Problematics

On the Internet, no one knows who is nearby, and why that's a problem; plus when misinformation goes too far; and more.


New from me on Civicist:The Internet’s Missing Link in the Age of COVID-19.” The net may be a great tool for collective problem solving, but in a time of physical distancing, we have a problem: there’s no easy way to find your actual neighbors online, and as a result our ability to organize to solve all kinds of problems is suffering. I have a hunch that lots of people are finding all kinds of ingenious work-arounds, from neighborhood podcasts to list-servs for young parents , but this piece comes with a provocation—maybe it’s time to really map out what the hyper-local web really looks like. Would it help you or your organization to be able to find people or groups near you that you’re currently unaware of?
 
Say hello to Flo’s Whistle: Pandemic, an anonymous reporting platform where patient care providers can blow the whistle on unsafe conditions, built by members of the Code for Dayton Brigade.
 
Wikipedia’s governing board, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, voted Friday to adopt a new code of conduct to crack down on harassment, toxic behavior and incivility in the Wikimedia movement, Adi Robertson reports for The Verge.
 
Infodemic, continued: The conspiracy-mongering around Bill Gates that has turned him into a coronavirus villain gets a full debunking from Ryan Broderick of Buzzfeed News.
 
When accurate health information collides with political misinformation on Facebook, guess who wins? Alex Kantrowitz reports for BuzzFeed that the company is trying to walk a fine line between speech that causes immediate risk versus speech that causes a long-term risk, but what this comes down to—yet again—is its unwillingness to offend organized constituencies like anti-vaxxers, climate deniers and the political party that defends them.
 
Privacy, shmivacy: In an excerpt from his new book, Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State, Barton Gellman reports for Wired on the NSA’s database of ruin, Mainway, a massive database of social network information for everyone in the United States.
 
Tech and politics: New York Times columnist Kara Swisher appeals to Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey to apply its own rules to President Trump’s false tweets about the death of Lori Klausutis. This letter from Timothy Kalusutis to Dorsey, begging him to delete the tweets, is heartbreaking.

I guess the Hong Kong government can’t try to require pro-democracy protesters to not wear masks any more, right?

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