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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    50,000 Twitter users are protesting Alex Jones with a viral block list

    Twitter users are protesting Alex Jones with a viral block list

    More user-powered innovation on Twitter

    By Casey Newton@CaseyNewton Aug 16, 2018, 6:00am EDT

    Last week, we talked about why Facebook banned Alex Jones — and Twitter didn’t. Facebook saw that Jones, who had already violated any number of the platform’s rules, had no intention of reforming himself. Twitter said first that Jones had not broken any rules; and then — after a CNN’s Oliver Darcy showed the company a series of offending tweets — that he had, but not enough to get banned.

    Late on Tuesday, Twitter took another half-step toward banning Jones — suspending him for a week, after posted a video on Twitter in which he encouraged his followers to get their “battle rifles” in anticipation of all-out war with his enemies.


    In the mind of Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and CEO, this suspension represented an opportunity for Jones to reflect on his bad behavior. “I feel any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” Dorsey told NBC News’ Lester Holt, in one of two interviews he did on Wednesday.


    In the spirit of thinking about their actions and behaviors, Jones’ crew more or less immediately posted the battle-rifles video to the separate Infowars account. That earned the Infowars account a weeklong suspension of its own. Twitter being Twitter, the offending video remained viewable on Twitter-owned Periscope for nearly a day afterward. (Elsewhere in Twitter being Twitter, the Jones account continued to tweet for some time after his suspension, because it turns out that if you schedule tweets to post before you get suspended those tweets will continue to post just fine.)


    After introducing this round of half measures, Dorsey sat down with the Washington Post’s Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin to announce that he was “rethinking the core of how Twitter works.”

    “The most important thing that we can do is we look at the incentives that we’re building into our product,” Dorsey said. “Because they do express a point of view of what we want people to do — and I don’t think they are correct anymore.”


    A now common criticism of Twitter holds that the viral mechanics through which tweets spread encourage the polarization of the audience into warring tribes. (See this Ezra Klein piece from last week.) That’s one way to explain why malicious users like Jones are able to thrive on social networks: their bombastic speech attracts a wave of initial attention, and platform algorithms help them find a much larger audience than they ever would otherwise. It’s in this sense that “incentives built into the product,” as Dorsey calls them, bear reconsideration.


    Dorsey has more ideas. Labeling automated bots to distinguish them from accounts run by real people, for example. Or this one, cribbed from YouTube:


    One solution Twitter is exploring is to surround false tweets with factual context, Dorsey said. Earlier this week, a tweet from an account that parodied Peter Strzok, an FBI agent fired for his anti-Trump text messages, called the president a “madman” and has garnered more than 56,000 retweets. More context about a tweet, including “tweets that call it out as obviously fake,” could help people “make judgments for themselves,” Dorsey said.


    This is all fine, so far as it goes. Along with other tech leaders, Dorsey is expected to testify next month at a Senate hearing about information campaigns in politics. It makes sense that the CEO of Twitter would seek to convey a sense of urgency around solving the problems that have bedeviled the platform for many years now.


    And yet at the same time, Twitter has never lacked for ideas. Ask anyone who ever worked there: any feature suggestion you could offer had already been debated ad nauseam. The problem always came down to the details, to the implementation, to how you were going to ship the damned thing.


    That’s why I can view Dorsey’s vague promises on Wednesday only through the prism of the Alex Jones saga. Twitter was the very last of its peers to take any action against the Infowars host, and even when it did decide to punish him, it did so in the most lenient possible terms.


    It offered Jones a loophole that let him keep tweeting. It left the offending video up for many hours. And it promised Jones that he could return — and in just a week, too. Twitter knew it had to punish Jones for his behavior. The trouble, as always for this company, was in the details.


    But as the company dithers, its users are organizing. This week, Grab Your Wallet founder Shannon Coulter had a viral Twitter thread suggesting a concrete action Twitter users could take to protest Jones’ ongoing presence on the platform. Coulter organized a list containing the Twitter handles of the Fortune 500, then made them available as a collective block list.

    Protesters could install the block list with a couple of clicks, and once they have done so, any ads from those companies would not appear in their Twitter timelines.


    As of yesterday, more than 50,000 people had installed her tool. Users have previously gifted Twitter the hashtag, the @ mention, and the retweet; Coulter may have just given us the viral block list. And while Twitter talks endlessly about what it might do someday, a growing faction in its user base is taking action right now.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/16/1...hannon-coulter

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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