company:instagram

  • Hunger Strike Gains Momentum in Azerbaijan – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/16/hunger-strike-gains-momentum-in-azerbaijan-political-prisoner-protest


    From left, Rafik Bakhishov, Zafar Ahmadov, and Tofig Yagublu take part in a hunger strike at the headquarters of the opposition party Musavat in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Jan. 15.
    (Khadija Ismayilova)

    Seeing Baku as a strategic partner, the United States and Europe overlook rights violations.

    More than a dozen political prisoners, activists, and members of the opposition in Azerbaijan have joined a solidarity hunger strike to call attention to the plight of the imprisoned anti-corruption blogger Mehman Huseynov, who has refused food for three weeks.

    Huseynov, 29, launched his own hunger strike on Dec. 26 after new charges were brought against him that could keep him detained for another seven years.

    His supporters include the prominent Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who announced on her Facebook page Monday that she would stop eating and called on the international community to intervene on Heseynov’s behalf. Ismayilova’s own imprisonment between 2015 and 2016 sparked an international outcry.

    “I can only sacrifice my time, health and stamina. Please, respond, world,” she wrote.

    Daniel Balson, the Europe and Central Asia advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, said the solidarity hunger strike was unprecedented in Azerbaijan.

    Corruption and human rights abuses are rife in the southern Caucasus country. President Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, has abolished term limits and appointed his wife as vice president, drawing accusations that he has effectively established a monarchy in Azerbaijan.

    It is estimated that there are currently more than 100 political prisoners in the country, according to Amnesty International USA, and the media is tightly controlled. Last year, the Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted in the capital of neighboring Georgia and brought to Azerbaijan, where he was sentenced to six years for smuggling and illegally crossing the border.

    “All well-known human rights defenders and journalists spend at least one or two years in prison,” said Huseynov’s brother, Emin Huseynov.

    He told Foreign Policy that while his brother began his hunger strike by refusing to eat or drink water, he has since begun to drink milk, enabling him to prolong his protest.

    Mehman Huseynov ran SANCAQ (“Pin” in Azerbaijani), a popular online magazine across Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. His video reports, which explored government corruption and social problems, frequently garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

    In January 2017, plainclothes police officers dragged Huseynov into a van, placed a hood over his head, and took him to a police station, where he was electrocuted and beaten. After he spoke out about the abuse, Huseynov was charged with slander and sentenced to two years in prison for defaming an entire police station.

    The blogger was due to be released in March, but new charges that were brought against him, which are widely thought to be politically motivated, could add years to his sentence.

    The European Parliament is set to debate a resolution on Thursday calling on Azerbaijan to release all political prisoners unconditionally and to respect the freedom of the press.

    The Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.


  • Major #facebook Updates You Need to Know
    https://hackernoon.com/major-facebook-updates-you-need-to-know-20730c658b16?source=rss----3a814

    Earlier this year, on May 1st and 2nd, Facebook organized the F8 developer conference in San Jose, California. During the conference, Mark Zuckerberg introduced several new features of the social platforms Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.The multiple updates are quite interesting considering what the company has gone through recently. Facebook has introduced some major updates like the first Facebook Analytics mobile app, omni-channel, and automated insights.If you still haven’t checked out the new updates, keep reading this post. I’ll talk about some of the major updates and takeaways from the F8 event.1. Automated InsightsThis is a tool which works in the backend and collects all of the important insights which you might need later. It can give you insights on things like the (...)

    #facebook-marketing #social-media-marketing #hacks #marketing


  • How We Lost the Battle for #instagram Engagement and Other Tales
    https://hackernoon.com/how-we-lost-the-battle-for-instagram-engagement-and-other-tales-c3079420

    Nintendo’s Super Mario makes a heroic jump for that IG coin.I write articles when I get really, really mad. And now, I’m once again seething with rage, sitting by my keyboard in my jammies and with a cup of coffee, so fasten your seat belts. For months now, I’ve been explaining to people why their Instagram engagement is dropping. Yesterday, I was trying to find some more info about this for my company’s investor pitch deck. Because, you know, there are things I can see happening across social media and then there are sources.Lo and behold… nothing. When you search for “Instagram engagement decline,” the front page of Google is filled with well-wishing bloggers giving each other inspirational style tips on how the new Instagram algorithm update favours meaningful interactions and how you have (...)

    #instagram-decline #engagement-instagram #social-media #facebook


  • Top tech blogs & podcasts to follow in 2019
    https://hackernoon.com/top-tech-blogs-podcasts-to-follow-in-2019-a78b77a84142?source=rss----3a8

    Curating a list of top blogs I read — because it’s a new year!Today we’re over-loaded with choice. Twitter posts, tech blogs, Medium posts, Instagram, Whatsapp status. It’s easy to spend your time across a lot of these mediums without learning anything substantial. Click, click & down the rabbit hole you go. Hence now more than ever it’s important to curate your #reading list.A lot of the blogs on this list reflect my active interests — consumer tech more specifically video, AR tech and finance. I’m also experimenting with using an RSS reader to read new posts regularly. Other than blogs I’m also adding podcasts a few podcasts. Please note the list isn’t ordered by my favorites though I’ve added a note for the best ones.Here are the top blogs I follow:Haresh Chawla (...)

    #silicon-valley #technology #venture-capital


  • #instagram Growth Hack : Repost Viral, Relatable Tweets
    https://hackernoon.com/instagram-growth-hack-repost-viral-relatable-tweets-49aaddbef1ac?source=

    For most Instagram accounts growth is good — more followers are better than fewer followers. More followers allow you to reach more people which helps you grow your brand, sell more products or achieve any other goal that is depended on reach. This is obvious. The less obvious part is how you go about growing.Do you use hashtags, do you only make posts within a very specific time window, do you try the latest trick you heard that will help you be in favor of the algorithm. What do you do?! While the strategies above and countless others may have merit, I am just going to walk you through one strategy that absolutely works. I’ll go over what it is, why it works, examples of it working and how to execute on the strategy.The growth hack is dead simple — it is to repost viral, relatable tweets (...)

    #twitter #growth-hacking #marketing #social-media


  • The Principles Behind How The #instagram Algorithm Works
    https://hackernoon.com/the-principles-behind-how-the-instagram-algorithm-works-bec902eca17e?sou

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering why no one is seeing your Instagram posts after the latest algorithm change.Fear not, the key to deciphering this algorithm change, and all future ones, lies in understanding the principles behind what the algorithm does, how it works, and how Instagram improves it.Stop looking for hacks to fool the algorithm. It’s not sustainable. Scrambling to adapt your content to the latest change in the algorithm is only a short-term band-aid. In the long run, this will distract you from making the necessary changes to your Instagram strategy to help you become algorithm-resistant, no matter how many times it changes in the future.So, what are the principles behind the Instagram algorithm?To understand the principles behind it, we first need to (...)

    #instagram-marketing #instagram-algorithm #social-media-marketing #influencer-marketing


  • Instagram : from Facebook’s ’best hope’ to Russian propaganda campaign tool
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/18/instagram-facebook-russian-propaganda-ira

    The app was ‘perhaps the most effective platform’ for the Russian online propaganda campaign by the Internet Research Agency This January, as Mark Zuckerberg was embarking on his quest to “fix” Facebook, one writer proposed a bold idea : make Facebook more like Instagram, “the Facebook-owned app that isn’t destabilizing society”. Instagram was no panacea, according to the New York Times tech columnist, but the downsides of the largely visual network – making “some of its users feel ugly and (...)

    #Facebook #algorithme #élections #manipulation


  • How Russia Hacked U.S. Politics With Instagram Marketing – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/17/how-russia-hacked-us-politics-with-instagram-marketing

    While the message itself was not aimed at swaying voters in any direction, researchers now believe it served another purpose for the Russian group: It boosted the reach of its account, likely won it new followers, and tried to establish the account’s bona fides as an authentic voice for the black community.

    That advertising pitch was revealed in a report released Monday by the Senate Intelligence Committee and produced by the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge. The report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the Kremlin’s attempt to boost Trump’s candidacy and offers a surprising insight regarding that campaign: Moscow’s operatives operated much like digital marketers, making use of Instagram to reach a huge audience.

    By blending marketing tactics with political messaging, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) established a formidable online presence in the run-up to the 2016 election (and later), generating 264 million total engagements—a measure of activity such as liking and sharing content—and building a media ecosystem across Facebook and Instagram.

    The authors of the report believe @blackstagram__ served as a vehicle for Kremlin propaganda targeting the American black community, skillfully adopting the language of Instagram, where viral marketing schemes exist side by side with artfully arranged photographs of toast.

    As Americans streamed to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016, @blackstagram__ offered its contribution to the Kremlin’s campaign to depress turnout, borrowing a line from a Michael Jackson song to tell African-Americans that their votes didn’t matter: “Think twice before you vote. All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us. #Blacktivist #hotnews.”

    While the effect of the IRA’s coordinated campaign to depress voter turnout is difficult to assess, the evidence of the group’s online influence is stark. Of its 133 Instagram accounts, 12 racked up more than 100,000 followers—the typical threshold for being considered an online “influencer” in the world of digital marketing. Around 50 amassed more than 10,000 followers, making them what marketers call “micro-influencers.”

    These accounts made savvy use of hashtags, built relationships with real people, promoted merchandise, and targeted niche communities. The IRA’s most popular Instagram accounts included pages devoted to veterans’ issues (@american.veterans), American Christianity (@army_of_jesus), and feminism (@feminism_tag).

    In a measure of the agency’s creativity, @army_of_jesus appears to have been launched in 2015 as a meme account featuring Kermit the Frog. It then switched subjects and began exclusively posting memes related to the television show The Simpsons. By January 2016, the account had amassed a significant following and reached its final iteration with a post making extensive use of religious hashtags: ““#freedom #love #god #bible #trust #blessed #grateful.” It later posted memes comparing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Satan.

    “The Internet Research Agency operated like a digital marketing agency: develop a brand (both visual and voice), build presences on all channels across the entire social ecosystem, and grow an audience with paid ads as well as partnerships, influencers, and link-sharing,” the New Knowledge report concludes. “Instagram was perhaps the most effective platform.”

    #Instagram #Politique #USA #Russie #Médias_sociaux


  • The Evolution of Mixed Reality Avatars
    https://hackernoon.com/the-evolution-of-mixed-reality-avatars-690247d9e7d0?source=rss----3a8144

    Our world will become filled with actors — virtual characters that know us better than we know ourselvesUpdate: MagicLeap announced a virtual character demo:https://medium.com/media/819ade5ff632ea0aac317ff24273ac1f/hrefExtended Reality will breath fresh air into the stale experience of using mobile apps. One of the most popular app genres — social apps — will be the first to be changed by this paradigm shift. We can see hints of the upcoming changes today. For instance Instagram already has virtual humans which attract over a million followers: Lil MequelaIn China there are online celebrities who make over $10,000,000 a year broadcasting their lives via handheld cameras to paying subscribers. These streams will soon be popping out of the tiny restrictions of the mobile screen and appearing as (...)

    #augmented-reality #mixed-reality-avatars #virtual-avatars #future #virtual-reality


  • We are all victims of #facebook manipulation
    https://hackernoon.com/we-are-all-victims-of-facebook-manipulation-925fe5d2f8f0?source=rss----3

    Facebook has taken a battering recently, and what many users have spotted is that there is a massive gap between how the company operates and the PR messages it sends to the world.Look at some of the messages that Mark Zuckerberg sent out in 2012, the year it acquired Instagram and brought Sheryl Sandberg to its boardroom table:“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”“I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.”“At Facebook we believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. It’s what brings us together. It’s what brings meaning to our lives.”It all sounds very warm and worthy. Yet there were other things (...)

    #facebook-motherboard #facebook-manipulation #facebook-android-update #internet



  • “The American Meme” Records the Angst of Social-Media Influencers | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-american-meme-a-new-netflix-documentary-records-the-angst-of-social-m

    The new Netflix documentary “The American Meme,” directed by Bert Marcus, offers a chilling glimpse into the lives of social-media influencers, tracking their paths to online celebrity, their attempts to keep it, and their fear of losing it. Early on in the film, the pillowy-lipped model Emily Ratajkowski (twenty million Instagram followers and counting), who first became a viral sensation when, in 2013, she appeared bare-breasted in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video, attempts to address a popular complaint raised against social-media celebrities. “There’s the attention argument,” she says, as images of her posing in lingerie and swimwear appear on the screen. “That we’re doing it just for attention . . . And I say, what’s wrong with attention?” “The American Meme” can be seen, at least partly, as a response to Ratajkowski’s question. It’s true that the model, with her superior bone structure, lush curves, and preternatural knack for packaging her God-given gifts into an enticingly consistent product, is presented to us in the limited capacity of a talking head, and so the illusion of a perfect influencer life—in which attention is easily attracted and never worried over—can be kept. (“Privacy is dead now,” Ratajkowski says, with the offhanded flippancy of someone who is only profiting from this new reality. “Get over it.”) But what is fascinating, and valuable, about “The American Meme” is its ability to reveal the desperation, loneliness, and sheer Sisyphean tedium of ceaselessly chasing what will most likely end up being an ever-diminishing share of the online-attention economy.

    Khaled, his neck weighted with ropes of gold and diamonds, is one of the lucky predators of the particular jungle we’re living in, but Bichutsky isn’t so sure whether he’s going to maintain his own alpha position. “I’m not going to last another year,” he moans, admitting that he’s been losing followers, and that “everyone gets old and ugly one day.” Even when you’re a success, like Khaled, the hustle is grindingly boring: most of it, in the end, consists of capturing Snaps of things like your tater-tot lunch as you shout, “We the best.” And, clearly, not everyone is as blessed as the social-media impresario. During one montage, viral figures like the “Damn, Daniel” boy, “Salt Bae,” and “Chewbacca Mask Lady” populate the screen, and Ratajkowski muses on these flash-in-the-pan meme sensations: “In three or four days, does anyone remember who that person is? I don’t know.”

    The idea of achieving some sort of longevity, or at least managing to cash in on one’s viral hit, is one that preoccupies the influencers featured in “The American Meme.” “I’m thirty; pray for me,” Furlan mutters, dryly, from her spot posing on her bare living-room floor. In that sense, Paris Hilton, an executive producer of the film and also one of its subjects, is the model everyone is looking to. Hilton has managed to continue playing the game by solidifying her brand—that of a ditsy, sexy, spoiled heiress. Rather than promoting others’ products, like most influencers, she has yoked her fame to merchandise of her own: a best-selling perfume line, pet products, clothes, a lucrative d.j. career, and on and on.

    #Influenceurs #Instagram #Culture_numérique


  • À #Montpellier ce matin, charge de CRS et gaz lacrymogène contre nos enfants :
    https://www.midilibre.fr/2018/12/06/lycees-bloques-au-lycee-georges-clemenceau-la-cdi-charge-les-eleves,500276

    Au lycée Clemenceau, la situation est très tendue. Policiers et motards bloquent l’avenue. La compagnie départementale d’intervention a chargé. Des gaz lacrymogènes ont été répandus.

    (Je dis « nos enfants » par généralité, mes enfants à moi ne sont pas encore lycéen·nes. Mais j’aimerais bien que, quand il·les le seront, il·les ne seront pas éborgné·es pour avoir participé à une manifestation.)

    • Alors que Macron « appelle à l’aide face au risque de violence » (titre de Une de L’Immonde sur le net), la mobilisation lycéenne a deux défauts, elle est une extension potententiellement incontrôlable de la #composition des luttes en cours et est en mesure de réduire drastiquement la xénophobie (latente ou explicite) d’une part de la dynamique en cours. Donc niet.

      Yvelines : 146 interpellations devant un lycée de Mantes-la-Jolie après des incidents (police) #AFP

      via @paris

      En frapper un pour en terroriser mille (et ses parents avec), telle est la politique du gouvernement avant ce samedi 8 décembre. Pas sûr que ça marche.
      #enfance #lycéens #police

    • Ce qui fait dire à @Mélusine sur l’oiseau bleu :

      Je comprends pas pourquoi les lycéens blessés ne sont pas un scandale national, pourquoi tout le monde ne fait pas sa une dessus et pourquoi ce n’est pas le sujet principal de conversation partout.

    • Le premier ministre a eu des mots ciselés au sujet de ce qu’ils attendaient de tous, en parlant à l’Assemblée : de ne pas en rajouter au risque d’être tenus comptables de ce qui arrive. En off, je pense que les menaces sont beaucoup plus franches et décomplexées. Il y a quelques articles sur la façon dont les médias traditionnels ne relaient que le strict minimum de ce qu’il se passe.
      https://www.arretsurimages.net/articles/a-la-tele-deux-regimes-pour-les-videos-de-violences

      Interviewé dans le cadre d’un sujet sur le maintien de l’ordre pour le 20H de France 2, ce mercredi 5 décembre, le journaliste David Dufresne a constaté que ses propos critiques ""sont passés à la trappe", « explique-t-il à ASI.  »""Pendant l’interview, j’ai expliqué que la tradition française du maintien de l’ordre, établie en gros après mai 68 et qui consiste à dissuader, à tenir à distance les manifestants, semblait avoir volé en éclats ces 15 derniers jours, avec les Gilets jaunes comme avec les lycéens. Il y a une militarisation de la pratique, qui débouche sur de graves blessures (voir ici ou ici). Mais ils n’ont gardé que mon propos sur les casseurs qui ne sont pas nécessairement des casseurs professionnels mais aussi des Gilets jaunes en colère. Et quand je leur ai demandé pourquoi ils ne passaient pas les vidéos de violences policières dans les JT, on m’a répondu par un silence poli ." Poli, et révélateur.

    • JM Blanquer, à tous les professeurs de collèges et lycées :

      Mesdames et messieurs les Professeurs,
      Notre pays est confronté à une situation exceptionnelle.
      Au cours des jours derniers et dans certains de nos territoires, des violences particulièrement intenses sont apparues dans des cortèges composés en partie de lycéens.
      Dans ce contexte, la protection des personnes et la sécurité des établissements doivent être notre première priorité.
      C’est pourquoi, au regard du degré de violence qui émaille certaines manifestations, il est indispensable d’appeler à la sérénité, au calme et au respect des personnes et des biens. C’est une exigence démocratique au cœur de notre école.
      Dans ces circonstances, j’en appelle à la responsabilité de chacun et à un discours de sérénité adressé aux élèves. Ce message a également vocation à être partagé avec les familles pour qu’elles soient pleinement conscientes des risques que courent leurs enfants en se joignant à des attroupements qui ne sont ni organisés ni encadrés. Appeler des élèves à se mêler aux désordres urbains revient à leur faire courir un danger grave.
      Pour faire face à cette situation, vous pouvez compter sur l’institution tout entière et en particulier sur les équipes de direction, qui sont à vos côtés pour protéger les élèves et l’ensemble des personnels.
      Nous avons confiance dans l’avenir de notre jeunesse. Je vous remercie donc de contribuer à l’apaisement dont nos lycéens ont besoin pour se construire et réussir.
      En transmettant connaissances et valeurs à tous les élèves, les professeurs sont au cœur de la République. Aussi, je tiens à vous assurer de mon profond soutien pour l’accomplissement de votre mission.
      Avec toute ma confiance,
      Jean-Michel BLANQUER

      J’espère qu’il a également envoyé un appel à la sérénité et au calme aux forces de l’ordre.

    • Violences sur lycéens : les tirs de flashball font de nombreux blessés - Rapports de Force
      https://rapportsdeforce.fr/classes-en-lutte/violences-sur-lyceens-les-tirs-de-flashball-font-de-nombreux-blesses

      https://rapportsdeforce.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/lycéens-manifs.jpg

      Sur les ondes de France-info, le ministre Jean-Michel Blanquer a évoqué ce matin un mouvement « d’une violence jamais vue », indiquant que quatre lycéens « se sont blessés assez grièvement », dédouanant ainsi l’action des forces de police. Depuis vendredi 30 novembre, plusieurs dizaines de milliers de jeunes descendent dans la rue contre la politique du gouvernement en matière d’éducation. Le nombre de jeunes blessés par des tirs de flashball est particulièrement élevé.

    • Blanquer s’appuie sur un fait réel pour servir son mensonge, il y a au moins un (ou une) lycéen(e) qui a été brulé par un retour de flamme (info vue je ne sais plus où), mais les blessés, mutilés dus à la police sont bien plus nombreux, mais les images de l’ arrestations de 147 lycéens à Mantes-la-Jolie, à genoux mains sur la tête montrent à l’envie, sans même aller chercher celles des très nombreux actes de répression violentes et ultra violentes des lycéens qui ont été diffusées hors des mass media que les policiers ont bien compris à quel point ce régime aux abois est prêt à aller, avec la menace d’interventions de blindés de la gendarmerie à Paris ce samedi, qui fait suite à la présence de snipper(s ?) samedi dernier dans un dispositif ou même la « prestigieuse » BRI était mobilisée :
      https://twitter.com/Obs_Violences/status/1070768467907919872

    • Warning signs...

      Une chose est sûre, l’« acte IV » du mouvement des « gilets jaunes » peut être un tournant si Paris s’embrase à nouveau. « S’il y a dix morts ce week-end, il n’est pas sûr qu’on puisse garder le ministre de l’Intérieur » , glisse un proche du chef de l’État. La perspective d’un remaniement nettement plus large commence à circuler de façon insistante. Au point de changer de premier ministre ? « Dans le meilleur des cas, il faudra un nouveau gouvernement avant les élections européennes. Dans le pire, avant Noël », lâche un macroniste du premier cercle.

      http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/2018/12/05/01002-20181205ARTFIG00383-gilets-jaunes-macron-annule-la-hausse-des-taxes-e

      La #menace a pris corps contre les lycéens, mutilables à merci, et la voilà plus explicite encore au détour d’un bla bla politique...

    • Ce matin, j’ai été insulté, poussé, frappé, gazé. J’ai dû, avec mes collègues, former une chaîne humaine pour protéger les #élèves de mon #lycée, en panique et complètement déboussolés. Contre qui ?
      La Police Nationale.

      Qui provoquait les étudiants en passant, fenêtre ouverte : « Retourne chez toi ». « Nique ta mère », « T’es le prochain » en imitant une mitraillette.
      Qui frappaient sur leurs boucliers, comme s’ils étaient les spartiates des temps modernes.

      Qui ont percuté avec leur véhicule un élève et notre proviseur-adjointe.
      Qui ont embarqué trois élèves « #pour_l'exemple ».
      Qui ont tiré au #flashball/lacrymo sans aucune sommation ni raison, et qui ont blessé un jeune au bras.

      Ce soir, je découvre les images des autres bahuts en France.
      La même chose. Partout.

      Je suis fatigué et écœuré.
      #StopViolences appellent les députés de la majorité ? Mais reprenez le contrôle de vos forces de l’ordre, qu’elles arrêtent leur violence !

      On commémore aujourd’hui les 32 ans de la mort de #MalikOussekine : n’avons-nous donc rien appris de ces tristes évènements ?

      https://twitter.com/YohOmbriel/status/1070772788640796672

    • C’est #apocalyptique, au sens premier de dévoilement, révélation.

      Révélation, au premier rang, de la #médiocrité du chef de bande ayant perdu les pédales – même les quelques macroniens qui restent encore en ont bien pris conscience – absolument pas à la hauteur de l’événement. Médiocrité des sbires, à la recherche de victimes expiatoires, prêts à tout pour ne pas être dans la fournée des sacrifiés.

      Remake néo-libéral de La Chute ?

      Le roi est nu.

      Les commanditaires s’aperçoivent que la brillante cavale sur laquelle ils ont misé n’est qu’un tocard. Faudra-t-il aussi sacrifier la marionnette pour essayer de sauver ce qui peut encore l’être ? L’absence de rechange ne laisse plus beaucoup d’autre sortie envisageable que la fuite en avant dans un renforcement de l’autoritarisme, un durcissement de la répression et la mobilisation de tout l’arsenal mis en place pour « lutter contre le terrorisme ». Mais QUI pour mener tout ça ?

    • Cette image, et les 700 gardes à vues de lycéens, c’est un cocktail molotov balancé au milieu d’une situation sociale qui est déjà un baril d’essence à très haut indice d’octane. Dans moins de 3 jours le gouvernement va se retrouver non plus avec 200 mais avec 2000 lycées bloqués


      https://twitter.com/GaspardGlanz/status/1070813554184470528

      La #vidéo ici (entre autres) :
      https://twitter.com/T_Bouhafs/status/1070775086137966592

      Un tweet de l’AFP (compte AFP factuel) qui confirme la véracité des images :

      Vous êtes nombreux à nous interroger sur la véracité de ses images. Elles ont bien été tournées aujourd’hui après des incidents près du #lycée #Saint-Exupéry à #Mantes-la-Jolie, en région parisienne

      https://twitter.com/AfpFactuel/status/1070781218734661632

      #violences_policières

    • Les images des gamins à genoux, il semble assez clair que c’est filmé par un CRS, ou au moins que les CRS ne sont absolument pas gênés d’être filmés à ce moment. L’aspect « démonstration de force » est donc évident et totalement assumé.

    • Ma fille est en seconde dans un lycée à Toulouse, où la situation s’est tendue brutalement mardi. En cause : la réaction des flics aux petits blocages du lundi.

      En gros, ce qui était prévu, c’est manif et blocage des lycées lundi puis retour à la normale : il y a beaucoup d’évaluations et d’examens en ce moment, les gamins sont quand même un peu investis dans leurs études → d’ailleurs, s’ils ne l’étaient pas, la vétusté du lycée (pas franchement rénové depuis sa construction en 1963), les classes de 35, Parcoursup et les frais d’inscription multipliés par 10 ou 15, ils s’en battraient les steaks.

      Bref, les lundi, une partie des élèves du lycée décident de bloquer l’entrée et direct, ils sont font gazés par les CRS. Il y en avait tellement que ça a envahi toute la cité scolaire (2000 élèves, quand même), incommodant tous ceux qui avaient choisi de suivre les cours qui continuaient à l’intérieur.

      C’est à cause de cela que la mouvement a été reconduit le lendemain, avec décision de durcir le blocus. Le lycée de ma fille est celui des quartiers. Le lundi, celui qui a craqué et mis la zone, c’est le lycée à côté, du bon côté de la rocade, plutôt neuf et très bien équipé où vont les gosses des classes moyennes. Les gamins ont envahis les rues autour et du coup, le préfet a demandé à la compagnie de transport de la ville de tout arrêter, partout. Le prétexte était la sécurité, mais j’ai bien vu sur les réseaux que ça a surtout servi à énerver la population contre ses propres gamins.

    • @monolecte Oui, je me dis ça aussi : à nouveau le choix du début de la chronologie est très marquant. Médiatiquement, les images de répression contre les jeunes semblent débuter avec les « débordements » et les voitures brûlées (ce qui, de fait, justifierait qu’on éborgne et qu’on gaze des enfants). Alors que pour les jeunes, il est assez évident que ça démarre au moins une ou deux journées plus tôt avec les gardes à vue scandaleuses de plus de 24 heures (j’ai vu mentionné 36 heures) de lycéens au motif qu’ils avaient graffé « Macron démission » sur le panneau d’affichage du lycée.

    • Un jour de plus dans la révolution citoyenne | Jean-Luc Mélenchon
      https://melenchon.fr/2018/12/07/un-jour-de-plus-dans-la-revolution-citoyenne

      À l’image des gilets jaunes, elle est fondamentalement populaire. Les lycées professionnels et les établissements des régions urbaines isolées sont en première ligne. Est-ce pour cela que la répression est si violente ? la caste des donneurs d’ordres n’a pas ses gosses dans ces établissements.

    • @biggrizzly Oui, c’est assez frappant, cette omniprésence des arguments à la Pandraud (« si les jeunes faisaient pas les cons, les flics ne seraient pas obligés de leur dessouder la gueule à grands coups matraques »).

      Ou : les fachos comme dernier rempart de la Macronie… :-))

    • @arno j’arrête pas de poster mes commentaires avant de les avoir rédigé en entier → pour revenir à la ligne sur FB, il faut faire maj+retour, alors qu’ici, ça poste !

      Bref, tout le monde a pu voir Toulouse qui brûle le mardi alors que personne n’a trop rapporté le crime originel qui a été la répression systématique des lycéens dès le départ, alors qu’il ne se passait rien. Autrement dit : on aurait voulu chauffer les esprits qu’on ne se s’y serait pas pris autrement !.

      Le mardi, l’ambiance était haineuse sur Toulouse. J’ai remarqué aussi que les gens de droite et/ou fachos étaient très présents sur les fils infos. Beaucoup proposaient de faire mal aux gosses, voire de les jeter dans la Garonne… vous voyez l’ambiance.
      Ma fille a eu le temps d’arriver à la Cité de l’espace où elle avait sortie pédagogique toute la journée, mais en fait personne n’en a profité, partout, tout le monde était collé sur les portables à se demander comment ça allait finir.

      Ce qui est remarquable, c’est que ce sont les lycées plutôt nantis qui sont partis violemment. Le plus remarquable étant celui de Blagnac, bien sûr, où rien ne s’était passé la veille.

      Les médias ont une sorte de syndrome de Néron : les images ont rapidement fait le tour du monde. Du coup, les gamins qui ont créé des groupes d’organisation du bordel sur Snapchat et Instagram s’énervaient partout.

      Sur les réseaux, l’incident de Blagnac a suscité les envolés de ceux qui souhaiteraient coller le problème sur les jeunes basanés de banlieue… du genre : « un lycée de banlieue brûle à Toulouse, suivez mon regard… ».

      Comme les agences de presse du monde entier venaient faire leurs courses sur les réseaux, j’ai passé pas mal de temps à répondre à ce genre d’insinuations en rappelant que ce lycée est dans le fief d’Airbus, qu’il est plutôt récent et très très bien doté, qu’il accueille les gosses des ingénieurs et autres classes moyennes sup de la région, voire même de l’étranger tant il est bien classé. C’est limite une vitrine.

      Bref, ça a été le bordel, mais en grande part parce que la préfecture voulait la fermeture totale du réseau, paralysant la ville, même pour les lignes qui n’étaient sur aucun point chaud.

      Le mardi soir, il y a eu le discours tout pourri du ministre (à la limite, s’il avait dit : « allez vous faire foutre ! », ça serait pieux passé), et sur les réseaux, les gosses, là, voulaient clairement en découdre. On a profité de l’accalmie du mercredi pour rapatrier la gosse (à sa demande). Faut savoir que depuis lundi matin, nous subissons aussi une grève SNCF qui fait qu’au lieu d’être à 3 heures de transports, notre fille est plutôt à 5. Elle savait ce qui était prévu pour son lycée le jeudi et on en a déduit qu’il allait fermer dans la journée… ce qui a été le cas. Le retour de flammes, il semble que c’était là.

      Sinon, hier, il y a eu une très belle convergence des lycéens et des étudiants à la fac du Mirail (Jean-Jaurès) : 3000 participants à l’AG, qui a été dissoute avant le vote. En effet, un groupe de lycéens qui souhaitaient quitter le quartier Saint-Cyprien où les manifs sont traditionnellement contenues, se faisait méchamment repousser au niveau du Pont neuf, c’est à dire à l’endroit qui marque l’entrée dans la ville bourgeoise et les centres du pouvoir réel de Toulouse. Là aussi, la cartographie serait très éclairante. Ils sont partis 3000, ils sont arrivés 1500 en renfort sur la zone d’affrontement.

      Là, j’ai moins d’infos, mais à priori, les CRS ont utilisé la méthode normale pour renvoyer les manifestants vers la périphérie : envoi de lacrymos, recul des manifestants, avancée des murs de boucliers sur le boulevard et les rues adjacente, visualisation, re lacrymos. Pas top, mais évite le contact, au moins.

      L’autre truc remarquable, c’est que les quartiers ne bougent pas.
      Voilà.

    • Le moment de vérité est double :
      • les macroniens sont-ils bien les héritiers des versaillais ?
      • les méthodes de maintien de l’ordre et de communication « à l’israélienne » vont-elles être appliquées par nos médias et nos forces de l’ordre, sans sourciller ?

      J’entends :
      • Vont-ils assumer les morts et les blessés, au nom de l’application à tout prix de leur programme politique minoritaire ?
      • Vont-ils assumer d’appliquer une répression et une communication « à la façon » dont les manifestations récentes à Gaza ont été réprimées et relatées ?

    • Ça marche vachement bien leur truc. Mardi ils évacuent le seul point de fixation de Montpellier (le rond-point des Prés d’Arènes), où régnait une ambiance bonne enfant, à l’écart du centre-ville ; ensuite les gaz lacrymogènes contre les lycéens qui avaient brûlé des poubelles (ouh là là…). Hier, interpellation d’une dizaine de 13-17 ans, toujours en garde à vue apparemment aujourd’hui.

      Gros succès de la répression : aujourd’hui un lycée de plus en grève. À l’instant, fermeture du Polygone (le grand centre commercial du centre-ville) par crainte de « remontées » des lycéens, et les gros bistrots de la Comédie en train de ranger leurs terrasses. La course à pied dans le centre de demain matin annulée.

      Tout ça dans une ville où, grosso modo, il n’y a pas eu aucun débordement (en dehors de quelques poubelles martyrisées).

      Grosse ambiance festive, dites-donc.

    • À Montreuil, ma cousine vient de se faire incendier sa voiture par les lycéens voisins. (ping @philippe_de_jonckheere …)

      Près de chez moi, XIVè près de Denfert-Rochereau, on se prépare à l’état de siège : la bibliothèque vient d’annoncer une fermeture exceptionnelle (ainsi que 16 autres bibliothèques municipales), les commerçants voient comment sécuriser leurs vitrines (je ne suis pas dans un des grands axes) le plus simple étant de rester fermés.

    • On m’indique qu’à Nantes, toutes les poubelles à proximité d’un lycée ont été prises pour faire un feu...
      Les bourgeois prennent la version des autorités à la lettre : il y a des casseurs, et les casseurs dilapident nos impôts, et la Police nous défend. Et ceux qui se font défigurer l’ont mérité, la preuve y-a nos poubelles qui sont volées.


  • Interview With A 13-Year Old Developer #entrepreneur
    https://hackernoon.com/interview-with-a-13-year-old-developer-entrepreneur-82c1372879d?source=r

    When we hear of stories about young entrepreneurs, it is probably common to think of young people around 25 to 30 years old. After all, the founders of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, among many other organizations, were all in their 20s when they founded their organizations. With the human connection to technology and the mind being exposed early, the platforms to which we become accustomed as part of our daily lives cannot quite be re-created, but young minds can advance past what they are given to create their own world.These young minds are thinking beyond to a world for themselves, not dwelling on the world that we are leaving for them. The older generations never once thought about the consequences and impact of producing nearly 300 (...)

    #entrepreneurship #web-development #programming #teenagers


  • How to Develop a Location-based #application Using React Native
    https://hackernoon.com/how-to-develop-a-location-based-application-using-react-native-ce8198149

    What good can happen when we tap Allow on the pop-up that asks to access our location? Some #apps provide better experience, like Facebook suggesting events nearby. Others — can’t work properly without knowing device location, like Uber or Google Maps.These location-based apps use device location to enable and control some features. From wok delivery to Find My iPhone, location-based apps help us with our everyday tasks just by knowing where we are.Location can be either the primary function, like in Tinder; or auxiliary, like in Instagram: when uploading a photo, Instagram will suggest you a place so you can tag your location. Whether it’s the main function or not, location does improve the user experience.In this article, I’ll tell you about the main tech components of location-based apps, (...)

    #react-native #location-based-app #location-based-services


  • Algorithmic survival of the fittest
    https://hackernoon.com/algorithmic-survival-of-the-fittest-13393b81a300?source=rss----3a8144eab

    In Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the concept of survival of the fittest stands for the phenomenon that the traits of life forms that have the biggest reproductive success will, over time, become prevailing, while other traits disappear.I would like to adopt this framework for the age of algorithms. On the leading tech platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok (gotta be inclusive here), algorithms play a key role in selecting what information people get to see, and who gets to be seen. Since these services’ business models are centered around advertising, their algorithms are optimized for making people spend as much time as possible on them.Thanks to the vast amounts of usage data generated by billions of daily users as well as the ever-improving (...)

    #social-media #evolution #artificial-intelligence


  • Quitting Instagram : She’s one of the millions disillusioned with social media. But she also helped create it.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/technology/2018/11/14/quitting-instagram-shes-one-millions-disillusioned-with-social-media

    “In the early days, you felt your post was seen by people who cared about you and that you cared about,” said Richardson, who left Instagram in 2014 and later founded a start-up. “That feeling is completely gone for me now.”

    Je me souviens très bien de cette période là, Instagram était une quasi communauté qui avait, comme le disait Bailey Richardson, l’objectif tourné vers le monde et non l’inverse. J’ai participé à des Instameet ou des instachallenge ; Exemple le #Achallenge, poster une photo avec un A dedans. Un concours avec un seul hashtag :) où le gagnant avait recueillit 3000 likes sur une semaine de jeu :D maintenant c’est le symbole d’une mauvaise communication sur Instagram. Un flop quoi. Je trouvais ça ludique, amusant, bien veillant et surtout cohérent avec la culture numérique.

    When Richardson joined Instagram in February 2012, at age 26, the former art history major was drawn to what was then a fast-growing indie platform for photographers, hipsters and artistic-types who wanted to share interesting or beautiful things they discovered about the world. At that time, Instagram was “a camera that looked out into the world," said one of the company’s first engineers, "versus a camera that was all about myself, my friends, who I’m with.”

    Richardson ran the start-up’s blog as well as the official @instagram account from the company’s offices in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood. Before there were software algorithms suggesting accounts to follow, Richardson selected featured Instagrammers by hand. For the most devoted users, she organized in-person “Insta-meets” in places as far-flung as Moscow and North Korea.

    “We felt like stewards of that passion,” Richardson said.

    Richardson moved to New York after leaving Instagram. (Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post)

    One of the first people she featured prominently was an early Instagrammer in Spain. The exposure Richardson gave @IsabelitaVirtual, an amateur photographer whose real name is Isabel Martinez, helped Martinez become one of the most popular Instagram users in the country and led to a career in high-end fashion photography.

    Both say that type of random connection that resulted in their friendship is hardly possible in the current iteration of Instagram. Too many people to follow, too much showmanship, too many posts flickering by, they say. “I don’t even see her posts anymore,” Richardson said. Martinez told The Post that while she wouldn’t quit Instagram for professional reasons, the app has in recent years become more anxiety-producing than pleasurable for her.

    #social_media #Facebook #Instagram #réseaux_sociaux


  • How Google and Amazon Got So Big Without Being Regulated | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/book-excerpt-curse-of-bigness

    Voici un joli exemple comment empêcher #disruption quand on a assez de moyens.

    by the 2010s, Facebook faced one of its most serious challengers, a startup named Instagram. Instagram combined a camera app with a social network on which it was easy and fast to share photos on mobile. It was popular with younger people, and it was not long before some of its advantages over Facebook were noticed. As business writer Nicholas Carlson said at the time, Instagram “allows people to do what they like to do on Facebook easier and faster.”

    Having already gained 30 million users in just 18 months of existence, Instagram was poised to become a leading challenger to Facebook based on its strength on mobile platforms, where Facebook was weak. By the doctrine of internet time, Facebook, then eight years old, was supposed to be heading into retirement.

    But the disruption narrative was rudely interrupted. Instead of surrendering to the inevitable, Facebook realized it could just buy out the new. For just $1 billion, Facebook eliminated its existential problem and reassured its investors. As Time would put it, “Buying Instagram conveyed to investors that the company was serious about dominating the mobile ecosystem while also neutralizing a nascent competitor.”

    #USA #Facebook #capitalisme


  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/europe-immigration-refugees-smartphone-metadata-deportations
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche



  • The Everyday Consumption of “#Whiteness”: The #Gaikokujin-fū (Foreign-Like) Hair Trend in Japan

    In feminist literature, the beauty and the fashion industries have at times been criticized for being one of the means through which women are objectified.1 Likewise, Critical Race Studies have often pinpointed how the existence of a global beauty industry has the effect of propagating Eurocentric beauty ideals.2 Throughout this article I aim to explore the complicated ways in which beauty and racialized categories intersect in Japan through an analysis of the female-targeted hair trend of the gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Essentialism is what prompts us to divide the world into two, “us” versus “them,” negating all that is in between the two categories or even changes within the categories themselves. Although this binary thinking has been subject to criticism by various disciplines, such as Critical Race Studies and Postcolonial Studies, it is still among the dominant ways in which human relations are performed in Japanese society. The essentialistic opposing duality between Foreignness and Japaneseness has been constructed in post-war Japan through widespread discourses known by the name nihonjinron (lit. the theories on the Japanese).3 Even though it could be understood as a powerful reply to American racism towards the Japanese, nihonjinron only confirms stereotypes by reversing their value, from negative to positive. Moreover, these theories have had the effect of emphasizing Japanese racial and cultural purity through the alienation and exoticization of the other, most often represented by the white “Westerner”4 (obeijin, seiyōjin, hakujin).

    The ambivalent exoticism that surrounds the foreigner (gaikokujin) has made it possible for racialised categories and consumerism to intersect in the archipelago. The beauty industry is particularly susceptible to the segmentation between “self” and “other,” and the global white hegemony has a certain influence over it. However, as Miller rightly observes, dominant beauty standards in Japan are equally influenced by local values of “Japaneseness.”5 Torigoe goes even farther: in her essay, she positions whiteness as a power relation and through her analysis she demonstrates how white women are constructed as Others in Japanese media representations, thus creating “a racial ladder that places Japanese people on top.”6 The link between whiteness and widespread beauty practices has been criticized also in studies of the neighbouring country of Korea, with scholars arguing that cosmetic surgeries in the country are successful only if they enhance the body’s natural “Koreanness.”7

    My aim in this paper is to tackle the capitalistic commercialization and fetishization of whiteness in contemporary Japan. As it will become clear throughout the analysis, the Japanese beauty industry is creating a particular image of whiteness that is suitable to the consumers’ needs and desires: this toned-down, less threating way of becoming “foreigner-like” is marketed as an accessory that far from overriding one’s natural features, is instrumental in accentuating and valorizing them. Investigating the peculiar position of this beauty trend, which has been affected by the influence of the two contrasting hegemonic discourses of white supremacy and the purity/superiority of the Japanese race, might be helpful in shedding some light on the increasingly complicated ways the concept of race is being constructed in a setting that has been often considered “other” to the Eurocentric gaze.

    Whiteness and the Global Beauty Industry

    Beauty is an important practice in our daily life, and as such it has been at the center of animated discussions about its social function. Seen as one of the practices through which gender is performed, it has been put into scrutiny by feminist literature. The approach used to analyze beauty has been dualistic. On the one hand, the beauty and fashion industries have been criticized for being among the reasons of women’s subordination, depriving them financially8 and imposing on them male normative standards of beauty.9 On the other, it has been cited as one of the ways in which female consumers could express their individuality in an oppressive world.10

    The increasingly globalized beauty and fashion industries have also been subjects of criticism from the viewpoint of Critical Race Studies. It is not uncommon to hear that these industries are guilty of spreading Eurocentric tastes, thus privileging pale-skinned, thin women with light hair.11 The massive sale of skin-whitening creams in Asia and Africa as well as the creation of new beauty standards that privilege thinness over traditionally preferred plump forms are often cited to defend this argument. At the same time, there have been instances in which this denouncing of Eurocentrism itself has been charged guilty of the same evil. Practices such as plastic surgery in South Korea and Japanese preference for white skin have been often criticized as being born out of the desire to be “Western”: these analyses have been contested as simplistic and ignoring the cultural significance of local standards of beauty in shaping beauty ideals.12

    Answers to these diatribes have not been yet found.13 It is nonetheless clear that beauty practices articulate a series of complex understandings about gender and race, often oscillating between particularisms and universalisms. Throughout this article I would like to contribute to this ongoing discussion analyzing how pre-existing notions of race and gender intersect and are re-shaped in a newly emerging trend aptly called gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Us/Others in Japan: The Essentialization of the Foreign
    Japan and the tan’itsu minzoku

    It is not uncommon to hear that Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world. In Japanese, the locution tan’itsu minzoku (single/unique ethnic group, people, nation), was often used as a slogan when comparing the archipelago with significantly multi-ethnic countries such as the USA.14 The notion of Japan as a mono-ethnic country is being starkly criticized in recent years:15 minorities such as the zainichi Koreans and Chinese who have been living in the country since the end of the second world war, the conspicuous populations of foreign immigrants from Asia and Latin America, as well as mixed-race people, who were thought of as a social problem until these last ten years,16 have been making their voices heard. In the following paragraphs, I will trace how the idea of a racially homogeneous Japan was constructed.

    The word minzoku (ethnic group, people, nation) first appeared in the Japanese language in the Taishō Period (1912-1926), as an alternative to the term jinshū (race).17 The concept of race did not exist prior to the Meiji period (1868-1912), when it was introduced by scholars as one of the ideas from the “West” that would have helped Japan become a modernized nation.18 It could be argued that while the opening up of Japan after the sakoku period was not the first time that the Japanese government had to interact with people of different racial features,19 it was the first time that the idea of racial hierarchies were introduced to the country. Japanese scholars recognized themselves to be part of the ōshoku jinshū (“yellow race”), hierarchically subordinate to the “white race.”20 With rising nationalism and the beginning of the colonization project during the Taishō period, the need arose for a concept that could further differentiate the Japanese people from the neighboring Asian countries such as the newly annexed Taiwan and Korea:21 the newly created minzoku fit this purpose well. Scholar Kawai Yuko compared the term to the German concept of Volk, which indicates a group whose identity is defined by shared language and culture. These traits are racialized, as they are defined as being “biological,” a natural component of the member of the ethnic group who acquires them at birth.22 It was the attribution of these intrinsic qualities that allowed the members of the naichi (mainland Japan) to be assigned in a superior position to the gaichi (colonies). Interestingly, the nationalistic discourse of the pre-war and of the war period had the double intent of both establishing Japanese supremacy and legitimizing its role as a “guide” for the colonies grounding it in their racial affinities: unlike the conquerors from Europe, the Japanese were of similar breed.

    These hierarchies were ultimately dissociated from the term minzoku after the end of the Second World War, when it was appropriated by Leftist discourse. Opposing it to ta-minzoku (multiethnic nation or people)23

    that at the time implied divisions and inequalities and was perceived as a characteristic of the Japanese Empire, Left-leaning intellectuals advocated a tan’itsu minzoku nation based on equality. The Leftist discourse emphasized the need of the “Japanese minzoku” to stand up to the American occupation, but the term gradually lost its critical nuance when Japan reached economic prosperity and tan’itsu minzoku came to mean racial homogeneity as a unique characteristic of Japanese society, advocated by the Right.24

    Self-Orientalism

    The term minzoku might have “lost his Volk-ish qualities,”25 but homogeneity in Japan is also perceived to be of a cultural nature. Sociologists Mouer and Sugimoto26 lament that many Japanese people believe to be the carriers of an “unique” and essentialized cultural heritage, that renders them completely alien to foreigners. According to the two scholars, the distinctive qualities that have been usually (self-)ascribed to Japanese people are the following: a weak individuality, the tendency to act in groups, and the tendency to privilege harmony in social situations.27 Essentialized “Japaneseness” is a mixture of these psychological traits with the products of Japanese history and culture. The perception that Japaneseness is ever unchanging and a cultural given of each Japanese individual was further increased by the popularity of the nihonjinron discourse editorial genre, which gained mass-media prominence in the archipelago after the 1970s along with Japan’s economic growth.28 Drawing on Said’s notion of Orientalism,29 Miller states that “in the case of Japan, we have to deal […] with the spectacle of a culture vigorously determined to orientalize itself.”30 According to Roy Miller, Japan has effectively constructed Japaneseness through a process of self-othering, which he refers to as self-Orientalism. The nihonjinron publications were very much influenced by cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict’s highly influential “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” published in 1946. Benedict’s study of the “Japanese people” is based on the assumption that the USA and Japan are polar opposites where the former stands for modernity and individualism whereas the latter is characterized by tradition and groupism.31

    Japanese anthropologists and psychoanalysts, such as Nakane and Doi32 further contributed to the study of Japaneseness, never once challenging the polar opposition between the “Japanese” and the “Westernerners.”

    It would seem contradictory at first for a large number of people in Japan to have this tendency to think and consume their own culture through stereotypes. However, Iwabuchi draws attention to the fact that Japan’s self-Orientalism is not just a passive acceptance of “Western” values but is in fact used to assert the nation’s cultural superiority. It remains nonetheless profoundly complicit with Euro-American Orientalism insofar that it is an essentializing and reifying process: it erases all internal differences and external similarities.33 This essentialization that Japan is capitalizing on proves fundamental for the “West,” as it is the tool through which it maintains its cultural hegemony.

    Images of the Foreigner

    Images of the foreigner are not equal, and they form an important node in the (self-)Orientalistic relations that Japan entertains with the rest of the world. An essentialized view of both the Euro-American and Asian foreigner functions in different ways as a counterweight to the “we-Japanese” (ware ware Nihonjin) rhethoric.

    In the Japanese language, gaikokujin (foreigner) refers to every person who doesn’t have the same nationality as the country she/he lives in.34 The term gaikokujin does not have racial connotations and can be used to effectively describe anyone that is not a Japanese citizen. However, the racially-charged related term gaijin35 refers especially to the “white” foreigner.36 Written very similarly to gaikokujin, the word gaijin actually has a different origin and the double meaning of “foreigner” and “outsider.” The word carries strong implications of “othering,” and refers to the construction of the Europe and America as other to the young nation-state in the Meiji period, during which knowledge was routinely imported from the “West.”37 Thus, gaijin and the representation of foreigners-as-other came to reflect the dominant hierarchies of nineteenth-century “Western” knowledge.38

    Putting every white-skinned individual in the same category functions as a strategy to create the antithetical “West” that is so important as a marker of difference in self-Orientalism: it serves to create an “Other” that makes it possible to recognize the “Self.”39 At the same time, it perpetuates the perception of whiteness as the dominant position in America and Europe. In her analysis on the use of foreigner models in Japanese advertisements, Creighton notes that representation of gaijin positions them both as a source of innovation and style and as a potential moral threat.40

    This splitting is not uncommon when dealing with representations of the Other. What generates it is the fetishistic component that is always present in the stereotype.41 Bhabha argues that this characteristic allows the Other to be understood in a contradictory way as a source of both pleasure and anxiety for the Non-Other. Stuart Hall draws on Bhabha’s theories to state that the stereotype makes it so that this binary description can be the only way in which is possible to think of the Other–they generate essentialized identities.42 In the Japanese context, the gaijin, fulfilling his role as a racially visible minority,43 is thus inscribed in the double definition of source of disruption and person to admire (akogare no taishō).

    Whiteness in the Japanese Context

    Akogare (admiration, longing, desire) is a word that young women44 in Japan often use when talking about the “white, Western” foreigner. Kelsky explains that the word indicates the longing for something that is impossible to obtain and she maintains that “it is a rather precise gloss […] of the term “desire” in Lacanian usage. […] Desire arises from lack and finds expression in the fetish. The fetish substitutes the thing that is desired but impossible to obtain.”45 Fulfilment of this unattainable desire can be realized through activities such as participation in English conversation classes and engaging in conversation with “Western” people.46 The consumption of “Western” images and representations as well as everyday practices associated with the Euro-American foreigner could also be considered a fetish that substitutes the unattainable object of desire. In this sense, the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend might be for the producers one such way of catering to young Japanese women’s akogare for the “Western” world.

    Gaikokujin-fū is inextricably connected to gaijin, “white” foreigners. For instance, the Hair Encyclopedia section of the website Hotpepper Beauty reports two entries with the keyword gaikokujin-fū: gaikokujin-fū karā (foreigner-like color) and gaikokujin-fū asshu (foreigner-like ash). The “color” entry states the following:

    Gaikokujin-fū karā means, as the name suggests, a dye that colors the hair in a tint similar to that of foreigners. The word “foreigner” here mostly stands for people with white skin and blond hair that are usually called “American” and “European.”47

    Similarly, the “ash” entry explains the following:

    The coloring that aims for the kind of blond hair with little red pigments that is often found among Americans is called gaikokujin-fū asshu.

    Asshu means “grey” and its characteristic is to give a slightly dull (dark?) impression. It fits well with many hairstyles ranging from short cuts to long hair, and it can be done in a way to make you look like a “western” hāfu (mixed race individual).

    It is clear from these descriptions that the term gaikokujin-fū is racially charged. What hairdresser discourse is trying to reproduce is a kind of hair color associated with America and Europe’s Caucasian population. They are selling “whiteness.”

    Writing from the viewpoint of multicultural England, Dyer writes that the study of the representation of white people is important because “as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm.”49 White discourse is ubiquitous, and it is precisely this unmarked invisibility that makes it a position of dominance. The representation of people belonging to minority groups is inevitably marked or tied to their race or skin color, but Caucasians are often “just people.” At the base of white privilege there is this characteristic of universality that is implied in whiteness.

    The marked positioning of the white foreigner in Japanese society would seem an exception to this rule. Torigoe, while acknowledging that the Japanese media “saturated [her] with images of young white females as the standard of beauty,”50 analyzes in her article how white beauty actually embodies values such as overt sexual attractiveness that would be considered deviant or over the top by standard societal norms.51 Likewise, Russell points to the scrutiny that the bodies of the white female woman receive on Japanese mass media, dominated by a male gaze. White females become subject to the sexual curiosity of the Japanese male, and being accompanied by one of them often makes him look more sophisticated and competitive in a globalized world.52 As the most easily, less controversially portrayed Other through which Japanese self-identity is created, the white individual is often subject to stereotyping and essentialization. Russell notes this happening in both advertisement and the portrayal of white local celebrities, that assume even “whiter” characteristics in order to better market their persona in the Japanese television environment.

    However, it is my opinion that we must be careful to not be exceedingly uncritical of the marginality that Caucasians are subject to in Japanese society. I argue that whiteness is in an ambiguous position in the Japanese context: it would be wrong to say that in the archipelago white people do not benefit from the privileges that have accompanied their racialization up to the present times. The othering processes that whites are subject to is more often than not related to them being brought up and representing a different culture than to their racial difference.54 The word hakujin (lit. white person) is barely used in everyday conversation, whereas it is more common to hear the term kokujin (lit. black person): white people are not reduced to their racial characteristics in the same way as black people might be.55 Whiteness might not be the completely hegemonic in the Japanese context, but the country does not exist in a vacuum, and its standards have been influenced by the globally hegemonic white euro-centric values to some extent.

    To reiterate, white people in the Japanese archipelago experience the contradictory position of being a visible minority subject to reifying “othering” processes while at the same time reaping many of the benefits and privileges that are usually associated with the color of their skin. They are socially and politically located at the margins but are a hegemonic presence in the aesthetic consciousness as an ideal to which aspire to. In the following sections, I will expand on gaikokujin’s ambiguous location by looking at the ways in which whiteness is consumed through the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend.

    Producing Whiteness: Selling gaikokujin-fū Hair
    Creating the “New”

    In order to understand the meanings shaping the catchphrase gaikokujin-fū, I have used a mixture of different approaches. My research began by applying the methods of Visual Analysis56 to the latest online promotional material. I have tried to semiotically analyze the pictures on the websites in relation to the copywriting. In addition, I have complemented it with fieldwork, interviewing a total of seven hairdressers and four girls aged from 20 to 2457 in the period between April and June 2017. It was while doing fieldwork that I realized how important social networking is for the establishment of contemporary trends: this is frequently acknowledged also in the press by textually referencing hashtags.58 Instagram is a very important part of Japanese girls’ everyday life, and is used both as a tool for self-expression/self-promotion as well as a compass to navigate the ever-growing ocean of lifestyle trends. Japanese internet spaces had been previously analyzed as relatively closed spaces created and accessed by predominantly Japanese people, and this had implications on how online discourses about races were carried on.59 However, being a predominantly visual medium, Instagram also functions as a site where information can, to a large extent, overcome language barriers.

    The gaikokujin-fū hashtag counts 499,103 posts on Instagram, whereas 381,615 pictures have been tagged gaikokujin-fū karā.60 Most of them are published by professional whose aim is to publicize their work, and it is not uncommon to find pricing and information for booking in the description.

    Scrolling down the results of the Instagram search, it is easy to notice the high number of back and profile shots; what the hairdressers are trying to show through these pictures is their hairdressing skills. By cutting out the face they are putting the hair itself at the center of the viewer’s attention and eliminating any possibility of identification. The aim here is to sell “whiteness” as an object. The trendsetters are capitalizing on a term (gaikokujin-fū) that has already an appealing meaning outside the field of hair coloring, and that is usually associated with the wider desire or longing (akogare) for “Western” people, culture and lifestyle.

    To the non-initiated, the term gaikokujin-fū might indicate anything that is not “Japanese like” such as curly hair, or blonde hair. However, it became clear when speaking to my hairdresser informants that they only used the term referring to the ash-like coloring. Professionals in the field are reclaiming it to define a new, emerging niche of products that only started appearing a couple of years ago.61 In doing so, Japanese hairdressers are creating a new kind of “whiteness” that goes beyond the “Western” cultural conception of white as blonde and blue-eyed, in order to make it more acceptable to Japanese societal standards. In fact, fair hair is considered extremely unnatural.62 The advantage that ash brown hair has over blonde is the relatively darker shade that allows consumers to stand out without being completely out of place.63

    However, gaikokujin-fū hair comes at a cost. All of my informants told me during the interviews that the colors usually associated with this trend involve dyes have a blue or green base, and are very difficult to recreate on most people of the East Asia whose naturally black hair has a red base. The difficulty they experienced in reproducing the Ash (asshu) and Matt colors on Japanese hair constituted a fundamental charm point for hair technicians, and precisely because of this being able to produce a neat ash coloring might be considered synonymous with keeping on pace with the last technology in hair dying. The Wella “Illumina Color”64 series came out in September 2015, while Throw,65 a Japanese-produced series of hair dyes that eliminate the reddish undertones of Japanese black hair, went on sale very recently in June 2016.66 Another Japanese maker, Milbon, released its “Addichty Color”67 series as recently as February 2017. The globally dominant but locally peripheral whiteness has been “appropriated” and domesticated by Japanese hairdressers as a propeller of the latest trends, as a vital tool in creating the “new.”

    To summarize, the technological developments in hair dyes certainly gave a big push to the popularizing of the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend. Moreover, in a very chicken-and-egg-like fashion, the technological advancing itself was at the same time motivated by the admiration and desire towards Euro-American countries. However, this desire for “Westerness” does not entail adopting whiteness in its essentialized “purest” form,68 as that would have negative implications in the context of Japanese society. Rather, Japanese trendsetters have operated a selection and chosen the variant of whiteness that would be different enough to allow the creation of the “latest” while minimizing its more threatening aspects.
    Branding the “New”

    In the previous section I mentioned the fact that most of pictures posted on the social network Instagram serve to amplify and diffuse existing values for consumption, and constantly refer to a set of meanings that are generated elsewhere reifying them. Throughout this section I will examine the production of these values through the branding of the aforementioned hair dye brands: Wella’s “Illumina Color,” THROW, and Milbon’s “Addichty Color.”

    Wella’s “Illumina Color” offers an interesting case study as it is produced by an American multinational brand. Comparing the Japanese website with the international one, it is clear that we have before our eyes a prime example of “glocalization.”69 While on the international webpage70 the eye-catch is a picture of a white, blue-eyed blonde woman that sports an intricate braided hairstyle with some purplish accents in the braid, the Japanese71 version features a hāfu-like72 young woman with long, flowing straight dark brown hair. The description of the product also contains the suggestive sentence “even the hard and visible hair typical of the Japanese [can become] of a pale, soft color.” The keywords here are the terms hard (katai) and soft (yawaraka). Hardness is defined as being a characteristic typical of the Japanese hair texture (nihonjin tokuyū) and it is opposed to the desired effect, softness. The sentence implies by contrasting the two terms that softness is not a characteristic of Japanese hair, and the assumption could be taken further to understand that it is a quality typical of the “foreign.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the international webpage contains no such reference and instead vaguely praises the hair dye’s ability to provide a light color. The visuals of the latter are consistent with Dyer’s definition of whiteness.

    Unlike Wella, Milbon and beauty experience are Japanese companies, and their products ORDEVE Addichty and THROW are only geared to the Japanese marketplace. Milbon’s ORDEVE Addichty dye series is the most recent of the two. The product’s promotional webpage is almost entirely composed of pictures: the top half features 14 moving pictures, two for each of the seven colours available. The pictures slide in a way that shows the customer all the four sides of the model’s bust up, and each one of the girls is holding a sign with the name of the product. To the center left, we see a GIF image with the name of the brand in the roman and Japanese alphabet, accompanied by the catchphrase hajimete mitsukaru, atarashii watashirashisa (“I found it for the first time, a new way of being myself”), that slides into another text-filled picture that explains the concepts behind the branding.

    Occidental-like (ōbeijin) voluminous hair with a shine (tsuya) never seen before. This incredible feeling of translucence (tōmeikan) that even shows on your Instagram [pictures], will receive a lot of likes from everybody. Let’s find the charm of a freer myself with Addichty color!

    The red-diminishing dyes are here associated with both physical and ideological characteristics identified as “Western,” like the “feeling of translucence” (tōmeikan)73 and “freedom” (jiyū). The word tōmeikan is a constant of technical descriptions of gaikokujin-fū and it is generally very difficult for the hairdressers to explain what does it mean. My hairdresser informant N. quickly explained to me that having translucent hair means to have a hair color that has a low red component. Informants H. and S., also hair professionals, further explained that translucency is a characteristic typical of hair that seems to be semi-transparent when hit by light. While in the English-speaking world it would certainly be unusual to positively describe somebody’s hair as translucent, tōmeikan is a positive adjective often used as a compliment in other different contexts and it indicates clarity and brightness. In fact, the Japanese Daijisen dictionary lists two definitions for translucent, the second of which reads “clear, without impurities.”74 It is perhaps in relation to this meaning that the melanin-filled black core of the Japanese hair is considered “heavy” (omoi) and strong. Reddish and lighter brown colors are also defined in the same way. What is more, even hair colors at the other end of the spectrum can be “muddy”(nigori no aru): blonde hair is also described as such.75 It is clear that while tōmeikan is a quality of “occidental hair,” it is not a characteristic of all the shades that are usually associated with whiteness.

    In the last sentence, “freedom” is linked to charm (miryoku) and the individual. These three concepts are also very often associated with the foreigner. The freedom of the gaijin is a freedom from social constraints and from the sameness that pervades dominant representations of Japaneseness.76 Individualism is further emphasized by the pronoun “myself,” which in the original Japanese is a possessive pronoun to the word “charm” (miryoku). As a word, miryoku has an openly sexual connotation, and because of this it might be linked to the concept of “foreignness.” As Torigoe found out in her analysis of Japanese advertisements, white women are often represented as a sexualized counterpart to the more innocent Japanese woman.77 Gaikokujin-fū hair offers customers the possibility to become closer to obtaining this sexiness, that distances the self from the monotone standards of society.

    Of the three, THROW is possibly the most interesting to analyze, mostly because of the huge quantity of content they released in order to strengthen the brand image. In addition to the incredibly detailed homepage, they are constantly releasing new media contents related to gaikokujin-fū coloring on their “THROW Journal.”78

    The “story” page of the website serves as an explanation of the brand identity. It is a vertically designed page heavy on images, possibly designed to be optimally visualized in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The first image that the viewer encounters is that of a girl whose brown hair is flowing in the wind, which results in some strands covering the features of her pale-white face. This makes it hard to understand her nationality and makes it so that all the attention is focused on the light, airy qualities of the hair. As I said before, “lightness” (karusa) is associated to translucency and is one of the characteristics at the center of the marketing of gaikokujin-fū. This picture very clearly renders those sensations in a way that is very pleasant to the eye and indeed invites consumption.

    Under the picture we find a very short narration that complements it. In bigger characters, the words dare de mo nai, watashi ni naru, that roughly translates as “I’ll become a myself, that is nobody else.” Here again we find an emphasis on individuality and difference. Scrolling down, we find the following paragraph written in a smaller font:

    I leave my body to the blowing wind.

    My hair is enveloped in light, and is filled by the pleasant air.

    What I needed was this [facial] expression.

    I got rid of what I did not need, and refreshingly freed my mind.

    Gracefully, freely.

    I should just enjoy myself more.79

    Unlike the tagline in the Addichty webpage, THROW’s brand identity is here described in ideological terms only. Once again, “freedom” is the central theme, and is associated with a sensation of freshness (kaze, “the wind”; also, the onomatopoeia sutto, here rendered as “refreshingly”). The image of release is further emphasized by the fact that “I” of this text is in close contact with nature: her skin feels the wind, she is shrouded in light and breathes pure air. But what is the subject being released from? The fourth and the last line would suggest that she is being trapped by social constraints, something akin to the Freudian super-ego, that somehow renders her unable to enjoy herself for what she really is. My literal translation of the sixth line makes it hard to understand the hedonistic implications of its meaning: what the original Japanese implies is not simply that she should “have fun,” but she should be finding pleasure in what she is and not what she is expected to be. It is perhaps strange to the eyes of the Euro-American observer accustomed to the discourse of white supremacy that the consumption of whiteness comes with an invitation to spontaneity. The whiteness being sold here is certainly perceived in a radically different way from the Eurocentric “West,” where it is associated with self-constraint.80 It is being marketed to the Japanese public in a way that reminds the portrayal of minorities in the white-dominated world,81 and that makes it particularly appealing to the archipelago’s consumers.

    Listening to the producers’ interviews, it becomes clear for them that the red pigments of the hair, as a symbol of this self-Orientalistically represented “Japaneseness” are represented as a further constraint. Producer Kimura Naoto speaks of a “liberation from redness for the women who hate it”;82 fellow member of the production team Horiuchi brings up the ever-present desire in Japanese women to “become like foreigners,”83 but neither of the two explains the connection between the deletion of red pigments from the hair and the possibility of becoming foreigner-like. It is perhaps this lack of an explicit connection in an explanation from an expert that makes it perceived as an “obvious truth.” In fact, nobody seems to refer to the fact that red undertones are common overseas as well, not to mention the existence of redheads in predominantly Caucasian regions. By hiding these facts, the red pigments are constructed as something that is peculiarly Japanese and juxtaposed to the exclusively foreign blue pigments, further contributing to the essentializing of the gaikokujin that propels self-Orientalism.

    Consuming Whiteness: Gaikokujin-fū and Everyday Life

    To understand the ways that gaikokujin-fū was being interpreted and consumed I conducted fieldwork for two months (April-June 2017) in Tokyo. Engaging in participant observation proved to be relatively easy, since superficial conversation about beauty trends is one of the most common ways that young women around my age use to socialize. Most of my peers were very quick to react every time I lightly introduced the subject. However, due to the perceived “lightness” of the topic, not many people showed to be willing to talk prolongedly about it. This prompted me to supplement the fieldwork with semi-structured interviews I conducted with four people aged 20-22.

    The general reaction to the gaikokujin-fū buzzword was one of recognition–the existence of the trend was acknowledged both by people who were actually familiar with it as well as by others who were not really interested but had seen the phrase and recognized a more general idea behind it. As the reader might expect after having gone through the previous chapter, consumers of gaikokujin-fū hair all brought up the difficulties they had in obtaining the desired results. When I first contacted K., a 23-year-old university student in Tokyo, she told me to wait till the following week for the interview since she had an appointment to dye her hair of an ash-like color. Seven days later, I was surprised to see that her hair had not changed much. Turns out that her virgin hair was a very difficult base to work with: having never bleached it, it proved to be very resistant to blue-green dyes. Dying the hair of an ash-like color would have been impossible as the naturally red pigments of the hair would have completely nullified the effect.

    Whiteness as Empowerment, Whiteness as Difference

    K. was nonetheless very accommodating and answered my questions very enthusiastically. To her, the word gaikokujin had indeed a very positive meaning, and she specifically associated it to difference. My informant used a very harsh word when talking about her fellow Japanese: to her, Japanese style equals mass-production. Her image of Japan was perfectly congruent with those described by Mouer and Sugimoto in their critique of Nihonjinron. “Ordinary” Japanese girls were, in her opinion, the cutesy and quiet girls with straight black hair and bangs covering their foreheads. Why did she feel attracted to gaikokujin-fū in the first place? K. felt that the “traditional” Japanese image was constraining, and she had both very physical and empirical reasons (she does not like face with bangs) as well as a specific ideological background. It is worth nothing here that K. has had since her childhood a very strong akogare towards “Western countries”: she has studied English since she was a small child and is now studying Italian, which led her to spend a year abroad in the University of Venice. Moreover, she attended a very liberal protestant high school in Tokyo, where students were allowed to dye their hair and had no obligation to wear the school uniform. She herself stated that the liberal environment she was brought up in had a huge influence on her view of the world and thus she did not feel the need to “conform.” K. speaks from a privileged position that allowed her to glimpse a “different” world, in which she is promised freedom. In a similar fashion to the representations I analysed in the previous chapter, “Western” foreign becomes a symbol of liberation from the societal constraints of a traditionalistic society.

    The liberating qualities of the akogare towards the essentialized “Western” foreign have been brought up in previous research as a space for young women to astray themselves from the hierarchies of everyday life. The link between freedom and diversity was indeed particularly strong in K., who feels somehow “oppressed” by certain aspects of society. However, this is far from being a universal mode of consumption: in fact, the other three girls never even mentioned anything ideological. To S., a 22-year-old girl I met while studying in Tokyo two years ago, dying her hair of an ash-like hue was an act genuinely finalized to the enhancement of her beauty: she thought the color made her face look brighter. While she too stated during the interview that foreigners are viewed as cool and fashionable, she did not allude to a desire to “become” one nor she mentioned any ideological values associated with them that she emphasized with. In her everyday practice, whiteness is consumed as a tool regardless of its hegemonic signified. Informants A. and H. talked about the trend in a similar way. H. initially dyed her hair because she liked how cute ash hair looked on her favourite model, and had little more to say other than that. Her friend A., who recently graduated from a fashion school, confessed that in her environment standing out was more the rule than a subversive act. Her ash phase was brief and followed by even more explosive hues such as blue and pink. S., A., and H., were very much less conscious of their ways of consumption, but, as French theorist Michel de Certeau argues,84 it is precisely the aimlessness of their wandering that make their practices subvert the hegemony established by the global white supremacy. Having gaikokujin-fū hair is one of the strategies that Japanese women have at their disposition to attain beauty, and while it is trendy, it is far from being superior to different styles. Whiteness becomes an accessory that enhances the natural beauty of the self, and it is not employed to override one’s original racial features but rather to enrich them through the display of individuality. Under this light, it is possible to see the consumption of foreign-like hair as an unconscious tentative of overcoming the racialized barriers that might generate uncanny feelings in the eyes of the “white” spectator.

    Subdued Subversion and the Ambiguities of Consumption

    There are however at least two factors that complicate the consumption of gaikokujin-fū hair, making it a multifaceted and complex process. Firstly, during my interview with K. we discussed the differences between this and other fashion trends that tend to refuse the stereotypical sameness of the constructed Japanese image. K. suggested the existence of an even more individualistic trend–Harajuku–style fashion. The Harajuku district of Tokyo is famous world-wide for hosting a wide range of colourful subcultures,85 which my interviewee described with terms such as dokusouteki (creative) and yancha (mischievous). Harajuku fashion is individuality taken to such a level in which it becomes even more openly contestant of society. S. described these subcultures as referencing the image of “an invented fantasy world, completely out of touch with reality.” The gaikokujin-fū hair colour is indeed a way to break out of the “factory mould,” but it is a relatively tame way of doing it as it is the consumption of a domesticized otherness. As I also pointed out during the analysis of the production processes, the aesthetics of the trend are largely shaped in relation to societal norms and purposely do not excessively break out of them. Especially in its darker tones, foreign-like ash hair is visually closer (albeit chemically harder to obtain) than platinum blonde, and it is precisely in these shades that the hue is being consumed by girls like K. and S.

    Furthermore, one could say that Gaikokujin-fū hues can at times be experimentations instrumental to the formation of one’s identity. H. and S. both explained that they tried out ash dyes as a phase, only then to move on to something that they thought better reflected their own selves. In both cases, that meant going back to their natural black color and to darker tones. H., in particular, after spending her three years of freedom in university experimenting with various hues, finally concluded in her fourth and final year that natural black hair was “what suits Japanese people best.”. After trying out the “Other” and recognizing it as such, her identification acted as what Stuart Hall might have called a suture between her as an acting subject and the discursive practices of “Japaneseness.”86 As “foreignness,” and whiteness as one of its variants, cannot be easily conceived outside the dominant self-Orientalistic discourses, even gaikokujin-fū is inevitably bound to the essentialized “Japaneseness” of the Nihonjinron. This is only worsened by the fact that foreign-like hair colors are a product in the beauty market: they need to be marketed to the consumers, and this necessitates simplification. Essentialization and the reinforcement of self-Orientalism are the high prices that one must pay for the consumption of the other, and constitute a big limitation of its subversive power.

    Conclusion

    I have attempted to analyse the ways in which whiteness is produced and consumed in Japan, a country with significant economic and cultural power that does not have a significant Caucasian population. I have chosen as the topic a feature of the human body that is usually considered peripherical to the construction of racialized categories, and I have attempted to demonstrate how it becomes central in the production of an occidentalistic image of “whiteness” in the Japanese Archipelago.

    What this trend helps us to understand is the complexities and multiplicities of whiteness. By shedding some light on the way that hairdressers in Japan construct and sell the gaikokujin-fū trend we become aware of the fact that an aspect such as hair color that we do not usually pay much attention to in relation to this racialized category can be central when the same is consumed in a different setting. It is significant that what is being marketed here it is a slightly different paradigm from the Eurocentric or conventional idea of “white” people, that sees at its center blonde-haired, fair-skinned people with blue or green eyes: whiteness is mitigated and familiarized in order to make it more desirable to wider audiences. Its localized production and its consumption as a disposable accessory might be taken as challenging to the global dominance of Caucasian aesthetic.

    Acting in the (locally) ambiguous field of racial representations,87 hairdressers in Japan are creating their own whiteness, one that is starkly defined by what is socially acceptable and what is rejected.88 It thus becomes apparent the fact that racialized categories are nothing but discourses, constantly morphing in relation to time and space. The existence of a different whiteness created by and for the use of people who are not considered as belonging to this racialized category creates conflict with the discourse of a global, hegemonic whiteness by demonstrating its artificiality and construction.

    However, the use of the word gaikokujin inevitably generates ambivalent meanings. The trend becomes linked to the discourse of “foreignness” and the desires associated with it. Eventually, it ends up reproducing the essentialist and reifying stereotypes that are creating through the occidentalistic (and self-Orientalistic) practices of nihonjinron. The trend potentially reinforces the “us/them” barriers that are at the basis of essentialistic thought by juxtaposing the desired “foreign hair” as a polar opposite of the more conservative and traditional “Japanese hair.”

    To reiterate, gaikokujin-fū might be subversive on the global scale, but it is nonetheless an expression of the oppressive mainstream on the local level, as it restates notions of difference and exclusivity that form the basis for social exclusion of phenotypically alien foreigners. Unfortunately, the practices of marketing necessitate simplifications, and makes it is hard to achieve what I believe would be the most subversive action: the elimination of these reifying barriers. It is imperative that we start to think about ways to talk about race and culture in a non-essentializing manner while maintaining an anti-white-centric stance.

    Although the problem of essentialization cannot be resolved by looking at representation only, by looking at how the product is effectively consumed in everyday life we might find that these semi-conscious practices already offer some hints on how to overcome the barriers that reification builds around us. It is indeed true that consumers answer to the “call” of the marketers, and that they identify themselves to some extent with the images of racialized whiteness created by the beauty industry. However, what the interviews revealed is that often times the link between image and product is broken in the immediacy of consumption. By using whiteness as an accessory, some of the consumers open up a space in which they contest the seriousness and rigidity of racialized categories–a space that allows hybridity to exist.


    http://zapruderworld.org/journal/archive/volume-4/the-everyday-consumption-of-whiteness-the-gaikokujin-fu-foreign-like-
    #corps #beauté #femmes #géographie_culturelle #japon #cheveux #identité #altérité #orientalisme #blancheur #hakujin #blancs #représentation


  • The mad, twisted tale of the electric scooter craze
    https://www.cnet.com/news/the-mad-tale-of-the-electric-scooter-craze-with-bird-lime-and-spin-in-san-fran

    Dara Kerr/CNET

    For weeks, I’d been seeing trashed electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco. So I asked a group of friends if any of them had seen people vandalizing the dockless vehicles since they were scattered across the city a couple of months ago.

    The answer was an emphatic “yes.”

    One friend saw a guy walking down the street kicking over every scooter he came across. Another saw a rider pull up to a curb as the handlebars and headset became fully detached. My friend figures someone had messed with the screws or cabling so the scooter would come apart on purpose.

    A scroll through Reddit, Instagram and Twitter showed me photos of scooters — owned by Bird, Lime and Spin — smeared in feces, hanging from trees, hefted into trashcans and tossed into the San Francisco Bay.

    It’s no wonder Lime scooters’ alarm isn’t just a loud beep, but a narc-like battle cry that literally says, “Unlock me to ride, or I’ll call the police.”

    San Francisco’s scooter phenomenon has taken on many names: Scootergeddon, Scooterpocalypse and Scooter Wars. It all started when the three companies spread hundreds of their dockless, rentable e-scooters across city the same week at the end of March — without any warning to local residents or lawmakers.

    Almost instantly, first-time riders began zooming down sidewalks at 15 mph, swerving between pedestrians and ringing the small bells attached to the handlebars. And they left the vehicles wherever they felt like it: scooters cluttered walkways and storefronts, jammed up bike lanes, and blocked bike racks and wheelchair accesses.

    The three companies all say they’re solving a “last-mile” transportation problem, giving commuters an easy and convenient way to zip around the city while helping ease road congestion and smog. They call it the latest in a long line of disruptive businesses that aim to change the way we live.

    The scooters have definitely changed how some people live.

    I learned the Wild West looks friendly compared to scooter land. In San Francisco’s world of these motorized vehicles, there’s backstabbing, tweaker chop shops and intent to harm.

    “The angry people, they were angry,” says Michael Ghadieh, who owns electric bicycle shop, SF Wheels, and has repaired hundreds of the scooters. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the Bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”

    Yikes! Clipped brakes

    SF Wheels is located on a quaint street in a quintessential San Francisco neighborhood. Called Cole Valley, the area is lined with Victorian homes, upscale cafes and views of the city’s famous Mount Sutro. SF Wheels sells and rents electric bicycles for $20 per hour, mostly to tourists who want to see Golden Gate Park on two wheels.

    In March, one of the scooter companies called Ghadieh to tell him they were about to launch in the city and were looking for people to help with repairs. Ghadieh said he was game. He wouldn’t disclose the name of the company because of agreements he signed.

    Now he admits he didn’t quite know what he was getting into.

    Days after the scooter startups dropped their vehicles on an unsuspecting San Francisco, SF Wheels became so crammed with broken scooters that it was hard to walk through the small, tidy shop. Scooters lined the sidewalk outside, filled the doorway and crowded the mechanic’s workspace. The backyard had a heap of scooters nearly six-feet tall, Ghadieh told me.

    His bike techs were so busy that Ghadieh had to hire three more mechanics. SF Wheels was fixing 75 to 100 scooters per day. Ghadieh didn’t say how much the shop was making per scooter fix.

    “The repairs were fast and easy on some and longer on others,” Ghadieh said. “It’d depend on whether it was wear-and-tear or whether it was physically damaged by someone out there, some madman.”

    Some of the scooters, which cost around $500 off the shelf, came in completely vandalized — everything from chopped wires for the controller (aka the brain) to detached handlebars to bent forks. Several even showed up with clipped brake cables.

    I asked Ghadieh if the scooters still work without brakes.

    “It will work, yes,” he said. “It will go forward, but you just cannot stop. Whoever is causing that is making the situation dangerous for some riders.”

    Especially in a city with lots of hills.

    Ghadieh said his crew worked diligently for about six weeks, repairing an estimated 1,000 scooters. But then, about three weeks ago, work dried up. Ghadieh had to lay off the mechanics he’d hired and his shop is back to focusing on electric bicycles.

    “Now, there’s literally nothing,” he said. “There’s a change of face with the company. I’m not exactly sure what happened. … They decided to do it differently.”

    The likely change? The electric scooter company probably decided to outsource repairs to gig workers, rather than rely on agreements with shops.

    That’s gig as in freelancers looking to pick up part-time work, like Uber and Lyft drivers. And like Nick Abouzeid. By day, Abouzeid works in marketing for the startup AngelList. A few weeks ago, he got an email from Bird inviting him to be a scooter mechanic. The message told Abouzeid he could earn $20 for each scooter repair, once he’d completed an online training. He signed up, took the classes and is ready to start.

    “These scooters aren’t complicated. They’re cheap scooters from China,” Abouzeid said. “The repairs are anything from adjusting a brake to fixing a flat tire to adding stickers that have fallen off a Bird.”

    Bird declined to comment specifically on its maintenance program, but its spokesman Kenneth Baer did say, “Bird has a network of trained chargers and mechanics who operate as independent contractors.”

    All of Lime’s mechanics, on the other hand, are part of the company’s operations and maintenance team that repairs the scooters and ensures they’re safe for riders. Spin uses a mix of gig workers and contract mechanics, like what Ghadieh was doing.
    Gaming the system

    Electric scooters are, well, electric. That means they need to be plugged into an outlet for four to five hours before they can transport people, who rent them for $1 plus 15 cents for every minute of riding time.

    Bird, Spin and Lime all partially rely on gig workers to keep their fleets juiced up.

    Each company has a different app that shows scooters with low or dead batteries. Anyone with a driver’s license and car can sign up for the app and become a charger. These drivers roam the streets, picking up scooters and taking them home to be charged.
    img-7477

    “It creates this amazing kind of gig economy,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden, who is a former Uber and Lyft executive, told me in April. “It’s kind of like a game of Pokemon Go for them, where they go around and try to find and gobble up as many Birds as they can.”

    Theoretically, all scooters are supposed to be off city streets by nightfall when it’s illegal to ride them. That’s when the chargers are unleashed. To get paid, they have to get the vehicles back out on the street in specified locations before 7 a.m. the next day. Bird supplies the charging cables — only three at a time, but those who’ve been in the business longer can get more cables.

    “I don’t know the fascination with all of these companies using gig workers to charge and repair,” said Harry Campbell, who runs a popular gig worker blog called The Rideshare Guy. “But they’re all in, they’re all doing it.”

    One of the reasons some companies use gig workers is to avoid costs like extra labor, gasoline and electricity. Bird, Spin and Lime have managed to convince investors they’re onto something. Between the three of them they’ve raised $255 million in funding. Bird is rumored to be raising another $150 million from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Sequoia, which could put the company’s value at $1 billion. That’s a lot for an electric scooter disruptor.

    Lime pays $12 to charge each scooter and Spin pays $5; both companies also deploy their own operations teams for charging. Bird has a somewhat different system. It pays anywhere from $5 to $25 to charge its scooters, depending on the city and the location of the dead scooter. The harder the vehicle is to find and the longer it’s been off the radar, the higher the “bounty.”

    Abouzeid, who’s moonlighted as a Bird charger for the past two months, said he’s only found a $25 scooter once.

    “With the $25 ones, they’re like, ’Hey, we think it’s in this location, it’s got 0 percent battery, good luck,’” he said.

    But some chargers have devised a way to game the system. They call it hoarding.

    “They’ll literally go around picking up Birds and putting them in the back of their car,” Campbell said. “And then they wait until the bounties on them go up and up and up.”

    Bird has gotten wise to these tactics. It sent an email to all chargers last week warning them that if it sniffs out this kind of activity, those hoarders will be barred from the app.

    “We feel like this is a big step forward in fixing some of the most painful issues we’ve been hearing,” Bird wrote in the email, which was seen by CNET.

    Tweaker chop shops

    Hoarding and vandalism aren’t the only problems for electric scooter companies. There’s also theft. While the vehicles have GPS tracking, once the battery fully dies they go off the app’s map.

    “Every homeless person has like three scooters now,” Ghadieh said. “They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it.”
    img-1134

    I’ve seen scooters stashed at tent cities around San Francisco. Photos of people extracting the batteries have been posted on Twitter and Reddit. Rumor has it the batteries have a resale price of about $50 on the street, but there doesn’t appear to be a huge market for them on eBay or Craigslist, according to my quick survey.

    Bird, Lime and Spin all said trashed and stolen scooters aren’t as big a problem as you’d think. When the companies launch in a new city, they said they tend to see higher theft and vandalism rates but then that calms down.

    “We have received a few reports of theft and vandalism, but that’s the nature of the business,” said Spin co-founder and President Euwyn Poon. “When you have a product that’s available for public consumption, you account for that.”

    Dockless, rentable scooters are now taking over cities across the US — from Denver to Atlanta to Washington, DC. Bird’s scooters are available in at least 10 cities with Scottsdale, Arizona, being the site of its most recent launch.

    Meanwhile, in San Francisco, regulators have been working to get rules in place to make sure riders drive safely and the companies abide by the law.

    New regulations to limit the number of scooters are set to go into effect in the city on June 4. To comply, scooter companies have to clear the streets of all their vehicles while the authorities process their permits. That’s expected to take about a month.

    And just like that, scooters will go out the way they came in — appearing and disappearing from one day to the next — leaving in their wake the chargers, mechanics, vandals and people hotwiring the things to get a free ride around town.

    #USA #transport #disruption #SDF


  • Instagram prototypes handing your location history to Facebook
    https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/04/instagram-location-history

    This is sure to exacerbate fears that Facebook will further exploit Instagram now that its founders have resigned. Instagram has been spotted prototyping a new privacy setting that would allow it to share your location history with Facebook. That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. The geo-tagged data would appear to users in their Facebook Profile’s Activity (...)

    #Facebook #Instagram #WhatsApp #GPS #géolocalisation #publicité

    ##publicité


  • Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/17/can-mark-zuckerberg-fix-facebook-before-it-breaks-democracy

    Since 2011, Zuckerberg has lived in a century-old white clapboard Craftsman in the Crescent Park neighborhood, an enclave of giant oaks and historic homes not far from Stanford University. The house, which cost seven million dollars, affords him a sense of sanctuary. It’s set back from the road, shielded by hedges, a wall, and mature trees. Guests enter through an arched wooden gate and follow a long gravel path to a front lawn with a saltwater pool in the center. The year after Zuckerberg bought the house, he and his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, held their wedding in the back yard, which encompasses gardens, a pond, and a shaded pavilion. Since then, they have had two children, and acquired a seven-hundred-acre estate in Hawaii, a ski retreat in Montana, and a four-story town house on Liberty Hill, in San Francisco. But the family’s full-time residence is here, a ten-minute drive from Facebook’s headquarters.

    Occasionally, Zuckerberg records a Facebook video from the back yard or the dinner table, as is expected of a man who built his fortune exhorting employees to keep “pushing the world in the direction of making it a more open and transparent place.” But his appetite for personal openness is limited. Although Zuckerberg is the most famous entrepreneur of his generation, he remains elusive to everyone but a small circle of family and friends, and his efforts to protect his privacy inevitably attract attention. The local press has chronicled his feud with a developer who announced plans to build a mansion that would look into Zuckerberg’s master bedroom. After a legal fight, the developer gave up, and Zuckerberg spent forty-four million dollars to buy the houses surrounding his. Over the years, he has come to believe that he will always be the subject of criticism. “We’re not—pick your noncontroversial business—selling dog food, although I think that people who do that probably say there is controversy in that, too, but this is an inherently cultural thing,” he told me, of his business. “It’s at the intersection of technology and psychology, and it’s very personal.”

    At the same time, former Facebook executives, echoing a growing body of research, began to voice misgivings about the company’s role in exacerbating isolation, outrage, and addictive behaviors. One of the largest studies, published last year in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed the Facebook use of more than five thousand people over three years and found that higher use correlated with self-reported declines in physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction. At an event in November, 2017, Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, called himself a “conscientious objector” to social media, saying, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” A few days later, Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice-president of user growth, told an audience at Stanford, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works—no civil discourse, no coöperation, misinformation, mistruth.” Palihapitiya, a prominent Silicon Valley figure who worked at Facebook from 2007 to 2011, said, “I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds.” Of his children, he added, “They’re not allowed to use this shit.” (Facebook replied to the remarks in a statement, noting that Palihapitiya had left six years earlier, and adding, “Facebook was a very different company back then.”)

    In March, Facebook was confronted with an even larger scandal: the Times and the British newspaper the Observer reported that a researcher had gained access to the personal information of Facebook users and sold it to Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy hired by Trump and other Republicans which advertised using “psychographic” techniques to manipulate voter behavior. In all, the personal data of eighty-seven million people had been harvested. Moreover, Facebook had known of the problem since December of 2015 but had said nothing to users or regulators. The company acknowledged the breach only after the press discovered it.

    We spoke at his home, at his office, and by phone. I also interviewed four dozen people inside and outside the company about its culture, his performance, and his decision-making. I found Zuckerberg straining, not always coherently, to grasp problems for which he was plainly unprepared. These are not technical puzzles to be cracked in the middle of the night but some of the subtlest aspects of human affairs, including the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence.

    Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Leslie Berlin, a historian of technology at Stanford, told me, “For a long time, Silicon Valley enjoyed an unencumbered embrace in America. And now everyone says, Is this a trick? And the question Mark Zuckerberg is dealing with is: Should my company be the arbiter of truth and decency for two billion people? Nobody in the history of technology has dealt with that.”

    In 2002, Zuckerberg went to Harvard, where he embraced the hacker mystique, which celebrates brilliance in pursuit of disruption. “The ‘fuck you’ to those in power was very strong,” the longtime friend said. In 2004, as a sophomore, he embarked on the project whose origin story is now well known: the founding of Thefacebook.com with four fellow-students (“the” was dropped the following year); the legal battles over ownership, including a suit filed by twin brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, accusing Zuckerberg of stealing their idea; the disclosure of embarrassing messages in which Zuckerberg mocked users for giving him so much data (“they ‘trust me.’ dumb fucks,” he wrote); his regrets about those remarks, and his efforts, in the years afterward, to convince the world that he has left that mind-set behind.

    New hires learned that a crucial measure of the company’s performance was how many people had logged in to Facebook on six of the previous seven days, a measurement known as L6/7. “You could say it’s how many people love this service so much they use it six out of seven days,” Parakilas, who left the company in 2012, said. “But, if your job is to get that number up, at some point you run out of good, purely positive ways. You start thinking about ‘Well, what are the dark patterns that I can use to get people to log back in?’ ”

    Facebook engineers became a new breed of behaviorists, tweaking levers of vanity and passion and susceptibility. The real-world effects were striking. In 2012, when Chan was in medical school, she and Zuckerberg discussed a critical shortage of organs for transplant, inspiring Zuckerberg to add a small, powerful nudge on Facebook: if people indicated that they were organ donors, it triggered a notification to friends, and, in turn, a cascade of social pressure. Researchers later found that, on the first day the feature appeared, it increased official organ-donor enrollment more than twentyfold nationwide.

    Sean Parker later described the company’s expertise as “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” The goal: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” Facebook engineers discovered that people find it nearly impossible not to log in after receiving an e-mail saying that someone has uploaded a picture of them. Facebook also discovered its power to affect people’s political behavior. Researchers found that, during the 2010 midterm elections, Facebook was able to prod users to vote simply by feeding them pictures of friends who had already voted, and by giving them the option to click on an “I Voted” button. The technique boosted turnout by three hundred and forty thousand people—more than four times the number of votes separating Trump and Clinton in key states in the 2016 race. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its “I Voted” button.

    These powers of social engineering could be put to dubious purposes. In 2012, Facebook data scientists used nearly seven hundred thousand people as guinea pigs, feeding them happy or sad posts to test whether emotion is contagious on social media. (They concluded that it is.) When the findings were published, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they caused an uproar among users, many of whom were horrified that their emotions may have been surreptitiously manipulated. In an apology, one of the scientists wrote, “In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.”

    Facebook was, in the words of Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, becoming a pioneer in “ persuasive technology.

    Facebook had adopted a buccaneering motto, “Move fast and break things,” which celebrated the idea that it was better to be flawed and first than careful and perfect. Andrew Bosworth, a former Harvard teaching assistant who is now one of Zuckerberg’s longest-serving lieutenants and a member of his inner circle, explained, “A failure can be a form of success. It’s not the form you want, but it can be a useful thing to how you learn.” In Zuckerberg’s view, skeptics were often just fogies and scolds. “There’s always someone who wants to slow you down,” he said in a commencement address at Harvard last year. “In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.”

    In contrast to a traditional foundation, an L.L.C. can lobby and give money to politicians, without as strict a legal requirement to disclose activities. In other words, rather than trying to win over politicians and citizens in places like Newark, Zuckerberg and Chan could help elect politicians who agree with them, and rally the public directly by running ads and supporting advocacy groups. (A spokesperson for C.Z.I. said that it has given no money to candidates; it has supported ballot initiatives through a 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization.) “The whole point of the L.L.C. structure is to allow a coördinated attack,” Rob Reich, a co-director of Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, told me. The structure has gained popularity in Silicon Valley but has been criticized for allowing wealthy individuals to orchestrate large-scale social agendas behind closed doors. Reich said, “There should be much greater transparency, so that it’s not dark. That’s not a criticism of Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a criticism of the law.”

    La question des langues est fondamentale quand il s’agit de réseaux sociaux

    Beginning in 2013, a series of experts on Myanmar met with Facebook officials to warn them that it was fuelling attacks on the Rohingya. David Madden, an entrepreneur based in Myanmar, delivered a presentation to officials at the Menlo Park headquarters, pointing out that the company was playing a role akin to that of the radio broadcasts that spread hatred during the Rwandan genocide. In 2016, C4ADS, a Washington-based nonprofit, published a detailed analysis of Facebook usage in Myanmar, and described a “campaign of hate speech that actively dehumanizes Muslims.” Facebook officials said that they were hiring more Burmese-language reviewers to take down dangerous content, but the company repeatedly declined to say how many had actually been hired. By last March, the situation had become dire: almost a million Rohingya had fled the country, and more than a hundred thousand were confined to internal camps. The United Nations investigator in charge of examining the crisis, which the U.N. has deemed a genocide, said, “I’m afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it was originally intended.” Afterward, when pressed, Zuckerberg repeated the claim that Facebook was “hiring dozens” of additional Burmese-language content reviewers.

    More than three months later, I asked Jes Kaliebe Petersen, the C.E.O. of Phandeeyar, a tech hub in Myanmar, if there had been any progress. “We haven’t seen any tangible change from Facebook,” he told me. “We don’t know how much content is being reported. We don’t know how many people at Facebook speak Burmese. The situation is getting worse and worse here.”

    I saw Zuckerberg the following morning, and asked him what was taking so long. He replied, “I think, fundamentally, we’ve been slow at the same thing in a number of areas, because it’s actually the same problem. But, yeah, I think the situation in Myanmar is terrible.” It was a frustrating and evasive reply. I asked him to specify the problem. He said, “Across the board, the solution to this is we need to move from what is fundamentally a reactive model to a model where we are using technical systems to flag things to a much larger number of people who speak all the native languages around the world and who can just capture much more of the content.”

    Lecture des journaux ou des aggrégateurs ?

    once asked Zuckerberg what he reads to get the news. “I probably mostly read aggregators,” he said. “I definitely follow Techmeme”—a roundup of headlines about his industry—“and the media and political equivalents of that, just for awareness.” He went on, “There’s really no newspaper that I pick up and read front to back. Well, that might be true of most people these days—most people don’t read the physical paper—but there aren’t many news Web sites where I go to browse.”

    A couple of days later, he called me and asked to revisit the subject. “I felt like my answers were kind of vague, because I didn’t necessarily feel like it was appropriate for me to get into which specific organizations or reporters I read and follow,” he said. “I guess what I tried to convey, although I’m not sure if this came across clearly, is that the job of uncovering new facts and doing it in a trusted way is just an absolutely critical function for society.”

    Zuckerberg and Sandberg have attributed their mistakes to excessive optimism, a blindness to the darker applications of their service. But that explanation ignores their fixation on growth, and their unwillingness to heed warnings. Zuckerberg resisted calls to reorganize the company around a new understanding of privacy, or to reconsider the depth of data it collects for advertisers.

    Antitrust

    In barely two years, the mood in Washington had shifted. Internet companies and entrepreneurs, formerly valorized as the vanguard of American ingenuity and the astronauts of our time, were being compared to Standard Oil and other monopolists of the Gilded Age. This spring, the Wall Street Journal published an article that began, “Imagine a not-too-distant future in which trustbusters force Facebook to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.” It was accompanied by a sepia-toned illustration in which portraits of Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and other tech C.E.O.s had been grafted onto overstuffed torsos meant to evoke the robber barons. In 1915, Louis Brandeis, the reformer and future Supreme Court Justice, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of corporations large enough that they could achieve a level of near-sovereignty “so powerful that the ordinary social and industrial forces existing are insufficient to cope with it.” He called this the “curse of bigness.” Tim Wu, a Columbia law-school professor and the author of a forthcoming book inspired by Brandeis’s phrase, told me, “Today, no sector exemplifies more clearly the threat of bigness to democracy than Big Tech.” He added, “When a concentrated private power has such control over what we see and hear, it has a power that rivals or exceeds that of elected government.”

    When I asked Zuckerberg whether policymakers might try to break up Facebook, he replied, adamantly, that such a move would be a mistake. The field is “extremely competitive,” he told me. “I think sometimes people get into this mode of ‘Well, there’s not, like, an exact replacement for Facebook.’ Well, actually, that makes it more competitive, because what we really are is a system of different things: we compete with Twitter as a broadcast medium; we compete with Snapchat as a broadcast medium; we do messaging, and iMessage is default-installed on every iPhone.” He acknowledged the deeper concern. “There’s this other question, which is just, laws aside, how do we feel about these tech companies being big?” he said. But he argued that efforts to “curtail” the growth of Facebook or other Silicon Valley heavyweights would cede the field to China. “I think that anything that we’re doing to constrain them will, first, have an impact on how successful we can be in other places,” he said. “I wouldn’t worry in the near term about Chinese companies or anyone else winning in the U.S., for the most part. But there are all these places where there are day-to-day more competitive situations—in Southeast Asia, across Europe, Latin America, lots of different places.”

    The rough consensus in Washington is that regulators are unlikely to try to break up Facebook. The F.T.C. will almost certainly fine the company for violations, and may consider blocking it from buying big potential competitors, but, as a former F.T.C. commissioner told me, “in the United States you’re allowed to have a monopoly position, as long as you achieve it and maintain it without doing illegal things.”

    Facebook is encountering tougher treatment in Europe, where antitrust laws are stronger and the history of fascism makes people especially wary of intrusions on privacy. One of the most formidable critics of Silicon Valley is the European Union’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager.

    In Vestager’s view, a healthy market should produce competitors to Facebook that position themselves as ethical alternatives, collecting less data and seeking a smaller share of user attention. “We need social media that will allow us to have a nonaddictive, advertising-free space,” she said. “You’re more than welcome to be successful and to dramatically outgrow your competitors if customers like your product. But, if you grow to be dominant, you have a special responsibility not to misuse your dominant position to make it very difficult for others to compete against you and to attract potential customers. Of course, we keep an eye on it. If we get worried, we will start looking.”

    Modération

    As hard as it is to curb election propaganda, Zuckerberg’s most intractable problem may lie elsewhere—in the struggle over which opinions can appear on Facebook, which cannot, and who gets to decide. As an engineer, Zuckerberg never wanted to wade into the realm of content. Initially, Facebook tried blocking certain kinds of material, such as posts featuring nudity, but it was forced to create long lists of exceptions, including images of breast-feeding, “acts of protest,” and works of art. Once Facebook became a venue for political debate, the problem exploded. In April, in a call with investment analysts, Zuckerberg said glumly that it was proving “easier to build an A.I. system to detect a nipple than what is hate speech.”

    The cult of growth leads to the curse of bigness: every day, a billion things were being posted to Facebook. At any given moment, a Facebook “content moderator” was deciding whether a post in, say, Sri Lanka met the standard of hate speech or whether a dispute over Korean politics had crossed the line into bullying. Zuckerberg sought to avoid banning users, preferring to be a “platform for all ideas.” But he needed to prevent Facebook from becoming a swamp of hoaxes and abuse. His solution was to ban “hate speech” and impose lesser punishments for “misinformation,” a broad category that ranged from crude deceptions to simple mistakes. Facebook tried to develop rules about how the punishments would be applied, but each idiosyncratic scenario prompted more rules, and over time they became byzantine. According to Facebook training slides published by the Guardian last year, moderators were told that it was permissible to say “You are such a Jew” but not permissible to say “Irish are the best, but really French sucks,” because the latter was defining another people as “inferiors.” Users could not write “Migrants are scum,” because it is dehumanizing, but they could write “Keep the horny migrant teen-agers away from our daughters.” The distinctions were explained to trainees in arcane formulas such as “Not Protected + Quasi protected = not protected.”

    It will hardly be the last quandary of this sort. Facebook’s free-speech dilemmas have no simple answers—you don’t have to be a fan of Alex Jones to be unnerved by the company’s extraordinary power to silence a voice when it chooses, or, for that matter, to amplify others, to pull the levers of what we see, hear, and experience. Zuckerberg is hoping to erect a scalable system, an orderly decision tree that accounts for every eventuality and exception, but the boundaries of speech are a bedevilling problem that defies mechanistic fixes. The Supreme Court, defining obscenity, landed on “I know it when I see it.” For now, Facebook is making do with a Rube Goldberg machine of policies and improvisations, and opportunists are relishing it. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, seized on the ban of Jones as a fascist assault on conservatives. In a moment that was rich even by Cruz’s standards, he quoted Martin Niemöller’s famous lines about the Holocaust, saying, “As the poem goes, you know, ‘First they came for Alex Jones.’ ”

    #Facebook #Histoire_numérique


  • Instagram founders quit amid suspected clash with Zuckerberg
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/25/instagram-founders-quit-amid-suspected-clash-with-zuckerberg

    Tension with Facebook may have prompted Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger to leave The co-founders of Instagram have announced their resignation from the company, amid reports that their departure might be due to an increase in meddling by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the site’s parent company, Facebook. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger did not say why they were leaving their positions as chief executive officer and chief technical officer, respectively, of the photo-sharing service, just that they (...)

    #Facebook #Instagram #Messenger #WhatsApp #bénéfices #BigData #concurrence #profiling (...)

    ##cryptage