Interruptions

How civic apps stack up against Trump Dump; where artificial intelligence falls short; and more.


  • Civic-minded election apps can’t hold a candle to the 1.4 million downloads of the bathroom-humor fueled game, Trump Dump, Will Drabold reports for Mic. “While “civic tech” platforms like Countable and iCitizen have a straightforward goal—help brands and lawmakers more accurately understand people’s political views—their user base is still small compared to viral election games or other apps,” Drabold writes. “From May 2015 through August, both apps combined had about 10% of the downloads of Trump Dump.” But, as Drabold reports, that hasn’t stopped the founders of the aforementioned civic tech startups from raising millions of dollars from investors.

  • According to Vox’s Sarah Kliff, Clinton was interrupted 70 times last night—51 times by Trump—whereas her opponent was only interrupted 47 times.

  • If you happened to share the screenshot of “trump camp deleting tweets in real-time” circulating during the debate last night, it was fake, Ryan Broderick writes for BuzzFeed. The allegedly deleted tweet that contradicts what Donald Trump said on stage last night is still up.

  • Democracy Works announced 35 new partners for their get-out-the-vote TurboVote Challenge yesterday, including organizations like Brigade, Change.org, and the NY Tech Alliance; social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr; media companies like MTV and Funny or Die; and other groups and companies pledging to work with Democracy Works to get their audience or customers to the polls.

  • Google searches for “registrarse para votar” hit an all-time high during the debate last night, Caitlin Dewey reports for the Washington Post.

  • What would you ask the candidates? Let the world know here.

  • Mergers and acquisitions: A private equity firm has bought govtech software company GovDelivery for $153 million, Katharine Grayson reports for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

  • Rumor has it that Disney might by Twitter, Alex Sherman and Sarah Frier report for Bloomberg.

  • Facebook has been ordered to stop collecting information on German users of WhatsApp, Mark Scott reports for the New York Times.

  • Emily Bell gets some good (and also thoughtful) jabs at Facebook in her most recent article for the Columbia Journalism Review, writing, “Facebook is not the only driving force in video adoption but it has been boosting the format heavily. In an earnings call as recently as July, Zuckerberg said: “We’re particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services.” One might cruelly remark that you would be pretty pleased with progress if its engagement statistics were routinely stated as almost double their actual number.”

  • ICYMI: Late Friday, the editor-in-chief of The Verge quietly posted a note to readers that founding site member Chris Ziegler had been secretly working a Apple for a couple months, Sophie Kleeman reports for Gizmodo.

  • Writing for Inverse, Tonya Riley explores the implications of artificial intelligence processors that fail to recognize African-American dialects online as English. “This means that blogs or websites that employ African-American language could actually be pushed down in search results because of Google’s language processing,” Riley writes.

  • The California Attorney General Kamala Harris worked with a Y Combinator nonprofit called Bayes Impact on an open-source platform for collecting use-of-force data from police departments, Megan Rose Dickey reports for TechCrunch.

  • Self-care: Jenna Wortham explains in the New York Times magazine why we should all tweet more like Beyoncé.

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