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Twitter’s Archive (by Adam Hodgkin) | Medium
I've been curious about the Library of Congress' Twitter archive for some time. This piece by Adam Hodgkin (following the Library's decision to limit its scope rather than collect all public posts indiscriminately) discusses a few points of ethical and academic interest.

One point that interests me is the matter of deleted and private tweets, the changing status of which is controlled by the user in the Twitter portal – but is, for now, immutable in the Library's archive before it has the resources to deal with the data. Hodgkin quotes from a white paper published by the Library:
Three priorities have guided the Library’s work to provide access to the Twitter collection: respect the intent of the producers of the content; honor donor (Twitter) access requirements; and manage taxpayer-provided resources wisely.

Hodgkin aptly points to an event occurring at the time he was writing, when Toby Young was deleting thousands of old tweets that were damaging his political career and reputation. (I've seen a number of these tweets as screenshots online; I think Young was attempting damage control when all hope for hiding this shameful corpus was already lost.) Whether or not one thinks throwaway comments he expressed informally (albeit publicly by a public figure) are relevant to his suitability for a political appointment, I think that we can consider these tweets within the bounds of public interest – yet more so are the tweets of Donald Trump, which Hodgkin notes are being archived by a programmer called Brendan Brown.

Hodgkin writes that "we should welcome the fact that a very substantial corpus of social media data has been preserved. Nothing comparable will emerge from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest." It might be said that lots of this information is the modern equivalent of personal letters and snapshots, which have always been the responsibility of individuals to keep or discard privately, but we have seen cases when this information was unexpectedly torn from our hands, such as when the 'new' MySpace emerged with the bulk of its old personal communication removed in 2013. On MySpace, I have found that most old photos were migrated, but videos and audio are no longer playable; archives of blogs can be requested in spreadsheet format, but most regrettably, all private messages have been deleted. (I remember saving a few messages many years ago, perhaps retained on an old disc or drive somewhere, but was certainly not comprehensive in doing so.) One article ( rather hyperbolically compared this to the destruction of Penn Station, but quite rightly criticised MySpace's irresponsibility in, without warning, destroying "critical records of events of a decade or so ago", information of future historical interest; the article's author, Ian Milligan, called for us all to "demand better stewardship of our collective works."

I'm making an effort to privately (and ethically) retain an archive of online materials that might be lost due to the changes or closures of portals, or the whims of their users. I do fear the loss of my own and others' digital works, however trivial – I'm even sad to have lost crappy juvenilia that only existed on now-corrupt discs. (I also lament forgetting the sources of interesting information, which is one reason for maintaining this Pinboard account, however sporadically.) For my creative works, I'm looking into durable long-term archival formats: MDISC DVDs and BDs seem to have potential.

Yet, whilst not overly concerned by my online privacy and security, I have been trying to be more careful about what information I share. This also concerns the accessibility of historical material: old blogs, forum and social media posts, even teenage personal websites. I've not got much to worry about – certainly nothing nearly so damaging that it would require the help of 'reputation manager'. I can delete some old accounts, posts and media, make my old Livejournal private, and exclude embarrassing pages from the WayBack Machine. Some things are probably buried forever in crawls and caches, potentially retrievable now or in the future. I sympathise with 'the right to be forgotten', concomitant with my belief in reform and forgiveness; a simple statement from a Time article ( resonated with me:
You were a different person when you joined Twitter. If you were below the age of 20, it’s possible that you said so many cruel, vapid and ignorant things that there is simply no salvaging your younger digital self. You can wipe this person from Twitter’s record with a few clicks.

This is tricky: the balance between the desires for transparency and accountability alongside privacy and freedom to reform. What does a person have a right to delete? What do other people (individuals with stakes in the data, as well as the public, and posterity) have a right to retain?

If the Library of Congress makes accessible tweets that are now private or have been deleted, even in a limited fashion for academics, it is not honouring the privacy policies that Twitter provide for users: that is, personal control of, and responsibility for, one's own public data. Sometimes the public interest might outweigh the gravity of this breach, but I think that many users (myself included) might, quite justifiably, feel that their ability to make reasoned choices based upon the information provided to them – their personal autonomy – has been violated.
twitter  privacy  media  preservation  data  freedom  myspace 
14 days ago by killjoy
Inside Facebook's Hellish Two Years—and Mark Zuckerberg's Struggle to Fix it All | WIRED
But according to a former Facebook executive in a position to know, the company believed that many of the Facebook accounts and the predatory behavior the letters referenced were fakes, traceable to News Corp lawyers or others working for Murdoch, who owned Facebook’s biggest competitor, MySpace. “We traced the creation of the Facebook accounts to IP addresses at the Apple store a block away from the MySpace offices in Santa Monica,”.... “We had to really flip him on that. We realized that if we didn’t, the company was going to start heading down this pariah path that Uber was on.”
myspace  media  facebook  moral-panic 
february 2018 by jomc
Myspace Security Flaw Let Anyone Take Over Any Account Just By Knowing Their Birthday | WIRED
How #MySpace #breach enabled easy account
takeovers (check your acct, change pw)
myspace  breach  Q3  2017  hack  security  social  network 
july 2017 by csrollyson
Why the Internet Didn’t Kill Zines - The New York Times
"As a lonely teenager growing up in Virginia, I fed off any pop culture that could show me different ways of being from what I saw on “The Cosby Show” reruns or read about in an Ann M. Martin book. This was the early 2000s, before social platforms had taken off: LiveJournal was still in its infancy; Tumblr had not yet been created. Friendster and Myspace, the most popular of the networks that did exist, were more about sharing perfectly angled photos than having conversations or bouncing ideas off someone. When, in college, a spirited English teaching assistant (who once canceled class for the week to attend a riot-grrrl punk reunion show in Washington) introduced me to zines and the early feminist publishing movement of the 1990s, I felt as if I had been given a lifeline to the outside world. Those self-published, unofficial magazines offered tangible glimpses of radical feminism, social-justice movements, queer history and subcultures that I always knew existed but had little access to. The world seemed to open up for me.

In theory, the maturation of the internet should have killed off the desire for zines entirely. The web is a Gutenberg press on steroids, predicated on free software platforms created by companies that invest considerable sums to lure people to their sites and make exactly the kind of content I craved growing up. Millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of posts are published to social-media sites each day. And yet somehow, it can feel impossible to engage with new ideas, even as our compulsive inability to stop scrolling exposes us to an unending stream of new content. Yes, you can catch tweetstorms on Twitter, watch someone’s life unfold on Instagram, do deep dives into hashtags on Tumblr or watch video diaries on YouTube that explore diverse perspectives, but the clutter of everything else happening at the same time online can make it difficult to really digest and absorb the perspective being offered.

Which might be part of the reason zines never disappeared — and are even available in abundance in 2017. A few months ago, I walked into a Laundromat in Brooklyn where a former cellphone kiosk had been transformed into a feminist queer shop called the Troll Hole. I was thrilled to find it stocked with the same kinds of small booklets I consumed in college, though much better designed and produced. They contained nonbinary coming-of-age stories, photo essays featuring gender nonconforming people of Latin-American descent, trans Muslim narratives, first-generation essays, fat-positive imagery. I scooped up as many as I could rationally read in one sitting.

Many of the offline zine projects I came across have some online presence, too. Sula Collective, for example, which describes itself as a journal by and for people of color, actually started out on the web as an art magazine for people growing up “in the suburbs and Deep South,” as one of its founders, Kassandra Piñero, put it to me. It was meant for anyone who “didn’t have access to galleries and events.” Piñero is 21, and the only world she has ever known is one that is also lived partly online. But she found that publishing on the internet often had the unintended and unconscious effect of causing her to cater to the aesthetics of those platforms. “The internet should be a place with no rules, and freedom, but it’s not,” Piñero said. “There is a certain pressure to conform to certain aesthetics.” It was something I had noticed myself. Each social-media platform tends to reward certain behaviors and styles of posting, all in the interest of building fans and followers who are invested in the performance of a persona (maybe even more so than the Geppetto-like person orchestrating it all). Instagram is a place for intimate-seeming photos, Twitter for clever quips and collaborative memes. Facebook demands an unmitigated rawness that can be terrifying at times. With all, the works are often made to fit the platform, not the other way around.

Producing zines can offer an unexpected respite from the scrutiny on the internet, which can be as oppressive as it is liberating. Shakar Mujukian, publisher of The Hye-Phen — a zine by and about queer and trans Armenians who, as he puts it, often “feel as ignored and invisible as their motherland” — told me via email that just because technology can fully replace something doesn’t mean it should. He described zines as the precursor to personal blogs, but personal blogs have been on the decline over the last decade. And zines can’t get replies or hateful remarks in a comments section. Publishing ideas outside the mainstream can make an author incredibly vulnerable; the web is polluted with a culture of toxicity that invites attacks. Zines, in Mujukian’s vision, “are essentially about reclamation. You get to make your own media and define your own narrative in the way you want to and can.”

Karen Gisonny is the periodicals librarian at the New York Public Library and specializes in alternative publications and zines. We’ve spoken over the years about alternative media and the role that it plays among the people who make it and consume it. She noted that zines allow for an “element of freedom that’s not beholden to anyone.” We think of the web as a place for freedom, but with zines, authors control every aspect, from the design to the distribution. When I visited her at the library, she showed me some of her newest acquisitions, which included the first issue of Dr. RAD’s Queer Health Show, a guide for self-exams and checkups for all gendered bodies, and Blue Collar Review, a journal of progressive working-class literature that is made in Virginia. She explained that zines could be seen as a historical record of the current moment. To their creators, zines can feel like necessary means of defiance, even resistance to cultural norms that rarely acknowledge them.

Devin N. Morris, who edits and publishes 3 Dot Zine, told me that he sees self-publishing as a political and radical act. He’s a young queer artist from Baltimore, and the zines he creates reflect that experience and create a historical narrative that otherwise would be ignored. For him, the act of creating a zine is more about defining his reality on his terms and legitimizing it than it is about the novelty of making indie media and distributing it. It was a sentiment I heard from almost every zine creator I spoke to. Morris, who recently hosted an indie-press fair at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, said that zines have a way of encouraging people to have “inspiring interactions in real life.” He described a hunger to physically interact beyond simple likes or direct messages. Social apps weren’t made to inspire that desire; they were created so that there would be no need.

And it perhaps reflects why zines can feel so much more intimate than a Facebook post. The deliberation and care that goes into making them is important. The internet is especially adept at compressing humanity and making it easy to forget there are people behind tweets, posts and memes."
jennawortham  zines  2017  publishing  internet  web  online  livejournal  tumblr  myspace  friendster  twitter  tweetstorms  youtube  attention  clutter  karengisonny  alternative  classideas  devinmorris  3dotzine  thehye-phen  shakarmujukian  kassandrapiñero  sulacollective  care  craft  deliberation  politics  radicalism  artapp 
march 2017 by robertogreco

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