanksgiving. Then ideas are “shared.”
This from TechCrunch.com confirms what I’ve been hearing from others:
“Now, Facebook makes no apologies for working to create a safe and clean environment on its corner of the web by shutting down abusive or harassing behavior, content such as pornography, or generally spamming of the system. This particular method policing “inappropriate” comments may be new, but it would fall within the same general realm.
But even so, this instance seems to be a very strange enactment of any kind of Facebook policy. Scoble posted his original comment in its entirety on his Google+ page, and it’s clear that it contains no profanity or even any obvious argumentative language.”
Posted by Senior Director, Juliette Terzieff:
Google has joined Twitter as the latest major Internet player to limit content as needed on a country-by-country basis as a means to answer varied restrictions that could prevent the provision of services. Twitter announced earlier this year it would be censoring tweets by country—meaning that if a tweet could be construed as offensive in a country or violate the country’s laws, the microblogger would remove it from view in that country. Google has now followed suit with a similar statement in regards to its blog content.
Google has previously limited its search engine, blocking content specific searches in places like China, where the demand had to be met or the Internet company wouldn’t be allowed to operate in the country.
Blogger, Google’s free blogging website, can now be censored by country, just like Twitter, although there remains a way to gain access. Google changed the URL of each site automatically by country, converting the site to blogspot.co.uk, blogspot.co.nz, .blogspot.co.au, and so on, depending on which country users are accessing the website from. The way around the country by country system is to use blogspot.com/ncr (i.e. no country redirect). Using the bypass will allow users in any country to see all content posted on Blogger.
Twitter employed a similar bypass when it began censoring tweets. In a post on January 26, 2012, Twitter stated, “As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.”
“One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice,” the Twitter post said. “We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can’t. The tweets must continue to flow.”
The bypass Twitter employs is very easy to find in its Help Center so that content can’t be censored or deleted, and all it requires is changing the country in which one resides, much like Google has done. The tweets can’t be censored if they’re being tweeted from a country where the law isn’t being broken.
While Google’s decision to restrict posts on a country by country basis could be construed as a suppression of expression, it actually allows for the information to remain accessible elsewhere and improves on previous availability.
Before Google made the change, it “needed to take down material under the laws of one or another country,” and that meant that no one could see the content because it was removed from the system entirely. “Moving to the new system means that [Google] can make it inaccessible only to those in a country where the statement is indeed potentially illegal, leaving the rest of the world to carry on as before.”
Google responded in a question and answer statement, “Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law.
“By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD,” the Internet giant said. “If you visit a blog that does not correspond to your current location as determined by your IP address, the blogspot servers will redirect you to the domain associated with your country, if it’s a supported ccTLD.”
The actions taken by Google and Twitter to moderate posts where potential legal action could incur allows the companies to continue offering services in restrictive environments where access to information may be needed most. Even if current conditions require some limitations, keeping the information highway open—even partially—can help foment climates where change is possible.
Much has been said about how social media has helped OWS happen. Frankly it would never have happened if there was no Facebook, or Twitter, 2 for profit and very self interested companies.
What has always struck me about OWS is it’s general disdain for “capitalism.” I am not going to get into why this is right or wrong here. But I will say that I believe this ongoing flavor to the protest is because many do not understand that markets can do quite a lot of good. Often the freer they are the more good they do. This is counter intuitve for some, and I am not going into the theory behind this, but I will identify an example of such good.
They are called “cash mobs.” Like “flash mobs” they are mostly spontaneous gatherings of people organized, in an open source way and through social media, for the purpose of blessing a worthy business with a nice infusion of hipster dinero. In the attached article the example given is of a struggling organic market.
This is one way of many ways one can use markets for a better planet. Another would be becoming shareholders of a company (even just 1 share which lets you in the door of most shareholder meetings) and changing policy that way.