Corrupt Personalization

("And also Bud Light.") In my last two posts I've been writing about my attempt to convince a group of sophomores with no background in my field that there has been a shift to the algorithmic allocation of attention -- and that this is important. In this post I'll respond to a student question. My favorite: "Sandvig says that algorithms …

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Keeping Teens ‘Private’ on Facebook Won’t Protect Them

(Originally written for TIME Magazine) We’re afraid of and afraid for teenagers. And nothing brings out this dualism more than discussions of how and when teens should be allowed to participate in public life. Last week, Facebook made changes to teens’ content-sharing options. They introduced the opportunity for those ages 13 to 17 to share their updates and …

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Thoughts on the engagement of 6 million Facebook users

June 21, 2013 Facebook reported that a bug had potentially exposed 6 million Facebook users’ contact details. While this security breach is a huge at any scale and raises concerns regarding online privacy what I want to bring forward is that it also illuminates how our data is currently used by social media sites. In …

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Big Data Thoughts

401 Access Denied , 403 Forbidden , 404 Not Found , 500 Internal Server Error & the Firehose There is this thing called the firehose. I've witnessed mathematicians, game theorists, computer scientist and engineers (apparently there is a distinction), economists, business scholars, and social scientist salivate over it (myself included). The Firehouse, though technically reserved …

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thoughts on Pew’s latest report: notable findings on race and privacy

Yesterday, Pew Internet and American Life Project (in collaboration with Berkman) unveiled a brilliant report about "Teens, Social Media, and Privacy." As a researcher who's been in the trenches on these topics for a long time now, none of their finding surprised me but it still gives me absolute delight when our data is so …

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Participatory Culture: What questions do you have?

Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito, and I have embarked on an interesting project for Polity. Through a series of dialogues, we're hoping to produce a book that interrogates our different thoughts regarding participatory culture. The goal is to unpack our differences and agreements and identify some of the challenges that we see going forward. We began …

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The Problem with Crowdsourcing Crime Reporting

There has been some excitement about the idea of using technology to address the problems of the Mexican Drug War. As someone involved in technology, I find it inspiring that other techies are trying to do something to end the conflict. However, I also worry when I read ideas based on flawed assumptions. For example, …

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