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  • Ian O'Byrne 12:32 pm on March 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse, ,   

    Violence begetting violence: An examination of extremist content on deep Web social networks 


    Several incidents of mass violence in 2019 were preceded by manifestoes posted to deep Web social media sites by their perpetrators. These sites, most notably 4chan and 8chan, are buried in the deep Web, away from the neutralizing effects of broad public discourse.

  • Ian O'Byrne 5:56 pm on February 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse,   

    How Bernie Sanders Answers A Question 


    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

  • Ian O'Byrne 10:27 pm on February 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse,   

    Trump’s words used by kids to bully classmates at school 


    Since Trump’s rise to the nation’s highest office, his inflammatory language — often condemned as racist and xenophobic — has seeped into schools across America. Many bullies now target other children differently than they used to, with kids as young as 6 mimicking the president’s insults and the cruel way he delivers them.

  • Ian O'Byrne 10:01 am on January 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse,   

    Bernie Sanders supporters are mass-posting on Facebook angry memes about Elizabeth Warren 


    Facebook’s “algorithm not only aggregates people, it activates people in a way that accentuates extremism,” said George Washington University professor Steven Livingston, director of the university’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics. “It inflames passions. It inflames the nature of the discourse.”

  • Ian O'Byrne 4:39 pm on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse, gamergate,   

    What we still haven’t learned from Gamergate 


    Six years later, here’s a look at some of the lessons we still need to learn from Gamergate in order to keep its victims safe — and in order to keep the next decade from producing a movement that’s even worse.

  • Ian O'Byrne 12:52 pm on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse,   

    Social Media Is a Weapon of War 

    Social Media Is a Weapon of War. How We Use It Is Up to Us (Motherboard)

    “‘Win’ the internet, [and] you can win silly feuds, elections, and deadly serious battles.”

    David Axe in Motherboard. All annotations in context.

    Trump’s unlikely rise to the White House was symptomatic of social, political, and technological trends decades in the making—trends that gave rise to the internet and social media and which, in turn, transformed the way we control, spy on, and kill each other.

    It is interesting to think about the larger impact of the Internet as a system, and the power structures that exist behind it…and the power systems that it reifies.

    In 1968, two psychologists wrote a paper theorizing that computers could become communications devices. The US Department of Defense ran with the idea, and in 1969 the precursor of the internet as we know it today, the military-operated ARPANET, went live. The National Science Foundation took over in the 1980s before business began to dominate in the 90s, at which point, things started to grow in exponential leaps. There were 28,000 internet users in 1987, according to Singer and Brooking. Today, there are billions.

    There is immense power in being able to “win the internet” and win in real life.

    Trump’s digital strategy, Singer and Brooking argue, is not unlike militant groups and street gangs that leverage the viral web to tell a compelling story about policy, religious dogma, or their own perceived fearsomeness, all in an engaging voice, while repeatedly targeting exactly the right audience to trigger a dopamine response or sheer terror, both online and IRL.

    “To ‘win’ the internet, one must learn how to fuse these elements of narrative, authenticity, community, and inundation,” Singer and Brooking write. “And if you can ‘win’ the internet, you can win silly feuds, elections, and deadly serious battles.”


  • Ian O'Byrne 12:52 pm on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discourse, , online discussion, pragmatics   

    Live streaming & live tweeting: a pragmatic approach to ethical considerations 

    Live streaming & live tweeting: a pragmatic approach to ethical considerations. | Center for Digital Ethics & Policy (digitalethics.org)
    Bastiaan Vanacker in the Center for Digital Ethics & Policy. All annotations in context.
    In daily language, the word pragmatic is often used pejoratively, to describe someone with a lack of principles (or character) who will let the situation, rather than a firm moral compass, guide her actions. But in the philosophical sense, pragmatism refers to an orientation towards ethics that isn’t occupying itself with abstract concepts such as “truth,” “right” and “wrong” or with coming up with all-encompassing ethical theories. Instead it focuses on praxis rather than theory and sees the role of the ethicist more to “de-scribe” norms as they develop than to “pre-scribe” them.
    Phillip Kitcher, in the introduction of The Ethical Project describes the project of this pragmatic naturalism as follows: “Ethics emerges as a human phenomenon, permanently unfinished. We, collectively, made it up, and have developed, refined, and distorted it, generation by generation. Ethics should be understood as a project –the ethical project– in which we have been engaged for most of our history as a species.” This a functionalist view sees ethics as a set of guidelines that make communal living possible. A successful ethical system is one that can fulfill this function.
    This approach, I believe, works well for digital ethics, where we try to articulate rules that govern how we interact with each other through digital technologies. For example, when social media emerged, there was no fixed rule about when it is appropriate to tag someone in a picture and when it isn’t. So we figured out a netiquette and ethical norms as we were going along, based on experience, existing norms, insights from experts etc. There still might be areas of disagreement, but I would argue that overall we have come to an understanding of what is acceptable and what isn’t on this issue, and these norms are passed on to new users of social media.
    Earlier, I have criticized Facebook for not anticipating the ethical problems with Facebook live and for its general approach of trying things out without much ethical forethought. But wouldn’t a pragmatist argue that because they are charting into new territory, digital innovators are more likely to make ethical mistakes giving the lack of existing normative framework?  This pragmatic defense only has limited power though, as there are general guiding ethical norms and principles in place already.  It is of course true that (some of) these norms might be subject to change in the digital environment and that sometimes our existing frameworks are ill-equipped to deal with new moral dilemmas. However, this does not excuse some of the more egregious ethical lapses we have seen recently, which were violations of well-known and accepted moral guidelines.
    This makes me have larger questions about the role of digital storytelling as we use digital texts and tools to share parts of our lives. When are we infringing on the rights and privileges of others, and when are we expressing ourselves through digital means?
    Blair’s posts are a remarkable feat of digital storytelling. She spun the all-in-all rather trivial behavior of two strangers into the social media equivalent of a rom-com and initially the story was heralded as the summer feel-good story we were in desperate in need of. (There also was some speculation that this was all a hoax, which is possible but seems implausible at this point.) But soon questions emerged about the ethics of this modern-day fairy tale, especially when it became clear that the female subject of the story did not welcome the attention and had her social profiles deleted after internet sleuths had figured out her identity. On July 12, she put out astatement through her lawyer in which she claimed to have been “doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed” and that voyeurs had come looking for her. By that point, the couple responsible for the tweets was slammed online as well.
    A future upcoming blog post might unpack this a bit as we think about pragmatism, norm-setting, and digital storytelling using the narratives of others.
  • Ian O'Byrne 9:22 pm on May 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , discourse   

    AI can now predict, shut down internet troll behavior 

    AI can now predict, shut down internet troll behavior (Big Think)

    A team from Cornell University looks to shut down the ongoing flamewar that has taken over, well, pretty much every public area of the internet.

    The Big Think notes:

    If you’ve been on the internet for more than 25 minutes, you’ve most likely run into someone saying something you disagree with. As most of us realize, this is part of adult life. The world was not built explicitly for us. Most (read: good) people might move on,  but many — about 30% of Americans — take the internet comment section as their own ideological battleground.

    A team at Cornell University has created an AI that could in the future root out online conversations going awry and nips them in the bud. After studying 1,200 Wikipedia Talk pages, they came upon a few surprising conclusions.

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