A talk show host on why rich republicans want us to hate the word “antifa” in witty video | Boing Boing:

While Republicans have turned “antifa” into a dirty word, with such success that most on the left won’t go near it, the San Francisco KGO commentator does the opposite, embracing it with gusto. He reminds us what fascists are (when the rich sector of a party “changes the law, making it impossible for you to vote”), then points to the poor sector of the same party: “Now these Republicans, I don’t know what the fuck they’re thinking.” This group, he explains, are bamboozled by the anti-anti-fascist movement of the right to their own demise.”

Facebook Rolls Out News Feed Change That Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data – The Markup:

The Markup has found evidence that Facebook is adding changes to its website code that foils automated data collection of news feed posts—a technique that groups like NYU’s Ad Observatory, The Markup, and other researchers and journalists use to audit what’s happening on the platform on a large scale.

The changes, which attach junk code to HTML features meant to improve accessibility for visually impaired users, also impact browser-based ad blocking services on the platform. The new code risks damaging the user experience for people who are visually impaired, a group that has struggled to use the platform in the past.

Facebook is the AOL of 2021 | ZDNet:

Then one day, someone smart built a new technology that didn’t require people to sign away their information. Now, people could meet anyone they wanted and talk about whatever they wanted, not just what Facebook or its competitors said was okay. People felt more relaxed, too, because even though there were ads, people could meet up in Cyberspace without every single action they took being used to fuel an advertising machine.

This thought terrifies Facebook, but they already have the backup plan where they’re the Cyberspace that noone can escape… Where they’re the app store, the advertising, the provider of everything… They’re building it through their Oculus Quest products and there’s really little on the horizon that is attempting to compete there… And the “platforms” that are closest to competing are Fortnite and Roblox, both horrendous in their own rights.

Online Trolls Also Jerks in Real Life: Aarhus University Study:

Instead, their data pointed to online interactions largely mirroring offline behavior, with people predisposed to aggressive, status-seeking behavior just as unpleasant in person as behind a veil of online anonymity, and choosing to be jerks as part of a deliberate strategy rather than as a consequence of the format involved.

A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps | Ars Technica:

I have tried nearly every stage of this, hoping to see Google bring back something like the “golden age” of federated, open-standards communication of it’s original Google Talk (RIP). I don’t think Google is capable of that thinking anymore, and it poisons every interaction I have with their products.

The Google Talk saga is a case in point. It feels like it’s for a company that doesn’t exist today. When Google Talk launched, there was an assumption that Google would dominate messaging, because back then, Google was seen as a disrupter and a company that put effort behind the new markets it entered. Today, no one assumes Google will be successful in a new market. And it’s because of what we outlined here, a list of so many low-effort projects.

Covid: Most popular Facebook link in US spread vaccine doubt – BBC News:

The paper alleged the report had not been shared because of fears that it would “look bad for the company”.
The most-viewed link was an article published by a mainstream US newspaper reporting that a doctor had died two weeks after getting a Covid-19 vaccine. The link attracted nearly 54 million views.

The first quarter report also revealed that the 19th most popular page on the platform belonged to the Epoch Times, which has been accused of spreading right-wing conspiracy theories.

Apex Legends lead designer fired over old racist and sexist comments | Rock Paper Shotgun:

I don’t have a ton of pity for people in this situation… We all knew this kind of commentary was toxic 14 years ago, 20 years ago, and far beyond that. The only difference is that people are actually being held accountable for some portion of it now.

I think the best answer, if you know you have social-media-skeletons like this, is to make your own mea culpa – Before someone else airs that laundry for you, expose them yourself with an explanation of how you have grown past them and apologize for you actions before someone else has to bring them into the light.

I am having the same issue with James Gunn right now with his return to the spotlight over Suicide Squad… because I don’t feel like he ever actually apologized for his own toxic social media past, only for it being discovered and possibly affecting the people he’s worked with.

Daring Fireball: Apple’s New ‘Child Safety’ Initiatives, and the Slippery Slope:

All of these features are fairly grouped together under a “child safety” umbrella, but I can’t help but wonder if it was a mistake to announce them together. Many people are clearly conflating them, including those reporting on the initiative for the news media. E.g. The Washington Post’s “never met an Apple story that couldn’t be painted in the worst possible light” Reed Albergotti’s report, the first three paragraphs of which are simply wrong1 and the headline for which is grossing misleading (“Apple Is Prying Into iPhones to Find Sexual Predators, but Privacy Activists Worry Governments Could Weaponize the Feature”).

Not surprisingly, this is the first really good, non-hyperbolic summary of everything Apple announced they’re doing on the topic.

  • On-device, in the Messages app, neural analysis of images for possible sensitive content sent or recieved… If the user is under 12, parents can opt-in to recieve a warning, over 12 the user can be notified but parents won’t be… And none of this is ever reported to any kind of authories, nor is any content sent to Apple or anyone else.
  • Likewise on-device updates to Siri and Search around sensitive content, with the same kind of parental opt-in notifications for under 12 users, or just the users otherwise, similar to above.

  • Most misunderstood… CSAM image fingerprint comparisons. Not sending images, not even scanning content of images, but creating a verifiable hash of images which can be compared with fingerprints in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) systems… And if enough of those match the MCMEC system triggering a human review of those fingerprints for confirmation, before finally potentially raising further alarms. These cryptographic hashes, depending on the algorythm, should be entirely unique to any given image and so should be worse than lottery odds of ever creating a single false positive that a photo in your library matches a sensitive image in the NCMEC database, much less enough to trigger further action.

These seem to be exteremely well thought out, best compromise answers to really difficult problems and by far the most pprivacy forward answers of anyone in the tech world so far.

I’m sure that’s a good look – “WhatsApp – The platform that’ll protect your kiddy porn”

Facebook’s WhatsApp Takes Aim At Apple Over Child Safety Software Plan:

Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging unit blasted Apple’s plan to monitor sexually exploitative images of children on iPhones as bad for privacy, opening a new front in the battle between two of the world’s biggest tech companies. From a report: “This approach introduces something very concerning into the world,” Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp, said Friday. “We will not adopt it at WhatsApp.” Apple a day earlier said it planned to release an update for U.S. users later this year designed to identify and report collections of sexually exploitative images of children, as part of a series of changes it is preparing for the iPhone to protect children from sexual predators.

WhatsApp’s position deepens the battle between Facebook and Apple about data. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has long bemoaned what he sees as too much power Apple has over the social-media giant’s business. Apple has made the protection of user information on the iPhones and some other devices a key part of its pitch to consumers and taken shots at Facebook for its data-collection practices. Tensions have intensified in recent months as Apple rolled out a new privacy feature for the iPhone that restricts Facebook’s ability to collect data. Mr. Zuckerberg said Apple was using its platform to interfere with how Facebook apps work. At the heart of the latest dispute is the question of whether tech companies can insert software that identifies inappropriate or illegal content without compromising privacy. Apple claims to have found a way to do this. WhatsApp, and Apple’s critics, liken this software to a surveillance system.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Boycotts Don’t Work, Do This Instead:

I disagree with the premise – Ask Papa Johns if a boycott can change company behavior… But the graphic does give good ideas on how to extend a boycott with wider behaviors… In particular, Atomic Mass (and by proxy Asmodee slash Fantasy Flight Games) mini games like Star Wars Legion or Marvel Crisis Protocol are really well worth the time.