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Manafort, Cohen, and Trump: The System Is Rotten - The Atlantic
What Trump has done, by consistently defending his criminal associates, and by attacking the prosecutions as politically motivated or corrupt, is make the implicit obvious: The little people go to prison, the big people do whatever they want. At least, most of the time. The surprise is not that Trump surrounded himself with advisers who committed crimes, or that Trump himself encouraged his advisers to flout the law. The surprise is the mere possibility that any of them will pay for it.
USA  politics  justice  ManafortPaul  CohenMichael  crime  corruption  fraud  wealth  power  TrumpDonald 
28 days ago by petej
How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump - MIT Technology Review
Rather, the problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts.
socialMedia  politics  activism  communication  ArabSpring  Egypt  TahrirSquare  Tunisia  Syria  Iran  Twitter  MubarakHosni  authoritarianism  power  control  ObamaBarack  targeting  technoUtopianism  bigData  misinformation  polarisation  NSA  security  Facebook  Google  monopolies  YouTube  recommendation  algorithms  attention  insults  TrumpDonald  USA  Russia  trolling  interference  corruption  accountability  filterBubble  surveillance  platforms  personalData  inequality  precarity  insecurity  dctagged  dc:creator=TufekciZeynep 
29 days ago by petej
getting real about Facebook – Snakes and Ladders
Facebook will not “change its mindset.” Ever.

Facebook’s “goal” is not “total connectedness,” it is the monopolization and monetization of your attention.

“Facebook will continue to bring thoughtless, banal harm to the world.” Period. There are no “human considerations,” nor will there ever be.

Billions of people will indeed “put up with that forever.”
Facebook  socialMedia  businessModels  regulation  power  monopolies  dctagged  dc:creator=JacobsAlan 
6 weeks ago by petej
Now is the Time for Worker Power in the Tech Industry | Novara Media
For many tech workers, the idea of joining a trade union seems ridiculous – unions are often thought of as a relic of an older time, irrelevant to the meritocracy that is the tech industry.
The class composition of the industry.

Why is this? If we take a structural approach to the tech industry, we see that the workforce is effectively bifurcated in such a way as to contain potential challenges from below. Those with high leverage over production – say, senior software engineers who know how the systems work – are paid exceedingly well, often partly in stock, and given lavish perks. This is especially true in Silicon Valley, where a frothy startup investment environment forces tech companies of all sizes to offer lavish benefits in order to compete for ‘talent’. Correspondingly, workers with the most leverage over production are convinced they are not actually workers, and that their interests align with their company instead of their class. This amounts to a strategic isolation of the few employees with the most power to disrupt production, who are then showered with material benefits to dissuade them from ever exercising that power.
technology  work  labour  employment  class  tradeUnions  activism  informationTechnology  SiliconValley  power 
10 weeks ago by petej
“This Is Serious”: Facebook Begins Its Downward Spiral | Vanity Fair
But one thing is certain. For years, Zuckerberg and Facebook have tromped through the technology landscape and demolished everything that stood in the way. This was done without any reprisal, without any consequence. In fact, each time the company destroyed a competitor, or found a way around traditional regulatory concerns, the valuation of Facebook would go up. But now, it seems that all of those actions are coming back to haunt the company, and social media as a whole. Facebook was always famous for the sign that hung in its offices, written in big red type on a white background, that said “Move Fast and Break Things.” And every time I think about the company, I realize it has done just that—to itself. But I think that Zuckerberg, and the people who work at Facebook, also realize that the things they have broken are things that are going to be very difficult to put back together.
Facebook  ZuckerbergMark  business  power  socialMedia  privacy  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  competition  ruthlessness 
january 2018 by petej
Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend - The New York Times
Growth becomes the overriding motivation — something treasured for its own sake, not for anything it brings to the world. Facebook and Google can point to a greater utility that comes from being the central repository of all people, all information, but such market dominance has obvious drawbacks, and not just the lack of competition. As we’ve seen, the extreme concentration of wealth and power is a threat to our democracy by making some people and companies unaccountable.

In addition to their power, tech companies have a tool that other powerful industries don’t: the generally benign feelings of the public. To oppose Silicon Valley can appear to be opposing progress, even if progress has been defined as online monopolies; propaganda that distorts elections; driverless cars and trucks that threaten to erase the jobs of millions of people; the Uberization of work life, where each of us must fend for ourselves in a pitiless market.

As is becoming obvious, these companies do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need greater regulation, even if it impedes the introduction of new services. If we can’t stop their proposals — if we can’t say that driverless cars may not be a worthy goal, to give just one example — then are we in control of our society? We need to break up these online monopolies because if a few people make the decisions about how we communicate, shop, learn the news, again, do we control our own society?
SiliconValley  Google  Facebook  personalData  monopolies  power  accountability  control  ethics  regulation 
october 2017 by petej
Facebook’s war on free will | Technology | The Guardian
The engineering mindset has little patience for the fetishisation of words and images, for the mystique of art, for moral complexity or emotional expression. It views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. That’s why Facebook has so few qualms about performing rampant experiments on its users. The whole effort is to make human beings predictable – to anticipate their behaviour, which makes them easier to manipulate. With this sort of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the contingency and mystery of human life, it’s easy to see how long-standing values begin to seem like an annoyance – why a concept such as privacy would carry so little weight in the engineer’s calculus, why the inefficiencies of publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptable.

Facebook would never put it this way, but algorithms are meant to erode free will, to relieve humans of the burden of choosing, to nudge them in the right direction. Algorithms fuel a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behaviour can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That’s always been a danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are the screws and rivets in the grand design.
Facebook  algorithms  artificialIntelligence  surveillance  control  nudge  ZuckerbergMark  hacking  openness  transparency  behaviour  identity  digitalIdentity  multiplicity  engineering  politics  USA  SiliconValley  manipulation  power  dctagged  dc:creator=FoerFranklin 
september 2017 by petej
Deadly Cityscapes of Inequality | Blog | The Sociological Review
All of these tragedies are symptomatic of a broader process of redistributing risk and vulnerability. Those who control wealth and power are becoming ever more adept at protecting themselves from the perils that the rest of us face. Living in gated communities with private security infrastructure, and enjoying forms of global mobility that allow them to escape from dangerous situations as need be, today’s off-shored elites are able to dodge many of the problems caused by climate change, political instability, and inadequate regulation.

The poor have long faced elevated risk of death at work and at home. But generations of activists struggling around housing, labour, and other issues won safety standards, inspection regimes, public health measures, and other ways to mitigate and reduce the threat of illness and premature mortality. Yet the trend in recent decades has been to roll back regulations and download risk back onto individuals, often relying on market mechanisms, producing historically and socially specific forms of precarity and disposability. When security is privatised and safety is increasingly monopolised by the powerful, the relatively powerless are the ones who suffer. Grenfell Tower, like other recent disasters, is a chilling illustration of how inequality kills.
GrenfellTower  fire  safety  infrastructure  inequality  poverty  class  race  NewOrleans  Katrina  Flint  Michigan  risk  wealth  power 
june 2017 by petej
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