Shouting Fire in a Crowded Hashtag

Narco Censorship The press is one of the many casualties of Mexico's ongoing violence, in particular, the local media. Newspapers and TV stations are caught in a battle between censorship, control and threats from the drug cartels, and the local governments. In some cities, people often witness shootings, grenade attacks and other violent events, but …

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How much is a life worth in pixels?

Analysis of yesterday's news coverage of the Mexican massacre Mexican Tweets More than fifty people were murdered yesterday in what is now the most violent episode in the ongoing Mexican Drug War. Most of the victims were women, some were pregnant. After learning about the horrific massacre in Monterrey, I spent several hours reading the …

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Do Anonymous Websites Work?

Some advocates of "real name" policies argue that pseudonymity is far too easy to abuse. They suggest that "real name" policies help reduce spamming and trolling. This might be true, however, you can still get a fair amount of troll-like behavior and hateful discourse in "real name" sites. Just sit on these Facebook searches for …

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Riots, social media, and the value of ‘first responders’

David Cameron has vowed to do 'whatever it takes' to restore order after the riots: this seems to include blocking access to social networking sites. "Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media," Cameron said. "And when people are using social media for violence we need to …

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Behind the Meme: People’s Champion

SMC alum Alex Leavitt posted this fantastic documentary on his Tumblr. It's a behind-the-scenes breakdown of the infamous Eli Porter rap battle, which got like 4 million YouTube hits and has been referenced by Kanye West and T-Pain, among others. People's Champion: Behind the Battle from Trent Babbington on Vimeo. As Alex wisely says: "I …

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“If you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s that simple.” ORLY?

We've had a controversial week here at SMC, with both danah and Bernie jumping into the fray over Real Names (TM) and social network sites. I'm not engaging with that mess, but I am interested in the response to it. Over, and over, and over again, when anyone-- academic, pundit, journalist, blogger, regular person without …

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Real name sites are necessarily inadequate for free speech

Recently on this blog, danah boyd set off a firestorm by suggesting that the imposition of real names on social media sites is an abuse of power...or even authoritarian. The obvious retort is “don’t like it, don’t use it”, or learn how to segement one's network (i.e. bend to the system, because its your problem). …

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