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  • Geebo 10:07 am on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Factmata, harassment, ,   

    Does craigslist’s founder really want to stop hate speech? 

    Does craigslist's founder really want to stop hate speech?

    (Disclaimer: This post will be discussing frank topics that may be disturbing to some readers)

    It was announced recently that a number of tech luminaries would be investing in a start-up called Factmata. Factmata’s purpose is to use artificial intelligence (A.I.) in order to “help social media companies, publishers and advertising networks weed out fake news, propaganda, clickbait, online bullying and hate speech.” Factmata’s founders were so confident in their product that they e-mailed billionaire investor Mark Cuban out of the blue and he liked it so much he was an initial investor in the start-up.

    One of the supposed tech heavyweights investing in the latest round of Factmata’s funding is craigslist founder Craig Newmark. We find this more than ironic as Newmark’s record on stopping hate speech and online harassment is laughable at best. If it’s hate speech you’re looking for, you can look no further than the rants & raves section from craigslist’s own beloved San Francisco Bay Area. On the off-chance that racist diatribe is flagged we’ve provided a screen shot below.

    Click to enlarge

    As far as online harassment goes, craigslist has long been wielded as a weapon by petty individuals looking to get revenge on unsuspecting victims including ads soliciting the rape of former romantic partners. Sadly, that’s not the only case of rape by proxy attempted on craigslist.

    That’s not even taking into account the number of child predators that roam throughout craigslist with ads so blatant you might wonder how they were allowed on craigslist to begin with. Here’s just a sample.

    Virgin? Would you like to lose it (M4W)” and “Hello HS and Virgin Girls.”

    “mothers who were looking for a guy to teach their daughter about the joys of sex.”

    “a little girl to play with for the night”

    Craigslist still relies on their so-called ‘community policing’ to flag such ads, but when your ads are being posted and read by sexual predators, then no one is going to flag any ad. This is the textbook definition of letting the inmates run the asylum. So you’ll have to excuse us if we’re just a little more than skeptical about Craig Newmark’s commitment to fighting hate speech and harassment.

    Factmata could in fact end up being a great tool to curb the rising tide of hate speech and online harassment, but when one of your major investors cares little about fighting those problems on his own website it severely hurts Factmata’s credibility.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on April 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: egg, harassment, Mastodon,   

    By dropping the egg, Twitter claims to combat harassment 

    By dropping the egg, Twitter claims to combat harassment

    Twitter recently announced that they were dropping the default egg avatar for new users, and replacing it with a generic silhouette. They say that the new avatar is a more pleasing aesthetic, but they also claim that it will curb harassment and bullying by trolls and anonymous users.

    In recent months, the Twitter egg has come to symbolize the hordes of anonymous users who sign up for multiple accounts used solely for the purpose of harassing others. One such infamous incident is when Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones was harassed by racist and misogynist Twitter users who were using scores of anonymous accounts with the egg avatar. To put it bluntly, if Twitter thinks that by changing the default avatar from one generic one to another is going to curb harassment, it’s obvious that they are greatly mistaken. The trolls and their ilk will continue to just use the default avatar whether it’s an egg or a shadow because they’ll put minimal effort into opening new accounts used only for harassment.

    Since Twitter has largely failed to do anything about its harassment problem a different social network has seen a spike in users, possibly due to their policies that distance themselves from Twitter in this aspect. Mastodon has implemented a policy that specifically bans those who espouse the views of Nazis. Since the open-source service is based in Germany, German law specifically bans Nazi iconography and Holocaust denial. Mastodon has also implemented other features that are designed to discourage harassment by offering better privacy controls among other options.

    Is Mastodon or any other Twitter clone on the precipice of taking over the social network market? Not really. However, if Twitter continues to descend into a quagmire of persecution without any intervention on Twitter’s behalf, then its userbase could splinter off into other avenues, leaving it a more recent equivalent of MySpace.

     
  • Geebo 10:58 am on February 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , harassment,   

    Craigslist founder spends half a million to combat harassment, just not at craigslist 

    Craigslist founder spends half a million to combat harassment, just not at craigslist

    Craigslist founder and namesake, Craig Newmark, has recently donated $500,000 of his own money in order to combat the “trolling, harassment and cyber-bullying” of users of a certain website. Of course that website is craigslist right? Um not exactly.

    Newmark recently spent the half million to fight the trolling on the oft-vandlaized Wikipedia.

    Wikimedia says the money will be used to launch a program to help editors “more quickly identify potentially harassing behavior.”

    While Wikipedia is a highly resourceful and valuable website, it can’t possibly contain the amount of trolling, harassment and cyber-bullying that craigslist does. In the past, ads on craigslist have been flagged and pulled because the business posting the ad said that they spoke Spanish. Go to any of the rants and raves sections and it won’t take you long to find some racist hate-filled diatribe. Convicted mass murderer Dylann Roof even placed a craigslist ad looking for a travel buddy that said “No Jews, queers, or (racial slurs)” prior to his killing spree. That’s not even counting the number of revenge or prank ads on craigslist that end up sending potentially dangerous people to the houses of unsuspecting victims.

    When you’re own home is in a state of extreme disrepair, you normally don’t spend money to help fix the nicer house down the street.

     
  • Geebo 11:01 am on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: harassment, pseudonym,   

    Using real names vs. pseudonyms online 

    Using real names vs. pseudonyms online

    During the early days of the internet it was almost universally recommended to use a screen name rather than your real name in order to protect your privacy. That practice was almost universally abandoned when service like Facebook came along. Not only did using your real name make in easier to find your friends but Facebook’s own policy has almost killed off the online pseudonym. While this practice is more convenient is it better?

    Facebook argues that when people use their real names online there is less chance of online harassment. One could argue that if you go to any comment section that uses Facebook comments, you’ll not only see online harassment but you’ll see people being harassed because they used real their name. Whether it’s sexist, ethnic or some other prejudice, some people will use just that information to not only harass someone but in some cases take their harassment into the real world. This isn’t even mention those who have been victims of domestic abuse who are trying to remain hidden from their attackers.

    Real names do not equal automatic respect and kindness online. As a matter of fact research shows that it’s just the opposite. Too many people are proud to be jerks online and have no fear of using their real names to belittle others.

     
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