Meme Magic

The first voter-registration chatbot; the pro-Clinton online rage machine; the Trump counterpart; and more.

  • Tech and politics: The New York Times’ Jason Horowtitz reports on the left’s answer to Fox News, a team called Shareblue that churns out pro-Clinton outrage on Twitter from the sixth floor of a Manhattan office building.

  • “Shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real,” proclaims a pro-Trump organization backed by the wealthy founder of Oculus, Palmer Luckey. This Daily Beast article by Gideon Resnick and Ben Collins, however, is more about a growing rift between the organization, Nimble America, and the largest pro-Trump online community, the subreddit The_Donald than it is about the secret to shitposting your way to the Oval Office.

  • I report for Civicist on the first chatbot that can register you to vote via text or Facebook messenger.

  • The Sunlight Foundation is not shutting down—yet. Writing for The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer tries to get to the heart of their confusing messaging this week.

  • The surveillance state: Information requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies are up at both Twitter and Facebook, Sidney Fussell reports for Fusion, but often cops don’t even need to resort to that to keep an unofficial eye on what we’re saying—publicly—online. “Anything you tweet can and will be held against you in a court of law.”

  • The ACLU’s Nicole Ozer writes that special social media surveillance software often includes features tailored to monitoring protestors and activists.

  • Utopias: The director of eGovernment in Serbia, Marija Kujacic, asks what an open data-driven city utopia might include. Minority Report is referenced positively.

  • Apply: A new civic tech leadership program supported by the Stevens Initiative, the U.S. Department of State, and the Bezos Family Foundation is looking for “young, tech-savvy civic innovators” in the Middle East, North Africa, and the United States. Learn more and apply here.

  • Join: The Participatory Budgeting Project is looking for new board members to help build a foundation for the organization and for the PB movement. Learn more here.

  • Attend: A panel discussion and presidential debate screening at Baruch College, moderated by David Birdsell. RSVP here.

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