industryterm:online world

  • How Technologies Have Influenced The Digital Marketing Industry?

    Digital Marketing is actively growing and presents users with incredible new products. It’s always going to be a changing industry since the online world is developing rapidly. For example, in the U.S, many businesses spend about $120 billion on digital marketing, making it one of the biggest playing fields. Every company desires to have a reliable and excellent name in the market, but they can face several pitfalls. Despite the fast growth of digital marketing, some models are wrought with:excessively high commission fees;click fraud;inefficient targeting algorithms.There are many businesses around the world, who complain they can’t find the proper marketing channels. They create advertising in many sites or apps, but when they receive results, they are unable to define which place (...)

    #technology #blockchain #cryptocurrency #digital-marketing #business

  • 5 Reasons Why Every Small Business Needs a #wordpress Website

    Nethority.comThis is the era where everything is getting digitalized. Along with the offline presence, every business needs to be present online on WWW. If you own a small business, you must drag it to the online world of internet. Even if your business serves locally, you must have an online access to it. The world is changing at a fast pace and you shouldn’t be the last one to join the race, right?To make an online presence, your business needs to have a website. The best and affordable way is to develop a WordPress website. Let’s have a look at why your small business needs a WordPress website.1) Creating and maintaining a WordPress website is trouble-free.For small business, creating a website is the first step to walk in the online world. WordPress website is easy to develop if you (...)

    #small-business #smb-wordpress #wordpress-website #small-business-wordpress

  • The Future Potential of #dating Using #blockchain Technology

    An Online Dating Market Outlook with LoveBlockThe Rise of the Online Dating IndustryMatchmaking is one of the world’s oldest professions. From the days of ancient China when swallows were used to decide a suitable match and the Biblical stories of the camel test to the wacky scientific methods of the 1920’s and then onto the online world of today.Consequently, it is no surprise that the business is booming with the many thousands of apps and websites available. In fact, the dating sector is now one of the fastest evolving industries on the planet and with record numbers of singles turning to the Internet to find every kind of relationship imaginable, there shows no signs of it slowing down.Young adults are leading the surge in online dating, with the greatest usage among 18–24-year-olds. (...)

    #online-dating #blockchain-dating #dating-using-blockchain

  • Sexist Comments Flourish on Airbnb in China - Bloomberg

    Women are judged on their looks, including on rival Xiaozhu
    Public outcry ensued after a woman using Didi was murdered

    Sexist Comments Flourish on Airbnb in China

    Airbnb bans trolling, discrimination and profanity. Yet if you’re a female user, expect a few choice remarks about your looks while using it in China.

    Once regarded as a fun social aspect of online services in China, the proliferation of reviews talking about women’s looks — from guests being called “a babe” to comments on a host’s sex appeal — is now drawing fire as a potential safety hazard. While China has long tolerated sexism, recent scandals in the sharing economy have triggered a backlash.

    “In the past, I felt such comments were compliments and even felt a sense of pride,” said Sun Qian, a frequent user of Airbnb who has had comments made about her appearance. “But recent events got me thinking how too much of my personal information is exposed on these platforms.” The 30-year-old from Beijing has even been offered discounts if she agreed to refer good-looking friends to the properties as hosts try to generate buzz.

    While Airbnb highlights a detailed content policy listing dozens of prohibitions, pointed comments can be found in reviews across its site in China. In one, a user said “what long legs this lovely little sister has,” the guest at another home described the owner as “a legendary beauty, both sexy and passionate” while a third wrote that “the landlady and her mom are both babes.”

    The company promises to remove views that “may pose a personal safety risk to an Airbnb community member” or infringes on “privacy rights.”

    Airbnb to Share Information With Authorities on Guests in China

    “Bullying and harassment are unacceptable violations of our community commitment and our policies,” the San Francisco-based startup said in a statement on Tuesday. “Our community’s safety, both online and offline, is our priority.”

    Rating women by their looks wouldn’t be accepted in much of the world but Chinese culture is far more liberal about such public appraisals, with anything from wealth to weight and social status considered fair game.

    “I don’t think there is consensus among Chinese women that they think it’s offensive. That’s where the disconnect is,” said Rui Ma, an angel investor in Chinese startups whose career has seen her spend time in both China and Silicon Valley. “It’s been normalized, and it’s going to be extremely hard to fight against.”

    The amount of information about women on platforms such as Airbnb and local rival Xiaozhu has come into focus since a female user of Didi Chuxing’s car-pooling service was murdered this month, allegedly by a driver who picked her up after noting what others said about her appearance. Didi has since taken precautions to limit the commentary on people’s looks, such as by deleting personalized tags.

    Didi Shakes Up Car Pooling Safety After Passenger Murdered

    Airbnb said it takes appropriate action whenever it is made aware of such incidents, yet the comments continue to appear. “This girl has a real aura of elegance,” read one posting.

    The issue isn’t restricted to Airbnb, with similar comments on rival Xiaozhu. “You have a great figure. Not fat at all, very sexy and charming,” read one review.

    Xiaozhu says it doesn’t provide label tags for users and incorporates an automatic key word filtering system for specific phrases it says are vulgar, obscene or violent. The company also has censors to evaluate whether comments are appropriate, according to spokesman Pan Caifu.

    As China’s Tourists Go Global, Its Companies Follow: Adam Minter

    But the tide is turning after the Didi killing, which triggered concerns among women about their personal information. The crime has prompted many to seek greater responsibility in safeguarding their privacy from online services and prompted many women to change their head-shots and descriptions.

    Yasmina Guo said she’s seen female acquaintances replace their profiles overnight with cartoon pictures or — at the other extreme — menacing-looking old men described as “butchers.”

    “From a very young age, we’ve been exposed to this kind of environment where people feel very comfortable commenting about your appearance, and this is spilling into the online world,” the 24-year-old Airbnb devotee said. “However, on social media, it can present a real danger and people are becoming more aware.”

    #Airbnb #Chine #sexisme

  • “Minitel: The Online World France Built Before the Web”

    Minitel enthusiasts cherished the network’s privacy and anonymity. In late 1984, Minitel engineers added a feature to the terminal that saved the last page visited and made it easier for the user to pick up an interrupted session—as a browser cookie does today. The public outcry was swift and brutal. (...) Some 3,000 terminals were returned in protest. The PTT soon dropped this feature.

    #minitel #autresTempsAutresMœurs

  • Et encore un projet de #cryptomonnaie dans le transport…

    Commodities Shipper Seeks $150 Million to Start Digital Coin - Bloomberg

    The shipping agency that struck the first freight deal settled in #Bitcoin is now seeking $150 million to launch its own cryptocurrency. 

    #Prime_Shipping_Foundation, a partnership between Gibraltar-based Quorum Capital Ltd. and ship broker Interchart LLC, is looking to raise the funds by midyear in a so-called initial coin offering. Using its own cryptocurrency would ease conversions into and out of traditional currencies, speeding settlement, according to Chief Executive Officer Ivan Vikulov.

    The company was the first to execute a freight deal in Bitcoin, shipping 3,000 tons of Russian wheat to Turkey at the end of last year. While the freight charges were billed in the cryptocurrency, using digital coins to pay for the actual commodities has proven to be difficult. That’s because their lack of liquidity makes it harder to convert higher-value deals quickly into fiat currencies, he said.

    The conversion in and out of Bitcoin can sometimes take one or two days, and that’s not fast enough,” Vikulov said. “Ours will take a few seconds.

    • Pour l’instant, on est dans le #vrac

      Prime Shipping Foundation piloted blockchain payment system for the #bulk shipping industry, announcing ICO for mid-2018.

      Prime Shipping Foundation is developing an own payment ecosystem to disrupt the way payments are handled in the shipping industry, has already executed freight in cryptocurrency. The venture is currently in their pre-ICO, announced to head for ICO in mid-2018.
      The Prime Crypto Bank will become the interface between the online world and the real world, allowing a gradual adoption for the shipping industry, without compromising the benefits the new era brings

  • Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble | The New York Times

    (…) You may be inclined to dismiss these transformations. After all, #Bitcoin and Ether’s runaway valuation looks like a case study in irrational exuberance. And why should you care about an arcane technical breakthrough that right now doesn’t feel all that different from signing in to a website to make a credit card payment?

    But that dismissal would be shortsighted. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the recent history of the internet, it’s that seemingly esoteric decisions about software architecture can unleash profound global forces once the technology moves into wider circulation. If the email standards adopted in the 1970s had included public-private key cryptography as a default setting, we might have avoided the cataclysmic email hacks that have afflicted everyone from Sony to John Podesta, and millions of ordinary consumers might be spared routinized identity theft. If Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, had included a protocol for mapping our social identity in his original specs, we might not have Facebook.

    The true believers behind #blockchain platforms like Ethereum argue that a network of distributed trust is one of those advances in software architecture that will prove, in the long run, to have historic significance. That promise has helped fuel the huge jump in cryptocurrency valuations. But in a way, the Bitcoin bubble may ultimately turn out to be a distraction from the true significance of the blockchain. The real promise of these new technologies, many of their evangelists believe, lies not in displacing our currencies but in replacing much of what we now think of as the internet, while at the same time returning the online world to a more decentralized and egalitarian system. If you believe the evangelists, the blockchain is the future. But it is also a way of getting back to the internet’s roots.

    • Comment les industries culturelles peuvent tirer parti de la blockchain | Meta-media | La révolution de l’information

      Octobre 2015, The Economist affiche en Une la question suivante : « Comment la technologie derrière le bitcoin pourrait changer le monde ? ». Cette couverture est un déclic pour le monde de la tech. Et pour cause, cette technologie qui permet de stocker et d’échanger de l’information de manière décentralisée, sans passer par un tiers de confiance, pourrait avoir un impact structurel sur de nombreux secteurs.

      Benoît Defamie, expert de la blockchain musique et de la startup Scenso TV, que nous avons rencontré lors d’un meet-up à Paris la semaine dernière, affirme que le nombre de « mineurs », ces personnes qui décident de prendre part à la blockchain en vérifiant les échanges d’informations à l’aide de leurs terminaux, a été multiplié par six en l’espace d’une année. Le phénomène commence à prendre de l’ampleur et il est temps de se demander comment les industries culturelles pourraient tirer parti de cette technologie.

  • Undercover With the Alt-Right - The New York Times

    Last September, Patrik Hermansson, a 25-year-old graduate student from Sweden, went undercover in the world of the extreme right. Posing as a student writing a thesis about the suppression of right-wing speech, he traveled from London to New York to Charlottesville, Va. — and into the heart of a dangerous movement that is experiencing a profound rejuvenation.

    Mr. Hermansson, who was sent undercover by the British anti-racist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, spent months insinuating himself into the alt-right, using his Swedish nationality (many neo-Nazis are obsessed with Sweden because of its “Nordic” heritage) as a way in. It wasn’t always easy. “You want to punch them in the face,” he told me of the people he met undercover. “You want to scream and do whatever — leave. But you can’t do any of those things. You have to sit and smile.”

    What he learned while undercover is one part of a shocking, comprehensive new report from Hope Not Hate that sheds light on the strange landscape of the alt-right, the much discussed, little understood and largely anonymous far-right movement that exists mostly online and that has come to national attention in part because of its support for Donald Trump.

    The extreme alt-right are benefiting immensely from the energy being produced by a more moderate — but still far-right — faction known as the “alt-light.”

    The alt-light promotes a slightly softer set of messages. Its figures — such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Mike Cernovich — generally frame their work as part of an effort to defend “the West” or “Western culture” against supposed left-liberal dominance, rather than making explicitly racist appeals. Many of them, in fact, have renounced explicit racism and anti-Semitism, though they will creep up to the line of explicitly racist speech, especially when Islam and immigration are concerned.

    According to researchers, the key to hooking new recruits into any movement, and to getting them increasingly involved over time, is to simply give them activities to participate in. This often precedes any deep ideological commitment on the recruits’ part and, especially early on, is more about offering them a sense of meaning and community than anything else.

    Intentionally or not, the far right has deftly applied these insights to the online world. Viewed through the filters of alt-light outlets like Breitbart and Prison Planet, or through Twitter feeds like Mr. Watson’s, the world is a horror show of crimes by migrants, leftist censorship and attacks on common sense. And the best, easiest way to fight back is through social media.

    The newly initiated are offered many opportunities to participate directly. A teenager in a suburban basement can join a coordinated global effort to spread misinformation about Emmanuel Macron, France’s centrist president, in the hopes of helping far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Anyone who wants to do so can help spread the word about supposed mainstream media censorship of the Muslim “crime wave” the far right says is ravaging Europe.

    These efforts — a click, a retweet, a YouTube comment — come to feel like important parts of an epochal struggle. The far right, once hemmed in by its own parochialism, has manufactured a worldwide online battlefield anyone with internet access can step into.

    #Alt_right #Extrême_droite #Médias_sociaux #Post_truth


    For over a decade I have supported and defended Mozilla and Firefox (sometimes in weird ways). I truly hope this is a move in which they succeed, as the alternative won’t be a pleasant outcome to anyone in the online world, and I wish I could be a part of it and help construct and hone it to the outstanding platform they intend it to become. It’s unfortunate that we have such divergent paths, I remain pessimistic about Mozilla’s current strategy, so I must make a new one for myself. Still, I wish the best of luck to everyone there; I’m still afraid you’ll need it.

    Le développeur qui avait repris (entre autres) l’extension Tab Groups pour #Firefox jette l’éponge face à la stratégie de #mozilla.

    Beaucoup d’amertume dans cette mise au point, c’est triste et inquiétant.

  • Unlike Us | About

    Invitation to join the network (a series of events, reader, workshops, online debates, campaigns etc.)

    Concept: Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures/HvA, Amsterdam) and Korinna Patelis (Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol)

    Thanks to Marc Stumpel, Sabine Niederer, Vito Campanelli, Ned Rossiter, Michael Dieter, Oliver Leistert, Taina Bucher, Gabriella Coleman, Ulises Mejias, Anne Helmond, Lonneke van der Velden, Morgan Currie and Eric Kluitenberg for their input.

    The aim of Unlike Us is to establish a research network of artists, designers, scholars, activists and programmers who work on ‘alternatives in social media’. Through workshops, conferences, online dialogues and publications, Unlike Us intends to both analyze the economic and cultural aspects of dominant social media platforms and to propagate the further development and proliferation of alternative, decentralized social media software.

    Whether or not we are in the midst of internet bubble 2.0, we can all agree that social media dominate internet and mobile use. The emergence of web-based user to user services, driven by an explosion of informal dialogues, continuous uploads and user generated content have greatly empowered the rise of participatory culture. At the same time, monopoly power, commercialization and commodification are also on the rise with just a handful of social media platforms dominating the social web. These two contradictory processes – both the facilitation of free exchanges and the commercial exploitation of social relationships – seem to lie at the heart of contemporary capitalism.

    On the one hand new media create and expand the social spaces through which we interact, play and even politicize ourselves; on the other hand they are literally owned by three or four companies that have phenomenal power to shape such interaction. Whereas the hegemonic Internet ideology promises open, decentralized systems, why do we, time and again, find ourselves locked into closed corporate environments? Why are individual users so easily charmed by these ‘walled gardens’? Do we understand the long-term costs that society will pay for the ease of use and simple interfaces of their beloved ‘free’ services?

    The accelerated growth and scope of Facebook’s social space, for example, is unheard of. Facebook claims to have 700 million users, ranks in the top two or three first destination sites on the Web worldwide and is valued at 50 billion US dollars. Its users willingly deposit a myriad of snippets of their social life and relationships on a site that invests in an accelerated play of sharing and exchanging information. We all befriend, rank, recommend, create circles, upload photos, videos and update our status. A myriad of (mobile) applications orchestrate this offer of private moments in a virtual public, seamlessly embedding the online world in users’ everyday life.

    Yet despite its massive user base, the phenomena of online social networking remains fragile. Just think of the fate of the majority of social networking sites. Who has ever heard of Friendster? The death of Myspace has been looming on the horizon for quite some time. The disappearance of Twitter and Facebook – and Google, for that matter – is only a masterpiece of software away. This means that the protocological future is not stationary but allows space for us to carve out a variety of techno-political interventions. Unlike Us is developed in the spirit of RSS-inventor and uberblogger Dave Winer whose recent Blork project is presented as an alternative for ‘corporate blogging silos’. But instead of repeating the entrepreneurial-start-up-transforming-into-corporate-behemoth formula, isn’t it time to reinvent the internet as a truly independent public infrastructure that can effectively defend itself against corporate domination and state control?

    Going beyond the culture of complaint about our ignorance and loss of privacy, the proposed network of artists, scholars, activists and media folks will ask fundamental and overarching questions about how to tackle these fast-emerging monopoly powers. Situated within the existing oligopoly of ownership and use, this inquiry will include the support of software alternatives and related artistic practices and the development of a common alternative vision of how the techno-social world might be mediated.

    Without falling into the romantic trap of some harmonious offline life, Unlike Us asks what sort of network architectures could be designed that contribute to ‘the common’, understood as a shared resource and system of collective production that supports new forms of social organizations (such as organized networks) without mining for data to sell. What aesthetic tactics could effectively end the expropriation of subjective and private dimensions that we experience daily in social networks? Why do we ignore networks that refuse the (hyper)growth model and instead seek to strengthen forms of free cooperation? Turning the tables, let’s code and develop other ‘network cultures’ whose protocols are no longer related to the logic of ‘weak ties’. What type of social relations do we want to foster and discover in the 21st century? Imagine dense, diverse networked exchanges between billions of people, outside corporate and state control. Imagine discourses returning subjectivities to their ‘natural’ status as open nodes based on dialogue and an ethics of free exchange.

    To a large degree social media research is still dominated by quantitative and social scientific endeavors. So far the focus has been on moral panics, privacy and security, identity theft, self-representation from Goffman to Foucault and graph-based network theory that focuses on influencers and (news) hubs. What is curiously missing from the discourse is a rigorous discussion of the political economy of these social media monopolies. There is also a substantial research gap in understanding the power relations between the social and the technical in what are essentially software systems and platforms. With this initiative, we want to shift focus away from the obsession with youth and usage to the economic, political, artistic and technical aspects of these online platforms. What we first need to acknowledge is social media’s double nature.

    Dismissing social media as neutral platforms with no power is as implausible as considering social media the bad boys of capitalism. The beauty and depth of social media is that they call for a new understanding of classic dichotomies such as commercial/political, private/public, users/producers, artistic/standardised, original/copy, democratising/ disempowering. Instead of taking these dichotomies as a point of departure, we want to scrutinise the social networking logic. Even if Twitter and Facebook implode overnight, the social networking logic of befriending, liking and ranking will further spread across all aspects of life.

    The proposed research agenda is at once a philosophical, epistemological and theoretical investigation of knowledge artifacts, cultural production and social relations and an empirical investigation of the specific phenomenon of monopoly social media. Methodologically we will use the lessons learned from theoretical research activities to inform practice-oriented research, and vice-versa. Unlike Us is a common initiative of the Institute of Network Cultures (Amsterdam University of Applied Science HvA) and the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol.

    An online network and a reader connected to a series of events initially in Amsterdam and Cyprus (early 2012) are already in planning. We would explicitly like to invite other partners to come on board who identify with the spirit of this proposal, to organize related conferences, festivals, workshops, temporary media labs and barcamps (where coders come together) with us. The reader (tentatively planned as number 8 in the Reader series published by the INC) will be produced mid-late 2012. The call for contributions to the network, the reader and the event series goes out in July 2011, followed by the publicity for the first events and other initiatives by possible new partners.

    Topics of Investigation
    The events, online platform, reader and other outlets may include the following topics inviting theoretical, empirical, practical and art-based contributions, though not every event or publication might deal with all issues. We anticipate the need for specialized workshops and barcamps.

    1. Political Economy: Social Media Monopolies
    Social media culture is belied in American corporate capitalism, dominated by the logic of start-ups and venture capital, management buyouts, IPOs etc. Three to four companies literally own the Western social media landscape and capitalize on the content produced by millions of people around the world. One thing is evident about the market structure of social media: one-to-many is not giving way to many-to-many without first going through many-to-one. What power do these companies actually have? Is there any evidence that such ownership influences user-generated content? How does this ownership express itself structurally and in technical terms?

    What conflicts arise when a platform like Facebook is appropriated for public or political purposes, while access to the medium can easily be denied by the company? Facebook is worth billions, does that really mean something for the average user? How does data-mining work and what is its economy? What is the role of discourse (PR) in creating and sustaining an image of credibility and trustworthiness, and in which forms does it manifest to oppose that image? The bigger social media platforms form central nodes, such as image upload services and short ulr services. This ecology was once fairly open, with a variety of new Twitter-related services coming into being, but now Twitter takes up these services itself, favoring their own product through default settings; on top of that it is increasingly shutting down access to developers, which shrinks the ecology and makes it less diverse.

    2. The Private in the Public
    The advent of social media has eroded privacy as we know it, giving rise to a culture of self-surveillance made up of myriad voluntary, everyday disclosures. New understandings of private and public are needed to address this phenomenon. What does owning all this user data actually mean? Why are people willing to give up their personal data, and that of others? How should software platforms be regulated?

    Is software like a movie to be given parental guidance? What does it mean that there are different levels of access to data, from partner info brokers and third-party developers to the users? Why is education in social media not in the curriculum of secondary schools? Can social media companies truly adopt a Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights?

    3. Visiting the Belly of the Beast
    The exuberance and joy that defined the dotcom era is cliché by now. IT use is occurring across the board, and new labour conditions can be found everywhere. But this should not keep our eyes away from the power relations inside internet companies. What are the geopolitical lines of distribution that define the organization and outsourcing taking place in global IT companies these days? How is the industry structured and how does its economy work?

    Is there a broader connection to be made with the politics of land expropriation and peasant labour in countries like India, for instance, and how does this analytically converge with the experiences of social media users? How do monopolies deal with their employees’ use of the platforms? What can we learn from other market sectors and perspectives that (critically) reflect on, for example, techniques of sustainability or fair trade?

    4. Artistic Responses to Social Media
    Artists are playing a crucial role in visualizing power relationships and disrupting subliminal daily routines of social media usage. Artistic practice provides an important analytical site in the context of the proposed research agenda, as artists are often first to deconstruct the familiar and to facilitate an alternative lens to understand and critique these media. Is there such a thing as a social ‘web aesthetics’? It is one thing to criticize Twitter and Facebook for their primitive and bland interface designs. How can we imagine the social in different ways? And how can we design and implement new interfaces to provide more creative freedom to cater to our multiple identities? Also, what is the scope of interventions with social media, such as, for example, the ‘dislike button’ add-on for Facebook? And what practices are really needed? Isn’t it time, for example, for a Facebook ‘identity correction’?

    5. Designing culture: representation and software
    Social media offer us the virtual worlds we use every day. From Facebook’s ‘like’ button to blogs’ user interface, these tools empower and delimit our interactions. How do we theorize the plethora of social media features? Are they to be understood as mere technical functions, cultural texts, signifiers, affordances, or all these at once? In what ways do design and functionalities influence the content and expressions produced? And how can we map and critique this influence? What are the cultural assumptions embedded in the design of social media sites and what type of users or communities do they produce?

    To answer the question of structure and design, one route is to trace the genealogy of functionalities, to historicize them and look for discursive silences. How can we make sense of the constant changes occurring both on and beyond the interface? How can we theorize the production and configuration of an ever-increasing algorithmic and protocological culture more generally?

    6. Software Matters: Sociotechnical and Algorithmic Cultures
    One of the important components of social media is software. For all the discourse on sociopolitical power relations governed by corporations such as Facebook and related platforms, one must not forget that social media platforms are thoroughly defined and powered by software. We need critical engagement with Facebook as software. That is, what is the role of software in reconfiguring contemporary social spaces? In what ways does code make a difference in how identities are formed and social relationships performed? How does the software function to interpellate users to its logic? What are the discourses surrounding software?

    One of the core features of Facebook for instance is its news feed, which is algorithmically driven and sorted in its default mode. The EdgeRank algorithm of the news feed governs the logic by which content becomes visible, acting as a modern gatekeeper and editorial voice. Given its 700 million users, it has become imperative to understand the power of EdgeRank and its cultural implications. Another important analytical site for investigation are the ‘application programming interfaces’ (APIs) that to a large extent made the phenomenal growth of social media platforms possible in the first place. How have APIs contributed to the business logic of social media? How can we theorize social media use from the perspective of the programmer?

    7. Genealogies of Social Networking Sites
    Feedback in a closed system is a core characteristic of Facebook; even the most basic and important features, such as ‘friending’, traces back to early cybernetics’ ideas of control. While the word itself became lost in various transitions, the ideas of cybernetics have remained stable in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics and the biopolitical arena. Both communication and information theories shaped this discourse. How does Facebook relate to such an algorithmic shape of social life? What can Facebook teach us about the powers of systems theory? Would Norbert Wiener and Niklas Luhmann be friends on Facebook?

    8. Is Research Doomed?
    The design of Facebook excludes the third person perspective, as the only way in is through ones own profile. What does this inbuilt ‘me-centricity’ imply for social media research? Does it require us to rethink the so-called objectivity of researchers and the detached view of current social research? Why is it that there are more than 200 papers about the way people use Facebook, but the site is ‘closed’ to true quantitative inquiry? Is the state of art in social media research exemplary of the ‘quantitative turn’ in new media research? Or is there a need to expand and rethink methods of inquiry in social media research? Going beyond the usual methodological approaches of the quantitative and qualitative, we seek to broaden the scope of investigating these media. How can we make sense of the political economy and the socio-technical elements, and with what means? Indeed, what are our toolkits for collective, transdisciplinary modes of knowledge and the politics of refusal?

    9. Researching Unstable Ontologies
    Software destabilizes Facebook as a solid ontology. Software is always in becoming and so by nature ontogenetic. It grows and grows, living off of constant input. Logging on one never encounters the same content, as it changes on an algorithmic level and in terms of the platform itself. What does Facebook’s fluid nature imply for how we make sense of and study it? Facebook for instance willingly complicates research: 1. It is always personalized (see Eli Pariser). Even when creating ‘empty’ research accounts it never gives the same results compared to other people’s empty research accounts. 2. One must often be ‘inside’ social media to study it. Access from the outside is limited, which reinforces the first problem. 3. Outside access is ideally (for Facebook and Twitter) arranged through carefully regulated protocols of APIs and can easily be restricted. Next to social media as a problem for research, there is also the question of social research methods as intervention.

    10. Making Sense of Data: Visualization and Critique
    Data representation is one of the most important battlefields nowadays. Indeed, global corporations build their visions of the world increasingly based on and structured around complex data flows. What is the role of data today and what are the appropriate ways in which to make sense of the burgeoning datasets? As data visualization is becoming a powerful buzzword and social research increasingly uses digital tools to make ‘beautiful’ graphs and visualizations, there is a need to take a step back and question the usefulness of current data visualization tools and to develop novel analytical frameworks through which to critically grasp these often simplified and nontransparent ways of representing data.

    Not only is it important to develop new interpretative and visual methods to engage with data flows, data itself needs to be questioned. We need to ask about data’s ontological and epistemological nature. What is it, who is the producer, for whom, where is it stored? In what ways do social media companies’ terms of service regulate data? Whether alternative social media or monopolistic platforms, how are our data-bodies exactly affected by changes in the software?

    11. Pitfalls of Building Social Media Alternatives
    It is not only important to critique and question existing design and socio-political realities but also to engage with possible futures. The central aim of this project is therefore to contribute and support ‘alternatives in social media’. What would the collective design of alternative protocols and interfaces look like? We should find some comfort in the small explosion of alternative options currently available, but also ask how usable these options are and how real is the danger of fragmentation. How have developers from different initiatives so far collaborated and what might we learn from their successes and failures? Understanding any early failures and successes of these attempts seems crucial.

    A related issue concerns funding difficulties faced by projects. Finally, in what ways does regionalism (United States, Europe, Asia) feed into the way people search for alternatives and use social media.

    12. Showcasing Alternatives in Social Media
    The best way to criticize platform monopolies is to support alternative free and open source software that can be locally installed. There are currently a multitude of decentralized social networks in the making that aspire to facilitate users with greater power to define for themselves with whom share their data. Let us look into the wildly different initiatives from Crabgrass, Appleseed, Diaspora, NoseRub, BuddyCloud, Protonet, StatusNet, GNU Social, Lorea and OneSocialWeb to the distributed Twitter alternative Thimbl.

    In which settings are these initiative developed and what choices are made for their design? Let’s hear from the Spanish activists who have recently made experiences with the platform developed by Lorea. What community does this platform enable? While traditional software focuses on the individual profile and its relation to the network and a public (share with friends, share with friends of friends, share with public), the Lorea software for instance asks you with whom to share an update, picture or video. It finegrains the idea of privacy and sharing settings at the content level, not the user’s profile. At the same time, it requires constant decision making, or else a high level of trust in the community you share your data with. And how do we experience the transition from, or interoperability with, other platforms? Is it useful to make a distinction between corporate competitors and grassroots initiatives? How can these beta alternatives best be supported, both economically and socially? Aren’t we overstating the importance of software and isn’t the availability of capital much bigger in determining the adoption of a platform?

    13. Social Media Activism and the Critique of Liberation Technology
    While the tendency to label any emergent social movement as the latest ‘Twitter revolution’ has passed, a liberal discourse of ‘liberation technology’ (information and communication technologies that empower grassroots movements) continues to influence our ideas about networked participation. This discourse tends to obscure power relations and obstruct critical questioning about the capitalist institutions and superstructures in which these technologies operate. What are the assumptions behind this neo-liberal discourse? What role do ‘developed’ nations play when they promote and subsidize the development of technologies of circumvention and hacktivism for use in ‘underdeveloped’ states, while at the same time allowing social media companies at home to operate in increasingly deregulated environments and collaborating with them in the surveillance of citizens at home and abroad? What role do companies play in determining how their products are used by dissidents or governments abroad? How have their policies and Terms of Use changed as a result?

    14. Social Media in the Middle East and Beyond
    The justified response to downplay the role of Facebook in early 2011 events in Tunisia and Egypt by putting social media in a larger perspective has not taken off the table the question of how to organize social mobilizations. Which specific software do the ‘movements of squares’ need? What happens to social movements when the internet and ICT networks are shut down? How does the interruption of internet services shift the nature of activism? How have repressive and democratic governments responded to the use of ‘liberation technologies’? How do these technologies change the relationship between the state and its citizens? How are governments using the same social media tools for surveillance and propaganda or highjacking Facebook identities, such as happened in Syria? What is Facebook’s own policy when deleting or censoring accounts of its users?

    How can technical infrastructures be supported which are not shutdown upon request? How much does our agency depend on communication technology nowadays? And whom do we exclude with every click? How can we envision ‘organized networks’ that are based on ’strong ties’ yet open enough to grow quickly if the time is right? Which software platforms are best suited for the ‘tactical camping’ movements that occupy squares all over the world?

    15. Data storage: social media and legal cultures
    Data that is voluntarily shared by social media users is not only used for commercial purposes, but is also of interest to governments. This data is stored on servers of companies that are bound to the specific legal culture and country. This material-legal complex is often overlooked. Fore instance, the servers of Facebook and Twitter are located in the US and therefore fall under the US jurisdiction. One famous example is the request for the Twitter accounts of several activists (Gonggrijp, Jónsdóttir, Applebaum) affiliated with Wikileaks projects by the US government. How do activists respond and how do alternative social media platforms deal with this issue?

  • #Book: The Dark Net - Inside the Digital Underworld - Jamie Bartlett (2014)

    Nominated for the Debut Political Book of the Year, the Transmission Prize and the Orwell Prize.

    Jamie Bartlett is a journalist, blogger, incl. for The Telegraph, and director of the Centre for the Analytics of Social media (CASM).

    In this book Jamie Bartlett explains why he thinks the dark net is becoming mainstream. He shows the shift towards a consumer centric attitude (customer service), where sellers build and care about reputation, customer reviews & grading. Prices go down, quality goes up. In order to appeal some even go as far as advertising “fair trade” organic cocaïne, straight from the Guatemalan farmer instead of the drug lords.

    The dark net is going mainstream. #Aphex_Twin announced his last album directly on the dark net. Even #Facebook has a dark net .onion entry in order to be accessible via TOR.

    Bartlett predicts that social media going to expand its foothold in the dark net.

    Beyond the familiar online world that most of us inhabit—a world of Google, Facebook, and Twitter—lies a vast and often hidden network of sites, communities, and cultures where freedom is pushed to its limits, and where people can be anyone, or do anything, they want. This is the world of Bitcoin and Silk Road, of radicalism and pornography. This is the Dark Net.

    In this important and revealing book, Jamie Bartlett takes us deep into the digital underworld and presents an extraordinary look at the internet we don’t know. Beginning with the rise of the internet and the conflicts and battles that defined its early years, Bartlett reports on trolls, pornographers, drug dealers, hackers, political extremists, Bitcoin programmers, and vigilantes—and puts a human face on those who have many reasons to stay anonymous.

    Appearance on #TED: "How the mysterious dark net is going mainstream"

    Talk at Google:

    Book reviews:

    In French:,article,24787.html

    Ce livre est un voyage auprès des âmes sombres du net, des sous-cultures créatives, et des plus destructrices. Au nom de l’innovation, de la liberté, de l’anonymat, ou encore de la perversité et de la haine, les sans-visage mènent une vie parallèle dans un monde souvent discuté, jamais vraiment exploré.

    In English:


    List of articles written by Jamie Bartlett:

    –On Ross Ulbricht (Silk Road) conviction & Doctor X. Salon, June 2015
    – How we became obsessed with online privacy The Telegraph, June 2015
    – On the Nathan Barley World of the Klout Obsessives The Telegraph, April 2015
    – Bot army unleashed onto Twitter to troll online misogynists, The Telegraph, April 2015
    – Islamic State and encryption: what to do? The Telegraph, March 2015
    – Ethereum: ethical hackers plot to transform the internet The Spectator, March 2015
    – The radical right are now the most vocal supporters of free speech. How? Little Atoms, February 2015
    – Cover of Darkness: will online anonymity win out? Aeon, January 2015
    – Why do we feel the need to tweet after tragedy? The Telegraph, January 2015
    – Review of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower: The Many Faces of Anonymous The Guardian, November 2014
    – Review of Russell Brand’s ’Revolution’ Harry’s Place, November 2014
    – Most British Jihadis are dumb thrill-seekers The Telegraph August 2014
    – How the dark net drugs markets work Sunday Times, August 2014
    – Battle of ideas moves online New York Times, August 2014
    – Wikiwashing and paid Wikipedia editors The Telegraph, July 2014
    – My interview with Tommy Robinson The Telegraph, June 2014
    – Mo Ansar and the rise of the bogus social media commentator The Telegraph, May 2014
    – On the Anarcho-primitivists The Telegraph, May 2014
    – On the Transhumanists The Telegraph, April 2014
    – Dying online: digital grieving and Twitter grief The Telegraph, April 2014
    – Algorithms will soon rule the world The Telegraph, March 2014

    #dark_net #darknet
    #drugs #pornography #terrorism #anonymity #privacy
    #bitcoin #multi-signature_escrow

  • Nine charged in $100m insider trading case tied to Ukraine hackers

    It was a symbiotic relationship that brought together the underbelly of Wall Street and the dark reaches of the online world.

    From their suburban homes in the United States, dozens of rogue stock traders would send overseas hackers a shopping list of corporate news releases they wanted to get a sneak peek at before they were made public. The hackers, working from Ukraine, would then deliver how-to videos by email with instructions for gaining access to the pilfered earnings releases.

    In all, 32 traders and hackers reaped more than $100 million in illegal proceeds in a sophisticated and brazen scheme that is the biggest to marry the wizardry of computer hacking to old-fashioned insider trading, according to court filings made public on Tuesday. One of the men, Vitaly Korchevsky, a hedge fund manager and former Morgan Stanley employee living in a Philadelphia suburb, made $17 million in illegal profits, the indictment said.

  • Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban

    Cut off from the Internet, young Cubans have quietly linked thousands of computers into a hidden network that stretches miles across Havana, letting them chat with friends, play games and download hit movies in a mini-replica of the online world that most can’t access.

    Home Internet connections are banned for all but a handful of Cubans, and the government charges nearly a quarter of a month’s salary for an hour online in government-run hotels and Internet centers. As a result, most people on the island live offline, complaining about their lack of access to information and contact with friends and family abroad.

    A small minority have covertly engineered a partial solution by pooling funds to create a private network of more than 9,000 computers with small, inexpensive but powerful hidden Wi-Fi antennas and Ethernet cables strung over streets and rooftops spanning the entire city. Disconnected from the real Internet, the network is limited, local and built with equipment commercially available around the world, with no help from any outside government, organizers say.

    #Cuba #Internet

    Cuba : en attendant Internet

  • #Privacy tools used by 28% of the online world, research finds | Technology | 21/01/14 #chiffres via @FelixTreguer

    Aggregating market research data from 170,000 internet users worldwide, GWI found that 11% of all users claim to use #Tor, the most high profile for anonymising internet access.

    On these figures, Tor could be regularly used by as many as 45.13 million people. Its biggest userbase appears to be in Indonesia, where 21% of respondents said they used the tool, followed by 18% in Vietnam and 15% in India. 

    Indonesia also has the world’s highest penetration of general anonymity tools among its internet users, with 42% using #proxy servers or virtual private networks known as #VPNs, which disguise the location of the user’s internet connection - their IP address - and therefore bypass regional blocks on certain content.

    The Chinese government reportedly employs as many as 2 million “internet analysts” to review and block content deemed politically or commercially inappropriate, yet GWI research estimates that 34% of the country’s online population disguise their online location so that they can bypass such filters. 

    Of those that use VPN or proxies, 60% say they do so to access Google’s YouTube video site, and 55% said they use it to access Facebook and Twitter.

  • Tunisia denies visas for Palestinian bloggers - Al Jazeera English

    As influential bloggers from across the Middle East and North Africa gather in the country where the Arab Spring began to share ideas and tactics, the absence of 11 Palestinians has served as a reminder that even if borders have faded in the online world, they remain a reality in the physical one.

    Over 100 delegates from at least 15 different countries are meeting in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, for the Third Arab Bloggers meeting.

    Unlike the bloggers and journalists from every other country, 11 out of the 12 Palestinians invited to the meeting had their visas rejected by the Tunisian authorities.