Good Conversations Might Need Some Regulation

You’ve probably already seen this pop up in your filter bubble a couple weeks ago but I want to make sure it’s not forgotten. Facebook (and likely other platforms) are being manipulated by powerful interests to edit what can be said and shared on their sites. They are self-regulating to benefit themselves at the cost of our democracies. Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his comedy, has gotten serious about calling out Facebook and the “silicon six” on their complicity in spreading hate. It’s up to us to support him and do our best to fight back against these corporate interests putting profits before all else.

Zuckerberg tried to portray the issue as one involving “choices” around “free expression.” But freedom of speech is not freedom of reach. Facebook alone already counts about a third of the world’s population among its users. Social media platforms should not give bigots and pedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target victims.

Zuckerberg seemed to equate regulation of companies like his to the actions of “the most repressive societies.” This, from one of the six people who run the companies that decide what information so much of the world sees: Zuckerberg at Facebook; Sundar Pichai at Google; Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Brin’s ex-sister-in-law, Susan Wojcicki, at YouTube; and Jack Dorsey at Twitter. These super-rich “Silicon Six” care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. This is ideological imperialism — six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. Surely, instead of letting the Silicon Six decide the fate of the world order, our democratically elected representatives should have at least some say.

Read more.

Yellowknife Twitter Bot Spreads Global Warming Knowledge

Climate change is occurring at a faster pace with every passing year. The rate of change is hard for us to comprehend and think rationally about. An engineer with Ecology North in Yellowknife decided to help us all understand how quickly things are changing by making a twitter bot – @ykclimatewatch that compares temperatures of the past with those of today.

“The more you act on climate, the less likely you are going to be anxious about it,” said Gagnon.
His solution was to create bot that compares each day’s temperature to average temperatures in the community on that date, so people can see the trend for themselves.

Ecology North’s YK Climate Watch Twitter bot is still in its infancy. Its official tweets started in January.
The bot automatically calculates the mean, or average, temperature of the day between 1971 and 2000. It then compares the historical average — or the “climate normal” which is the three-decade averages — to the average temperature of the day on Environment Canada.

Read more.

Follow us on Twitter

After holding out for years Things Are Good is finally on Twitter. Now you can find out when new posts (and thus new good news) are published using your twitter feed.

Check out our profile and follow us on Twitter! We’re known as @YoGoodNews.

We’re so Web2.0 right now! Anybody else remember that?

Have a great weekend!

New Ways to Poll Public Opinion on Politicians

Traditional pollsters use the telephone to try to figure out what people’s opinion on politicians happens to be. I’ve asked around to see if anybody I know has been called by a pollster and the number is a giant zero. I attribute this to the fact that you can’t tele-market to cellphones in Canada (or some similarly good regulation), so essentially anybody who doesn’t have landline won’t be counted in the polls.

This means that polls are missing a large chunk of the population and are not truly representative of the true population. How many people under 30 have a landline? Now there are a few companies trying to make polling relevant again by using popular web services to augment their measurements.

Layton’s tweets reached 322,305 people last week, according to the firm’s data. Ignatieff’s tweets reached 270,218 people and Harper’s had an audience of 156,536.

At first glance, those numbers seem to be at odds with the fact Harper has tens of thousands more Twitter followers than either Ignatieff or Layton.

But, Navigator’s Will Stewart says this is likely because of differences in the parties’ social media strategies

Read the rest of the article.

Disclosure: someone from Klout forwarded this to me.

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