Facebook removes protest events

From a news story published Sept. 11, 2017:

“Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the U.S., including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho, The Daily Beast has learned.

“A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the social-media giant ‘shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week.’ The company declined to elaborate, except to confirm that the events were promoted with paid ads. (This is the first time the social-media giant has publicly acknowledged the existence of such events.)”

This is closely related to our class topic about protest groups and hate groups organizing online and using social media to plan events and attract followers.

Now we see Facebook — possibly for the first time in this context — using its power to delete organizers’ materials.

Note also the use of Facebook ads to promote the protest events — those ads profit Facebook directly.

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Blog post 3: A Twitter experience

This assignment is very different from the others. You will need to start working on it as soon as you can!

You should start five days before you write the post, which is due Monday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m. You may start the required work before you read the articles. START with Step 1 below.

Read the two assigned articles for the week before you start writing your blog post. Each article is quite different from the other.

THERE ARE FIVE (5) STEPS TO FOLLOW.

All steps are required for this assignment. Do all five steps below. Step 5 tells you what to include in your post.

STEP 1: Create a new account at Twitter, or use one you already have. You MUST use your own Twitter account for this!

Read or scan the Terms of Service (feel free to comment on any parts that impress you favorably or unfavorably, but that’s NOT required).

STEP 2: IMPORTANT! Choose at least 10 NEW people to FOLLOW. Make sure each of them is tweeting regularly (check their timeline before you follow them!). These 10 new people must NOT be friends of yours. You can choose any type of person, but NOT people you know in real life. NOTE: Follow individual people, NOT BRANDS or COMPANIES. Continue reading

My Storify for my presentation (example)

As part of your topic presentation grade, you will create a Storify so that others in the class can easily access your resources. Here is mine:

https://storify.com/macloo/internet-and-democracy-2016

Pay close attention to two things:

  1. The value added by my carefully selected resources. It took many hours to find these. They were not the first thing in Google. For every resource included in my presentation, I probably read or viewed 10 others and rejected them.
  2. The outline format in my Storify. It’s not my whole presentation. It’s not my Powerpoint. But there is enough to jog your memory so that you can find a resource that you saw during my presentation. It includes my five points. THEY ARE NUMBERED. It’s designed to be useful. Your Storify should too.

To create your Storify easily, you should first watch this how-to video.

Blog post 2: Online activists and hate groups

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

Follow the instructions below. This week’s post is not the same as last week’s post.

After reading the two articles (and making notes, as always), you will think about these two questions: (1) What are the various goals for which activists, protest movements, and/or hate groups use online and/or social media? (2) How can other actors (such as governments, law enforcement, or the companies that control web tools and platforms) interfere with the online/mobile efforts of activists, protest movements, and/or hate groups? There are examples in the articles.

Content of the post: Using at least two specific points taken from the Youmans article and at least two specific points taken from the Holt article, discuss goals that an activist group or protest movement can possibly achieve by using online or social media, AND how each of those goals might be thwarted by outside forces.  Continue reading

Blog post 1: This is your assignment

Before you can begin writing your first blog post, you need to do two other things:

  1. Set up a new blog for this course. Read the instructions. There is a Friday deadline here.
  2. Read all of the assigned readings for the week. Two articles are assigned this week (Week 2). Find Week 2 on the Course Schedule, and you’ll see the names of the authors of the two articles there. Then go to the Ares Course Reserves and download the two PDF files. Read how to access the course readings.

Requirements (such as length) for all of your weekly blog posts are found in Required Work. Be sure to read the section under the heading “Weekly blog posts.”

Your deadline for publishing Blog post 1 is Monday, Aug. 28, at 9 a.m.

You must follow the instructions below, and then simply publish the post to your own WordPress.com blog. Continue reading

Week 1: Starting your blog – 2017

To complete the assignment that is due on Monday morning, Aug. 28, you will first need to set up a new blog at WordPress.com.

If you already have a blog, DO NOT use that one. You must set up a NEW blog to be used only for this course.

Follow this Quick Start Guide. Or, if you need more help, use the more detailed Get Started guide. Choose the FREE plan. No need to pay.

Make sure you WRITE and SAVE both your username and password for WordPress.com. If you forget your username, you will lose your blog.

NOTE: In Step 2, “Find a custom address,” go to the bottom and select “No thanks.” DO NOT PAY.

If you already have a WordPress.com site, simply log in at WordPress.com and create a new blog using the same account. Do that here.

Required work:

  1. After you have created your NEW blog, please write and publish a new post in it that briefly introduces you. What are you studying at UF, why are you taking this course, what’s your hometown, etc. Be sure to include your real first and last name so I can see who you are! The post can be quite short, e.g. 100 words.
  2. Please give the post an intelligent title.
  3. Check your blog site (blogname.wordpress.com) to make sure the new post is visible.
  4. After you complete steps 1–3, copy the complete URL of your blog from the Web browser address bar and paste it into a comment on THIS post (which you are reading right now).
  5. Add a photo of your face (large face) and your full name to your WordPress.com account. Do it here.

Complete this task list before midnight on Friday, Aug. 25, so that you have ample time to complete the OTHER work that is due on Monday at 9 a.m.

Note: Don’t worry if you do not see your comment appear below immediately after you post it. I have to approve it before it appears, which means I need to see a little notice that WordPress sends to my email. As I am not staring at my email every minute of the day, it might take some time before your comment appears here.

First week: How to access the course readings

I’m happy to announce that all the articles for this semester are available now in ARES Course Reserves (see link at right).

PLEASE NOTE that to get access to the articles, in most cases you MUST be logged into the UF VPN.

Find out HOW TO INSTALL THE UF VPN client. Or save time and simply download the UF VPN client installer. (The UF library has some additional information about the UF VPN.)

If you have any trouble with the VPN, contact the UF Computing Help Desk.

Most articles have a convenient link that says “View this item.” In most cases, this link will take you to a page that shows only the abstract for the article. On that same page, you can find a link to download the PDF of the complete article.

In all cases, you will have FREE access to the PDF file, or to a Web page containing the article. You do NOT need to pay for ANY articles (but you must be logged in with the VPN to get this free access).

Updates for fall 2017

The following pages have been updated for fall 2017:

The readings are 90 percent set. I might swap out one or two of the previous reading assignments and replace it, or them, with new readings. That will be decided before our first class meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 23. You can see last year’s readings. When the readings are all set, I’ll upload a new PDF.

Students will have an assignment due on Monday, Aug. 28, so it’s important to come to the first class and get the details.

Topics in this course:

  • Activism (especially online)
  • Algorithms in everyday life
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Democratic rights and freedoms
  • Foreign policy (public diplomacy)
  • Hackers/digital piracy
  • Mobile Internet
  • Privacy (Facebook, Google)
  • Remix/copyright (creative works)
  • Surveillance (by governments)
  • Twitter as a public forum / #blacklivesmatter
  • Viral media

More things about algorithms

Here’s the brand-new series of articles about algorithms, published by investigative powerhouse ProPublica (very relevant to this week’s topic!):

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-10-55-32-am

Here’s the Khan Academy course about algorithms (in class, I showed the first video from this course, which gives examples of various kinds of algorithms):

algorithms

Also shown: Google Trends and Explore Google Trends; and FAQs about trends on Twitter.

We mentioned “brute force” algorithms (e.g. for winning at checkers) vs. machine-learning algorithms, which were necessary for this amazing achievement: How the Computer Beat the Go Master (March 2016).

TED Talk by Wael Ghonim

This is the video I mentioned in class, in which Wael Ghonim discusses how the Internet must change to support social change in the world. Wael was mentioned in the Week 3 readings as the well-known creator of the Facebook page “We Are All Khaled Said,” which helped to unite Egyptians in a mass protest during the Arab Spring in 2011. Thanks to Osama for this link!

An added note: In an article I like very much, scholar Merlyna Lim expands on the “We Are All Khaled Said” example:

Previous movements in Egypt “had already created a basis for a mass political action. Indeed the story of Khaled Said can also be read as a culmination of the longstanding online campaign against torture waged on blogs such as Wael Abbas’s Egyptian Awareness, Nael Atef’s Torture in Egypt, and Bloggers Against Torture. However, the critical new important element introduced by the “We are all Khaled Said” movement was a strong symbolic representation, an iconic figure to fight against the authorities” (Lim, 2012, p. 241; boldface added).

Think carefully before you claim that one blog or one hashtag started a movement! There is often a long history of activism before the spark that lit the fire.