Coinciding with a continued rise in public cynicism and a legitimate mistrust of mainstream media beholden to systems of power that are discredited, it seems most people turn to social media networks to get their news now. But this seemingly doesn't fix the problem. Rather than a "democratisation" of the media and/or a mass reclamation of investigative journalism (as technology pundits continuously purport), there's arguably been the opposite.

Now, with the convergence of closed social media networks that are beholden to nefarious algorithms such as The Filter Bubble and the personalisation of information, as an article in the Guardian explains, "Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism."

Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition. For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths.

Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob.

What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.

Increasingly, what counts as a fact is merely a view that someone feels to be true – and technology has made it very easy for these “facts” to circulate with a speed and reach that was unimaginable in the Gutenberg era (or even a decade ago).

Too much of the press often exhibited a bias towards the status quo and a deference to authority, and it was prohibitively difficult for ordinary people to challenge the power of the press. Now, people distrust much of what is presented as fact – particularly if the facts in question are uncomfortable, or out of sync with their own views – and while some of that distrust is misplaced, some of it is not.

In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true – as we often see in emergency situations, when news is breaking in real time.

It's like the well-oiled tactics of the tobacco industry that have since permeated pretty much all industries---confuse the hell out of people so they don't know what's true anymore. It's a popular PR tactic honed over decades for social control and manipulation of democracy, and it's that element that exists and is especially reinforced online (particularly in real time), in the giant echo chamber of corporate social media networks, where the user is constantly subjected to streams and streams of information about current events---most devoid of context, analysis, or even significant depth in the time and space of a tweet.

The grounding that gives rise to physical reality and epistemological truths goes missing when we're tied to screens that simply reflect our projections.

In the words of Sherry Turkle, the issues facing our planet right now cannot be solved in the time-space of texting/tweeting. So if the way we understand, perceive and relate to the world through the prism of media (mainstream media and social media alike) is in decline, it should tell us volumes about the state of democracy...

Global Voices' adds: "The need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-paste -- or in some instances, plagiarise -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves.

UPDATE 29/7 -- Example, of sorts. "#SaveMarinaJoyce conspiracy theories about British YouTuber go viral." News reporting social media rumours, facts from source ignite disbelief and cynicism, confirmation bias at work, etc.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul...

"Tinder isn’t as private as many of its users think, and a new website which aims to exploit that is causing concern among users of the dating app.

"Swipebuster" promises to let Tinder users find out whether people they know have an account on the dating app, and even stalk them down to their last known location.

The website charges $4.99 (£3.50) to let someone see whether the target is using Tinder, and can narrow down results by first name, age, gender and location.

But it doesn’t do so by hacking into Tinder, or even by “scraping” the app manually. Instead, it searches the database using Tinder’s official API, which is intended for use by third-party developers who want to write software that plugs in with the site. All the information that it can reveal is considered public by the company, and revealed through the API with few safeguards.

Although the site seems targeted at those who want to catch cheating partners on the app, its developer says he had a different motivation in mind, telling Vanity Fair that he wanted to highlight oversharing online.

“There is too much data about people that people themselves don’t know is available,” the anonymous developer said. “Not only are people oversharing and putting out a lot of information about themselves, but companies are also not doing enough to let people know they’re doing it.”

But the argument that Swipebuster is made to highlight privacy breaches on Tinder’s part seems questionable when one looks at the website itself. Under a headline reading “Find out if they’re using Tinder for only $4.99”, the site says nothing about privacy or expectations thereof, instead offering only a walkthrough for users who want to pay for its services. An animated gif showing the process ends with an image of the supposed target superimposed with the word “Busted”.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/201...
Posted
AuthorJordan Brown

"An American family has claimed their son committed suicide because of a viral video taken of him in a school bathroom. According to ABC 10 News in San Diego Matthew's friends told his parents a classmate had peered over a bathroom stall and recorded Matthew while he was at school. The friends said the classmate posted the video, allegedly of Matthew masturbating, on social networking sites Snapchat and Vine."

More here

This morning I listened to the Dr Katherine Albrecht Show (see archive of 27 February 2014). Katherine was discussing the impact of video gaming on children. I watched this clip as a result of the program she aired.

Yesterday, Dr Albrecht appeared on George Noury's Coast to Coast program (see technology update here) and discussed the 'I want my iPad' phenomenon in toddlers. Here is another video she pointed to:

And another... She maintained that she would generally NOT wish for listeners to view these kinds of clips online but in this instance, it was the only way to raise awareness to an epidemic occurring in our society.

This phenomenon is a known phenomenon. See more. So what are we doing about it? Gathering the evidence and putting our kids online so that our Youtube hits increase ten-thousand fold?

I feel so sick in linking these videos of these kids up online in the uberveillance.com environment. But I am calling people out there to wake up to the what is occurring in most of our households. 

What is the answer? 

Better parenting?

Better friends and extended support groups?

Zero tolerance on screen time for toddlers?

Better education?

Schools saying 'no' to technology in the classroom?

Are we adding fuel to the fire?

 

What is blatantly obvious to me is that we need more research into SOLUTIONS. We can't have kids crying like this and profusely suffering anguish, and we cannot have parents surviving this kind of daily misery... and most of all we need to feedback these problems to developers... we cannot point the finger at Apple or Google alone... we need to point the finger at ourselves... society... yes 'we' perpetuate the problem. We can plead ignorance but we all know someone going through this- a child, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a friend or a neighbour... in fact, we might be even going through it ourselves!

 

Where have we gone wrong?

Beyond that obvious point?

Why are the parents of these poor children putting their kids up online for everyone to comment on? Are they deep down seeking help? Do they want their prayers answered? Do they want to make their kids well?

We cannot claim ALL of these children appearing in thousands of uploads (just search online) are due to autism or some other mental illness or developmental problems! And if we claim that, are computers somehow contributing to these developmental issues?

The other thing that becomes apparent to me is the use of the mobile phone video camera as a weapon. Have we become so heartless, that we begin now to film these traumatic events and post them online for others to comment on. You were right on the mark Dr Albrecht. This is evil. Instead of going over and gently comforting our kids to return to their senses, we take out the camera to record the reality-tv... and so our children are now a part of a global theatre!

In previous posts, I have discussed the importance of NOT capturing these moments so we can allow our children to grow and develop, and not be held accountable for things they did as children. MG Michael and I have discussed the limits of watching. With Christine Perakslis we have also written an extensive book chapter on veillance (in press)! 

Can you imagine being one of the kids in this video? How would that make you feel 5 years on, 10 years on, 20 years on, or when you first discovered it was online for all to see on Youtube? Would you be typecast for life?

 

Everyone, we have to wake up! I am not being alarmist... if your heart doesn't feel sad over these videos then I personally don't know what to say...

And then we are contemplating taking Glass into the classroom? Right-o! Don't you think these tantrums don't happen at school? Will our children become "objects" not just "subjects" in the classroom? Let us tread VERY carefully. We can't use our kids as experiments. We need to think ethics.

And it is not just children that react this way... no... no... adults too, have this reaction but just convey it in a different way. See my article on high-tech lust!

We need to take the negative social implications of computers more seriously. Yes, some guys out there claim that computers can help kids... all my fellow collaborators and I are claiming is that the opposite is also true. Let's not be so narrowsighted. This is our future we are talking about!

"Companies like Entertainment Arts, said Taneja, also try to capture behavioral data about players, such as monitoring player activities around virtual goods, social interactions, in-game branding or merchandising and other key elements. One goal, he said, is to look for a game player’s total behavioral identity - not the identities that players enter in avatars or other self-expressing user activities, but how they behave within the game, in general. The implications here are important. Capturing this kind of data may very well help video game companies respond to player preferences and actions in real-time. However, in an age where any less than evident digital monitoring can be seen as a step toward more comprehensive "uberveillance," this kind of data mining is almost always a sensitive topic. Here, Taneja presents some sensible objectives behind this kind of monitoring. In-game "snooping," he says, can be a driver of game player accommodation and choice. Of course, it also can be another manifestation of how intensive personal data collection spooks consumers, just as it does in the world of e-commerce or social media."

Read more

More here 

"When Melbourne schoolgirl Olympia Nelson made headlines earlier this year with her critique of explicit selfies, it was not the first time she had been at the centre of a media storm.
As Australian Story reveals, Olympia first found herself on national front pages in 2008 when she was 11.
At issue, was a picture taken by her internationally renowned photographer mother, Polixeni Papapetrou, and reproduced on the front cover of Art Monthly magazine."

MG Michael and I have long written about the links between the misuse of social media and youth suicide. We hope that increasingly academics take up the call for research into this very important domain. The digital era we live in has incredible benefits but we cannot ignore the downsides.

Courtesy: Queensland Police Service

Courtesy: Queensland Police Service

For example: M.G. Michael and Katina Michael. "The Fall-Out from Emerging Technologies: on Matters of Surveillance, Social Networks and Suicide" IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 30.3 (2011): 15-18. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/236  

MG has a professional counsellors qualification with a major in abuse and abuse counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors while I have spoken to enough high school counsellors and mothers to understand the silent epidemic that has and continues to impact our youth. Time and time again, I hear of the major problems surrounding the misuse of Facebook and other social media applications by 13+ years old (especially by young girls).

I know, I know... some of you out there think the police have the wrong strategy in building awareness, that schools go over the top with their policies of what their students can and cannot do online, but while the rhetoric surrounding "let kids explore and they will learn by trial and error" sounds great, some of them just won't make it...  

We aren't about to go back into an era of no social media, but what can we do as a society to make sure teenagers and children do not become just another "cost of doing business"... these are real lives we are talking about, not just some piece of hardware that is carrying a virus that you can throw away and replace with a brand new model... 

Read more 

Courtesy: CSIRO

Courtesy: CSIRO

Watch video here