<span class='p-name'>Too Long; Didn’t Read #159</span>

Too Long; Didn’t Read #159

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Balance between anonymity & general disinformation
TL;DR #159 – 7/20/2018


This week I posted the following:

The nightmare of children’s YouTube – and what’s wrong with the Internet today (16:32)

Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From “surprise egg” reveals and the “Finger Family Song” to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds – and they tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed.

“We need to stop thinking about technology as a solution to all of our problems, but think of it as a guide to what those problems actually are, so we can start thinking about them properly and start to address them,” Bridle says.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about everything from China to Infowars to whether he should be fired over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat down to talk about Cambridge Analytica, why Infowars is still on Facebook and the danger of over-regulation, among many other topics

In this interview, he cited Holocaust denials as an example of controversial misinformation that Facebook would allow to remain on the platform. Facebook has said that it allows conspiracy theories to remain on the site, but limits their reach so fewer people see them.

Zuckerberg’s comments drew immediate condemnation on social media, in the press, and among civil rights activists. He quickly tried to walk back his statements.

This is what disinformation looks like

This Twitter thread from Mike Caulfield effectively breaks down his thinking about the aims and goals, and response of disinformation tactics.

Caulfield suggests that the main goal is to render the informational environment inoperable. Once accuracy, bias, and trust are eliminated from our communication spaces, only power exists.

In the past, I’ve written about the need to teach students healthy skepticism to address these initiatives. Caulfield posits the following:

I can’t stress this enough. We don’t need to build skepticism in our students. We need to build a love of distinguishing the mostly true from the mostly false, a belief that degrees of truth matter.

Mike also shares this playlist on Online Verification Skills to assist in your instruction and own learning.

‘Data is a fingerprint’: why you aren’t as anonymous as you think online

This piece in The Guardian talks about how so-called ‘anonymous’ data can be easily used to identify everything from our medical records to purchase histories.

One of the key takeaways:

One of the failings of privacy law is it pushes too much responsibility on to the consumer in an environment where they are not well-equipped to understand the risks,” said Johnston. “Much more legal responsibility should be pushed on to the custodians [of data, such as governments, researchers and companies].

What parents need to know about social media and anxiety

Social media is often a troublesome landscape for adults. Over the last couple of months, I’ve had a lot of discussions with many of you about whether or not social media is just plain bad for us.

From cyberbullying, to FOMO, to harassment, our youth are also trying to negotiate these spaces. Unfortunately, simply cutting off social media isn’t necessarily the answer.

This post suggests the following tips:

  • Encourage self-care
  • Help kids put social media in perspective
  • Encourage offline activities
  • Talk about their feelings
  • Let them know you’re there for them
  • Get help

How to notice and avoid dark patterns online

enter image description hereThis week I video conferenced with my Dad to help him set up a new wireless printer/scanner in his home office. After almost three hours of expletive-laced dialogue (from him) we got him all set up. The main challenge was helping him click through the labyrinth of links and pages to identify the drivers, install them, and then reset his passwords (because we realized he forgot them). 🙂

This made me think about the challenging phenomenon that occurs as what should be simple steps are obfuscated or hidden. This post from Lifehacker shares insight into these dark patterns, and how to avoid them.

This video by The Nerdwriter helpfully explains dark patterns and gives some classic examples of different types you’ll encounter around the web. It can also be viewed at darkpatterns.org, a site conceived by UX researcher Harry Brignull. The site also includes a Hall of Shame of examples collected on Twitter, and deeper dives into the different types of dark pattern.

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Train your brain to feel better with these 4 techniques

Depending on your political or social contexts, you’re either overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed…or overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. 🙂

This post in The Conversation from Laurel Mellin shares four brain-based techniques to bounce back from stress.

  1. See stress as a moment of opportunity.
  2. Check your stress number.
  3. Update your unconscious expectations.
  4. The power of compassion and humor.

Use the EBT 5 point system below to check your stress number. 1 is low stress…5 is volcanic!!!


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Makeup is about balance. When the eye makes a statement, the lips should be quiet.

Francois Nars

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TL;DR is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Please subscribe to make sure this comes to your inbox each week. You can review archives of the newsletter here.

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