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showing only instapaper [see all]
The death of the newsfeed
"All social apps grow until you need a newsfeed
All newsfeeds grow until you need an algorithmic feed
All algorithmic feeds grow until you get fed up of not seeing stuff/seeing the wrong stuff & leave for new apps with less overload
All those new apps grow until..."
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"One basic problem here is that if the feed is focused on ‘what do I want to see?’, then it cannot be focused on ‘what do my friends want (or need) me to see?’ Sometimes this is the same thing - my friend and I both want me to see that they’re throwing a party tonight. But if every feed is a sample, then a user has no way to know who will see their post. Indeed, conceptually one might suggest that they have no way to know if *anyone* will see this post. Of course, Facebook’s engagement teams won’t let that happen - if I feel too much that I’m shouting into the wilderness I’ll leave (this is one of Twitter’s new user problems), and so I’ll be rationed out at least enough exposure to friends and engagement feedback to keep posting. Until you don’t. But if something was really important, why would you put it on Facebook?"
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"It’s useful here to compare the newsfeed challenge with the Google’s search results challenge. Google has to work out the best 10 results to show, using all sorts of judgements about what signals work best and what signals matter more, just as the newsfeed does - it can’t just show you the results by some objective measure like date or file size. It can offer complex controls and filters to fiddle with, but like Facebook it has to get things right without such controls because most people won’t ever touch them. And also like Facebook, of course, it has people trying to game the system. Unlike Facebook, though, Google has explicit intent - you told it what you wanted to see. And so if Google shows me exactly what I told it I wanted, it’s succeeded, even if I ‘shouldn’t’ have searched for that. Facebook has no such direct signal. There are things it ‘shouldn’t’ show me, even if my uncle did share them. But what are those things, and who should decide, and what does the weighting look like?"
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"The logic seems (or at any rate seemed) unavoidable. So, instead of a purely random sample, you get a sample based on what you might actually want to see.

Unavoidable as it seems, though, this approach has two problems. First, getting that sample ‘right’ is very hard, and beset by all sorts of conceptual challenges. But second, even if it’s a sucessful sample, it’s still a sample."
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"This is the logic that led Facebook inexorably to the ‘algorithmic feed’, which is really just tech jargon for saying that instead of this random (i.e. 'time-based') sample of what’s been posted, the platform tries to work out which people you would most like to see things from, and what kinds of things you would most like to see. It ought to be able to work out who your close friends are, and what kinds of things you normally click on, surely?"
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"This overload means it now makes little sense to ask for the ‘chronological feed’ back. If you have 1,500 or 3,000 items a day, then the chronological feed is actually just the items you can be bothered to scroll through before giving up, which can only be 10% or 20% of what’s actually there. This will be sorted by no logical order at all except whether your friends happened to post them within the last hour. It’s not so much chronological in any useful sense as a random sample, where the randomizer is simply whatever time you yourself happen to open the app. ’What did any of the 300 people that I friended in the last 5 years post between 16:32 and 17:03?’ Meanwhile, giving us detailed manual controls and filters makes little more sense - the entire history of the tech industry tells us that actual normal people would never use them, even if they worked. People don't file."
from instapaper
4 days ago
The death of the newsfeed
"Pushing a little further, it seems to me that Zuckerberg’s law, such as it is, is really an observation about the models for following people that social media platforms have evolved, in which sharing something onto your own feed is not the same as sending it to any particular person. You would not send 10 pictures of your child or dog to everyone in your address book very often, if ever, and most people (under 50) would not send every funny or enraging news article they see to everyone in their address book either, but the asymmetric feed makes posting at that kind of frequency normal instead of rude. Since you’re posting it to ‘your’ feed instead of sending it explicitly to someone, it’s OK to post lots and to post less important things. That, in turn, takes us to the tragedy of the commons - we’re ‘supposed’ to post stuff, but by posting stuff, we overload each other’s feeds. Facebook’s Growth team was too good at its job."
from instapaper
4 days ago
Congress Is Missing the Point on Facebook
"If politicians want to create rules, they should start by narrowly addressing the worst possible uses for our personal information — the ways it can be used to deny people job opportunities, limit access to health insurance, set interest rates on loans and decide who gets out of jail. Essentially any bureaucratic decision can now be made by algorithm, and those algorithms need interrogating way more than Zuckerberg does."
from instapaper
10 days ago
Productivity
"If you find yourself not liking what you’re doing for a long period of time, seriously consider a major job change. Short-term burnout happens, but if it isn’t resolved with some time off, maybe it’s time to do something you’re more interested in."
from instapaper
13 days ago
Productivity
"Picking the right thing to work on is the most important element of productivity and usually almost ignored."
from instapaper
13 days ago
Publishers Haven't Realized Just How Big a Deal GDPR is
"Let me just remind you of the basic principles of GDPR in a simplified way:

Everything must be consent based.
You can only collect what is adequate, necessary, and not excessive in relation to the specific service you offer.
People have the right to transparency.
People have the right to be forgotten.
IP addresses are also considered to be personal information."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"Privacy settings alone won’t address the problems that profiling poses. That is why regulating profiling, is perhaps one of the most pressing privacy issue of our time. Using advanced processing techniques, and increasingly also AI methods like machine learning, the scope of what can be predicted from what kinds of data is increasing."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"Social media data is not the only data that’s valuable for profiling. All sorts of data can be used to predict all sorts of intimate insights. Here are some examples: With a high level of precision, researchers were able to use knowledge of installed smartphone apps to figure out users’ personal information, including “religion, relationship status, spoken languages, countries of interest, and whether or not the user is a parent of small children” as well as gender. In a study that tracked the cell phone usage (bluetooth, call logs, and SMS) of 26 couples, researchers were able to predict the spending behavior of those couples. We’ve complied more examples here."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"Here’s a very simple example: in the U.K. Facebook allows advertisers to marked products to “Commuters”. There is no box on Facebook where people can declare themselves as “commuters” — this is clearly a category that is derived or inferred from data that Facebook automatically collects about people."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"Profiling practices and the predictive privacy harms they entail are widespread. When Facebook says that it targets people based on the information they share, this is only half the picture. Targeting is not just based the information that people share and that the company records about their behaviour — it is also based on the hidden patterns that these data reveal."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"There is no specific field on Facebook that prompts you to type your personality profile, or other psychometric data, yet Cambridge Analytica claims to have possessed such information on millions of people."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"In both hearings before the Senate, Zuckerberg only mentioned two kinds of data: the information that people decide to share on the platform, and the data that is automatically collected about people’s behaviour. But there’s a third kind of data: data that is derived, inferred, or predicted from the data that people share and that is recorded about their behaviour."
from instapaper
13 days ago
What Zuckerberg Forgot To Mention… Profiling – Privacy International – Medium
"Facebook likes to talk about privacy settings, and people’s control over the content they put on the platform. But Facebook doesn’t like to talk about how exactly this data can be used to profile and target people."
from instapaper
13 days ago
Tvingades bort från Mittmedia – nu går han sin egen väg igen
"– Kanske bromsas utvecklingstakten inom techsektorn, men folk måste ju få bestämma själva om de stöttar olika tekniktjänster med sina privata angelägenheter eller inte. Företagen får förbättra kundnyttan, transparensen och trovärdigheten för att hänga med."
from instapaper
14 days ago
Tvingades bort från Mittmedia – nu går han sin egen väg igen
"Bara i EU omsätter digital annonsering 400 miljarder kronor. Av det är omkring 70 procent datadrivet eller programmatiskt, påstår Thomas Peterssohn. Enligt branchorganisationen IAB riskerar hälften av det att försvinna i och med GDPR. Ett hårt men nödvändigt slag, menar han."
from instapaper
14 days ago
Tvingades bort från Mittmedia – nu går han sin egen väg igen
"– GDPR är i huvudsak bra. Den flyttar makten över människors data från en övermodig big-data-industri tillbaka till individerna. Det blir därmed svårare för företag att bedriva kommersiella verksamheter runt databehandling."
from instapaper
14 days ago
Tvingades bort från Mittmedia – nu går han sin egen väg igen
"Alla i annonsbranschen håller på med den här datainsamlingen – och det är de som kommer att påverkas som mest när man tillämpar den nya lagen i maj. För den kommer bland annat kräva att publicister och annonsörer ger privatpersoner chansen att samtycka till datainsamlingen. Du måste fråga om lov, men samtycket får inte vara inbakat i en lång användarbeskrivning. Det ska vara så tydligt att våra föräldrar som saknar datorvana ska kunna förstå vad som händer. Lika lätt som de samtycker ska de även kunna dra sig ur och kräva tillbaka all data. Du får dessutom inte heller samla på dig en massa data och använda den i andra sammanhang än de du uttryckt. Det vi försöker göra är att bygga en plattform som hanterar de här frågorna för inte minst många mindre annonsörer."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Once we know the forces that shape technology, we can start to drive change. If we know that the biggest cost for the tech giants is attracting and hiring programmers, we can encourage programmers to collectively advocate for ethical and social advances from their employers. If we know that the investors who power big companies respond to potential risks in the market, we can emphasize that their investment risk increases if they bet on companies that act in ways that are bad for society.

If we understand that most in tech mean well, but lack the historic or cultural context to ensure that their impact is as good as their intentions, we can ensure that they get the knowledge they need to prevent harm before it happens."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"The problem is far more serious when we consider regulators and elected officials, who often brag about their illiteracy about tech. Having political leaders who can’t even install an app on their smartphones makes it impossible to understand technology well enough to regulate it appropriately, or to assign legal accountability when tech‘s creators violate the law. Even as technology opens up new challenges for society, lawmakers lag tremendously behind the state of the art when creating appropriate laws."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Individuals: Companies like Apple and Amazon want you to pay them directly for their products, or for the products that others sell in their store. (Although Amazon’s Web Services exist to serve that Big Business market, above.) This is one of the most straightforward business models—you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an iPhone or a Kindle, or when you subscribe to Spotify, and because it doesn’t rely on advertising or cede purchasing control to your employer, companies with this model tend to be the ones where individual people have the most power."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Big Business: Some of the larger (generally more boring) tech companies like Microsoft and Oracle and Salesforce exist to get money from other big companies that need business software but will pay a premium if it’s easy to manage and easy to lock down the ways that employees use it. Very little of this technology is a delight to use, especially because the customers for it are obsessed with controlling and monitoring their workers, but these are some of the most profitable companies in tech."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Advertising: Google and Facebook make nearly all of their money from selling information about you to advertisers. Almost every product they create is designed to extract as much information from you as possible, so that it can be used to create a more detailed profile of your behaviors and preferences, and the search results and social feeds made by advertising companies are strongly incentivized to push you toward sites or apps that show you more ads from these platforms. It’s a business model built around surveillance, which is particularly striking since it’s the one that most consumer internet businesses rely upon."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Only about 15% of programmers work at startups, and in many big tech companies, most of the staff aren’t even programmers anyway. So the focus on defining tech by the habits or culture of programmers that work at big-name startups deeply distorts the way that tech is seen in society. Instead, we should consider that the majority of people who create technology work in organizations or institutions that we don’t think of as “tech” at all."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"But until the very recent backlash against some of the worst excesses of the tech world, there had been little progress in increasing the expectation of ethical education being incorporated into technical training."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"In mature disciplines like law or medicine, we often see centuries of learning incorporated into the professional curriculum, with explicit requirements for ethical education"
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"We can be thoughtfully skeptical and critical of modern tech products and companies without having to believe that most people who create tech are “bad”."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"At the same time, it’s important for those who make tech to understand that good intentions don’t absolve them from being responsible for the negative consequences of their work, no matter how well-intentioned."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"All of the changes in our lives that happen when we use new technologies do so according to the priorities and preferences of those who create those technologies."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Popular culture presents consumer technology as a never-ending upward progression that continuously makes things better for everybody. In reality, new tech products usually involve a set of tradeoffs where improvements in areas like usability or design come along with weaknesses in areas like privacy & security."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"In reality, technological advances are a lot like evolution in the biological world: there are all kinds of dead-ends or regressions or uneven tradeoffs along the way, even if we see broad progress over time."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Choices that software developers make about design, technical architecture or business model can have profound impacts on our privacy, security and even civil rights as users."
from instapaper
14 days ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
"Technology isn’t an industry, it’s a method of transforming the culture and economics of existing systems and institutions. That can be a little bit hard to understand if we only judge tech as a set of consumer products that we purchase. But tech goes a lot deeper than the phones in our hands, and we must understand some fundamental shifts in society if we’re going to make good decisions about the way tech companies shape our lives—and especially if we want to influence the people who actually make technology."
from instapaper
14 days ago
The GDPR and Facebook and Google, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Data Portability and Social Graphs
"The second one, though, is both the most powerful from a remediative point of view, but also the most problematic:

Secondly, all social networks should be required to enable social graph portability — the ability to export your lists of friends from one network to another. Again Instagram is the perfect example: the one-time photo-filtering app launched its network off the back of Twitter by enabling the wholesale import of your Twitter social graph. And, after it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has only accelerated its growth by continually importing your Facebook network. Today all social networks have long since made this impossible, making it that much more difficult for competitors to arise."
from instapaper
24 days ago
The GDPR and Facebook and Google, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Data Portability and Social Graphs
"The entire point of advertising networks is to, instead of using sites as a proxy for users, target users directly. Said ad networks, though, have no relationship with the users they are tracking, so how can they ask for permission? And are individual sites really going to want to bear the burden of asking for permission for these third party services? Keep in mind, “ad networks” is dramatically simplifying the web of ad-tech companies that go into service ads, all of which will now need explicit user permission.

Google and Facebook, meanwhile, will still have their core businesses — search ads and News Feed ads — which, quite obviously, run on their own sites and rely on data integral to those same sites; for logged-in users in particular it is likely that targeting data will only be subject to an opt-out provision, not opt-in (and in the case of Google, the most important piece of data — user intent — isn’t protected data at all)."
from instapaper
24 days ago
The GDPR and Facebook and Google, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Data Portability and Social Graphs
"DoubleClick and Facebook Audience Network are most at risk because using user data to target ads on 3rd-party websites is clearly not what users agree to when they sign up for Google or Facebook accounts, which means said permission has to be granted explicitly. Good luck with that!"
from instapaper
24 days ago
The GDPR and Facebook and Google, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Data Portability and Social Graphs
"There is lot of excitement about how this regulation will limit Google and Facebook in particular, by, for example, limiting the use of personal data and enforcing data portability (and not just a PDF of your data — services will be required to build API access for easy export).

The reality, though, is that given that Google and Facebook make most of their money on their own sites, they will be hurt far less than competitive ad networks that work across multiple sites; that means that even more digital advertising money — which will continue to grow, regardless of regulation — will flow to Google and Facebook. Similarly, given that the data portability provisions explicitly exclude your social network — exporting your friends requires explicit approval from your friends — it will be that much harder to bootstrap a competitor."
from instapaper
24 days ago
Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro
"Speaking as a designer and only about designers, I think this field needs to be licensed. I think it needs to be treated with the same sort of seriousness in which we treat the legal profession and the medical profession — professions that have a serious impact on people’s lives."
from instapaper
25 days ago
Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro
"We cannot expect tech to regulate itself, and we can’t expect designers to regulate themselves, because they just don’t do it. And it turns out when they don’t regulate themselves, they behave abysmally because their job is to turn a profit, and in the end they will do whatever it takes."
from instapaper
25 days ago
Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro
"I don’t care how big you’ve been able to grow. I don’t care about you, or your company, or your stakeholders. That can’t be our number one concern. Our number one concern needs to be society, the people in it, which, by the way, includes us."
from instapaper
25 days ago
Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro
"When you look at the sorts of things designers used to do, it was stuff like make a rock show poster, or a website for a movie, or a dust jacket for a book. Those things don’t kill people.

All of a sudden, we’re dealing with the user interface for driverless automobiles with absolutely zero training in that stuff. I could probably go out and get a job doing that, which should scare the hell out of anyone who finds that out because I have no training in it whatsoever."
from instapaper
25 days ago
Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro
"We know that design is powerful and it can herd people toward certain actions. So how do we encourage designers to make sure they’re wielding that power ethically and responsibly?

We shouldn’t have to. We as designers should see this as part of the job.

We encourage children to behave better. We shouldn’t have to encourage professionals to behave professionally.

How do you encourage a doctor to do their job right? That sounds weird, right?"
from instapaper
25 days ago
A few notes on daily blogging
"The idea started out from my anxiety about “stock and flow.” As Robin Sloan wrote seven years ago: flow is the feed (“It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist.”) and stock is the durable stuff (“It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”)"
from instapaper
27 days ago
What the F*** Was Facebook Thinking? – James Allworth – Medium
"For the longest period of time, Facebook was an advertising business that dreamed of being something else other than an advertising business. It wanted to be a platform."
from instapaper
27 days ago
What the F*** Was Facebook Thinking? – James Allworth – Medium
"Just as we worry about nukes going missing when states fail, how many of those companies or websites failed, and then sold or “lost” all that data that had been collected? (And that’s quite obviously putting aside the fact it’s a lot easier to replicate data than it is a nuclear warhead). This is not to accuse any of those companies named above of wrongdoing — I have no knowledge of what happened to the data when they shut dow."
from instapaper
27 days ago
What the F*** Was Facebook Thinking? – James Allworth – Medium
"There’s a very good reason that Facebook is the fastest growing advertising business in the world. It’s because it has the largest, most detailed and most granular user data on the planet. It’s also incredibly personal, and will reveal a lot about your life to anyone who has access to it. And yet all the way up until April 2015, Facebook was giving all that data away to its developers that were using the Graph API."
from instapaper
27 days ago
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