Links for the past few days, no unifying theme.
The continuing crisis
This is fine.
This is expected behavior for the Democrats right now — avoid doing something that is both right and popular, because it would be disruptive. Beto O’Rourke’s position (abolish ICE through a reorganization of DHS, and moving their responsibilities elsewhere) should be the base position of Democrats, allowing progressives to stake out more radical positions.
Haven’t seen any results from this yet. But the news organizations involved are all credible. Yes, even BuzzFeed.
This is a notable atrocity among many.
Government and major party complicity with the far right
Gargamel documents how ActivityPub works in practice, which is really useful because you wouldn’t know it from the standard.
Alex Schroeder discusses the features of social media that make harassment and dog-piling easy, and suggests what changes you’d need to make in order to avoid them. What results doesn’t look very much like social networking as we know it, and doesn’t provide what most people would want.
I think the suggested system for stranger introductions is a little complex, and could violate users’ privacy expectations if they didn’t understand the system well. But something more like FOAF introductions for “public” posts could work.
The “no celebrities or news bots” is a beneficial effect.
The author of this article makes a useful distinction among types of “fake news”: fiat news, and counterfeit news. Counterfeit news is news that is blatantly fake — put out by clickbait sites to maximize ad impressions, or by state actors to misinform. Fiat news is news that is real, or at least, mostly real, from a certain point of view, but basically useless. The point of fiat news is neither to be accurate nor inaccurate, just to be believed, in the interest of preserving an institutional status quo. This is, of course, what the NYT, WaPo, and other companies in the business of manufacturing consent produce. Fiat news is a kind of hyperstition, since it is effectively true as long as everyone believes that everyone else believes it. And the author posits that fake news (of both kinds) drives out real news like bad money drives out good.
I’m not crazy about the currency metaphor, because while I’m still a little attached to the idea of real news, the idea of real currency is totally ridiculous, especially in the form of Goldbuggery (Rational Wiki). But it does capture something significant about two different kinds of “fake news”