Can Outside Pressure Change Silicon Valley?

How has activism evolved in our digital society? In this episode of Sudhir Breaks the Internet, Sudhir talks to Jade Magnus Ogunnaike about the intersection of big tech and civil rights. She is a senior campaign director for Color of Change. It’s a racial justice organization that blends traditional organizing efforts with an updated playbook for how to make change.

By Jade Magnus Ogunnaike and Sudhir Venkatesh for Freakonomics on May 17, 2021

At the mercy of the TikTok algorithm?

In this article for the Markup, Dara Kerr offers an interesting insight in the plight of TikTok’ers who try to earn a living on the platform. TikTok’s algorithm, or how it decides what content gets a lot of exposure, is notoriously vague. With ever changing policies and metrics, Kerr recounts how difficult it is to build up and retain a following on the platform. This vagueness does not only create difficulty for creators trying to monetize their content, but also leaves more room for TikTok to suppress or spread content at will.

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Google blocks advertisers from targeting Black Lives Matter

In this piece for Markup, Leon Yin and Aaron Sankin expose how Google bans advertisers from targeting terms such as “Black lives matter”, “antifascist” or “Muslim fashion”. At the same time, keywords such as “White lives matter” or “Christian fashion” are not banned. When they raised this striking discrepancy with Google, its response was to fix the discrepancies between religions and races by blocking all such terms, as well as by blocking even more social justice related keywords such as “I can’t breathe” or “LGBTQ”. Blocking these terms for ad placement can reduce the revenue for YouTuber’s fighting for these causes. Yin and Sankin place this policy in stark contrast to Google’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Online hate and harassment continue to proliferate

A recent report by ADL, an anti-hate organisation in the US, has shown that social media platforms have consistently failed to prevent online hate and harassment. Despite the self-regulatory efforts made by social media companies, results from ADL’s annual survey shows that the level of online hate and harassment has barely shifted in the past three years. These online experiences disproportionately harm marginalised groups, with LGBTQI+, Asian-American, Jewish and African-American respondents reporting higher rates of various forms of harassment. Many of these problems are intrinsic to the ways in which the business models of social media platforms are optimised for maximum engagement, further exacerbating existing issues in society.

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Youtube blocks advertisers from targeting

For a Markup feature, Leon Yin and Aaron Sankin compiled a list of “social and racial justice terms” with help from Color of Change, Media Justice, Mijente and Muslim Advocates, then checked if YouTube would let them target those terms for ads.

By Cory Doctorow for Pluralistic on April 10, 2021

Asian-Americans Experience Rise in Severe Online Hate and Harassment, ADL Survey Finds

Asian-Americans experienced the largest single rise in severe online hate and harassment year-over-year in comparison to other groups, with 17 percent having experienced sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats, swatting, doxing or sustained harassment this year compared to 11 percent last year, according to a survey released by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League). Fully half (50 percent) of Asian-American respondents who were harassed reported that the harassment was because of their race or ethnicity.

From ADL on March 24, 2021

The internet doesn’t have ‘universal’ users

Since 2017, Mozilla – the makers of the Firefox browser – have written a yearly report on the health of the internet. This year’s report focuses on labor rights, transparency and racial justice. The piece about racial justice makes an interesting argument about how the sites we see on the first page of a search engine are a reflection of the general popularity of these sites or their ability to pay for a top result. This leads to a ‘mainstream’ bias.

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The Hustle Economy: Race, Gender and Digital Entrepreneurship

Apply to participate in Data & Society’s academic workshop, The Hustle Economy: Race, Gender and Digital Entrepreneurship. This online collaborative program on May 20, 2021 will have space for both deep dives into academic works-in-progress as well as multidisciplinary discussions of alternative practitioner projects that contribute to the understanding of hustle economies and their embodiments. Data & Society’s Director of Research and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington Sareeta Amrute, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia Lana Swartz invite applications from project leads to workshop their academic papers, podcasts, chapters, data mappings, and so on, and from collaborators to prepare interdisciplinary feedback on the selected works-in-progress. Together, we’ll help develop this emerging field centered on the lived experience, blunders, and promises of the digital economy.

From Data & Society on January 26, 2021

Corporatespeak and racial injustice

In light of the Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. and protests against police brutality in Europe, technology companies have been quick to release corporate statements, commitments, campaigns and initiatives to tackle discrimination and racial injustice. Amber Hamilton evaluated 63 public facing documents from major technology companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Airbnb and TikTok.

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Understanding Digital Racism After COVID-19

The Oxford Internet Institute hosts Lisa Nakamura, Director Digital Studies Institute, Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor, Department of American Culture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Professor Nakamura is the founding Director of the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan, and a writer focusing on digital media, race, and gender. ‘We are living in an open-ended crisis with two faces: unexpected accelerated digital adoption and an impassioned and invigorated racial justice movement. These two vast and overlapping cultural transitions require new inquiry into the entangled and intensified dialogue between race and digital technology after COVID. My project analyzes digital racial practices on Facebook, Twitter, Zoom, and TikTok while we are in the midst of a technological and racialized cultural breaking point, both to speak from within the crisis and to leave a record for those who come after us. How to Understand Digital Racism After COVID-19 contains three parts: Methods, Objects, and Making, designed to provide humanists and critical social scientists from diverse disciplines or experience levels with pragmatic and easy to use tools and methods for accelerated critical analyses of the digital racial pandemic.’

From YouTube on November 12, 2020

The Substackerati

Did a newsletter company create a more equitable media system—or replicate the flaws of the old one?

By Clio Chang for Columbia Journalism Review

Facebook —het grootste land ter wereld— is gemaakt om te profileren (ook etnisch)

Typhoon werd als zwarte rapper in een mooie auto aangehouden. Sindsdien is de discussie over etnisch profileren terecht losgebarsten. Er is daarbij zelden aandacht voor het feit dat de businessmodellen van diensten uit Silicon Valley grotendeels zijn gebaseerd op profilering, en dat etnisch profileren daarbij als innovatief marketinginstrument wordt aangeprezen.

By Hans de Zwart for Bits of Freedom on June 23, 2016

Hoe Zwarte Piet verdwijnt van Facebook

Moderatie: Het Facebookbeleid tegen Zwarte Piet begint behoorlijk op stoom te komen. Pro-pietenpagina’s worden hard geraakt, omdat tegenstander de berichten op deze pagina’s volop rapporteren. Toch is het de vraag of Zwarte Piet ooit helemaal van Facebook verdwijnt.

By Reinier Kist and Wilfred Takken for NRC on August 31, 2020

Simplifying Targeting Categories

Over the past few years, we’ve routinely reviewed and refined our targeting options to make it easier for advertisers to find and use targeting that will deliver the most value for businesses and people. Today, we’re sharing an update on our ongoing review and streamlining the options we provide by removing options that are not widely used by advertisers.

From Facebook on August 11, 2020

Facebook weigert advertentie met cover van OPZIJ met zwarte vrouw

Facebook heeft een advertentie met cover van het feministische maandblad OPZIJ offline gehaald omdat deze overeenkomsten zou vertonen met een blackface-afbeelding. Op de cover van het tijdschrift prijkt de beeltenis van Dr. Abbie Vandivere. De wetenschapper haalde de wereldpers met haar ontdekkingen tijdens de restauratie van Vermeer’s Meisje met de parel voor het Mauritshuis. Vandivere is zwart en heeft op de foto haar lippen rood geverfd.

By Mark Koster for Villamedia on August 17, 2020

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