Voter Suppression Using Facebook Dark Posts

Some amount of credit for the win must be directed at the digital operation, which was profiled at length in Bloomberg Businessweek.

An alarming, but unsurprising, statement made in that profile:

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.

Some of the tactics used to drive this suppression have recently been reported, including the use of "Dark Posts" via Facebook Ads:

For example, Trump’s digital team created a South Park-style animation of Hillary Clinton delivering the “super predator” line (using audio from her original 1996 sound bite), as cartoon text popped up around her: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” Then, Trump’s animated “super predator” political advertisement was delivered to certain African American voters via Facebook “dark posts” — nonpublic paid posts shown only to the Facebook users that Trump chose.

Many people are susceptible to believing anything they see on Facebook or Google. The idea that anything could be loaded into a Dark Post and receive massive, targeted distribution via Facebook Ads without broad public scrutiny is alarming.

twitter's challenge

Twitter users have always been highly opinionated, especially when it comes to Twitter as product. For once, though, I'm starting to think Twitter users might be better at running Twitter than the current Twitter team.

It seems like all chances of a Twitter sale are gone now, with the Disney walk-off being the most damning. Bloomberg:

Walt Disney Co. decided not to pursue a bid for Twitter Inc. partly out of concern that bullying and other uncivil forms of communication on the social media site might soil the company’s wholesome family image, according to people familiar with management’s thinking.

The bottom end of Twitter is a real problem for Twitter, and Twitter doesn't seem to grasp that. Instead, Variety says:

Twitter has hired AngelHack founder Gregory Gopman to work on its nascent virtual reality (VR) initiative, Variety has learned. The company may add native 360-degree video integration as well as 360-degree video live streaming to its products in the coming months.

It's almost impossible to rationalize what is going on over there at the moment.

Shakedown in Oklahoma

Until 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of one to two earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater each year. (Magnitude-3.0 earthquakes tend to be felt, while smaller earthquakes may be noticed only by scientific equipment or by people close to the epicenter.) In 2009, there were twenty. The next year, there were forty-two. In 2014, there were five hundred and eighty-five, nearly triple the rate of California. Including smaller earthquakes in the count, there were more than five thousand. This year, there has been an average of two earthquakes a day of magnitude 3.0 or greater.

“Scientifically, it’s really quite clear" that these earthquakes are the result of oil and gas production. Probably something we should be paying more attention to...

facebook and political media

It's amazing how far Facebook has come since the 2008 election: from a grassroots organizing, novelty poll generating curiosity to a dominant pillar in shaping the national political conversation.

This year, political content has become more popular all across the platform: on homegrown Facebook pages, through media companies with a growing Facebook presence and through the sharing habits of users in general. But truly Facebook-native political pages have begun to create and refine a new approach to political news: cherry-picking and reconstituting the most effective tactics and tropes from activism, advocacy and journalism into a potent new mixture. This strange new class of media organization slots seamlessly into the news feed and is especially notable in what it asks, or doesn’t ask, of its readers. The point is not to get them to click on more stories or to engage further with a brand. The point is to get them to share the post that’s right in front of them. Everything else is secondary.

To Trump, Even Losing Is Winning

Neal Gabler, a favorite, for the New York Times:

People run for the presidency for all sorts of reasons. But Donald J. Trump may be the first to run because he sees a presidential campaign as the best way to attract attention to himself. There seems to be no other driving passion in him, certainly not the passion to govern.

Clearly.

Attention has always been the foundation of Mr. Trump’s modus operandi. Basically, he sells his name: Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump University. You have to hand it to him, though. He discovered that, in a celebrity society like ours, where so many people are competing for attention, running for president puts you a leg up even on the Kardashians.

How do we keep this from happening again?