Zeynep Tufekci | Digital Technology Invaded Our Lives. Now Women May Pay For It. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Over 130 years ago, a young lawyer saw an amazing new gadget and had a revolutionary vision — technology can threaten our privacy.

“Recent inventions and business methods call attention to the next step which must be taken for the protection of the person,” wrote the lawyer, Louis Brandeis, warning that laws needed to keep up with technology and new means of surveillance, or Americans would lose their “right to be left alone.”

Decades later the right to privacy discussed in that 1890 law review article and Brandeis’s opinions as a Supreme Court justice, especially in the context of new technology, would be cited as a foundational principle of the constitutional protections for many rights, including contraception, same-sex intimacy and abortion.

Now the Supreme Court seems poised to rule that there is no constitutional protection for the right to abortion. Surveillance made possible by minimally-regulated digital technologies could help law enforcement track down women who might seek abortions and medical providers who perform them in places where it would become criminalized. Women are urging one another to delete phone apps like period trackers that can indicate they are pregnant.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
All important stuff, well explained. Thank you Zeynep Tufekci. The Europeans are apparently passing good laws for protection, that we could copy, and then we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. InconvenientNews.net

Frances Haugen | I Blew the Whistle on Facebook. Europe Just Showed Us the Next Step. – The New York Times

Ms. Haugen is a former Facebook product manager who focused on combating misinformation and espionage.

“Elon Musk’s deal to take Twitter private, which has spurred questions about power, censorship and safety for the future of the platform, happened just days after the European Union reached a landmark agreement to make social media less toxic for users. The new E.U. standards, and the ethic of transparency on which they are based, will for the first time pull back the curtain on the algorithms that choose what we see and when we see it in our feeds.

In Europe’s case, the dryly named Digital Services Act is the most significant piece of social media legislation in history. It goes to the heart of what I’ve tried to do as a whistle-blower who worked inside Facebook: make social media far better without impinging on free speech. Today, Facebook’s poorly implemented content moderation strategies leave those most at risk of real world violence unprotected and only consistently succeed at one thing: angering everyone.

Last October, I came forward a with a simple message: Facebook knew it was cutting corners to make more money, and the public was paying the price. In over 20,000 pages of documents that I disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to Congress, the public learned what Facebook already knew — its products were spurring hate and divisionleading teenagers into rabbit holes of self-harm and anorexia, leaving millions of users without basic safety systems for hate speech or violence incitement and, at times, were even used to sell humans across the platform.”

Ezra Klein | Elon Musk Got Twitter Because He Gets Twitter – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Can Elon Musk break Twitter? I hope so.

I’m not accusing Musk of being a sleeper agent. The man loves Twitter. He tweets as if he was raised by the blue bird and the fail whale. Three days before locking in his purchase of the platform, Musk blasted out an unflattering photograph of Bill Gates, and next to it, an illustration of a pregnant man. “in case u need to lose a boner fast,” Time’s 2021 Person of the Year told his more than 80 million followers. Musk believed Gates was shorting Tesla’s stock, and this was his response. It got over 165,000 retweets and 1.3 million likes. That’s a man who understands what Twitter truly is.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and former chief executive, always wanted it to be something else. Something it wasn’t, and couldn’t be. “The purpose of Twitter is to serve the public conversation,” he said in 2018. Twitter began “measuring conversational health” and trying to tweak the platform to burnish it. Sincere as the effort was, it was like those liquor ads advising moderation. You don’t get people to drink less by selling them whiskey. Similarly, if your intention was to foster healthy conversation, you’d never limit thoughts to 280 characters or add like and retweet buttons or quote-tweet features. Twitter can’t be a home to hold healthy conversation because that’s not what it’s built to do.

So what is Twitter built to do? It’s built to gamify conversation. As C. Thi Nguyen, a philosopher at the University of Utah, has written, it does that “by offering immediate, vivid and quantified evaluations of one’s conversational success. Twitter offers us points for discourse; it scores our communication. And these gamelike features are responsible for much of Twitter’s psychological wallop. Twitter is addictive, in part, because it feels so good to watch those numbers go up and up.” “

Anand Giridharadas | Elon Musk Is a Problem Masquerading as a Solution – The New York Times

Anand Giridharadas is the author, most recently, of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.”

“It is a perfect marriage for an age of plutocracy: Twitter with its serious problems and Elon Musk, the embodiment of those problems. What happens when the incarnation of a problem buys the right to decide what the problem is and how to fix it?

Twitter has a disinformation problem — fake news about Covid vaccinesclimate and more running buck wild across the platform. Mr. Musk has shown himself to be a highly capable peddler of dubious claims, whether putting out misleading financial information or calling the British diver who helped rescue trapped schoolboys in Thailand a “pedo guy.”

Twitter has a racism problem. Time and again, it has failed to consequentially answer the pleas of users of color to address the bigotry and harassment that are endemic for them. Tesla, the carmaker that Mr. Musk runs, has its own racism problem, with many workers complaining to the press and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing suing the company over an allegedly pervasive problem of racialized degradation. The agency recently described one of Tesla’s plants as “a racially segregated workplace” rife with slurs as well as discrimination “in job assignments, discipline, pay and promotion.”

Twitter has a bullying and harassment problem, and the subtler but related challenge of bringing out the worst, not the best, in all of us. Mr. Musk is the incarnation of these problems, too. Though you might think that having more than $250 billion, according to Forbes, and wanting to solve the problems of Earth and space would fully occupy someone, he seems to have a compulsive need to belittle people and burp out his least-considered impulses and stoke bullying by his legions of admirers in a way that both reflects and shapes how Twitter is.”

Anand Giridharadas | Elon Musk Is a Problem Masquerading as a Solution – The New York Times

Anand Giridharadas is the author, most recently, of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.”

“It is a perfect marriage for an age of plutocracy: Twitter with its serious problems and Elon Musk, the embodiment of those problems. What happens when the incarnation of a problem buys the right to decide what the problem is and how to fix it?

Twitter has a disinformation problem — fake news about Covid vaccinesclimate and more running buck wild across the platform. Mr. Musk has shown himself to be a highly capable peddler of dubious claims, whether putting out misleading financial information or calling the British diver who helped rescue trapped schoolboys in Thailand a “pedo guy.” “

Harrison Stetler | Vincent Bolloré, the Mogul Behind Marine Le Pen and the French Right – The New York Times

Mr. Stetler is a journalist who writes about French politics.

“PARIS — Like the rest of Europe, France is gripped by the war in Ukraine. Days from the first round of the presidential election here, the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, hopes to prevail with what was, for much of the last two months, a muted campaign in which he posed as a steady hand in a time of global instability.

But for all the talk of a united West, the truth is that a noxious blend of oligarchy, nostalgia and bellicose nationalism is ever more ubiquitous on this side of the new Iron Curtain. In France, it is led by a buoyant and confident new right, represented in this election by Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally; Valérie Pécresse of the ostensibly moderate Republicans; and Éric Zemmour, the pugilistic proto-fascist commentator turned candidate.

Yet their electoral showing this month may be but a sideshow in a broader attempt to remake French politics. Behind them all, to one degree or another, is someone not even on the ballot: the media mogul Vincent Bolloré. The scion of an old industrial family, Mr. Bolloré wields a fearsome agenda-setting power; his outlets, known for adopting the flair, tics and style of Fox News, play an outsize role in directing the national debate. The three candidates from the right — and much of the political class, in fact — recycle, in varying shades, messages that run on a loop on his networks.”

Restaurants Ditch Phone Lines, Making Employees’ Lives Easier – The New York Times

“Harley Esposito, 30, was surprised when she couldn’t find a phone number for Hotel Greene, a mini-golf, bar and restaurant space near her home in Richmond, Va. After going to Hotel Greene for a work event, she needed a copy of her receipt. Looking through Hotel Greene’s website, she saw a small note: “We do not have a phone line.”

“I Googled them and didn’t see a phone number listed, and I was like: Oh, that’s weird,” she said. “I was just surprised by it more than anything, because I’ve never seen it before. I was like: How do they expect people to get in touch with them?”

Like Hotel Greene, restaurants around the country are pulling the plug on their phone lines. Channeling all communication through emails, direct messages on social media and reservations apps might frustrate diners and deter those who are technology averse, but restaurants are finding that communicating this way frees up time for front-of-house employees, is more efficient for restaurant administrators and gives flexibility to restaurants operating with a small team or through Covid-related staffing shortages.”

SIFT (The Four Moves) | Hapgood – Mike Caufield

“How can students get better at sorting truth from fiction from everything in between? At applying their attention to the things that matter? At amplifying better treatments of issues, and avoiding clickbait?

Since 2017, we’ve been teaching students with something called the Four Moves.

Our solution is to give students and others a short list of things to do when looking at a source, and hook each of those things to one or two highly effective web techniques. We call the “things to do” moves and there are four of them:

The four moves: Stop, Investigate the source, find better coverage, trace the original context.

Stop

The first move is the simplest. STOP reminds you of two things.

First, when you first hit a page or post and start to read it — STOP. Ask yourself whether you know the website or source of the information, and what the reputation of both the claim and the website is. If you don’t have that information, use the other moves to get a sense of what you’re looking at. Don’t read it or share media until you know what it is.

Second, after you begin to use the other moves it can be easy to go down a rabbit hole, going off on tangents only distantly related to your original task. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed in your fact-checking efforts, STOP and take a second to remember your purpose. If you just want to repost, read an interesting story, or get a high-level explanation of a concept, it’s probably good enough to find out whether the publication is reputable. If you are doing deep research of your own, you may want to chase down individual claims in a newspaper article and independently verify them.

Please keep in mind that both sorts of investigations are equally useful. Quick and shallow investigations will form most of what we do on the web. We get quicker with the simple stuff in part so we can spend more time on the stuff that matters to us. But in either case, stopping periodically and reevaluating our reaction or search strategy is key. . . . . ”

Source: SIFT (The Four Moves) | Hapgood

Farhad Manjoo | OK, but What Should We Actually Do About Facebook? I Asked the Experts. – The New York Times

Renée DiResta, the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory and a longtime scholar of the anti-vaccine movement’s digital presence, described one idea as “unsexy but important”: Educating the public to resist believing everything they see online.

This is not just a thing for schools; some of the most egregious amplifiers of online mendacity are older people.

What we need, then, is something like a society-wide effort to teach people how to process digital information. For instance, Mike Caulfield, an expert on digital literacy at the University of Washington, has developed a four-step process called SIFT to assess the veracity of information. After Caufield’s process becomes ingrained in his students, he has said, “we’re seeing students come to better judgments about sources and claims in 90 seconds than they used to in 20 minutes.”

Nicholas Kristof Leaves The New York Times as He Weighs Political Bid – The New York Times

“After 37 years at The New York Times as a reporter, high-level editor and opinion columnist, Nicholas Kristof is leaving the newspaper as he considers running for governor of Oregon, a top Times editor said in a note to the staff on Thursday.

Mr. Kristof, 62, has been on leave from The Times since June, when he told company executives that he was weighing a run for governor in the state where he grew up. On Tuesday, he filed to organize a candidate committee with Oregon’s secretary of state, signaling that his interest was serious.

In the email to the staff announcing his departure, Kathleen Kingsbury, The Times’s opinion editor, wrote that Mr. Kristof had redefined the role of opinion columnist and credited him with “elevating the journalistic form to a new height of public service with a mix of incisive reporting, profound empathy and a determination to bear witness to those struggling and suffering across the globe.” “