Monetization

Fake news, real mob violence; how to mobilize millennials; and more.


  • This is civic tech: Emily Fong, a former intern at Civic Hall Labs, writes for Coding It Forward about how young people can get started in civic tech.

  • This is funny tech: A Polish environmental group got hit with a huge phone bill after the GPS tracker it has placed on the back of a white stork was found by someone in the Sudan, who removed its sim card and used it to rack up 20 hours of phone calls, Kerry Allen reports for The BBC.

  • Tech and politics: Zaid Jilani and Ryan Grim report on how Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign team mobilized young voters by using the voter file to find local residents on social media and then target them with digital ads.

  • Former President Barack Obama quietly visited Andreesen Horowitz, the prominent Silicon Valley VC firm, last week, the AP reports.

  • Yes we scam: The Obama Foundation has hired Ernest Sawyer Enterprises Inc to be its diversity consultant to monitor whether it keeps its pledges on minority hiring and contracting for the Obama Presidential Center it is building on Chicago’s South Side, Lynn Sweet reports for The Chicago Sun-Times. The Sawyer firm has deep political connections in Chicago, as Ernest Sawyer’s brother Eugene was once Mayor and his uncle is a long-time alderman. As Mayor, Eugene Sawyer put 16 of his relatives on the public payroll.

  • Obama’s former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner now runs a private equity fund that among many things owns and manages Mariner Finance, a predatory lender that offers high-interest loans to poor Americans, Peter Whoriskey reports for The Washington Post. The company borrows money on the bond market for as little as 4 or 5% interest and then lends it out at rates as high as 36%. “It’s basically a way of monetizing poor people,” a former employee told the Post.

  • Violating federal transparency rules, aides to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have kept “secret” calendars and regularly “scrub” his official calendar to remove controversial meetings or calls with industry representatives, CNN’s Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin report.

  • Life in Facebookistan: Five people were killed by a mob in India Sunday after rumors that they were child traffickers spread on WhatsApp, continuing a deadly trends, Annie Gowen reports for The Washington Post. Many of the attackers are villagers using smartphones for the first time.

  • The FBI, SEC, and FTC have joined the Justice Department in broadening their inquiries into Facebook’s sharing of data with Cambridge Analytica, Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett report for The Washington Post.

  • Related: Renee DiResta reveals some new ways that product reviews on Amazon are skewed by merchants and brokers using secret and not-so-secret social networking platforms to incentivize people to post glowing reviews of products.

  • Happy Independence Day—see you Thursday!