This Is an Uprising

"Courage under fire"; why Facebook charged Clinton more than Trump; and more.


  • Ajit Pai, the FCC Commissioner, accepted a fancy handmade rifle as a gift from the National Rifle Association at last week’s CPAC conference, and Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics asks why the FCC thinks that the ethics rules allow him to do, considering that the NRA is an entity (with a media arm) “whose interests he can affect (and has affected) by the performance of his official duties. The “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” was for overseeing the repeal of net neutrality.

  • Related: The FCC’s new national broadband map is essentially useless, Karl Bode writes for Motherboard. Like an earlier failed version, the map still dramatically overstates available ISPs (often to a comical degree), inaccurately lists the speeds they can provide, and fails to mention service pricing whatsoever.”

  • With Pai’s repeal of net neutrality rules now official, Fight for the Future, Reddit, Tumblr, Medium, Etsy and Github and many other groups are mobilizing tomorrow to bombard Congress with calls and in-district events demanding it blocks the change. In the Senate, net neutrality supporters are just one vote away from having enough Senators to stop the change using the Congressional Review Act. Emma Gonzalez now has 945,000+ followers on Twitter, two weeks after the Parkland massacre. Dana Loesch, the NRA’s lead spokesperson, has 779,000.

  • Anti-NRA organizers are trying to send a message to Amazon, which carries NRA-TV, by asking people to cancel their Amazon Prime memberships. The giant company has remained impervious to politically-motivated boycotts to date.

  • Responding to President Trump’s vocal support for arming teachers, educators are pushing back with the hashtag #ArmMeWith, asking for resources like books, more funding, additional school counselors and smaller class sizes, Amanda Morris reports for CNN. IMHO, Trump is the nation’s organizer-in-chief, and with this issue he is doing more to polarize his opposition into action than rile up his base.

  • “In a little over a week, than 115,000 people reached out to Moms Demand Action wanting to volunteer — including at least 8,000 students, who will become the first Students Demand Action volunteers,” writes Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action. “Just last week, nearly 2,000 Moms Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors showed up for an advocacy day in Georgia. In Raleigh, North Carolina, more than 350 people showed up for a new member meeting. More than 200 people showed up for a new member meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And in Rhode Island, we had to have a new member meeting every day of the week in a different city just to accommodate all of our new volunteers.” if you run an issue organization and you aren’t ready for a moment like this, pay attention: mass participation is here, and you better be ready to absorb the demand for meaningful action.

  • Life inside Facebookistan: Make time to read Antonio Garcia Martinez’s explanation of how Facebook’s ad auction system, combined with its Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audience, served to tilt its online attention marketplace toward Trump over Clinton back in 2016. One astonishing revelation—Facebook charged Clinton more than Trump for the same ad real estate because Trump’s ads drove more organic engagement.

  • This is civic tech: The good folks at the AI Now Institute have released a proposal for an “algorithmic impact assessment,” which would work like an environmental impact report for automated software used by governments, Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan reports for FastCoDesign.

  • With Catalina Albeanu of Journalism.co.uk, go behind the scenes of Civil, the soon-to-be-unveiled journalism marketplace built on blockchain, which has $5 million in funding from ConsenSys.

  • Is this civic tech? Sidewalk Toronto still isn’t offering the public any clarity on what it will be doing, despite recently releasing a public engagement plan, Bianca Wylie writes. She also makes a harder critique about the underlying assumption driving Sidewalk and the larger smart city movement: “that a lack of data is the problem in our cities….Turning complex social and policy challenges into markets for tech companies won’t solve these problems.”

  • Crypto-wars, continued: Here’s a very good explainer from Yonatan Zunger of why Apple’s decision to buckle to China and store encryption keys for its Chinese iCloud users there is a big deal.

  • Tech and politics: California state assembly candidate David Ernst is a big believer in “liquid democracy” and is promising that if he is elected, he will vote based on the views of the voters in his district, Danny Crichton reports for TechCrunch.

  • Shahid Buttar, the director of grassroots activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is running for Congress, challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the Democratic primary, Jon Pincus reports.

  • Apply: Indivisible is looking to hire a senior manager for digital organizing. The listing notes, “The ideal candidate for this role is a seasoned digital staffer with experience in ‘Big Organizing’ style digital organizing.