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Social Media Tech

ORCAA, a logo to certify organic algorithms

Her latest project ORCAA, O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing, offers services to companies that promise to maintain a more honest algorithm that unlike Facebook, doesn't sacrifice private data to maximize revenue.

“The internet is a propaganda machine,” writes author Cathy O’Neil in her book Weapons of Math Destruction where she criticizes the algorithms which have come to disrupt society and politics.

Her latest project ORCAA, O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing, offers services to companies that promise to maintain a more honest algorithm that unlike Facebook, doesn’t sacrifice private data to maximize revenue.

“People don’t really check that things are working,” she tell Fast Company. “They don’t even know how to ask the question.”

For the logo, Cathy O’Neil requested the designer Katie Falkenberg make it look “fat and fierce.” I think they just about nailed it.

Right now, the seal is a simple ring design with ORCAA’s killer whale logo and text that reads, “Algorithm audited for accuracy, bias, and fairness,” with the date. Falkenberg hopes to one day update it so it gets timestamped from the date it’s uploaded to a company’s website. Because algorithms are constantly changing, Falkenberg wants the seal to let users know when an algorithm was last certified. O’Neil says algorithms should be regularly audited–perhaps once every two years or so, depending on the complexity of the code. Falkenberg also hopes to link the seal to O’Neil’s website so users can understand exactly what it means when they see it.

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Fast Food Sharing

Instagram Direct didn’t kill Snapchat. In fact, it solidified Snapchat as the preferred private sharing network for spontaneous sharing.

Instagram has established itself as a platform for an edited life. Sending a friend a bunch of quick, shitty pictures taints the main account. It also lingers.

The fundamental tenet of Snapchat is that your content disappears. It’s as simple as that. Snapchat’s business challenge is in developing ways to further innovate that private, ephemeral experience.

Instagram is for the curated life. Snapchat is for the imperfect life. It’s as simple as that.

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Facebook ‘dead and buried to teens’

In part of the study’s research with Italian Facebook users, 40% of users had never changed their privacy settings and 80% said they “were not concerned or did not care” if their personal data was available and accessed, either by an organisation or an individual.

Everything I post on Facebook is by default public, mainly because it’s the same content I share on Twitter. Given all the data Facebook has about me, I’ve still never deliberately clicked on one of its ads. No one is going to spend the time to manicure their profile settings when Facebook itself doesn’t know if it wants to be a public or private network.

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Many adults assume teens don’t care about privacy because they’re so willing to participate in social media. They want to be in public. But that doesn’t mean that they want to be public. There’s a big difference. Privacy isn’t about being isolated from others. It’s about having the capacity to control a social situation.

Why Do Kids Spend All Day on Social Media? Because They’re Not Allowed Out of the House | MIT  (via courtenaybird)

A la Snapchat, the growing propensity to share in private.

Kids want to control their content and dictate where it gets seen.

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Everyone leaves a trail online whether they actually provided or not. Hence the request for apps that sell privacy.
Everyone leaves a trail online whether they actually provided or not. Hence the request for apps that sell privacy.

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The recorded world: Every step you take

The combination of cameras everywhere—in bars, on streets, in offices, on people’s heads—with the algorithms run by social networks and other service providers that process stored and published images is a powerful and alarming one. We may not be far from a world in which your movements could be tracked all the time, where a stranger walking down the street can immediately identify exactly who you are.

Mobile computers are threatening the world we currently enjoy. You’ve already got 1984 in your pocket. Even the Walden pond is covered.