Tag Archives: media

As Making a Murderer returns, is the obsession with true crime turning nasty?

We cant get enough of cold-case shows such as Serial, especially when they lead to retrials. But while the genre has gone from lurid gore to upmarket investigations, an exploitative undertow remains

I didnt think all of these people would care, Steven Avery says, in wonder, at the beginning of the trailer for Making a Murderer: Part 2.

But people did care; they cared a lot. When the first series of Making a Murderer launched on Netflix in 2015, millions of people around the world were transfixed by the true story of Avery, a Wisconsin man convicted of murdering a local photographer, Teresa Halbach. There was a frenzy of interest about whether Avery had killed Halbach or whether he had been, as the series seems to suggest, a victim of police misconduct. Making a Murderer quickly became a bona fide cultural phenomenon, arguably the biggest true-crime documentary of all time.

Not everyone was thrilled by the documentarys success, however. Ive had 4,000 death threats since Making a Murderer first aired, says Ken Kratz, the prosecutor who helped put Avery behind bars. Ive had packages explode in my office. Ive had my car shot at. He sighs. I suspect all that craziness is going to be unleashed again. The sequel to Making a Murderer comes out on 19 October and Kratz is apprehensive about what news it could contain. Their tag line is something to the effect of: The case is not over yet, he says. Well, when is it over? From my perspective, this case is over.

Kratz may have had enough of Making a Murderer, but the rest of us clearly have not: the sequel has already drawn extensive press coverage. And its not just Making a Murderer. It seems as if many of us cant get enough of murder, full stop. In recent years, true crime has become a pervasive part of popular culture.

A lot of the credit, or blame, lies with the podcast Serial, which followed the case of Adnan Syed, convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 2000. When it launched in 2014, Serial smashed all podcast records. The first season has been downloaded more than 211m times and a third, which focuses on the Cleveland court system, launched last month. It has also been turned into an HBO show, The Case Against Adnan Syed, coming out soon.

Hae Min Lee. Photograph: Handout

True-crime successes continue to come thick and fast. Last year, for example, the LA Times podcast Dirty John, which details the violent web of deceit spun by supposed freelance anesthesiologist John Meehan, was downloaded more than 10m times in six weeks. It has also been turned into a TV show, starring Eric Bana, which will premiere next month.

Meanwhile, there are true-crime TV channels such as Investigation Discovery, with a nonstop schedule of shows such as Evil Twins, Evil Stepmothers and Evil Lives Here. For those who prefer a more hands-on homicide experience, theres an annual convention, CrimeCon, where you can mingle with other murder aficionados at events such as Wine & Crime or test your mettle at an interrogation experience. You can also shop for serial killer swag on Etsy, which boasts a disturbing amount of murder merch, from coffee mugs decorated with names of famous killers to blood-splattered hair-ties.

Michael Arntfield, a former police officer who now runs a cold-case thinktank, notes that our interest in ripped from the headlines stories of depravity is not a modern phenomenon. The genre, Arntfield says, really crystallised in 1842 when Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Mystery of Marie Rogt, a short story based on a contemporaneous killing. Since then, Arntfield says, the genre has been intermittently influential and has come and gone generationally. There has been nothing quite like the quality and quantity of attention were seeing today, however.

Once a guilty pleasure associated with rubberneckers and cheap, gory magazines, true crime has moved out of the gutter, says Jean Murley, author of The Rise of True Crime: 20th-Century Murder and American Popular Culture. It hasnt necessarily become highbrow entertainment, but it has a lot more cultural cachet. People arent ashamed of liking it the way they were 10 years ago. In a virtuous circle, a rise in high-quality true-crime content has created a wide audience, which means that more high-quality content gets made.

Technology has also assisted the gentrification of gore. As Arntfield notes, new production platforms such as Netflix allow for greater experimentation with long-form storytelling. Rather than telling a whodunnit in an hour, shows like The Staircase and Making a Murderer have taken true crime in a new direction which is more experiential.

The Staircase covers the trial of the novelist Michael Peterson for the murder of his wife, Kathleen, who was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their North Carolina home in 2001. Eight episodes on the original trial were released on French TV in 2004. Another two episodes followed in 2013. After a retrial, three new episodes, together with the 10 previous, were released on Netflix this year. A story spanning almost two decades was condensed into an extremely bingeable but also nuanced series.

As well as changing how true-crime stories are told, technology has democratised who gets to tell them. As Arntfield says, it is relatively easy for anyone with a knack for narrative and an internet connection to dig up an interesting cold case and turn it into a podcast. Access was always the issue before. Unless you worked on the original case, you didnt have access to the information you needed to tell these stories. Now, however, were realising how many stories are out there. Theres a limitless amount of material.

The Staircase. Photograph: Netflix

Should it all be used, though? These arent just stories they are real peoples lives. No matter how tastefully it is done, is it not unethical to transform personal tragedies into public entertainment?

It depends on how you define entertainment, says Christopher Goffard, the host and creator of Dirty John. My aim is storytelling that explores important psychological questions with a respect for human complexity and ambiguity To insist on hard lines between journalism and entertainment is to assume that journalism has to be boring or its not authentic, which I dont buy.

Goffard also notes that true-crime stories can sometimes be more powerful than traditional journalism. One issue at the heart of Dirty John is something called coercive control, which is a form of psychological manipulation that involves things like gaslighting, microsurveillance and isolation of a domestic partner control that masquerades as love. I could have done a story quoting a handful of people who have endured this, and found some experts to talk about it, and it would have been a respectable story and maybe sparked some conversation. But I think the effect is hugely magnified when the story takes you deep inside one familys experience, so you get to hear what it felt like to live it.

Others, however, seem to have spent less time pondering the ethics of true crime.Take Payne Lindsey, the host of another hit podcast, Up and Vanished. In the first episode, Lindsey explains the genesis of the series, which examines missing-person cases. Like a lot of people, I had been pretty obsessed with the podcast Serial, and the Netflix series Making a Murderer, and I thought to myself: What if I made one of those? he says. So I literally just went to Google and started searching.

The satirists of the Onion parodied this sort of self-absorbed approach in a podcast called A Very Fatal Murder. Released this year, it features David Pascall, a narcissistic Brooklynite who decides to parachute into Bluff Springs, small-town America, to solve the death of a pretty young girl called Hayley Price and maybe win some awards in the process. So, what happened to Hayley Price? Pascall asks. And how can I get in on it? Katy Yeiser, the head writer on A Very Fatal Murder, notes that among the many true-crime tropes ripe for mockery is the self-aggrandising host exploiting a young womans death.

Sometimes, of course, true-crime programmes succeed where the authorities have failed and give a voice to victims who have been silenced. These stories arent just being told, they are being re-investigated. The internet allows people to trade theories, hunt down clues and influence the narrative.

One of the best examples was last years Netflix documentary The Keepers, which examined the unsolved murder in 1969 of a Baltimore nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik. The series follows two of her former students, now in their 60s, as they investigate how she was failed by patriarchal systems of power, from the Roman Catholic church to the Baltimore police force.

Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix

The Grandma Nancy Drews Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub had been working with the journalist Tom Nugent to try to draw attention to the murder of Cesnik years before the documentary was made; only in 2014 did some film-makers came knocking. The current obsession with true crime, you could argue, helped propel Hoskins and Schaubs years of overlooked industry into the national spotlight.

Hoskins has worked hard to maintain the interest that The Keepers has sparked in the Cesnik case, using social media to crowdsource clues for the investigation. Shes in the middle of following a new lead when I call her at her Maryland home. There were supposedly two hunters hunting small game who found Sister Cathys body. Theyre only named in one article. I want to find them before theyre both dead. Hoskins has a team of about 30 volunteers, recruited via Facebook, trawling the internet in an attempt to identify these hunters.

Already The Keepers has led to important developments in the case. Shortly after the documentary was released, the Baltimore police department started to offer an online form for victims of sex offences related to the events it covered. Its surreal, says Hoskins. Im thinking Pope Francis probably knows who I am! Its hard for me to grapple with the fact that I have a voice now and that people are listening.

Australian podcast The Teachers Pet is another example of true crime making a difference. The podcast, which launched this year and has been downloaded more than 24m times, looks at the disappearance of 33-year-old Lyn Dawson from her home in Sydney in 1982. Nobody was charged in connection with the disappearance.

Hedley Thomas, the creator of The Teachers Pet, says the information that came in after episode one of the podcast aired changed the course of the whole series. Very quickly people started contacting me, wanting to share information and things theyd witnessed, so I had to rewrite the next two episodes. The fact that The Teachers Pet wasnt entirely scripted but unfolded week by week, he says, made a big difference to the material that I started to discover. It made listeners feel that they were an active part of the investigation.

When I first went to the police to see if theyd cooperate, he recalls, they didnt want to have anything to do with the podcast. But during the series, people were contacting me that the police hadnt heard about. Suddenly there was this change of attitude. The police commissioner himself knew he had to utilise the momentum of what was happening and get new information into the hands of investigators.

Lyn Dawsons family, says Thomas, are delighted by the success of the podcast. Lyns brother has said that the podcast has given them the best hope they have ever had that this case will lead to a prosecution, which should have happened years ago. However, not all victims families are so thrilled that old wounds are being reopened. While stories such as Making a Murderer, Serial or The Staircase, which seek to exonerate convicted killers, have been praised for exposing flaws in the criminal justice system, they have also been accused of exploiting the deaths of the women involved and preventing their families from getting closure.

In 2016, the public interest that Serial created in the Adnen Syed case resulted in his conviction being overturned and a judge ordering a new trial. While many Serial fans were ecstatic about this development, Hae Min Lees family lamented the fact that it had reopened wounds few can imagine. In a rare statement the family said: It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime when so few are willing to speak up for Hae.

Appeals by prosecutors have delayed Syeds retrial, but it is looking likely that it will happen soon. This will, no doubt, cause a new surge of media interest and make it even harder for Lees family to make peace with the past. The same is true of the sequel to Making a Murderer. While Halbachs relatives have largely remained quiet about the Netflix series, they have said the show traumatised the family all over again.

Whatever the ethical arguments about true crime, its popularity seems unlikely to run out any time soon. At some point down the line, using a podcast or serial documentary to tell true-crime narratives will become less trendy, A Very Fatal Murders Katy Yeiser says. But true crime will not go away. It will just be told through some other or new medium. We will never grow tired of murder.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/oct/16/making-a-murderer-is-our-obsession-with-true-crime-turning-nasty-serial

Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you | Dylan Curran

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look

Want to freak yourself out? Im going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.

Google knows where youve been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where youve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/maps/timeline?

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

A Google map of every place Ive been in Ireland this year. Photograph: Dylan Curran

Google knows everything youve ever searched and deleted

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/settings/ads/

Google knows all the apps you use

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.

Click on this link to see your own data: security.google.com/settings/secur

Google has all of your YouTube history

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether youre going to be a parent soon, if youre a conservative, if youre a progressive, if youre Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if youre feeling depressed or suicidal, if youre anorexic

Click on this link to see your own data: youtube.com/feed/history/s

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. Ive requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents.

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos youve taken on your phone, the businesses youve bought from, the products youve bought through Google

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books youve purchased, the Google groups youre in, the websites youve created, the phones youve owned, the pages youve shared, how many steps you walk in a day

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message youve ever sent or been sent, every file youve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages youve ever sent or been sent.

Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467

A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me. Photograph: Dylan Curran

Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things youve liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic girl).

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers youve ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. Its just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications youve ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess Im interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)

Privacy options in Windows 10. Photograph: Dylan Curran

They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data

I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.

My Google Takeout document. Photograph: Dylan Curran

Heres the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).

My search history document has 90,000 different entries. Photograph: Dylan Curran

Google knows which events you attended, and when

Heres my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events Ive ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).

Here is my Google calendar showing a job interview I attended. Photograph: Dylan Curran

And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my rsum, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites Ive ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.


Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps Ive ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times Ive recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts Ive done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fits permissions).


And they have years worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos


Google has every email you ever sent

Every email Ive ever sent, thats been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.


And there is more

Ill just do a short summary of whats in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad Ive ever viewed or clicked on, every app Ive ever launched or used and when I did it, every website Ive ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app Ive ever installed or searched for.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/all-the-data-facebook-google-has-on-you-privacy

Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study

University of Oxford project finds Trump supporters consume largest volume of junk news on Facebook and Twitter

Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study

University of Oxford project finds Trump supporters consume largest volume of junk news on Facebook and Twitter

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/06/sharing-fake-news-us-rightwing-study-trump-university-of-oxford

Former Facebook executive: social media is ripping society apart

Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice-president of user growth, expressed regret for his part in building tools that destroy the social fabric of how society works

A former Facebook executive has said he feels tremendous guilt over his work on tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works, joining a growing chorus of critics of the social media giant.

Chamath Palihapitiya, who was vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011, said: The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.

The remarks, which were made at a Stanford Business School event in November, were just surfaced by tech website the Verge on Monday.

This is not about Russian ads, he added. This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.

Palihapitiyas comments last month were made a day after Facebooks founding president, Sean Parker, criticized the way that the company exploit[s] a vulnerability in human psychology by creating a social-validation feedback loop during an interview at an Axios event.

Parker had said that he was something of a conscientious objector to using social media, a stance echoed by Palihapitaya who said that he was now hoping to use the money he made at Facebook to do good in the world.

I cant control them, Palihapitaya said of his former employer. I can control my decision, which is that I dont use that shit. I can control my kids decisions, which is that theyre not allowed to use that shit.

He also called on his audience to soul-search about their own relationship to social media. Your behaviors, you dont realize it, but you are being programmed, he said. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much youre going to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Lima. The social media giant has faced increasing criticism for its power to polarize. Photograph: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

Social media companies have faced increased scrutiny over the past year as critics increasingly link growing political divisions across the globe to the handful of platforms that dominate online discourse.

Many observers attributed the unexpected outcomes of the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit referendum at least in part to the ideological echo chambers created by Facebooks algorithms, as well as the proliferation of fake news, conspiracy mongering, and propaganda alongside legitimate news sources in Facebooks news feeds.

The company only recently acknowledged that it sold advertisements to Russian operatives seeking to sow division among US voters during the 2016 election.

Facebook has also faced significant criticism for its role in amplifying anti-Rohingya propaganda in Myanmar amid suspected ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority.

Palihapitiya referenced a case from the Indian state of Jharkhand this spring, when false WhatsApp messages warning of a group of kidnappers led to the lynching of seven people. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

Thats what were dealing with, Palihapitiya said. Imagine when you take that to the extreme where bad actors can now manipulate large swaths of people to do anything you want. Its just a really, really bad state of affairs.

Facebook responded to Palihapitiyas comments on Tuesday, noting that the former executive had not worked for the company in six years.

When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world, a company spokeswoman, Susan Glick, said in a statement. Facebook was a very different company back then, and as we have grown, we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve.

The company said that it was researching the impact of its products on well-being and noted that the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, indicated a willingness to decrease profitability to address issues such as foreign interference in elections.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/11/facebook-former-executive-ripping-society-apart

Facebook moving non-promoted posts out of news feed in trial

New system could destroy smaller publishers if implemented, after journalists report drop in organic reach but users will still see their friends posts

Facebook is testing a major change that would shift non-promoted posts out of its news feed, a move that could be catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience.

A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to a secondary feed, leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and adverts.

The change has seen users engagement with Facebook pages drop precipitously, with publications reporting a 60% to 80% fall. If replicated more broadly, such a change would destroy many smaller publishers, as well as larger ones with an outsized reliance on social media referrals for visitors.

According to Filip Struhrik, a journalist at Slovakian newspaper Dennik N, the change resulted in a drop in interactions across the countrys media landscape. Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach, Struhrik said. The reach of several Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.

Overnight, from Wednesday to Thursday, a broad cross-section of the 60 largest Facebook pages in Slovakia saw two-thirds to three-quarters of their Facebook reach disappear, according to stats from Facebook-owned analytics service CrowdTangle. For larger sites, with a number of different ways to communicate with their readers, that hasnt had a huge effect on their bottom line, but its a different story for those with a reliance on social media.

The change does not affect paid promotions, which appear on the news feed as normal. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Smaller sites are reporting a loss of traffic and Facebook engagement, Struhrik told the Guardian. Its hard to say now how big it will be. Problems have also hit Buzzfeed-like sites, which were more dependent on social traffic.

Struhrik noted that the trial has only been in place since Thursday, rendering it too soon to draw strict conclusions. But if reach is radically smaller, interactions decreased and your site doesnt have diversity of traffic sources, it will hurt you.

In a statement, Facebook said: With all of the possible stories in each persons feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages.

Notably, the change does not seem to affect paid promotions: those still appear on the news feed as normal, as do posts from people who have been followed or friended on the site. But the change does affect so called native content, such as Facebook videos, if those are posted by a page and not shared through paid promotion.

Matti Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis, said the move was the classic Facebook playbook: first give lots of organic reach to one content type, then they have to pay for reach, then they can only get through to anyone by paying.

Littunen said that many premium publishers had already cottoned on to the trend, and backed off relying too strongly on social media. But new media companies, who rely on social media to bring in traffic and revenue, would be wounded, perhaps fatally, by the switch. The biggest hits will be to the likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Business Insider, who create commoditised content aiming for the biggest reach.

Elsewhere, publishers who dived towards video content as Facebook began promoting that may also get burned, Littunen says. The kind of video that is doing best has been quite commoditised low-value stuff that is often lifted from elsewhere and repackaged for Facebook.

We dont see that bonanza going on forever, and since the content isnt what Facebook has been hoping for, its expendable. Were expecting to see another repeat of this playbook, with organic reach being replaced by paid reach.

For Struhrik, there is one last catch: he doesnt expect the test to be a huge success. Newsfeed without news. Just friends and sponsored content. People will find out how boring their friends are, he said.

In a second statement issued after this article was published, Facebook added: We have no current plans to roll this out globally.

This article was amended on 23 October 2017 with additional comment from Facebook. An editing error was also corrected on 24 October: the change in users engagement with Facebook pages did not drop from 60% to 80% publications reported a 60% to 80% fall in engagement.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/23/facebook-non-promoted-posts-news-feed-new-trial-publishers

How Facebook groups bring people closer together neo-Nazis included

Mark Zuckerbergs new mission would be to bring the planet closer together. But Facebook groups can unite extremists as quickly because they serve hobbyists

Ricky Caya was searching for something. A 43-year-old postal service worker and father of two in Quebec, he felt unsettled and unconnected. The truly amazing social movements from the 1960s, the American civil legal rights movement, flower power, the large trade union movements consumers do not have that, he stated.

Then when a Facebook publish entered his news feed promoting a brand new organization that searched for to create together good men and women without a voice to finally hand them over strength in figures, Caya requested membership towards the group and rapidly grew to become an energetic participant and leader.

In lots of ways, Caya might be a poster child for Mark Zuckerbergs new mission for Facebook to create the planet closer together through the strength of significant Facebook groups.

Nevertheless its unlikely that Zuckerberg is going to be touting Caya and the Facebook buddies inside a branded video in the near future. Because Caya is part of La Meute, a virulently anti-Islam Facebook group with 50,000 people.

On 16 This summer, La Meute, whose founders express a political affinity with Frances Marine Le Pen, notched a genuine-world victory when voters rejected the establishment of the Muslim graveyard in a tiny town near Quebec City. The funeral ground have been suggested following the groups of six people massacred at a Quebec City mosque in The month of january had nowhere nearby to bury themselves. La Meute (this means the Wolf Pack in French) helped lead a campaign to pressure a referendum, prompting many Qubcois to blame the group for that votes failure. (The organizations leaders didn’t react to a request comment.)

Within the finish, what individuals want will be u . s . in something larger than them, stated Caya. A feeling of belonging.

Or, as Zuckerberg stated inside a June speech as he announced Facebookss new mission statement: Whenever you bring people together, who knows where it’ll lead.

As Facebook is continuing to grow to greater than 2 billion users, so that as Zuckerberg has launched into a publish-2016 election make an effort to comprehend the social impact of his creation, Facebook groups have grown to be the centerpiece of his messaging round the companys capability to alter the world for that better.

Inside a extended manifesto printed in Feb, Zuckerberg revealed a preoccupation with Americans well-documented loss of membership in local organizations for example places of worship, unions, parent-teacher associations and teams a concept apparently cribbed from Robert Putnams classic sociology text, Bowling Alone.

Bring in more business provide many of us with a feeling of purpose and hope moral validation that we’re needed and a part of something larger than ourselves comfort that we’re not by yourself along with a community is searching out for all of us, Zuckerberg authored. It’s possible a number of our challenges are in least just as much social because they are economic associated with too little community and link with something more than ourselves.

In June, in the inaugural Facebook Communities Summit, Zuckerberg came back towards the theme: For many years, membership in all sorts of groups has declined around one-quarter, he stated. Thats many people who now must find a feeling of purpose and support elsewhere. This will be our challenge.

Zuckerbergs means to fix the loss of what he calls social infrastructure and Putnam calls social capital is, possibly unsurprisingly: more Facebook. Particularly, more Facebook groups.

Setting an objective of helping 1 billion people join significant groups, he told a cheering crowd of Facebook group managers: If are going to this, not only will it change the loss of community membership you’ve seen for many years, it will begin to strengthen our social fabric and produce the planet closer together.

Its impossible to state whether Zuckerbergs mentioned belief within the transformative ability of their own products is naive or cynical. It’s unquestionably correct that many Facebook groups are significant to a lot of people.In the speech, Zuckerberg designated for praise audience people who’d founded groups for disabled veterans, adopted children, lonely locksmiths and black fathers in Baltimore.

But Facebook groups like every social capital can as fast be utilized for ill nearly as good. And social capital isn’t an unalloyed good. A 2013 study by New You are able to College political researcher Shanker Satyanath, Bowling for Fascism, discovered that dense systems of social organizations and clubs in Germany helped promote multiplication of nazism. Or even a general search of Facebook unearths systems of extremists using groups to recruit and organize.

Go ahead and take Soldiers of Odin, a much-right, anti-refugee organization founded by Finnish white-colored supremacist Mika Ranta at the end of 2015. The vigilante groups anti-Muslim message spread from Scandinavia towards the Americas rapidly, having a network of Facebook groups developing in america and Canada by early 2016, based on separate studies through the Anti-Defamation League and Yannick Veilleux-Lepage from the College of St Andrews Center for study regarding Terrorism and Political Violence.

In lots of ways, these organizations are entirely determined by social networking, stated Veilleux-Lepage, who used social networking analysis to locate extensive ties between your Canadian and Finnish groups, even though the Canadian chapters have distanced themselves openly in the Finnish extremists. Veilleux-Lepage noticed that exactly the same feature which has made social networking a effective pressure in democratic movements the truth that it lowers the barrier for political participation can also be important helpful to extremists. The barrier to interact using these groups is a lot less than it has ever been, he stated.

Many far-right groups appear to utilize a mixture of public groups, which anybody can join, closed groups, which anybody can look for but which require approval to participate, and secret groups, that are invite-only. Prospective people request admission to a shut group, then are needed to undergo a vetting process, for example uploading a relevant video pledging ones allegiance towards the cause or submitting for an interview over Skype.

That process causes it to be simpler for extremist organizations to evade Facebooks moderators, stated Keegan Hankes, an intelligence analyst for that Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Lots of Facebooks moderation involves users flagging content, Hankes stated. If you have this sort of vetting process, you do not risk getting tossed off Facebook.

Facebook has worked on developing technology to enhance its human moderators, and it is already using artificial intelligence to hack lower on terrorist content. However the sheer amount of content around the platform and complexity of deciphering meaning and intent make combating hate around the platform a herculean task.

Most groups on Facebook are connecting permanently from addiction recovery to aid for brand new moms but when any group does violate our community standards, we’ll take it off, Facebook vice-president Justin Osofsky stated inside a statement.

However, many groups appear to understand Facebooks rules for hate speech, so that they enforce their very own rules against offensive language despite espousing hateful ideologies. Facebook is only going to remove groups whether it finds they focus on promoting hate against protected characteristics for example gender or race, a bar that apparently isn’t removed by Soldiers of Odin or La Meute.

Still, getting began Facebook could be a critical blow to such organizations, Hankes noted, simply because they depend on social systems to locate new people.

Fundamental essentials spaces in which you speak with individuals who arent already inside your movement, Hankes stated of social networking sites. Recruitment is definitely in the center of the. The alt-right and white-colored nationalists are very conscious to the fact that they’re within the minority, and they’re always looking to get more people.

Hankes also contended that Facebook has proven significantly less dedication to policing its platform for domestic extremist groups than it must cracking lower on Isis and al-Qaida.

In 2016, the SPLC sent Facebook a listing with links to greater than 200 pages, profiles and groups associated with SPLC-designated hate groups. A Protector audit this month discovered that a minimum of 175 of individuals links remain active, including closed groups for neo-Nazi, white-colored nationalist and neo-Confederate organizations. After being contacted through the Protector, Facebook removed nine additional groups.

Theyre not using [Facebook] simply to send one another nice notes, Hankes stated. Were speaking about hate groups who’re using the work of making a white-colored ethno-nationalist condition seriously, and theyre doing the work all around the platform.

Mark Zuckerbergs 2017 personal challenge to go to and meet individuals all 50 states has triggered an avalanche of speculation the Chief executive officer is thinking about running for political office. How else to describe the billionaires decision to interrupt bread having a steelworkers family in Ohio, attend services in a black church in Sc or discuss public safety with Dallas police officers?

But whats striking concerning the recently political Zuckerberg is strictly how united nations-political he seems to be. I did previously believe that when we just gave people a voice and helped them connect, that will result in the world better alone. In lots of ways it’s, but society continues to be divided, he stated in the communities summit. Now In my opinion there exists a responsibility to complete much more. It is not enough to merely connect the planet, we have to work to create the planet closer together.

Both versions of the mission statement lack any type of political framework to discern that, really, the planet might need to be if many people remain disconnected and apart.

Zuckerbergs skill at ignoring these complexities makes him better fitted being an evangelist for that Church of Facebook than the usual political candidate. I understand are going to this, he promised towards the crowd in the communities summit. We are able to reverse this decline, rebuild our communities, start brand new ones, and produce the world closer together.

Or, as Ricky Caya place it inside a Facebook message: Facebook helps connect people, and individuals people may use it to arrange themselves. It’s also something preferred by the Islamic Condition, and a large number of other groups, on subjects from macrame to cycling to politics, to extremism.

Everybody can there be!!

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/31/extremists-neo-nazis-facebook-groups-social-media-islam

Going back to Facebook after four years is a sad and scary experience | Hannah Jane Parkinson

You cannot beat the websites global achieve, however the dullness from the news feed is one thing thats simple to bid farewell to

Four years back this month, I chose which has altered my existence significantly. I left Facebook. I peeled from the 2 billion monthly active users and right into a world where the dodgy views of individuals Id shared a carpool with on some trip or any other werent thrust into my morning.

I did not create a conscious decision to depart Facebook. It looked like after i stopped smoking: almost every other time Id designed a song and dance about quitting I’d unsuccessful, however when eventually I realized it didnt cause me to feel feel great it dawned on me which i wouldnt be really missing out.

But heres the factor I did not really delete my Facebook account. I merely stopped utilizing it. A dangerous decision on my small part, for one, this means that my summer time/fall 2013 self is preserved for the world to determine. A web-based chemicals exhibit of the girl who had been frequently stopped through the police around the roads of Oxford after departing pubs transporting half-full portions of sauvignon blanc. There’s a photograph of me within the Russian mountain tops, joke-putting on a Putins U . s . Russia T-shirt, that we am surprised an angry commenter having a surplus of free time hasnt dredged as much as discredit a political column I would wrote.

Thats the problem with a lot of us being online nowadays: the web never forgets, Google especially (unless of course you employ an agency to bury your mentions or include a right to be forgotten request). Prospective employers as well as possibly the US government will trawl your social networking record. Cached content endures.

The primary reason I did not delete my account entirely, I ought to say, would be a simple one: I made use of my own login when controlling a few of the Protectors branded pages. It could appear surprising for somebody who frequently covers social networking not to be considered a Facebook user, and fashion editors frequently only appear to put on a uniform of black basics, so it’s that lots of tech authors limit their social networking consumption and have their preferred platforms. I’ve stored on the top of Facebooks developments and additional features and frequently tested them, but experiencing them within the everyday is one thing I no more do and a few changes have passed me by.

So delving back to Facebook following a four-year break is really a genuinely daunting experience. Its like walking off an airplane and realising there is a whole other world available just transporting on without you. I’m shocked to understand just how much I have no idea about. The transformation of lives I remember when i understood thoroughly. There are lots of babies I didn’t know existed. Last names altered with marriage. Sad dying notifications. The shock of profile pages which are now memorial pages. They are things that previously, despite getting away, you might learn about via text or telephone call or, even more back, through round robin emails and letters, but which now are collated around the internets noticeboard: Facebook. No requirement for every other town-crying.

There’s a great deal I’m genuinely upset about being not aware of. But additionally so much from individuals who I barely remember, or possibly never understood from Adam (together with a couple of Adams), and thus none of the existence occasions feels particularly highly relevant to me. I remember that, basically choose to begin a fresh Facebook, I’ll run it much like the way i keep my Instagram feed buddies and colleagues and individuals I’ve things that is similar to instead of the way i run my Twitter, that is mass engagement and #content.

Nevertheless its the messiness of my house feed that jogs my memory why I left to begin with. I’m perplexed by a few of the items Facebook now thinks may be beneficial: inserting into my news feed all of the happy birthday messages people I understand have remaining on other bands walls (why? what?). Much in the news feed is really a cacophony of dullness and creates a untidy interface. I havent missed and it is why I believe my mind has felt a minimum of just a little clearer these past 4 years. Only one less screaming technological wail of attention to cope with.

I cant jump in using the twee and reductive reaction buttons either: it normally won’t permit the subversive utilization of regular emoji. And also the live video feature (nicked from, amongst others, Snapchat, as so much of Facebook is these days) is one thing which i have high wants in journalism, but is simply too frequently utilized as a genuine-time depiction from the gross or harmful or the type of livestream of awareness that will have Virginia Woolf moving her eyes.

But there’s something which is tempting me, once closing lower this old account, to setup a brand new one. Within my message inbox, a terrifying flash of unread red, is really a note from your old friend from around the globe who I havent seen for seven years. She come in London in a few days. However that in a few days is at March. I kick myself for getting missed her and, just like the pile of languishing friend demands, feel an amazing guilt at the idea that too little response may be taken like a slight.

One individual cant appear to fathom my absence whatsoever. But to some more youthful person, an era Z-er, this itself could be odd: Facebook, they scoff, is perfect for old people. And theres nothing the old everyone loves greater than a Rolodex. Which, I understand, by sheer achieve alone, is exactly what Facebook continues to be great for.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/30/going-back-to-facebook-after-four-years-sad-scary

London Bridge attack brings out defiant British humour

Londoners use social networking to display to the world that they’re unbowed and definitely not reeling in wake of killings

Frequently, during occasions of upsetting national news, British social networking finds some bleak humour or common theme to rally around. The hrs after Saturday nights attack on London Bridge and Borough Market happen to be the same.

Scottieboy (@merseytart)

Lady on CNN speaking about London’s roads being eerily quiet. Mate, it’s Sunday. They are not cowering in fear, they are getting wrong in.

June 4, 2017

fervor w measure (@setalyas)

“London shouldn’t be cowed” mate the Chicken Cottage by Borough station has already been open relax a bit

June 4, 2017

The country isn’t for reeling

One headline particularly triggered British ire, in the New You are able to Occasions, which mentioned that Terrorist attacks in the middle of London leave 6 dead inside a nation still reeling

Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris)

This type of hyped-up headline will the terrorists’ project for them. United kingdom is not “reeling” @nytimes pic.twitter.com/KKesMHHIFY

June 4, 2017

To begin with, the term reeling includes a completely different and meaning distinctive towards the Uk, using the reel as being a common folk dance both in Scotland and Ireland.

Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane)

Yes NYT, we’re still reeling. #eightsomereel #keepcalmcarryon pic.twitter.com/DpXIUsk80l

June 4, 2017

Mary Branscombe (@marypcbuk)

If London is reeling this means there has to be an Irish dance festival in Trafalgar square again )

June 4, 2017

Graeme Plunkett (@gplunkett58)

Reeling: a kind of dancing. We dance on, unbowed with customary sangfroid.

June 4, 2017

Other social networking users just demonstrated the brand new You are able to Occasions that they are making using their day, which London, targeted many occasions by terrorists through the years, was keeping calm and transporting on.

Sarah Churchwell (@sarahchurchwell)

Look at London in the South. Nobody within this beautiful old city is #reeling. pic.twitter.com/DMFJTHnEtT

June 4, 2017

Jill Twin (@JustJillyDilly)

been for any ride a bike, now preparing Sunday lunch #reeling wheeling and peeling

June 4, 2017

Marcus Milburn (@omen121)

Likely to IKEA for meatballs and perhaps an area rug. #reeling

June 4, 2017

Marcus Milburn (@omen121)

Update… pic.twitter.com/Ju4wuCs2oo

June 4, 2017

As you person place it

Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes)

Nothing makes Brits more resolutely going to ‘get up with things’ than hysterical commentators attempting to suggest we are reeling.

June 4, 2017

Heres what really helps make the British reel

Just like the #BritishThreatLevels hashtag following the Manchester Arena bombing, social networking conversation soon managed to move on as to the really does result in the British reel

Jerknalist (@Prince_Albert37)

People pronouncing it scone, when it’s really pronounced scone. #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling

June 4, 2017

Craig. (@ContrarianCraig)

Knowing you are walking within the wrong direction & getting to tut & look at your watch/phone before altering course #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling

June 4, 2017

Charles Rothwell (@charlierothers)

Toasters that are not large enough to slot in the entire slice of toast. What’s the point? #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling pic.twitter.com/qj8OsaI2B1

June 4, 2017

Kirsty (@MissHartx3)

The cost hike over this little chap #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling pic.twitter.com/e8hpH8wffW

June 4, 2017

Sarah Crook (@SarahRoseCrook)

Not catching someone’s name and getting to invest the following 30 years staying away from presenting these to anybody #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling

June 4, 2017

Caroline Hillsides (@CazG1)

Bake Off being offered to C4 #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling

June 4, 2017

Emily Rose (@emilyrosehip)

When individuals make tea within the microwave #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling pic.twitter.com/M8006Sq8mr

June 4, 2017

The actual no go zones based in london

A typical trope in overseas commentary of england in the right continues to be there are so-known as no go zones in metropolitan areas, because of apparent radicalisation of the local people. Twitter spent a while today discussing the actual no go zones based in london.

Stephanie Boland (@stephanieboland)

Love this. Only time Borough Marketplace is a no-gone zone is Thursday evening in the evening, whenever you can’t move for that suits spilling from pubs https://t.co/BuqHBfJScl

June 4, 2017

Stephanie Boland (@stephanieboland)

Actual places Londoners are unwilling to enter:
Covent Garden street artist hell
Madam Tussauds
Breakfast club queue
Altering at Bank

June 4, 2017

stefanie marsh (@MarshStefanie)

Angus Steakhouse Leicester Square

June 4, 2017

Lara O’Reilly (@larakiara)

Ripley’s Surprisingly
Clapham High-street after 9pm on the Saturday
Primack Regent Street

June 4, 2017

And lastly there have been individuals just laughing about a few of the effects from the attack less than getting the intended effect.

Ben Hammersley (@benhammersley)

Trying to create Sharia by creating a lock-in in the Vauxhall Tavern. Uh-huh.

June 4, 2017

A pint based in london Pride

Meanwhile, a guy who had been pictured holding tightly to some half-full pint glass of beer because he fled the London Bridge attack is becoming an unlikely hero.

Howard Mannella (@hmannella)

People fleeing #LondonBridge however the bloke around the right is not spilling a drop. God Bless the Brits! pic.twitter.com/ceeaH0XxeX

June 3, 2017

His actions motivated a twinge of pride in Londoners, who identified using the need to hold on to some pint no matter what.

m i l l e r (@DrCMiller)

It’s London bridge ffs he’s compensated 5.50 for your pint

June 4, 2017

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/05/london-bridge-attack-brings-out-defiant-british-humour

Facebook and Twitter ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Poll of 14- to 24-year-olds shows Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter elevated feelings of inadequacy and anxiety

Four from the five most widely used types of social networking harm youthful peoples mental health, with Instagram probably the most damaging, based on research by two health organisations.

Instagram has got the most negative impact on young peoples mental wellbeing, market research of just about 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and also the health groups accused it of deepening young peoples feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Laptop computer, printed on Friday, figured that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter will also be dangerous. One of the five only YouTube was judged to possess a positive impact.

The 4 platforms possess a negative effect simply because they can exacerbate childrens and youthful peoples body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep issues and feelings of tension, depression and loneliness, the participants stated.

The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health physiques, doctors, non profit organizations and fogeys about youthful people suffering harm because of sexting, cyberbullying and social networking reinforcing feelings of self-loathing as well as the chance of them destruction.

Its interesting to determine Instagram and Snapchat ranking because the worst for mental health and wellness. Both platforms are extremely image-focused also it seems that they’re going to be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in youthful people, stated Shirley Cramer, leader from the Royal Society for Public Health, which began laptop computer using the Young Health Movement.

She required tough measures to create social networking a lesser wild west with regards to youthful peoples mental health and wellness. Social networking firms should generate a pop-up image to warn youthful people they have used it a great deal, while Instagram and other alike platforms should alert users when photographs of individuals happen to be digitally manipulated, Cramer stated.

The Fir,479 youthful people surveyed were requested to rate the outcome from the five types of social networking on 14 different criteria of health and wellness, including their impact on sleep, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, bullying, body image and also the anxiety about really missing out.

Instagram emerged most abundant in negative score. It rated badly for seven from the 14 measures, particularly its effect on sleep, body image and anxiety about really missing out and for bullying and feelings of tension, depression and loneliness. However, youthful people reported its upsides too, including self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

YouTube scored very badly because of its effect on sleep but positively in nine from the 14 groups, particularly awareness and knowledge of other bands health experience, self-expression, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

However, the best choice from the UKs psychiatrists stated the findings were too simplistic and unfairly blamed social networking for that complex explanations why the mental health of a lot of youthful people is suffering.

Prof Mister Simon Wessely, president from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, stated: I am certain that social networking plays a part in unhappiness, however it has as numerous benefits because it does negatives.. We have to educate children how to handle every aspect of social networking negative and positive to organize them to have an more and more digitised world. There’s real danger in blaming the medium for that message.

Youthful Minds, the charitable organization which Theresa May visited a week ago on the campaign stop, backed the phone call for Instagram along with other platforms to take further steps to protect young users.

Tom Madders, its director of campaigns and communications, stated: Prompting youthful people about heavy usage and signposting to aid they might need, on the platform they recognize, may help many youthful people.

However, also, he advised caution in how content utilized by youthful people on social networking is perceived. It is also vital that you recognise that merely protecting youthful individuals from particular content types can’t ever function as the whole solution. We have to support youthful people so that they comprehend the perils of the way they behave online, and therefore are empowered to understand and understand how to react to dangerous content that slips through filters.

Parents and mental health professionals fear that platforms for example Instagram could make youthful users feel worried and insufficient by facilitating hostile comments regarding their appearance or reminding them they have not been asked to, for instance, a celebration a lot of their peers are attending.

May, that has made childrens mental health certainly one of her priorities, highlighted social medias damaging effects in her own shared society speech in The month of january, saying: We all know that using social networking brings additional concerns and challenges. In 2014, approximately one out of 10 youthful people stated that they experienced cyberbullying by telephone or on the internet.

In Feb, Jeremy Search, the secretary, cautioned social networking and technology businesses that they might face sanctions, including through legislation, unless of course they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying and also the trolling of youthful users.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/19/popular-social-media-sites-harm-young-peoples-mental-health

Thailand: deadline for Facebook to remove ‘illicit’ content passes

The federal government threatened Facebook a week ago with law suit unless of course it removed 131 illicit pages by 10am local time on Tuesday morning

Thai internet providers appear at first sight pressurized to instantly shut lower use of Facebook like a deadline lapsed for that social networking giant to get rid of content, including posts critical from the monarchy.

The federal government threatened Facebook last week with law suit unless of course it removed 131 illicit pages by 10am local time morning.

However, the Bangkok Post reported the Thai Isp Association (Tispa) might also disconnect use of Facebooks servers.

It reported an e-mail purportedly sent from Tispa towards the md of Facebook Thailand warning when the organization doesn’t remove all 131 pages, concerned government bodies will ask that we shut lower accessibility site.

This course of action may modify the entire delivery services of world wide web.facebook.com to customers in Thailand, Tispa stated within the email, according towards the Bangkok Publish.

The Protector was not able to instantly corroborate the report. Facebook was still being available in Thailand following the deadline.

A Facebook spokesperson stated it reviews demands by governments to limit use of content.

Whenever we receive this type of request, we evaluate it to find out whether it puts us on notice of illegal content. When we determine it does, only then do we allow it to be unavailable within the relevant country or territory and inform individuals who attempt to can get on why it’s restricted, the spokesperson stated.

The Thai government hasn’t openly released information on which posts it wants removed.
Several images along with a video appearing to exhibit the 64-year-old Thai monarch putting on a crop top and covered in ornate tattoos happen to be printed on social networking in the past couple of days.

Facebook, which opened up a workplace in Thailand in 2015, may be the greatest social networking in the united states.

The military-run administration briefly cut use of Facebook after it launched a coup dtat on 22 May 22, 2014.

The royalist junta has dramatically ramped up online censorship, especially any posts or comment perceived to violate the countrys strict lse majest laws and regulations, meaning royal insult.

Sensitivity to public critique of royal matters was increased following the much-loved former king died in October and the boy, Maha Vajiralongkorn, required power.

With every offence punishable by as much as fifteen years in prison, greater than 105 charges happen to be elevated throughout the juntas tenure, a number of them associated with discussing online posts.

Lse majest laws and regulations pressure media operating in Thailand to frequently self-censor.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/16/thailand-deadline-for-facebook-to-remove-illicit-content-passes