A Quick Plug
Katherine Druckman, Doc Searls and Petros Koutoupis talk Twitter's new Birdwatch experiment, Signal's resistance to moderation, and Redditors' impact on the stock market.
Web platforms of all sizes struggle with moderating user content, but how much and what is appropriate? This week, we talked about Twitter’s new Birdwatch feature, which will try crowdsourcing content moderation and fact-checking, Signal’s reluctance to establish an abuse policy, and a financial app’s approach to a hoard of short squeezers. These issues are varied, but their common thread is their approach to controlling the flow of internet communication.
In an ideal world, we’d all like to keep the internet free and open, and ultimately a force for good, but that turns out to be a lofty goal. So, in order to get the internet we want, moderation of some kind is likely necessary. Twitter’s approach seems ambitious at their scale, but it will be an interesting experiment to watch. Is crowdsourced fact-checking possible without turning Twitter into a giant neighborhood full of Mrs. Kravitzes?
Signal is, of course, a different beast altogether. The platform exists to provide end-to-end encrypted messaging, so a hands-off approach seems appropriate there. We’d like to hear from you on this though. Is there an appropriate way to address platform abuse on a platform that exists to ensure privacy?
We hope you’ll listen to the episode and send us our thoughts here in a comment, or on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.
This Week’s Links
Twitter introduces 'Birdwatch' to fight misinformation | Engadget — “Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context,” Twitter writes in a blog post. “We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable.”
Warning Signal: the messaging app’s new features are causing internal turmoil - The Verge — Employees worry that, should Signal fail to build policies and enforcement mechanisms to identify and remove bad actors, the fallout could bring more negative attention to encryption technologies from regulators at a time when their existence is threatened around the world.
The Worst Job in Technology: Staring at Human Depravity to Keep It Off Facebook - WSJ — Deciding what does and doesn’t belong online is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the technology world—and perhaps the most grueling. The equivalent of 65 years of video are uploaded to YouTube each day. Facebook receives more than a million user reports of potentially objectionable content a day.
Mind Your Own Business! - YouTube — Gladys Kravitz.
Opinion | Facebook and the Surveillance Society: The Other Coup - The New York Times — We can have democracy, or we can have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both.
GameStop, Reddit and Robinhood: A full recap of the historic retail trading mania on Wall Street — GameStop mania took Wall Street by storm, thanks to a legion of retail traders glued to the WallStreetBets message board on Reddit.
Discord bans the r/WallStreetBets server, but new ones have sprung to life - The Verge — Discord says it did not ban the WallStreetBets server for financial fraud — rather, it was banned because it continued to allow “hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings.” The Verge gained access to the server and can confirm the claim that users of the channel were spamming hateful language, including racial slurs.
We look forward to sharing our weekly recaps, reading lists and inspiration with you as we navigate our collective digital reality. We hope you enjoy taking this virtual journey with us, and we’ll do our best to be pleasant travel companions. Cheers until next time!
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