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Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter;
CTO at The 19th.

benwerd

benwerd

benwerd

19thnews.org

 

The High Cost of Living Your Life Online

“Studies have found that high levels of social media use are connected with an increased risk of symptoms of anxiety and depression. There appears to be substantial evidence connecting people’s mental health and their online habits. Furthermore, many psychologists believe people may be dealing with psychological effects that are pervasive but not always obvious.”

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AI Data Laundering: How Academic and Nonprofit Researchers Shield Tech Companies from Accountability

“This academic-to-commercial pipeline abstracts away ownership of data models from their practical applications, a kind of data laundering where vast amounts of information are ingested, manipulated, and frequently relicensed under an open-source license for commercial use.”

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Elon Musk’s Texts Shatter the Myth of the Tech Genius

“It’s been a general Is this really how business is done? There’s no real strategic thought or analysis. It’s just emotional and done without any real care for consequence.”

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Rohingya seek reparations from Facebook for role in massacre

“But a new and comprehensive report by Amnesty International states that Facebook’s preferred narrative is false. The platform, Amnesty says, wasn’t merely a passive site with insufficient content moderation. Instead, Meta’s algorithms “proactively amplified and promoted content” on Facebook, which incited violent hatred against the Rohingya beginning as early as 2012.”

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Facebook Report: Censorship Violated Palestinian Rights

“Meta deleted Arabic content relating to the violence at a far greater rate than Hebrew-language posts, confirming long-running complaints of disparate speech enforcement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The disparity, the report found, was perpetuated among posts reviewed both by human employees and automated software.”

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US Military Bought Mass Monitoring Tool That Includes Internet Browsing, Email Data

“Multiple branches of the U.S. military have bought access to a powerful internet monitoring tool that claims to cover over 90 percent of the world’s internet traffic.”

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Pentagon reviews psychological operations amid Facebook, Twitter complaints

“The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms’ rules.”

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The Internet We Could Have Had

“The internet we do have, however, is figured much differently. It is figured as a tool of political domination. It is the apotheosis of the forms of domination secretly hidden inside the stories of progress and liberation. It is capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and environmental destruction all rolled into one hideous hydra whose heads are Zuckerberg, Bezos, Pichai, Cook, with Musk and Thiel at the ass end.”

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Gender differences and bias in open source: pull request acceptance of women versus men

“Surprisingly, our results show that women’s contributions tend to be accepted more often than men’s. However, for contributors who are outsiders to a project and their gender is identifiable, men’s acceptance rates are higher. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”

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How a news investigation shed light on potential patient privacy violations

“The health system said the tracking tool was intended to help track the success of a promotional campaign to connect more patients to its MyChart patient portal, which involved Facebook advertisements. But it was configured improperly, which allowed Meta to obtain patient information such as email addresses, phone numbers, computer IP addresses, contact information and appointment details.”

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WordPress+IndieWeb as the OS of the Open Social Web

Nice indieweb thoughts and presentation. As an aside, I’ve added Hypothesis annotations to my site, inspired by Ton’s site.

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5th Circuit Rewrites A Century Of 1st Amendment Law To Argue Internet Companies Have No Right To Moderate

“It effectively says that companies no longer have a 1st Amendment right to their own editorial policies. Under this ruling, any state in the 5th Circuit could, in theory, mandate that news organizations must cover certain politicians or certain other content. It could, in theory, allow a state to mandate that any news organization must publish opinion pieces by politicians. It completely flies in the face of the 1st Amendment’s association rights and the right to editorial discretion.”

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Prompt injection attacks against GPT-3

“A surprising thing about working with GPT-3 in this way is that your prompt itself becomes important IP. It’s not hard to imagine future startups for which the secret sauce of their product is a carefully crafted prompt.”

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It's hard to imagine better social media alternatives, but Scuttlebutt shows change is possible

“Because it’s not a company, Scuttlebutt doesn’t need to make a profit. There is no persuasive design trying to keep you hooked, no advertising, and it doesn’t collect, process or sell users’ personal data. Instead, data are stored and controlled on users’ own devices.”

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Quality Is Systemic

“If your team is producing defective code, consider that it may not be because they all suck at their jobs. It’s probably because the environment isn’t allowing them to produce quality software.”

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Take Care of Your Blog

“There are no rules to blogging except this one: always self-host your website because your URL, your own private domain, is the most valuable thing you can own. Your career will thank you for it later and no-one can take it away.”

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Jack Dorsey’s Former Boss Is Building A Decentralized Twitter

“It's not about machine learning, or AI, generating the perfect viral media, it's about groups of people getting together and finding meaning with each other.” Rabble is doing important work.

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Opening the Pandora's Box of AI Art

“I’ve never felt so conflicted using an emerging technology as DALL-E 2, which feels like borderline magic in what it’s capable of conjuring, but raises so many ethical questions, it’s hard to keep track of them all.”

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Bay Area tech startup Sanas wants people to sound whiter

“Experts who spoke to SFGATE were troubled by Sanas’ emphasis on people in the Global South making themselves understood to Americans, as opposed to Americans accepting other accented voices.” Indeed.

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Whistleblower: Twitter misled investors, FTC and underplayed spam issues

“Twitter is grossly negligent in several areas of information security. If these problems are not corrected, regulators, media and users of the platform will be shocked when they inevitably learn about Twitter’s severe lack of security basics.”

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Class action against Oracle's worldwide surveillance machine

“Oracle’s dossiers about people include names, home addresses, emails, purchases online and in the real world, physical movements in the real world, income, interests and political views, and a detailed account of online activity.”

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A Dad Took Photos of His Naked Toddler for the Doctor. Google Flagged Him as a Criminal.

““This is precisely the nightmare that we are all concerned about,” Mr. Callas said. “They’re going to scan my family album, and then I’m going to get into trouble.””

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Mozilla Foundation - In Post Roe v. Wade Era, Mozilla Labels 18 of 25 Popular Period and Pregnancy Tracking Tech With *Privacy Not Included Warning

“Eighteen out of 25 reproductive health apps and wearable devices that Mozilla investigated for privacy and security practices received a *Privacy Not Included warning label. These findings raise concerns in the post-Roe landscape that data could be used by authorities to determine if users are pregnant, seeking abortion information or services, or crossing state lines to obtain an abortion.”

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