It's been a pretty grim week in the cinematic universe of social media and democracy, so let's end on a positive note … it starts with a somber note!
"The voting systems in the United States are so unfortunately piratable, even an 8-year-old boy could do it." So begins the look of Issie Lapowsky in a competition to be held next week at Def Con, the venerable piracy conference in Las Vegas. The competition in question is being organized by the Democratic National Committee, whom you may remember from the raids prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Here's Lapowsky on how it's going to work:
The contest will include children from 8 years to 16, who will be entrusted with penetrating replies from the websites that the secretaries of state throughout the country use to publish the results of the elections. They will compete for $ 2,500 in prizes, of which $ 500 will come from the DNC and will be awarded to the child who presents the best defensive strategy for the states throughout the country.
The surprising reason that Democrats have used children to hack them? "The state election sites are so deeply flawed," says Braun, "no adult hacker would be interested in deciphering them." & # 39; The hackers would laugh at the stage if we asked them to do this & # 39; "
Ha …………………………………….. ……………. ha?
In any case, this story is remarkable for at least three reasons: First, our focus, particularly here, on influence campaigns Ongoing social media can distract attention from ongoing attacks on our current electoral infrastructure.They are both worthy of your attention, even if you usually only get the first ones around here.
Two, the new security of Democrats come from the world of social networks Raffi Krikorian and Bob Lord worked on security issues on Twitter, between seasons at other major technology companies, before reaching the DNC.
Third, this story serves as a nice reminder that the solution to our broken reality crisis will need to involve ordinary people.Technology companies and national governments have an important role to play, but there is a lot of work for everyone.
Even those of 8 years.
Google fight to contain the employees' rebellion over the censorship of China Plans
Google employees are upset about the great (and secret) new advance towards China, Ryan Gallagher reports:
Company managers responded by quickly trying to close employee access to any document that contained information about China's censorship project. according to Google experts who witnessed the reaction.
"Everyone's access to the documents was disconnected, and it is being activated [on a] document by document," said one source. "There was total silence from the radio on the part of the leadership, which is causing a lot of people to feel upset and scared … Our internal site of memes and Google Plus are full of conversation and people are angry"
The amazing truth about how humans determine right and wrong
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub write about research that suggests that we derive our morality from the people around us, and what that means for the big social networks:  Raises especially the bets on how we organize ourselves in social networks. Sites like Facebook mix the ways in which we relate to each other. They replace our traditional social networks from person to person by artificial networks, based on algorithms, designed to maximize the amount of time we spend on the site.
That does not necessarily mean that they are worse for our collective capacity. determine morality But it definitely does not mean that they are better either. We are just beginning to understand the ways in which social networks can increase things like misinformation, polarization, filter bubbles and extremism. Could Facebook also interrupt the processes by which we determine the good of evil, which is, after all, often a social act? How would that change our morality? Our tolerance for violence? Or our probability of committing it?
These are the reasons why the US army tweets. UU They are so bad
Caroline Haskins explores the military guidelines for tweeting and considers her content too jovial given the circumstances:
"Balance" fun & # 39; con & # 39; medicine ", says the manual, in which case" medicine "refers to military promotional materials or breaking news, such as a successful military operation." It is important to post command messages and organizational information, but try to keep the site entertaining enough for people to follow. Do not be afraid to have fun posting interesting links or asking trivial questions. Try posting a photo of the day or asking a weekly question. "
Brief celebration Very brief meeting for shareholders
Congratulations to Snap's investors:
Snap held what could be the shortest annual shareholders' meeting for a US public company in the History, it's not that someone necessarily keeps records of that feat. "Snap's meeting lasted only two minutes and 46 seconds, an achievement that seems appropriate for a pioneering company in the disappearance of messages.
The creators of Patreon are fighting because payments are erroneously marked as fraud
Afraid of relying on Patreon's income, my colleague Megan Farokhmanesh reports.
Creators who logged in today discovered that some of their July payments have been affected due to what It seems to be a combination of banking problems and changes in the company's internal operations, although it is not clear why certain Patreon users (and not others) have been affected by this problem, many creators say they have not received any kind of support or response from the company despite contacting directly. And although it is typical that some payments are rejected, the scope of the current issue is worrisome for the members of the community.
What's 'Gang weed', the Joker Meme about society
Here's an explainer about Brian Feldman's idiots about gangs, and he rarely has a meme he needs an explainer more. Feldman describes it as "a parody of the harmed" players of stoner nihilist knights and people who see an ironic meme as a way to disguise their true feelings on the matter. "I barely understood any of that, but I really enjoyed the explainer."
The YouTube headquarters expansion plans show that Google sees a prosperous future for the video
YouTube has big plans for expansion in San Bruno:
] According to city administrators, YouTube is in favor of a proposal that would add 2.3 million square feet of office space and eventually bring more than 10,000 new jobs to the area.Not all of those jobs or space would belong to Google, but David Woltering, the director of community development for the city of San Bruno, said that "the vast majority would be YouTube."
Wax Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco Madame Tussauds is in the free self-help lobby
Business Insider discover a wax statue Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco
Facebook has started the internal testing of his dating application
After F8, some p Smart people I know I speculated that Facebook Dating would turn out to be vaporware. Maybe that's the way it is, but in the meantime you're testing internally.
Facebook launches Digital Literacy Library to help young people use the internet responsibly
My colleague Dami Lee points out that Facebook's new "Digital Literacy Library" does not contain information to detect misleading or misinformation on social networks.
Maisie Williams shows Daisie, an application for artistic collaboration
Arya made a social application.
The lasting trauma of the lies of Alex Jones
Megan Garber criticizes the current state of "information pollution":
The competing truths – "alternative facts" – are no longer the main threat to American culture; the lies in competition are Everything was possible and nothing was true : the conspiracies now smile and blush in the air, emitted from the giant chimneys at InfoWars and The Gateway Pundit and the White House itself. Hannah Arendt warned of the massive cynicism that can befall cultures when propaganda is allowed to proliferate among them; that cynicism is here, now. And it is accompanied by something equally destructive: a feeling of generalized despair. Americans live in a world of information pollution, and the subsequent tragedy of this new environmental reality is that no one has been able to discover a reliable method to clear the air.
And finally …
Swarms of Instagram installers force a Canadian sunflower farm to ban all visitors
Earlier this week, we ended up with @insta_repeat the account of Instagram that has instances where everyone takes the exact same photo. Now here is a story about what happens when everyone takes the same picture, which is that it ruins the Canadian sunflower farms:
As reports The Globe and Mail Bogle Seeds in Hamilton, Ontario had to close its fields to all visitors who follow a viral image that leads to a massive increase in the traffic of people taking photos of their sunflower fields. By the end of July, the farm was open to everyone, and the owners charged an entrance fee of $ 7.50 to people who wanted to visit the brightly colored flowers. At first, the crowds were manageable, but by July 28, everything had changed. After images of the farm turned viral, an estimated 7,000 cars lined the roads leading to the farm.
The next time someone criticizes you for taking pictures, tell them you're supporting local businesses. Keep a farm – take a selfie.
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