#zeynep_tufekci

  • L’OMS révise sa position sur la transmission aérienne de la COVID-19 | Le Devoir
    https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/science/600500/l-oms-revise-sa-position-sur-la-transmission-aerienne-de-la-covid-19

    Toutefois, le 30 avril, l’organisation a révisé la version anglaise de sa fiche. Elle met maintenant les aérosols sur un pied d’égalité avec les gouttelettes. En outre, elle explique que le virus peut se propager dans les lieux intérieurs bondés ou mal ventilés. « Il en est ainsi parce que les aérosols restent suspendus dans l’air ou voyagent au-delà d’un mètre de distance (longue distance) », explique-t-elle.

    Le 7 mai, l’agence américaine de santé publique (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) modifiait sa position à son tour. Elle insiste désormais sur la transmission par la respiration. « Inspirer de l’air à proximité d’une personne infectée » figure maintenant au sommet de sa liste des modes de transmission. La mise à jour tranche avec la position précédente de l’agence, qui se focalisait sur les gouttelettes non volatiles.

    Les récentes révisions de l’OMS et des CDC pourraient représenter « l’une des avancées les plus importantes en matière de santé publique durant cette pandémie », a écrit la sociologue Zeynep Tufekci, qui analyse en profondeur la cohérence scientifique des recommandations publiques depuis le début de la pandémie, dans un texte d’opinion publié dans le New York Times.

    Si l’importance des aérosols avait été acceptée plus tôt dans la crise, les autorités auraient pu encourager des comportements plus efficaces, soutient Mme Tufekci. Par exemple : favoriser le temps passé à l’extérieur ; mieux ventiler et filtrer l’air dans les espaces intérieurs ; seulement limiter les rassemblements propices aux événements de superpropagation ; et se calmer avec la désinfection des surfaces.

    #Covid_19 #Transmission #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • 141 | Zeynep Tufekci on Information and Attention in a Networked World – Sean Carroll
    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2021/04/05/141-zeynep-tufekci-on-information-and-attention-in-a-networked

    Podcast avec Zeynep Tufekci

    Le sujet est passionnant : comment passe-t-on de la censure (blocage) à l’activité de "noyer le poisson". Que devient la crédibilité dans un tel monde de manipulations croisées ?

    par l’autrice de « Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes »
    https://cfeditions.com/lacrymo

    In a world flooded with information, everybody necessarily makes choices about what we pay attention to. This basic fact can be manipulated in any number of ways, from advertisers micro-targeting specific groups to repressive governments flooding social media with misinformation, or for that matter well-meaning people passing along news from sketchy sources. Zeynep Tufekci is a sociologist who studies the flow of information and its impact on society, especially through social media. She has provided insightful analyses of protest movements, online privacy, and the Covid-19 pandemic. We talk about how technology has been shaping the information space we all inhabit.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Manipulation #Information #Médias_sociaux

  • Covid-19 : comment la Chine mène une guerre de l’information pour réécrire les origines de la pandémie
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/03/26/l-offensive-de-pekin-pour-faire-oublier-le-virus-chinois_6074498_3210.html

    Long et passionnant article sur les méthodes de désinformation menées par la Chine autour de la pandémie Covid-19.
    Il est intéressant de voir que la stratégie médiatique du gouvernement chinois recouvre pleinement ce que Zeynep Tufekci décrit dans son livre "Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes (https://cfeditions.com/lacrymo) : noyer le poisson est plus efficace que de censurer...

    Sur les réseaux sociaux ou auprès de l’OMS, la Chine fait parler sa propagande pour écrire un nouveau récit et convaincre le monde que le point de départ de la pandémie se trouve aux Etats-Unis.

    Quand Xi Jinping parle pour la première fois du nouveau coronavirus aux Chinois, le 20 janvier 2020, après un mois de silence, sa stratégie est fixée. Le dirigeant communiste part en guerre pour « résolument enrayer » l’épidémie. Il doit contrôler le désordre sanitaire qui a surgi au début de décembre 2019 à Wuhan, une ville de 11 millions d’habitants, et touche désormais Pékin et Shanghaï. Xi veut placer la Chine à l’avant-garde de la lutte planétaire qui s’engage. Il décide, surtout, de tout faire pour que le monde doute de l’origine du SARS-CoV-2. L’histoire doit oublier le « virus chinois ».

    Une puissante campagne de propagande d’Etat s’engage, dont tous les contours ne sont pas encore connus. Elle débute dans la sidération causée par le nouveau virus, en ce début d’année 2020. Pour les autorités chinoises, il convient d’abord de ne pas raviver le traumatisme du syndrome respiratoire aigu sévère (SRAS), la première épidémie mondiale du XXIe siècle, qu’elles avaient mal gérée et qui avait paniqué l’Asie en 2002-2003 (774 morts dans le monde).

    A Wuhan, depuis plusieurs semaines, sévit une pneumonie. « Pour le moment, la police de Wuhan a arrêté huit personnes qui ont répandu des rumeurs liant la pneumonie au SARS », écrit le Global Times le 6 janvier 2020. Heureusement, « le virus trouvé à Wuhan apparaît beaucoup moins grave que celui qui a causé le SRAS », rassure, dans le journal d’Etat, Liu Youning, un épidémiologiste travaillant dans un hôpital militaire.

    La chaîne australienne ABC établira que, dès octobre 2019, des douzaines de personnes étaient hospitalisées avec des symptômes de fièvre et de toux dans la capitale régionale du Hubei. De leur côté, le New York Times et ProPublica révéleront que, pour dissimuler l’étendue de l’épidémie à ses débuts, la propagande chinoise s’est appuyée sur 3 200 directives et 1 800 mémos envoyés à des agents locaux dans tout le pays.

    Par ses aspects composites et ses modes opératoires, la campagne de propagande qui a tenté de convaincre le monde que l’origine du virus se trouve aux Etats-Unis est « une des plus emblématiques » menées récemment par la Chine, a expliqué, le 19 novembre 2020, Paul Charon, de l’Institut de recherche stratégique de l’Ecole militaire (Irsem), à Paris. S’exprimant dans le cadre du colloque Médias en Seine, ce chercheur a établi que « ce fut un exercice de manipulation de l’information relativement sophistiqué pour renverser la stigmatisation, s’inspirant des méthodes soviétiques des années 1970 et 1980 qui avaient été appliquées au virus du sida ».

    A l’appui de leur campagne, les services chinois ont créé un expert virtuel, « Larry Romanoff », titulaire de comptes sur les réseaux occidentaux. Cet avatar crée une centaine d’articles pseudo-scientifiques en huit mois, diffusés partout dans le monde, depuis un site complotiste canadien (Globalresearch.ca), jusqu’à un faux quotidien japonais, en passant par le canal d’un virologue taïwanais… Le 13 mars, le porte-parole du ministère chinois des affaires étrangères, Zhao Lijian, endosse franchement la manipulation en citant le faux Romanoff. « Lisez son article, lance alors l’officiel, il apporte plus de preuves selon lesquelles le virus vient des Etats-Unis. »

    D’autres gouvernements, en Iran et au Venezuela, ont servi de relais à Pékin. Mais c’est avec Moscou, dont le ministère de la défense diffusait dès janvier 2020 la thèse du virus américain, que la conjonction des intérêts fut la plus organisée. La crise a servi de catalyseur, en donnant toute leur portée à des accords bilatéraux récents passés entre médias russes et chinois, portant sur des échanges de contenus, la promotion réciproque d’informations sociétales, ou le développement en ligne : accords de Sputnik avec l’agence officielle Xinhua, Global Times et Alibaba en 2017 ; entre l’agence extérieure russe Rossiya Segodnia et China Media Group en 2018 ; entre Rossiya Segodnia et Huawei en 2019.

    #Chine #Désinformation #Post-Truth #Post-vérité #Zeynep_Tufekci #Red_Mirror

  • Three Ways the Pandemic Has Made the World Better - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/03/three-ways-pandemic-has-bettered-world/618320

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    This has been a year of terrible loss. People have lost loved ones to the pandemic. Many have gotten sick, and some are still suffering. Children have lost a year of school. Millions have lost a steady paycheck. Some have lost small businesses that they’d built for decades. Almost all of us have lost hugs and visits and travel and the joy of gathering together at a favorite restaurant and more.

    And yet, this year has also taught us much. Strange as it may sound, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered blessings, and it does not diminish our ongoing suffering to acknowledge them. In fact, recognizing them increases the chance that our society may emerge from this ordeal more capable, more agile, and more prepared for the future.

    Here are three ways the world has changed for the better during this awful year.

    1. We Now Know How to Code for Our Vaccines
    Perhaps the development that will have the most profound implications for future generations is the incredible advances in synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) biotechnologies.

    But amid all this came historic developments. The new mRNA technology, on which several vaccines—notably Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s—are based, is an epochal scientific and technical breakthrough. We are now coding for vaccines, and thanks to advances in science and industrial production, we can mass-produce them and figure out how to deliver them into our cells in a matter of months.

    This is all new. Neither Moderna nor BioNTech had a single approved product on the market before 2020. Each company essentially designed its vaccine on a computer over a weekend in January 2020—BioNTech’s took just a few hours, really. Both companies had vaccine candidates designed at least four weeks before the first confirmed U.S. COVID-19 fatality was announced, and Moderna was producing vaccine batches to be used for its trials more than a month before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. In 2021, the companies together aim to produce billions of stunningly efficacious vaccine doses,

    The mRNA vaccines work differently. For these, scientists look at the genetic sequence of a virus, identify a crucial part—such as the spike protein, which it uses as a key to bind onto cells’ receptors in order to unlock and enter them—produce instructions to make just that part, and then send those instructions into our cells. After all, that’s what a virus does: It takes over our cells’ machinery to make more of itself. Except in this case, we instruct our cells to make only the spike portion to give our immune system practice with something that cannot infect us—the rest of the virus isn’t there!

    Until this year, that was the dream behind the synthetic mRNA technologies: a dream with few, scattered adherents, uphill battles, and nothing to show for it but promise. This year, it became a reality.

    In 2020, we figured out how to make messenger RNA with precision, by programming the exact code we wanted, producing it at scale (a printing press for messenger RNA!), and figuring out a way to inject it into people so the fragile mRNA makes it into our cells. The first step was pure programming: Uğur Şahin, the CEO of BioNTech, sat at his computer and entered the genetic code of the spike protein of the mysterious virus that had emerged in Wuhan. Moderna employees had done the same thing the weekend after the genomic sequence was released on January 10. The Moderna vaccine candidate was called mRNA-1273 because it encoded all of the 1,273 amino acids in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—the code was so small that it could all be represented with little less than half the number of characters that fit on a single-spaced page.

    The rest of the process relied on key scientific and industrial innovations that are quite recent. Messenger RNA are fragile—they disintegrate easily, as they are supposed to. The lipid nanoparticles we envelop them in to use as delivery systems were approved only in 2018. Plus, the viral spike protein is a notorious shape-shifter. It takes one form before it fuses with our cells and another one afterward. The latter, postfusion form did not work well at all for developing vaccines, and scientists only recently figured out how to stabilize a virus’ spike in its prefusion form.

    This may allow us, finally, to transition from a broadcast-only model of medicine, wherein drugs are meant to be identical for everyone in a particular group, to targeted, individualized therapies. Plus, these technologies are suitable for small-scale but cheap-enough production: a development that can help us treat rare diseases that afflict only a few thousand people each year, and are thus usually ignored by mass-market-oriented medical technologies.

    It’s also no coincidence that these two mRNA vaccines were the fastest to market. They can be manufactured rapidly and, crucially, updated blazingly fast. Şahin, the BioNTech CEO, estimates that six weeks is enough time for the company to start producing new boosters for whenever a new COVID-19 variant emerges. Pfizer and Moderna are both already working on boosters that better target the new variants we’ve seen so far, and the FDA has said it can approve these tweaks quickly.
    2. We Actually Learned How to Use Our Digital Infrastructure
    The internet, widespread digital connectivity, our many apps—it’s easy to forget how new most of this is. Zoom, the ubiquitous video service that became synonymous with pandemic work, and that so many of us are understandably a little sick of, is less than 10 years old. Same with the kind of broadband access that allowed billions to stream entertainment at home and keep in touch with family members and colleagues. Internet connectivity is far from perfect or equally distributed, but it has gotten faster and more expansive over the past decade; without it, the pandemic would have been much more miserable and costly.

    Technology also showed how we could make our society function better in normal times.

    According to the CDC, telehealth visits increased by 50 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Such visits are clearly not appropriate for every condition, but when warranted, they can make it much easier for people to access medical help without worrying about transportation, child care, or excessive time away from work. Remote access to medical help has long been a request from people with disabilities and people in rural areas, for whom traveling to clinics can be an extra burden.

    Work, too, has been transformed. Suddenly, hundreds of millions of people around the world had to figure out how to get things done without going into the office. It turns out that for many white-collar jobs, this is not just possible; it comes with a variety of upsides.

    3. We’ve Unleashed the True Spirit of Peer Review and Open Science

    On January 10, 2020, an Australian virologist, Edward Holmes, published a modest tweet: “All, an initial genome sequence of the coronavirus associated with the Wuhan outbreak is now available at Virological.org here.” A microbiologist responded with “And so it begins!” and added a GIF of planes taking off. And so it did indeed begin: a remarkable year of open, rapid, collaborative, dynamic—and, yes, messy—scientific activity, which included ways of collaborating that would have been unthinkable even a few decades ago.

    Well, no more. When the pandemic hit, it simply wasn’t tenable to keep playing the old, slow, closed game, and the scientific community let loose. Peer review—the real thing, not just the formal version locked up by for-profit companies—broke out of its constraints. A good deal of the research community started publishing its findings as “preprints”—basically, papers before they get approved by formal publications—placing them in nonprofit scientific depositories that had no paywalls. The preprints were then fiercely and openly debated—often on social media, which is not necessarily the ideal place for it, but that’s what we had. Sometimes, the release of data was even faster: Some of the most important initial data about the immune response to the worrisome U.K. variant came from a Twitter thread by a tired but generous researcher in Texas. It showed true scientific spirit: The researcher’s lab was eschewing the prestige of being first to publish results in a manuscript by allowing others to get to work as fast as possible. The papers often also went through the formal peer review as well, eventually getting published in a journal, but the pandemic has forced many of these companies to drop their paywalls—besides, the preprints on which the final papers are based remain available to everyone.

    Working together, too, has expanded in ways that were hard to imagine without the new digital tools that allow for rapid sharing and collaboration, and also the sense of urgency that broke through disciplinary silos.

    The pandemic happened at a moment of convergence for medical and digital technology and social dynamics, which revealed enormous positive potential for people. Nothing will erase the losses we experienced. But this awful year has nudged us toward dramatic improvements in human life, thanks to new biotechnologies, greater experience with the positive aspects of digital connectivity, and a more dynamic scientific process.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Pandémie #Changement_social

  • How the Public-Health Messaging Backfired - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/how-public-health-messaging-backfired/618147

    Par Zeynep Tufekci

    When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration. Church bells rang across the nation, and factories blew their whistles. “Polio routed!” newspaper headlines exclaimed. “An historic victory,” “monumental,” “sensational,” newscasters declared. People erupted with joy across the United States. Some danced in the streets; others wept. Kids were sent home from school to celebrate.

    One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation—especially after a brutal pandemic year. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the steady drumbeat of good news about the vaccines has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism.

    The problem is not that the good news isn’t being reported, or that we should throw caution to the wind just yet. It’s that neither the reporting nor the public-health messaging has reflected the truly amazing reality of these vaccines. There is nothing wrong with realism and caution, but effective communication requires a sense of proportion—distinguishing between due alarm and alarmism; warranted, measured caution and doombait; worst-case scenarios and claims of impending catastrophe. We need to be able to celebrate profoundly positive news while noting the work that still lies ahead. However, instead of balanced optimism since the launch of the vaccines, the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants, subjected to misleading debates about the inferiority of certain vaccines, and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do, while media outlets wonder whether the pandemic will ever end.

    This pessimism is sapping people of energy to get through the winter, and the rest of this pandemic. Anti-vaccination groups and those opposing the current public-health measures have been vigorously amplifying the pessimistic messages—especially the idea that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean being able to do more—telling their audiences that there is no point in compliance, or in eventual vaccination, because it will not lead to any positive changes. They are using the moment and the messaging to deepen mistrust of public-health authorities, accusing them of moving the goalposts and implying that we’re being conned. Either the vaccines aren’t as good as claimed, they suggest, or the real goal of pandemic-safety measures is to control the public, not the virus.

    Five key fallacies and pitfalls have affected public-health messaging, as well as media coverage, and have played an outsize role in derailing an effective pandemic response. These problems were deepened by the ways that we—the public—developed to cope with a dreadful situation under great uncertainty. And now, even as vaccines offer brilliant hope, and even though, at least in the United States, we no longer have to deal with the problem of a misinformer in chief, some officials and media outlets are repeating many of the same mistakes in handling the vaccine rollout.

    The pandemic has given us an unwelcome societal stress test, revealing the cracks and weaknesses in our institutions and our systems. Some of these are common to many contemporary problems, including political dysfunction and the way our public sphere operates. Others are more particular, though not exclusive, to the current challenge—including a gap between how academic research operates and how the public understands that research, and the ways in which the psychology of coping with the pandemic have distorted our response to it.

    Recognizing all these dynamics is important, not only for seeing us through this pandemic—yes, it is going to end—but also to understand how our society functions, and how it fails. We need to start shoring up our defenses, not just against future pandemics but against all the myriad challenges we face—political, environmental, societal, and technological. None of these problems is impossible to remedy, but first we have to acknowledge them and start working to fix them—and we’re running out of time.

    The past 12 months were incredibly challenging for almost everyone. Public-health officials were fighting a devastating pandemic and, at least in this country, an administration hell-bent on undermining them. The World Health Organization was not structured or funded for independence or agility, but still worked hard to contain the disease. Many researchers and experts noted the absence of timely and trustworthy guidelines from authorities, and tried to fill the void by communicating their findings directly to the public on social media. Reporters tried to keep the public informed under time and knowledge constraints, which were made more severe by the worsening media landscape. And the rest of us were trying to survive as best we could, looking for guidance where we could, and sharing information when we could, but always under difficult, murky conditions.

    Despite all these good intentions, much of the public-health messaging has been profoundly counterproductive. In five specific ways, the assumptions made by public officials, the choices made by traditional media, the way our digital public sphere operates, and communication patterns between academic communities and the public proved flawed.

    While visible but low-risk activities attract the scolds, other actual risks—in workplaces and crowded households, exacerbated by the lack of testing or paid sick leave—are not as easily accessible to photographers. Stefan Baral, an associate epidemiology professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that it’s almost as if we’ve “designed a public-health response most suitable for higher-income” groups and the “Twitter generation”—stay home; have your groceries delivered; focus on the behaviors you can photograph and shame online—rather than provide the support and conditions necessary for more people to keep themselves safe.

    And the viral videos shaming people for failing to take sensible precautions, such as wearing masks indoors, do not necessarily help. For one thing, fretting over the occasional person throwing a tantrum while going unmasked in a supermarket distorts the reality: Most of the public has been complying with mask wearing. Worse, shaming is often an ineffective way of getting people to change their behavior, and it entrenches polarization and discourages disclosure, making it harder to fight the virus. Instead, we should be emphasizing safer behavior and stressing how many people are doing their part, while encouraging others to do the same.

    Harm Reduction

    Amidst all the mistrust and the scolding, a crucial public-health concept fell by the wayside. Harm reduction is the recognition that if there is an unmet and yet crucial human need, we cannot simply wish it away; we need to advise people on how to do what they seek to do more safely. Risk can never be completely eliminated; life requires more than futile attempts to bring risk down to zero. Pretending we can will away complexities and trade-offs with absolutism is counterproductive. Consider abstinence-only education: Not letting teenagers know about ways to have safer sex results in more of them having sex with no protections.

    As Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told me, “When officials assume that risks can be easily eliminated, they might neglect the other things that matter to people: staying fed and housed, being close to loved ones, or just enjoying their lives. Public health works best when it helps people find safer ways to get what they need and want.”

    Another problem with absolutism is the “abstinence violation” effect, Joshua Barocas, an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, told me. When we set perfection as the only option, it can cause people who fall short of that standard in one small, particular way to decide that they’ve already failed, and might as well give up entirely. Most people who have attempted a diet or a new exercise regimen are familiar with this psychological state. The better approach is encouraging risk reduction and layered mitigation—emphasizing that every little bit helps—while also recognizing that a risk-free life is neither possible nor desirable.

    Socializing is not a luxury—kids need to play with one another, and adults need to interact. Your kids can play together outdoors, and outdoor time is the best chance to catch up with your neighbors is not just a sensible message; it’s a way to decrease transmission risks. Some kids will play and some adults will socialize no matter what the scolds say or public-health officials decree, and they’ll do it indoors, out of sight of the scolding.

    And if they don’t? Then kids will be deprived of an essential activity, and adults will be deprived of human companionship. Socializing is perhaps the most important predictor of health and longevity, after not smoking and perhaps exercise and a healthy diet. We need to help people socialize more safely, not encourage them to stop socializing entirely.

    Moreover, they have delivered spectacular results. In June 2020, the FDA said a vaccine that was merely 50 percent efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 would receive emergency approval—that such a benefit would be sufficient to justify shipping it out immediately. Just a few months after that, the trials of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines concluded by reporting not just a stunning 95 percent efficacy, but also a complete elimination of hospitalization or death among the vaccinated. Even severe disease was practically gone: The lone case classified as “severe” among 30,000 vaccinated individuals in the trials was so mild that the patient needed no medical care, and her case would not have been considered severe if her oxygen saturation had been a single percent higher.

    These are exhilarating developments, because global, widespread, and rapid vaccination is our way out of this pandemic. Vaccines that drastically reduce hospitalizations and deaths, and that diminish even severe disease to a rare event, are the closest things we have had in this pandemic to a miracle—though of course they are the product of scientific research, creativity, and hard work. They are going to be the panacea and the endgame.

    Just a few days later, Moderna reported a similar 94.5 percent efficacy. If anything, that provided even more cause for celebration, because it confirmed that the stunning numbers coming out of Pfizer weren’t a fluke. But, still amid the political turmoil, the Moderna report got a mere two columns on The New York Times’ front page with an equally modest headline: “Another Vaccine Appears to Work Against the Virus.”

    So we didn’t get our initial vaccine jubilation.

    But as soon as we began vaccinating people, articles started warning the newly vaccinated about all they could not do. “COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Mean You Can Party Like It’s 1999,” one headline admonished. And the buzzkill has continued right up to the present. “You’re fully vaccinated against the coronavirus—now what? Don’t expect to shed your mask and get back to normal activities right away,” began a recent Associated Press story.

    People might well want to party after being vaccinated. Those shots will expand what we can do, first in our private lives and among other vaccinated people, and then, gradually, in our public lives as well. But once again, the authorities and the media seem more worried about potentially reckless behavior among the vaccinated, and about telling them what not to do, than with providing nuanced guidance reflecting trade-offs, uncertainty, and a recognition that vaccination can change behavior. No guideline can cover every situation, but careful, accurate, and updated information can empower everyone.

    What went wrong? The same thing that’s going wrong right now with the reporting on whether vaccines will protect recipients against the new viral variants. Some outlets emphasize the worst or misinterpret the research. Some public-health officials are wary of encouraging the relaxation of any precautions. Some prominent experts on social media—even those with seemingly solid credentials—tend to respond to everything with alarm and sirens. So the message that got heard was that vaccines will not prevent transmission, or that they won’t work against new variants, or that we don’t know if they will. What the public needs to hear, though, is that based on existing data, we expect them to work fairly well—but we’ll learn more about precisely how effective they’ll be over time, and that tweaks may make them even better.

    Psychologists talk about the “locus of control”—the strength of belief in control over your own destiny. They distinguish between people with more of an internal-control orientation—who believe that they are the primary actors—and those with an external one, who believe that society, fate, and other factors beyond their control greatly influence what happens to us. This focus on individual control goes along with something called the “fundamental attribution error”—when bad things happen to other people, we’re more likely to believe that they are personally at fault, but when they happen to us, we are more likely to blame the situation and circumstances beyond our control.

    An individualistic locus of control is forged in the U.S. mythos—that we are a nation of strivers and people who pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. An internal-control orientation isn’t necessarily negative; it can facilitate resilience, rather than fatalism, by shifting the focus to what we can do as individuals even as things fall apart around us. This orientation seems to be common among children who not only survive but sometimes thrive in terrible situations—they take charge and have a go at it, and with some luck, pull through. It is probably even more attractive to educated, well-off people who feel that they have succeeded through their own actions.

    The focus on individual actions has had its upsides, but it has also led to a sizable portion of pandemic victims being erased from public conversation. If our own actions drive everything, then some other individuals must be to blame when things go wrong for them. And throughout this pandemic, the mantra many of us kept repeating—“Wear a mask, stay home; wear a mask, stay home”—hid many of the real victims.

    Study after study, in country after country, confirms that this disease has disproportionately hit the poor and minority groups, along with the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to severe disease. Even among the elderly, though, those who are wealthier and enjoy greater access to health care have fared better.

    The poor and minority groups are dying in disproportionately large numbers for the same reasons that they suffer from many other diseases: a lifetime of disadvantages, lack of access to health care, inferior working conditions, unsafe housing, and limited financial resources.

    Many lacked the option of staying home precisely because they were working hard to enable others to do what they could not, by packing boxes, delivering groceries, producing food. And even those who could stay home faced other problems born of inequality: Crowded housing is associated with higher rates of COVID-19 infection and worse outcomes, likely because many of the essential workers who live in such housing bring the virus home to elderly relatives.

    Individual responsibility certainly had a large role to play in fighting the pandemic, but many victims had little choice in what happened to them. By disproportionately focusing on individual choices, not only did we hide the real problem, but we failed to do more to provide safe working and living conditions for everyone.

    But also, after a weary year, maybe it’s hard for everyone—including scientists, journalists, and public-health officials—to imagine the end, to have hope. We adjust to new conditions fairly quickly, even terrible new conditions. During this pandemic, we’ve adjusted to things many of us never thought were possible. Billions of people have led dramatically smaller, circumscribed lives, and dealt with closed schools, the inability to see loved ones, the loss of jobs, the absence of communal activities, and the threat and reality of illness and death.

    #Covid-19 #Vaccin #Médias #Sciences_information #Sociologie #Pandémie #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • The GameStop Mess Shows That the Internet Is Rigged Too - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2021/02/gamestop-mess-shows-internet-rigged-too/618040

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    As of January 10, nine brokerages had set the one-year target stock price for GameStop at about $10.

    But that’s not where it would stay—at least for a while. It climbed in price because a subreddit, r/WallStreetBets, engineered a short squeeze.

    That kicked off a wild ride, revealing many things not just about how digital technologies are transforming our world, but also about how they are not. It was yet another stark demonstration that technology is not simply a tool—neutral on all possible outcomes, good or bad—but something more dynamic, messy and complicated. It’s a complex system where the workings of both the technology and our society, and crucially, how they interact with each other matter greatly.

    This is how the squeeze worked: A few large hedge funds had “shorted” GameStop. That means that they had borrowed the stock, with the intention of returning it when the share price moved lower, as they expected it would, leaving them with a profit. Obviously, this works only if the future price of the stock is indeed lower. If the share price rises, the hedge funds would have to buy the stock at the new, higher price, leading to losses. Investors on r/WallStreetBets had noticed that this particular short position was especially vulnerable because a large portion of its existing shares was tied up in the short betting. They explained to others in the forum that if the price went up and up, the hedge funds would eventually be forced to cover those short positions by purchasing the stock back at a much higher price—from them.

    They started buying. The stock started rising.

    The attempted squeeze and the ensuing rise in GameStop’s stock price was a media sensation.

    Self-organized groups have been using the web to act on the physical world for a while. The tech companies that enable this behavior are themselves old. Facebook turned 17 on February 4. Google is already 22, Reddit is 15, and Apple’s iPhone—which ushered in the era of smartphones—is 13. We’ve had many years to think smarter about what digital connectivity means. And yet, we still face this idea that the internet is a game, that the virtual world is something distinct from the real one. This condescension is even embedded in the phrase IRL—“in real life,” meaning not online.

    But the internet isn’t a game. It’s real. And it’s not just a neutral mirror that passively reflects society. One hears that notion from tech elites who’d like to deflect blame from their own creations, which have both empowered and enriched them. “It’s just a tool,” they say. This same mentality is what made Mark Zuckerberg say that it was a “pretty crazy idea” that Facebook had anything to do with Donald Trump’s election—a statement he had to walk back, in part, because it contradicted everything that Facebook usually claims: that its software matters; that it influences people; that it changes, rather than merely reflects, the world.

    Robinhood is particularly important to this saga because it was the platform of choice for r/WallStreetBets. It drove the retail (meaning small investors rather than big institutions) trade boom because individuals could buy and sell as much as they wanted without a fee. But as with social media, Robinhood’s users were about to find out that the intermediary platform’s business model mattered greatly.

    Unlike traditional brokerages, which charge a fee for buying and selling, Robinhood offers these seemingly free trades because it makes its money in large part by selling the trades to big buyers, many of them other hedge funds. It’s those players that will make the real money—and in turn pay Robinhood for the privilege.

    The restrictions came because, under its business model, Robinhood could not put up the kind of capital required for all of these trades in the clearinghouses where they are eventually settled, the company wrote in a blog post. So it wasn’t that Robinhood had an interest in kneecapping the short squeeze. Rather, it was never a suitable platform for engineering a squeeze of this scale—based on “free” trades by retail investors precisely because those investors were never its true customers.

    These dynamics play out across many digital platforms. Similar to how Robinhood makes money not from individual traders, who are its users, but from its hedge-fund customers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and the rest make money by selling our attention to advertisers or anyone looking to influence people. This business model also fuels surveillance because paid influence operations work better if they have more data to improve their targeting; data allow them to better find ways to “engage” us. And if there is one thing we know about a social species like humans, it is that in-group versus out-group dynamics (us versus them) are very engaging. Similarly, novelty and misinformation are often attractive, and the truth boring and unengaging. Thus, even though the engineers at these companies don’t set out to amplify tribalism and polarization, the algorithms they let loose on us inevitably do, as a corollary of their optimization target.

    On February 2, GameStop closed at $90, less than 20 percent of its all-time high, which it had reached just a few days earlier. Like many internet stories, the narrative may start with the “little guy” winning—David against Goliath—but they rarely end that way. The little guy loses, not because he is irrational and too emotional, but because of his relative power in society.

    Similarly, Facebook was first celebrated for empowering dissidents during the Arab Spring, but just a few years later it was a key tool in helping Donald Trump win the presidency—and then, later, in clipping his wings, when it joined with other major social-media companies to deplatform him following the insurrection at the Capitol. The reality is that Facebook and Twitter and YouTube are not for or against the little guy: They make money with a business model that requires optimizing for engagement through surveillance. That explains a lot more than the “for or against” narrative. As historian Melvin Kranzberg’s famous aphorism goes: “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”

    The pattern is persistent, and it’s not even concealed. The higher echelons of the corporate world play together with the government and Wall Street to enrich themselves. For example, major US airlines have spent nearly all its extra cash on stock buybacks for the past decade, thereby inflating its stock price—and thus executive pay, which is often tied to stock price—and the stock market. And when the tough times came with the pandemic? The industry got a $25 billion bailout from the government, as one does. Boeing, too, spent most of its cash on stock buybacks, and its CEO was fired with a $62 million exit package not long after the Boeing 737 Max crisis—which resulted in two crashes and 346 dead. A 2013 report found that the average “golden parachute” for the top-paid CEO who was fired was $47.7 million. On it goes.

    The social contract is broken, and that’s why the game feels rigged. Right now, especially in countries like the United States, many of the largest, most profitable companies play the legal-tax-evasion game to the point that they are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. (Apple alone has cash reserves that hover around $200 billion. Similarly, both Microsoft and Alphabet/Google have more than $100 billion in their cash pile.) These stockpiles are humongous and the companies are not productively investing them—by building something, or by paying people—so the money all goes back into the stock market. When there is such concentrated wealth, many assets—from stocks to Picasso paintings—appreciate. Such disproportionate investment in speculative or nonproductive assets, coupled with the lack of investment in things that make society work better for more people, like education and health care, further break the social contract.

    On February 7, during the Super Bowl, Reddit used the r/WallStreetBets incident for a feel-good ad. “Powerful things happen when people rally around something they really care about. And there’s a place for that. It’s called Reddit,” the ad flashed. It went on to celebrate the underdog: “One thing we learned from our communities last week is that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when we come together around a common idea.” It was all warm and fuzzy.

    La vidéo publicitaire de reddit est à :
    https://twitter.com/reddit/status/1358572629729320960

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Reddit #Gamestop #Finance #Modèle_économique

  • The Ezra Klein Show - How to Think Like Zeynep Tufekci
    https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS84MkZJMzVQeA/episode/ZmE2OWZiZGUtYTVkNS00OTVlLWIwZmUtY2I5ZjMyZTNmZjE1
    https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSCamMpOOraqRqQuKauYtoYAGS3KwvvkMez3Oq7CAQ

    As my colleague Ben Smith wrote in an August profile, sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has “made a habit of being right on the big things.” She saw the threat of the coronavirus early and clearly. She saw that the public health community was ignoring the evidence on masking, and raised the alarm persuasively enough that she tipped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toward new, lifesaving guidance. Before Tufekci was being prescient about the coronavirus, she was being prescient about disinformation online, about the way social media was changing political organizing, about what election forecasting models could actually tell us, about the rising threat of authoritarianism in America.

    Tufekci attributes this track record to “systems thinking,” which she believes holds the key to forming a more accurate understanding of everything from pandemics to social media to the Republican Party. So I asked Tufekci to come on a podcast for a conversation about how she thinks, and what the rest of us can learn from it.

    In answering those questions, we discuss why public health experts were slow to change guidance on disruptive measures like masking and travel bans, the logic of authoritarian regimes, why Asian countries so decisively outperformed Western Europe and America in containing coronavirus, why Tufekci thinks media coverage of the vaccines is too pessimistic, the crisis of American democracy, whether a more competent demagogue will succeed Donald Trump, and much more.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • The Mutated Coronavirus Is a Ticking Time Bomb - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/12/virus-mutation-catastrophe/617531

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    A new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across the globe. It was first identified in the United Kingdom, where it is rapidly spreading, and has been found in multiple countries. Viruses mutate all the time, often with no impact, but this one appears to be more transmissible than other variants—meaning it spreads more easily. Barely one day after officials announced that America’s first case of the variant had been found in the United States, in a Colorado man with no history of travel, an additional case was found in California.

    There are still many unknowns, but much concern has focused on whether this new variant would throw off vaccine efficacy or cause more severe disease—with some degree of relief after an initial study indicated that it did not do either. And while we need more data to feel truly reassured, many scientists believe that this variant will not decrease vaccine efficacy much, if at all. Health officials have started emphasizing the lack of evidence for more severe disease.

    All good and no cause for alarm, right? Wrong.

    A more transmissible variant of COVID-19 is a potential catastrophe in and of itself. If anything, given the stage in the pandemic we are at, a more transmissible variant is in some ways much more dangerous than a more severe variant. That’s because higher transmissibility subjects us to a more contagious virus spreading with exponential growth, whereas the risk from increased severity would have increased in a linear manner, affecting only those infected.

    Increased transmissibility can wreak havoc in a very, very short time—especially when we already have uncontrolled spread in much of the United States. The short-term implications of all this are significant, and worthy of attention, even as we await more clarity from data. In fact, we should act quickly especially as we await more clarity—lack of data and the threat of even faster exponential growth argue for more urgency of action. If and when more reassuring data come in, relaxing restrictions will be easier than undoing the damage done by not having reacted in time.

    Transmissibility increases can quickly—very quickly—expand the baseline: Each new infected person potentially infects many more people. Severity increases affect only the infected person. That infection is certainly tragic, and this new variant’s lack of increase in severity or lethality thankfully means that the variant is not a bigger threat to the individual who may get infected. It is, however, a bigger threat to society because it can dramatically change the number of infected people. To put it another way, a small percentage of a very big number can easily be much, much bigger than a big percentage of a small number.

    We can and should deploy whatever weapons we have in our arsenal, as soon as possible. If public-health officials can accelerate our ability to detect the new variant, they must. “You could imagine case-based interventions specifically targeting the early variant-transmission chains,” Bedford told me. “I wouldn’t expect to contain them, but I could imagine buying a week or two.”

    A week or two may not seem like a lot, but combined with other aggressive public-health measures, we may actually gain a few additional weeks. Maybe all of that could delay this new variant’s widespread establishment until February or even March.

    This moment is somewhat similar to America’s initial COVID-19 surge and shutdown in March. We need to once again talk about the importance of flattening the curve. We need to again preserve hospital capacity, so our fatality rate doesn’t increase. But this time around, we can be a lot more hopeful: We need to flatten the curve because delaying potential infections just a few weeks or a month can make a tremendous difference when highly effective vaccines are being rolled out.

    We are in a race against time, and the virus appears to be gaining an unfortunate ability to sprint just as we get closer to the finish line.

    Maybe—just maybe—this variant will turn out to be a false alarm, not nearly as transmissible as we feared. We will know soon enough. Our precautions will still be net positives. But if it is indeed much more transmissible, we may face a true tragedy: exponential growth with massive numbers of illnesses and deaths just as highly effective vaccines are being made available. We’ve had a year to learn—about the importance of early action, of acting decisively even in the face of uncertainty, of not confusing absence of evidence with evidence of absence. A year to learn to aim not for perfection in knowledge but for maximal impact even while considering the trade-offs. And most important, a year to learn to not wait when faced with threats with exponential dynamics but to act as early and as decisively as we can—and to adjust and tamper later, if warranted.

    “Exponentials are so cruel that nobody wants to look them in the eye,” Morris told me. This is true, but averting our eyes doesn’t avert the outcomes. Each one of us is now counting on every person who serves the public—mayors, city-council members, health officials, nurses, FDA regulators, members of Congress, journalists—to speak up now, and to speak up loudly. We must insist on swift and aggressive action, along with more resources, in order to get this right. It is not too late. Many lives depend on what we do next.

    #Covbid-19 #Vaccin #Zeynep_Tufekci #Stratégie

  • Is Trump Trying to Stage a Coup ? - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/trumps-farcical-inept-and-deadly-serious-coup-attempt/617309

    By Zeynep Tufekci

    The U.S. president is trying to steal the election, and, crucially, his party either tacitly approves or is pretending not to see it. This is a particularly dangerous combination, and makes it much more than just typical Trumpian bluster or norm shattering.

    Maybe in other languages, from places with more experience with this particular type of power grab, we’d be better able to discuss the subtleties of this effort, to distinguish the postelection intervention from the Election Day injustices, to separate the legal but frivolous from the outright lawless, and to understand why his party’s reaction—lack of reaction—is not just about wanting to conclude an embarrassing presidency with minimal fanfare. But in English, only one widely understood word captures what Donald Trump is trying to do, even though his acts do not meet its technical definition. Trump is attempting to stage some kind of coup, one that is embedded in a broader and ongoing power grab.

    And if that’s hard to recognize, this might be your first.

    With just a few notable exceptions, Republican officials have met Trump’s lies with a combination of tacit approval, pretending not to notice them, or forbearance. In a recent survey, an alarming 222 Republicans in the House and the Senate—88 percent—refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the presidency. Another two insisted Trump won. A few more have started speaking out, but what has finally taxed their patience seems to be anxiety that Trump’s antics may cost them an upcoming election for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia—an instrumental concern about continuing to exercise power, rather than a substantive worry about the attempted election theft itself. (It should be noted that there have been conservative voices who have responded with the appropriate fury, but that few are elected officials or leaders of the GOP.)

    What starts as farce may end as tragedy, a lesson that pundits should already have learned from their sneering dismissal of Trump when he first announced his presidential candidacy. Yes, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits are pinnacles of incompetence, too incoherent and embarrassing to go anywhere legally. The legislators who have been openly pressured by Trump don’t seem willing to abide the crassness of his attempt. States are certifying their election results one by one, and the General Services Administration―the agency that oversees presidential transitions—has started the process of handing the government over to President-elect Joe Biden. If things proceed in their ordinary course, the Electoral College will soon vote, and then Biden will take office.

    But ignoring a near catastrophe that was averted by the buffoonish, half-hearted efforts of its would-be perpetrator invites a real catastrophe brought on by someone more competent and ambitious. President Trump had already established a playbook for contesting elections in 2016 by casting doubt on the election process before he won, and insisting that he only lost the popular vote due to fraud. Now he’s establishing a playbook for stealing elections by mobilizing executive, judicial, and legislative power to support the attempt. And worse, much worse, the playbook is being implicitly endorsed by the silence of some leading Republicans, and vocally endorsed by others, even as minority rule becomes increasingly entrenched in the American electoral system.

    When Biden takes the presidential oath in January, many will write articles scolding those who expressed concern about a coup as worrywarts, or as people misusing terminology. But ignoring near misses is how people and societies get in real trouble the next time, and although the academic objections to the terminology aren’t incorrect, the problem is about much more than getting the exact term right.

    Alarmism is problematic when it’s sensationalist. Alarmism is essential when conditions make it appropriate.

    So, yes, the word coup may not technically capture what we’re seeing, but as Pablo Picasso said: “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.” People are using the term because it captures the sense and the spirit of the moment—its zeitgeist, its underlying truth.

    Our focus should not be a debate about the proper terminology. Instead, we should react to the frightening substance of what we’re facing, even if we also believe that the crassness and the incompetence of this attempt may well doom it this time. If the Republican Party, itself entrenching minority rule on many levels, won’t stand up to Trump’s attempt to steal an election through lying and intimidation with the fury the situation demands; if the Democratic Party’s leadership remains solely focused on preparing for the presidency of Joe Biden rather than talking openly about what’s happening; and if ordinary citizens feel bewildered and disempowered, we may settle the terminological debate in the worst possible way: by accruing enough experience with illegitimate power grabs to evolve a more fine-grained vocabulary.

    Act like this is your first coup, if you want to be sure that it’s also your last.

    #Politique_USA #Zeynep_Tufekci #Coup_Etat #Crise_politique

  • Zeynep Tufekci : Trump Proved That Authoritarians Can Get Elected in America - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/trump-proved-authoritarians-can-get-elected-america/617023

    Trump was ineffective and easily beaten. A future strongman won’t be.
    November 6, 2020
    Zeynep Tufekci

    Now that Joe Biden has won the presidency, we can expect debates over whether Donald Trump was an aberration (“not who we are!”) or another instantiation of America’s pathologies and sins. One can reasonably make a case for his deep-rootedness in American traditions, while also noticing the anomalies: the early-morning tweeting, the fondness for mixing personal and government business, the obsession with ratings befitting a reality-TV star—the one job he was good at.

    From an international perspective, though, Trump is just one more example of the many populists on the right who have risen to power around the world: Narendra Modi in India, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, my home country. These people win elections but subvert democratic norms: by criminalizing dissent, suppressing or demonizing the media, harassing the opposition, and deploying extra-legal mechanisms whenever possible (Putin’s opponents have a penchant for meeting tragic accidents). Orbán proudly uses the phrase illiberal democracy to describe the populism practiced by these men; Trump has many similarities to them, both rhetorically and policy-wise.
    More by this writer

    He campaigned like they did, too, railing against the particular form of globalization that dominates this era and brings benefit to many, but disproportionately to the wealthy, leaving behind large numbers of people, especially in wealthier countries. He relied on the traditional herrenvolk idea of ethnonationalist populism: supporting a kind of welfare state, but only for the “right” people rather than the undeserving others (the immigrants, the minorities) who allegedly usurp those benefits. He channeled and fueled the widespread mistrust of many centrist-liberal democratic institutions (the press, most notably) —just like the other populists. And so on.

    But there’s one key difference between Trump and everyone else on that list. The others are all talented politicians who win elections again and again.

    In contrast, Trump is a reality-TV star who stumbled his way into an ongoing realignment in American politics, aided by a series of events peculiar to 2016 that were fortunate for him: The Democrats chose a polarizing nominee who didn’t have the requisite political touch that can come from surviving tough elections; social media was, by that point, deeply entrenched in the country’s politics, but its corrosive effects were largely unchecked; multiple players—such as then–FBI Director James Comey—took consequential actions fueled by their misplaced confidence in Hillary Clinton’s win; and Trump’s rivals in the Republican primaries underestimated him. He drew a royal flush.

    It’s not that he is completely without talent. His rallies effectively let him bond with his base, and test out various messages with the crowd that he would then amplify everywhere. He has an intuitive understanding of the power of attention, and he played the traditional media like a fiddle—they benefited from his antics, which they boosted. He also clearly sensed the political moment in 2016, and managed to navigate his way into the presidency, though that probably had more to do with instinct than with deep planning.

    Luck aside, though, Trump is not good at his job. He doesn’t even seem to like it much. He is too undisciplined and thin-skinned to be effective at politics over a sustained period, which involves winning repeated elections. He seems to have been as surprised as anyone else that he won in 2016. While he hates the loser branding that will follow him now, he’s probably fine with the outcome—especially since he can blame it on fantastical conspiracies involving theft or ballot-stuffing or the courts—as long as he can figure out how to escape the criminal trials that are certainly coming his way. (A self-pardon? A negotiated pardon? He will try something.)

    Trump ran like a populist, but he lacked the political talent or competence to govern like an effective one. Remember the Infrastructure Week he promised? It never happened. Remember the trade wars with China he said he’d win? Some tariffs were raised here and there, but the jobs that would bring relief to America’s decimated manufacturing sector never resurged. In Wisconsin in 2018, the president announced “the eighth wonder of the world”—a Foxconn factory that was supposed to employ 13,000 in return for $4.5 billion in government subsidies. However, going into this election, the building remained empty, and the president lost Wisconsin in the Electoral College. (Foxconn hired people in the final weeks of 2019 to fulfill quotas for the subsidies, and laid off many of them right after the new year.) Most populists globally deploy wide patronage networks: state spending that boosts their own supporters. Trump’s model remained attached more to personal graft: He encouraged people to stay in his hotels and have dinner at Mar-a-Lago in exchange for access, rather than develop a broad and participatory network that would remain loyal to him for years. And when the pandemic hit, instead of rising to the occasion and playing the strongman, rallying the country through a crisis that had originated in China—an opportunity perfect for the kind of populist he aspired to be—he floundered.

    Erdoğan has been in power nationally since 2003. After two decades, he has arguably lost some of his political magic, evinced by increasing missteps and a deteriorating situation around democratic rights. Still, he is among the most talented politicians in Turkey’s history. He has been able to navigate multiple challenges, including a previous global financial crisis. In Russia, Putin has won many elections, even managing to subvert term limits. In India, Modi has also been reelected. One could argue that these elections were far from perfect, but they were elections. Brazil’s Bolsonaro has bungled his country’s response to the pandemic but is giving the poor emergency aid and increasing his popularity. The CARES Act did the same thing, providing a significant subsidy to businesses and improving household finances, especially for people with low incomes, but it ended right before the election; Trump erratically tweeted about having nuked a new deal.

    I suspect that the Republican leadership is sanguine, if not happy, about Trump’s loss. It’s striking how quickly Fox News called Arizona for Biden, and how many Republican leaders have condemned the president’s rage-tweeting and attempts to stop the count. They know that Trump is done, and they seem fine with it. For them, what’s not to like? The Supreme Court is solidly in their corner; they will likely retain control of the Senate; House Republicans won more seats than they were projected to; and they are looking at significant gains in state Houses as well, giving them control over redistricting for the next decade. Even better for their long-term project, they have diversified their own coalition, gaining more women candidates and more support from nonwhite voters.

    And they have at their disposal certain features that can be mobilized: The Electoral College and especially the Senate are anti-majoritarian institutions, and they can be combined with other efforts to subvert majority rule. Leaders and parties can engage in voter suppression and break norms with some degree of bipartisan cooperation across the government. In combination, these features allow for players to engage in a hardball kind of minority rule: Remember that no Republican president has won the popular vote since 2004, and that the Senate is structurally prone to domination by a minority. Yet Republicans have tremendous power. This dynamic occurs at the local level, too, where gerrymandering allows Republicans to inflate their representation in state legislatures.

    The situation is a perfect setup, in other words, for a talented politician to run on Trumpism in 2024. A person without the eager Twitter fingers and greedy hotel chains, someone with a penchant for governing rather than golf. An individual who does not irritate everyone who doesn’t already like him, and someone whose wife looks at him adoringly instead of slapping his hand away too many times in public. Someone who isn’t on tape boasting about assaulting women, and who says the right things about military veterans. Someone who can send appropriate condolences about senators who die, instead of angering their state’s voters, as Trump did, perhaps to his detriment, in Arizona. A norm-subverting strongman who can create a durable majority and keep his coalition together to win more elections.

    Make no mistake: The attempt to harness Trumpism—without Trump, but with calculated, refined, and smarter political talent—is coming. And it won’t be easy to make the next Trumpist a one-term president. He will not be so clumsy or vulnerable. He will get into office less by luck than by skill. Perhaps it will be Senator Josh Hawley, who is writing a book against Big Tech because he knows that will be the next chapter in the culture wars, with social-media companies joining “fake news” as the enemy. Perhaps it will be Senator Tom Cotton, running as a law-and-order leader with a populist bent. Maybe it will be another media figure: Tucker Carlson or Joe Rogan, both men with talent and followings. Perhaps it will be another Sarah Palin—she was a prototype—with the charisma and appeal but without the baggage and the need for a presidential candidate to pluck her out of the blue. Perhaps someone like the QAnon-supporting Representative-elect Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who first beat the traditional Republican representative in the primary and then ran her race with guns blazing, mask off, and won against the Democratic candidate, a retired professor who avoided campaigning in person. Indeed, a self-made charismatic person coming out of nowhere probably has a better chance than many establishment figures in the party.

    What can be done? First and foremost, we need to realize the nature of the problem and accept that elite failure cannot be responded to with more of the same. A good deal of the Democratic Party’s messaging has been wrapped in nostalgia. But populism’s resurgence is a symptom of the failures of the past. Pearl-clutching for the good old days will not get us out of this. Yes, it’s important to highlight the value of norms and call for the restoration of democratic institutions. But what we need in order to move forward goes beyond more politeness and the right rhetoric. The failures of the past aren’t to be yearned for. They’re to be avoided and, crucially, understood and fixed. There will be arguments about how to rebuild a politics that can appeal to the moment, and how to mobilize for the future. There should be. Our American crisis cannot be resolved in one sweeping article that offers easy solutions. But the first step is to realize how deep this hole is for democracies around the world, including ours, and to realize that what lies ahead is not some easy comeback.

    At the moment, the Democratic Party risks celebrating Trump’s loss and moving on—an acute danger, especially because many of its constituencies, the ones that drove Trump’s loss, are understandably tired. A political nap for a few years probably looks appealing to many who opposed Trump, but the real message of this election is not that Trump lost and Democrats triumphed. It’s that a weak and untalented politician lost, while the rest of his party has completely entrenched its power over every other branch of government: the perfect setup for a talented right-wing populist to sweep into office in 2024. And make no mistake: They’re all thinking about it.

    We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
    Zeynep Tufekci is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and an associate professor at the University of North Carolina. She studies the interaction between digital technology, artificial intelligence, and society.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Elections #Politique_US #Autoritarisme

  • Opinion | Mark Zuckerberg, Let Me Pay for Facebook - The New York Times | Zeynep Tufekci, 2015.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/opinion/zeynep-tufekci-mark-zuckerberg-let-me-pay-for-facebook.html

    Facebook and other social networking sites that collect vast amounts of user data are financed by ads. Just this week Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced plans to open users’ feeds to more advertisers. The dirty secret of this business model is that Internet ads aren’t worth much. Ask Ethan Zuckerman, who in the 1990s helped found Tripod.com, one of the web’s earliest ad-financed sites with user-generated content. He even helped invent the pop-up ad because corporations were wary of the user content appearing next to their ads. He came to regret both: the pop-up and the ad-financed business model. The former is annoying but it’s the latter that is helping destroy the fabric of a rich, pluralistic Internet.

    Mr. Zuckerman points out that Facebook makes about 20 cents per user per month in profit. This is a pitiful sum, especially since the average user spends an impressive 20 hours on Facebook every month, according to the company. This paltry profit margin drives the business model: Internet ads are basically worthless unless they are hyper-targeted based on tracking and extensive profiling of users. This is a bad bargain, especially since two-thirds of American adults don’t want ads that target them based on that tracking and analysis of personal behavior.

    Ad-based businesses distort our online interactions. People flock to Internet platforms because they help us connect with one another or the world’s bounty of information — a crucial, valuable function. Yet ad-based financing means that the companies have an interest in manipulating our attention on behalf of advertisers, instead of letting us connect as we wish. Many users think their feed shows everything that their friends post. It doesn’t. Facebook runs its billion-plus users’ newsfeed by a proprietary, ever-changing algorithm that decides what we see. If Facebook didn’t have to control the feed to keep us on the site longer and to inject ads into our stream, it could instead offer us control over this algorithm.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Facebook #Publicité #Ciblage

  • How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/23/business/media/how-zeynep-tufekci-keeps-getting-the-big-things-right.html?referringSource=

    Ms. Tufekci, a computer programmer who became a sociologist, sounded an early alarm on the need for protective masks. It wasn’t the first time she was right about something big.

    In recent years, many public voices have gotten the big things wrong — election forecasts, the effects of digital media on American politics, the risk of a pandemic. Ms. Tufekci, a 40-something who speaks a mile a minute with a light Turkish accent, has none of the trappings of the celebrity academic or the professional pundit. But long before she became perhaps the only good amateur epidemiologist, she had quietly made a habit of being right on the big things.

    In 2011, she went against the current to say the case for Twitter as a driver of broad social movements had been oversimplified. In 2012, she warned news media outlets that their coverage of school shootings could inspire more. In 2013, she argued that Facebook could fuel ethnic cleansing. In 2017, she warned that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm could be used as a tool of radicalization.

    And when it came to the pandemic, she sounded the alarm early while also fighting to keep parks and beaches open.

    “I’ve just been struck by how right she has been,” said Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School.

    I was curious to know how Ms. Tufekci had gotten so many things right in a confusing time, so we spoke last week over FaceTime. She told me she chalks up her habits of mind in part to a childhood she wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    Add those things to a skill at moving journalism and policy through a kind of inside game, and Ms. Tufekci has had a remarkable impact. But it began, she says, with growing up in an unhappy home in Istanbul. She said her alcoholic mother was liable to toss her into the street in the early hours of the morning. She found some solace in science fiction — Ursula K. Le Guin was a favorite — and in the optimistic, early internet.

    In the mid-1990s, still a teenager, she moved out. Soon she found a job nearby as a programmer for IBM. She was an office misfit, a casually dressed young woman among the suits, but she fell in love with the company’s internal bulletin board. She liked it that a colleague in Japan wouldn’t know her age or gender when she asked a technical question.

    She stumbled onto the wellspring of her career when she discovered an email list, the Zapatista Solidarity Network, centered on Indigenous activists in southern Mexico who had taken up arms against neoliberalism in general and land privatization imposed by the North American Free Trade Agreement in particular. For Ms. Tufekci, the network provided a community of digital friends and intellectual sparring partners.

    Je suis pleinement d’accord avec cette analyse. Le 1 janvier 1994, à San Cristobal de Las casas, un nouveau monde militant naissait. Nous en mangeons encore les fruits.

    Ms. Tufekci is the only person I’ve ever spoken with who believes that the modern age began with Zapatista Solidarity. For her, it was a first flicker of the “bottom-up globalization” that she sees as the shadow of capitalism’s glossy spread. She claims that her theory has nothing to do with how the movement affected her personally.

    While many American thinkers were wide-eyed about the revolutionary potential of social media, she developed a more complex view, one she expressed when she found herself sitting to the left of Teddy Goff, the digital director for President Obama’s re-election campaign, at a South by Southwest panel in Austin in 2012.

    Mr. Goff was enthusing about the campaign’s ability to send different messages to individual voters based on the digital data it had gathered about them. Ms. Tufekci quickly objected to the practice, saying that microtargeting would more likely be used to sow division.

    More than four years later, after Donald J. Trump won the 2016 election, Mr. Goff sent Ms. Tufekci a note saying she had been right.

    “At a time when everybody was being stupidly optimistic about the potential of the internet, she didn’t buy the hype,” he told me. “She was very prescient in seeing that there would be a deeper rot to the role of data-driven politics in our world.”

    That optimism is part of what got her into the literature of pandemics. Ms. Tufekci has taught epidemiology as a way to introduce her students to globalization and to make a point about human nature: Politicians and the news media often expect looting and crime when disaster strikes, as they did when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. But the reality on the ground has more to do with communal acts of generosity and kindness, she believes.

    Public health officials seem to have had an ulterior motive when they told citizens that masks were useless: They were trying to stave off a run on protective gear that could have made it unavailable for the health care workers who needed it. Ms. Tufekci’s faith in human nature has led her to believe that the government should have trusted citizens enough to level with them, rather than jeopardize its credibility with recommendations it would later overturn.

    “They didn’t trust us to tell the truth on masks,” she said. “We think of society as this Hobbesian thing, as opposed to the reality where most people are very friendly, most people are prone to solidarity.”

    Now I find myself wondering: What is she right about now? And what are the rest of us wrong about?

    An area where she might be ahead of the pack is the effects of social media on society. It’s a debate she views as worryingly binary, detached from plausible solutions, with journalists homing in on the personal morality of tech heads like Mark Zuckerberg as they assume the role of mall cops for the platforms they cover.

    “The real question is not whether Zuck is doing what I like or not,” she said. “The real question is why he’s getting to decide what hate speech is.”

    She also suggested that we may get it wrong when we focus on individuals — on chief executives, on social media activists like her. The probable answer to a media environment that amplifies false reports and hate speech, she believes, is the return of functional governments, along with the birth of a new framework, however imperfect, that will hold the digital platforms responsible for what they host.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Portrait #Epidémiologie #Sociologie

  • Why Aren’t We Talking More About Ventilation ? - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/07/why-arent-we-talking-more-about-airborne-transmission/614737

    How is it that six months into a respiratory pandemic, we are still doing so little to mitigate airborne transmission?
    Zeynep Tufekci
    July 30, 2020

    The coronavirus reproduces in our upper and lower respiratory tracts, and is emitted when we breathe, talk, sing, cough, or sneeze. Figuring out how a pathogen can travel, and how far, under what conditions, and infect others—transmission—is no small deal, because that information enables us to figure out how to effectively combat the virus. For COVID-19, perhaps the most important dispute centers specifically on what proportion of what size droplets are emitted from infected people, and how infectious those droplets are, and how they travel. That the debate over the virus’s modes of transmission is far from over is not a surprise. It’s a novel pathogen. The Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen told me that, historically, it took centuries to understand how pathogens such as the plague, smallpox, and yellow fever were transmitted and how they worked. Even with modern science, there are still debates about how influenza, a common annual foe, is transmitted.

    There is a big dispute in the scientific community, however, about both the size and the behavior of these particles, and the resolution of that question would change many recommendations about staying safe. Many scientists believe that the virus is emitted from our mouths also in much smaller particles, which are infectious but also tiny enough that they can remain suspended in the air, float around, be pushed by air currents, and accumulate in enclosed spaces—because of their small size, they are not as subject to gravity’s downward pull. Don Milton, a medical doctor and an environmental-health professor at the University of Maryland, compares larger droplets “to the spray from a Windex dispenser” and the smaller, airborne particles (aerosols) “to the mist from an ultrasonic humidifier.” Clearly, it’s enough to merely step back—distance—to avoid the former, but distancing alone would not be enough to avoid breathing in the latter.

    In multiple studies, researchers have found that COVID-19’s secondary attack rate, the proportion of susceptible people that one sick person will infect in a circumscribed setting, such as a household or dormitory, can be as low as 10 to 20 percent. In fact, many experts I spoke with remarked that COVID-19 was less contagious than many other pathogens, except when it seemed to occasionally go wild in super-spreader events, infecting large numbers of people at once, across distances much greater than the droplet range of three to six feet. Those who argue that COVID-19 can spread through aerosol routes point to the prevalence and conditions of these super-spreader events as one of the most important pieces of evidence for airborne transmission.

    All this has many practical consequences. As Marr, from Virginia Tech, says, if aerosols are crucial, we should focus as much on ventilation as we do on distancing, masks, and hand-washing, which every expert agrees are important. As the virologist Ryan McNamara of the University of North Carolina told me, all these protections stack on top of one another: The more tools we have to deploy against COVID-19, the better off we are. But, it’s still important for the public to have the correct mental model of the reasoning behind all the mitigations, since even those agreed-upon protections don’t all behave the same way under an aerosol regime.

    As another example, you may have seen the many televised indoor events where the audience members are sitting politely distanced and masked, listening to the speaker, who is the only unmasked person in the room. Jimenez, the aerosol expert, pointed out to me that this is completely backwards, because the person who needs to be masked the most is the speaker, not the listeners. If a single mask were available in the room, we’d put it on the speaker. This is especially important because cloth masks, while excellent at blocking droplets (especially before they evaporate and become smaller, thus more likely to be able to float), aren’t as effective at keeping tinier aerosol particles out of the wearer’s mouth and nose once they are floating around the room (though they do seem to help). We want to see the speaker’s mouth, one might say, but that is a problem we can approach creatively—face shields that wrap around the head and seal around the neck, masks with transparent portions that can still filter, etc.—once we stop ignoring the problem. In fact, designing a high-filtration but transparent mask or face shield might be an important solution in classrooms as well, to help keep teachers safe.

    Once we pay attention to airflow, many other risks look different. Dylan Morris, a doctoral candidate at Princeton and a co-author of the first paper to confirm that the virus could remain infectious in aerosolized form, under experimental conditions, showed me a clip of a group of people in a conga line, separated six feet apart by ropes. They were merrily dancing, everyone standing behind someone else, in their slipstream—exactly where you don’t want to be, inhaling aerosol clouds from panting people. Similarly, Jimenez pointed out that, when a masked person is speaking, the least safe location might be beside them or behind them, where the aerosols can escape from the mask, though ordinarily, under a droplet regime, we would consider the risk to only be in front of them. The importance of aerosols may even help explain why the disease is now exploding in the southern United States, where people often go into air-conditioned spaces to avoid the sweltering heat.

    There are two key mitigation strategies for countering poor ventilation and virus-laden aerosols indoors: We can dilute viral particles’ presence by exchanging air in the room with air from outside (and thus lowering the dose, which matters for the possibility and the severity of infection) or we can remove viral particles from the air with filters.

    Consider schools, perhaps the most fraught topic for millions. Classrooms are places of a lot of talking; children are not going to be perfect at social distancing; and the more people in a room, the more opportunities for aerosols to accumulate if the ventilation is poor. Most of these ventilation issues are addressable, sometimes by free or inexpensive methods, and sometimes by costly investments in infrastructure that should be a national priority.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Aerosol #Ventilation #COVID-19

  • The Second Act of Social-Media Activism | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-second-act-of-social-media-activism

    Un article passionnant qui part des analyses de Zeynep Tufekci pour les reconsidérer à partir des mouvements plus récents.

    Some of this story may seem familiar. In “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest,” from 2017, the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci examined how a “digitally networked public sphere” had come to shape social movements. Tufekci drew on her own experience of the 2011 Arab uprisings, whose early mobilization of social media set the stage for the protests at Gezi Park, in Istanbul, the Occupy action, in New York City, and the Black Lives Matter movement, in Ferguson. For Tufekci, the use of the Internet linked these various, decentralized uprisings and distinguished them from predecessors such as the nineteen-sixties civil-rights movement. Whereas “older movements had to build their organizing capacity first,” Tufekci argued, “modern networked movements can scale up quickly and take care of all sorts of logistical tasks without building any substantial organizational capacity before the first protest or march.”

    The speed afforded by such protest is, however, as much its peril as its promise. After a swift expansion, spontaneous movements are often prone to what Tufekci calls “tactical freezes.” Because they are often leaderless, and can lack “both the culture and the infrastructure for making collective decisions,” they are left with little room to adjust strategies or negotiate demands. At a more fundamental level, social media’s corporate infrastructure makes such movements vulnerable to coöptation and censorship. Tufekci is clear-eyed about these pitfalls, even as she rejects the broader criticisms of “slacktivism” laid out, for example, by Evgeny Morozov’s “The Net Delusion,” from 2011.

    “Twitter and Tear Gas” remains trenchant about how social media can and cannot enact reform. But movements change, as does technology. Since Tufekci’s book was published, social media has helped represent—and, in some cases, helped organize—the Arab Spring 2.0, France’s “Yellow Vest” movement, Puerto Rico’s RickyLeaks, the 2019 Iranian protests, the Hong Kong protests, and what we might call the B.L.M. uprising of 2020. This last event, still ongoing, has evinced a scale, creativity, and endurance that challenges those skeptical of the Internet’s ability to mediate a movement. As Tufekci notes in her book, the real-world effects of Occupy, the Women’s March, and even Ferguson-era B.L.M. were often underwhelming. By contrast, since George Floyd’s death, cities have cut billions of dollars from police budgets; school districts have severed ties with police; multiple police-reform-and-accountability bills have been introduced in Congress; and cities like Minneapolis have vowed to defund policing. Plenty of work remains, but the link between activism, the Internet, and material action seems to have deepened. What’s changed?

    The current uprisings slot neatly into Tufekci’s story, with one exception. As the flurry of digital activism continues, there is no sense that this movement is unclear about its aims—abolition—or that it might collapse under a tactical freeze. Instead, the many protest guides, syllabi, Webinars, and the like have made clear both the objectives of abolition and the digital savvy of abolitionists. It is a message so legible that even Fox News grasped it with relative ease. Rachel Kuo, an organizer and scholar of digital activism, told me that this clarity has been shaped partly by organizers who increasingly rely on “a combination of digital platforms, whether that’s Google Drive, Signal, Messenger, Slack, or other combinations of software, for collaboration, information storage, resource access, and daily communications.” The public tends to focus, understandably, on the profusion of hashtags and sleek graphics, but Kuo stressed that it was this “back end” work—an inventory of knowledge, a stronger sense of alliance—that has allowed digital activism to “reflect broader concerns and visions around community safety, accessibility, and accountability.” The uprisings might have unfolded organically, but what has sustained them is precisely what many prior networked protests lacked: preëxisting organizations with specific demands for a better world.

    What’s distinct about the current movement is not just the clarity of its messaging, but its ability to convey that message through so much noise. On June 2nd, the music industry launched #BlackoutTuesday, an action against police brutality that involved, among other things, Instagram and Facebook users posting plain black boxes to their accounts. The posts often included the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter; almost immediately, social-media users were inundated with even more posts, which explained why using that hashtag drowned out crucial information about events and resources with a sea of mute boxes. For Meredith Clark, a media-studies professor at the University of Virginia, the response illustrated how the B.L.M. movement had honed its ability to stick to a program, and to correct those who deployed that program naïvely. In 2014, many people had only a thin sense of how a hashtag could organize actions or establish circles of care. Today, “people understand what it means to use a hashtag,” Clark told me. They use “their own social media in a certain way to essentially quiet background noise” and “allow those voices that need to connect with each other the space to do so.” The #BlackoutTuesday affair exemplified an increasing awareness of how digital tactics have material consequences.

    These networks suggest that digital activism has entered a second act, in which the tools of the Internet have been increasingly integrated into the hard-won structure of older movements. Though, as networked protest grows in scale and popularity, it still risks being hijacked by the mainstream. Any urgent circulation of information—the same memes filtering through your Instagram stories, the same looping images retweeted into your timeline—can be numbing, and any shift in the Overton window means that hegemony drifts with it.

    In “Twitter and Tear Gas,” Tufekci wrote, “The Black Lives Matter movement is young, and how it will develop further capacities remains to be seen.” The movement is older now. It has developed its tactics, its messaging, its reach—but perhaps its most striking new capacity is a sharper recognition of social media’s limits. “This movement has mastered what social media is good for,” Deva Woodly, a professor of politics at the New School, told me. “And that’s basically the meme: it’s the headline.” Those memes, Woodley said, help “codify the message” that leads to broader, deeper conversations offline, which, in turn, build on a long history of radical pedagogy. As more and more of us join those conversations, prompted by the words and images we see on our screens, it’s clear that the revolution will not be tweeted—at least, not entirely.

    #Activisme_connecté #Black_lives_matter #Zeynep_Tufekci #Mèmes #Hashtag_movments #Médias_sociaux

  • Twitter et les gaz lacrymogènes |
    http://politique-etrangere.com/2020/06/11/twitter-et-les-gaz-lacrymogenes

    Voici près de dix ans, les soulèvements du monde arabe suscitaient les louanges des observateurs sur les « révolutions Facebook », qui dressaient un parallèle entre révolte technologique et émancipation politique. Cet excès de technophilie avait été suivi d’un reflux, s’appuyant notamment sur les analyses d’Evgeny Morozov dans The Net Delusion : The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (PublicAffairs, 2012). Au fur et à mesure que les régimes autoritaires recouraient aux outils numériques à des fins de surveillance et de répression, l’approche pessimiste devait l’emporter, reléguant à l’arrière-plan les travaux faisant le lien entre les mobilisations et internet.

    C’est ce biais que vise à dépasser Zeynep Tufekci en examinant ici les mutations que subissent les revendications collectives à l’ère du foisonnement numérique, sans pour autant leur accorder un statut seulement positif. La méthode de l’auteure se veut la plus large possible : expériences personnelles, observations participantes, entretiens avec des activistes, analyses de bases de données et observations de comportements en ligne conduisent le lecteur de l’Égypte aux États-Unis, en passant par le Liban, la Tunisie et la Turquie.

    L’auteure accorde ici une place centrale à l’enjeu de l’organisation, qui permet d’expliquer l’échec de la plupart des mouvements, une fois passée la manifestation (Gezi, Occupy, etc.). Zeynep Tufekci lie cet échec à la fois à la culture politique de ces mouvements et aux outils dont ils disposent, qui exacerbent leurs forces – la rapidité de mobilisation, la viralité – mais aussi leurs faiblesses. L’absence de leaders se révèle vite une faiblesse, qui les pénalise à deux moments essentiels : lors des négociations, puisque les mouvements ne sont pas reconnus par la partie adverse, et dès qu’il s’agit d’opérer des changements tactiques.

    Depuis 2011, les régimes ont aussi appris. Les manifestations à l’ère des médias sociaux, certes parfois massives, peuvent être réprimées, comme en Égypte, ou récemment, à Hong Kong. Les pouvoirs redoublent souvent de créativité face aux mouvements contestataires, utilisent les médias sociaux comme ressources stratégiques pour distraire les populations, semer la peur, le doute, rendre illégitimes certaines sources d’information. La censure est alors renouvelée : en Chine par exemple, les publications censurées sont moins celles qui critiquent les autorités que celles qui sont susceptibles de susciter des mobilisations collectives.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Twitter_gaz_lacrymogènes

  • Entretien avec Zeynep Tufekci : la technosociologue qui prédisait les mouvements sociaux à l’aune du numérique
    https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/linvite-des-matins/entretien-avec-zeynep-tufekci-la-technosociologue-qui-predisait-les-mo


    Ces derniers temps, les mouvements sociaux se multiplient. Et la diffusion des manifestations qu’ils génèrent se fait désormais en grande partie sur les réseaux sociaux. Comment Internet et les réseaux sociaux ont-ils bouleversé notre manière de nous mobiliser ?

    Souvenez-vous c’était il y a près de 10 ans. Les peuples arabes se soulevaient entraînant la chute de plusieurs leaders politiques à la tête de ces pays. Ainsi naissait le Printemps Arabe. Et si cette période est l’un des faits majeurs du XXIème siècle, la diffusion des événements par les réseaux sociaux n’y est pas étrangère. Devenue aujourd’hui une pratique courante où chaque individu peut devenir son propre média, ils sont les nouveaux modèles de transmission de messages politiques. Mais au-delà d’une diffusion devenue la règle, quel est l’impact de ces messages dans la sphère politique ? Quelles sont les forces et les fragilités d’une mobilisation qui se fait désormais autant en ligne que dans la rue ?

    Pour en discuter, notre invitée du jour est Zeynep Tufekci, professeure à l’Université de Caroline du Nord et autrice de Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes, forces et fragilités de la contestation connectée
    Hong Kong et les États-Unis, une gestion de la crise distincte

    « De tout point de vue, il y aurait dû avoir une énorme crise à Hong Kong. Les flux sont extrêmement importants avec la Chine. La ville est l’une des plus denses du monde et le virus pouvait facilement circuler. Mais dès que l’information sur le virus a été connue, les habitants de la ville ont directement réagi à la pandémie. Dès le mois de janvier, ils ont mis des masques. Et la mobilisation de la ville face au virus s’est faite par le bas. La population a réagi bien plus rapidement que le gouvernement. »

    Aux États-Unis, nous n’avons toujours pas de direction unifiée. À ce jour, il n’y a pas ou peu de suivi des gens qui sont infectés par le coronavirus, il n’y a pas assez de masques et il n’y a pas eu de réponse de la base. Le gouvernement n’a pas fait son boulot et le résultat c’est que les États-Unis sont pour l’heure le pays avec le nombre de cas le plus important dans le monde. Et c’est inacceptable pour un pays doté de telles ressources. Zeynep Tufekci

    Le Printemps arabe, point de départ d’une contestation devenue connectée

    « Khaled Saïd était un jeune Égyptien arrêté et mort sous la torture de la police égyptienne en 2010. Et la photo de son corps torturé a circulé à cette époque sur les réseaux et a fait écho bien au-delà des frontières égyptiennes. Une page Facebook à son honneur a été créée et a été un élément déclencheur qui a permis aux gens de s’exprimer sur quelque chose déjà présent mais impossible à dire à cette époque sous une autre forme que sur les réseaux à cause de la trop grande censure. »

    Parfois on voit des choses qui se produisent chez nous bien avant qu’ils ne se déroulent dans le reste du monde. J’ai grandi à l’époque d’un coup d’État militaire en Turquie. C’était ma première expérience d’un pays faisant face à une censure très stricte. Et lorsque Internet est arrivé, je me suis dit que ça serait extraordinaire et que son pouvoir pour changer le monde serait immense. Et puis il y a eu le Printemps Arabe. Ce que j’ai découvert c’est qu’Internet a aidé ces mouvements et mobilisations à se développer et à faire tomber les régimes. Mais la population a grandement souffert, la répression faite était extrêmement sévère. Zeynep Tufekci

    Les plateformes numériques, acteurs du bouleversement des sociétés mondialisés

    « Les plateformes ont un pouvoir énorme. Facebook est dirigé par une seule personne. En raison de la structure de l’entreprise, Mark Zuckerberg possède un pouvoir énorme. Dans beaucoup de pays, le seul endroit où vous avez accès à l’information c’est via Facebook. Et nous sommes en plein dans une révolution numérique. J’aimerais qu’on minimise le pouvoir de certaines entreprises. Il faut savoir contrôler ce pouvoir disproportionné que possèdent certaines sociétés. »

    Il faut se rendre compte à quel point la désinformation se répand sur Internet et sur les plateformes numériques. Les sociétés et les grandes compagnies qui propagent des fausses informations gagnent plus d’argent à faire cela. Nous sommes tentés et vulnérables face à cette désinformation. (…) Nous avons besoin de nous concentrer sur ce que voient les gens et pourquoi elles voient ces choses. Ce qui m’inquiète c’est la viralité d’internet. Il faut réussir à créer des sociétés et des infrastructures saines. Zeynep Tufekci

    Vous pouvez (ré)écouter l’interview en intégralité en cliquant sur le player en haut à gauche de cette page.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #France_Culture #Extraits_interview

  • Jeudi 11 juin, Zeynep Tufekci invitée des Matins de France Culture

    Zeynep Tufekci, l’autrice de « Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes » sera ce jeudi 11 juin l’invitée exceptionnelle des Matins de France Culture. Elle sera interviewée par Guillaume Erner de 7h45 à 8h45.

    L’occasion, en direct ou en podcast, de mieux connaître cette « technosociologue » dont nous avons publié la traduction française (par Anne Lemoine, qui a fait un excellent travail).

    Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes
    Forces et fragilités de la contestation connectée
    Zeynep Tufekci
    ISBN 978-2-915825-95-4 - 430 p. - 29 €
    https://cfeditions.com/lacrymo

    Zeynep Tufekci est de plus en plus remarquée aux États-Unis et partout dans le monde pour les suites qu’elle a donné à son livre, en particulier dans des éditoriaux dans The Atlantic ou The New York Times. Elle a été, dès le mois de janvier, une des premières à promouvoir la « distanciation sociale » et le port du masque, quand son pays ne croyais pas au virus. Elle revenait de Hong Kong et avait pu comprendre la situation. De même, elle est en pointe sur les questions des médias sociaux et de l’élection de Trump (notamment le débat actuel entre Twitter et Facebook). Elle est enfin partie prenante des mobilisations anti-racistes qui secouent les États-Unis (et qui s’étendent, notamment chez nous). Le bon moment pour une interview.

    Je vous mets ci-après pour celles et ceux qui lisent l’anglais une liste de référence de ses articles récents sur ces sujets.

    Nous avons également produit un petit livre numérique autour de Zeynep Tufekci, intitulé « Le monde révolté ». Celui-ci comporte la traduction d’un texte autobiographique de Zeynep et un long article de Gus Massiah. Il est gratuit (complètement, on ne demande même pas de mail ou autre, cadeau on vous dit). Vous pouvez l’obtenir à :
    https://cfeditions.com/monde-revolte

    Bonne écoute et bonne lecture,

    Hervé Le Crosnier

    Voici quelques références récentes sur les publications de Zeynep Tufekci en anglais pour celles et ceux qui lisent la langue de Shakespeare.

    Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the U.S. - Scientific American Blog Network
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/preparing-for-coronavirus-to-strike-the-u-s

    Opinion | Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/opinion/coronavirus-face-masks.html

    What Really Doomed America’s Coronavirus Response - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/03/what-really-doomed-americas-coronavirus-response/608596

    Closing the Parks Is Ineffective Pandemic Theater - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/closing-parks-ineffective-pandemic-theater/609580

    Don’t Wear a Mask for Yourself - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/dont-wear-mask-yourself/610336

    Trump’s Executive Order Isn’t About Twitter - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/05/trumps-executive-order-isnt-about-twitter/612349

    The Case for Social Media Mobs - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/05/case-social-media-mobs/612202

    How a Bad App—Not the Russians—Plunged Iowa Into Chaos - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/02/bad-app-not-russians-plunged-iowa-into-chaos/606052

    Hong Kong Protests : Inside the Chaos - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/11/escalating-violence-hong-kong-protests/601804

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #France_Culture

  • How a Bad App—Not the Russians—Plunged Iowa Into Chaos - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/02/bad-app-not-russians-plunged-iowa-into-chaos/606052

    You may be wondering if the Iowa caucus chaos is a hit job by election-meddling Russians. The morning after caucus-goers filed into high-school gyms across Iowa, the state’s Democratic Party is still unable to produce results. The app it developed for precisely this purpose seems to have crashed. The party was questioned before by experts about the wisdom of using a secretive app that would be deployed at a crucial juncture, but the concerns were brushed away. Troy Price, the state party’s chairman, claimed that if anything went wrong with the app, staffers would be ready “with a backup and a backup to that backup and a backup to the backup to the backup.” And yet, more than 12 hours after the end of the caucus, they are unable to produce results. Last night, some precinct officials even waited on hold for an hour to report the results—and got hung up on.

    If the Russians were responsible for this confusion and disarray, that might be a relatively easy problem to fix. This is worse.

    It appears that the Iowa Democrats nixed the plan to have precincts call in their results, and instead hired a for-profit tech firm, aptly named Shadow, to tally the caucus results. (As if the name weren’t enough to fuel conspiracies, the firm is run by an alum of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.) The party paid Shadow $60,000 to develop an app that would tally the results, but gave the company only two months to do it. Worried about Russian hacking, the party addressed security in all the wrong ways: It did not open up the app to outside testing or challenge by independent security experts.

    This method is sometimes dubbed “security through obscurity,” and while there are instances for which it might be appropriate, it is a fragile method, especially unsuited to anything public on the internet that might invite an attack. For example, putting a spare key in a secret place in your backyard isn’t a terrible practice, because the odds are low that someone will be highly motivated to break into any given house and manage to look exactly in the right place (well, unless you put it under the mat). But when there are more significant incentives and the system is open to challenge by anyone in the world, as with anything on the internet, someone will likely find a way to get the keys, as the Motion Picture Association of America found out when its supposedly obscure digital keys, meant to prevent copyright infringement, quickly leaked. Shadow’s app was going to be used widely on caucus day, and independent security experts warned that this method wasn’t going to work. The company didn’t listen.

    But why bother hacking the system? Anything developed this rapidly that has not been properly stress-tested—and is being used in the wild by thousands of people at the same time—is likely to crash the first time it is deployed.

    There never should have been an app. There are officials responsible for precinct results, but there are also representatives of campaigns on the ground in every precinct. Even without a more substantial reform of the complex and demanding caucus process, a simple adversarial confirmation system (a process used by many countries) would have worked well.

    America already knows how to do election integrity. The National Academy of Sciences released a lengthy report about it last year, complete with evidence-based recommendations for every step of the electoral process. I wrote a summary of that report, but the full thing is available online. It tells us why optical paper-scan systems offer us the best mix of convenience and security, and advises us how to keep a proper paper trail. Experts and civil-society organizations have been advocating for these changes for years. It would take just a bit of money and political will to fix much of this, and fairly quickly. Instead, we’ve kicked off a 2020 election season that promises to be fraught in any number of ways. Several campaigns have reported that the same app is due to be used in Nevada in just three weeks.

    Who needs the Russians?

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Iowa_Caucus #App_inutile #Cybersécurité

  • The Case for Social Media Mobs - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/05/case-social-media-mobs/612202

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    There is no doubt that social-media fury can go wrong. In one infamous instance, a young woman made a joke to her small circle on Twitter, just before boarding a plane to South Africa, about white people not getting AIDS. The joke was either racist or making fun of racism depending on your interpretation, but Twitter didn’t wait to find out. By the time the woman had landed, her name was trending worldwide, and she’d been fired from her job.

    Throngs on social media violate fundamental notions of fairness and due process: People may be targeted because of a misunderstanding or an out-of-context video. The punishment online mobs can mete out is often disproportionate. Being attacked and ridiculed by perhaps millions of people whom you have never met, and against whom you have no defenses, can be devastating and lead to real trauma.

    The vagaries of human nature and the scale and algorithms of social-media platforms fuel case after case of people finding themselves in the midst of such whirlwinds, but sometimes these mobs perform an important function. Sometimes the social-media mob isn’t just justified or understandable, but necessary because little else is available to protect the real victims. Such is the case with Amy Cooper, the woman now famous for making a false police report claiming that an African American man was threatening her life, when in fact he had merely asked her to leash her dog in Central Park, where he was bird-watching.

    Deterrence is an important focus here, because the consequences of these fake cries can be dire. Black Americans have suffered a range of fates when police arrive thinking they’re dangerous from the outset, whether it’s needless arrest or being killed on the spot, like 12-year-old Tamir Rice, whom a police officer shot within two seconds of getting out of his (still not fully stopped) patrol car. Just this week, a black man in Minneapolis, George Floyd, was choked to death by a police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than seven minutes while Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” and bystanders begged the officer to stop, to no avail.

    Amy Cooper’s case is remarkably straightforward. We don’t need to read her mind or speculate about her motives. She tells us exactly what they are. The minute-long video of the encounter, filmed by the bird-watcher, Christian Cooper (no relation), starts with Amy Cooper walking up to and lunging at him. He steps back, saying, “Please don’t come close to me.” She lunges at him again and demands that he stop recording, and he steps back again. Amy Cooper then looks at him, takes out her phone, and matter-of-factly tells him, “I’m going to call the cops, and I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Christian Cooper surely knows his own race and did not need a reminder. Her statement was meant as a deliberate threat.

    But life doesn’t end there. Amy Cooper’s 911 call was realistic enough that an NYPD unit showed up to what they thought was a “possible assault.” A tall black man suspected of assault, perhaps holding a shiny black object—bird-watching binoculars—may not even have had the two seconds Tamir Rice had. Thankfully, Christian Cooper had left by then, otherwise it might have been his name, not hers, that became a hashtag.

    During the Arab Spring and its aftermath, which I studied in the field as a scholar, in places such as Tahrir Square, Cairo, and Taksim Gezi Park, Istanbul, I witnessed numerous examples of social-media fury as protesters’ only tool of deterrence against wrongdoing by the powerful. Does it work? Not always, but sometimes there’s nothing else. For example, in the years before millions took to Egypt’s streets in 2011, many videos of police torturing victims surfaced and went viral online, provoking anger. Online comments may not have teeth against the Egyptian police, perhaps, in such a repressive state, but they made an important statement, the only statement available to the otherwise voiceless, powerless masses. Sometimes the social-media mob is the voice of the unheard, and sometimes it’s the only one they have.

    What Amy Cooper did was swatting-adjacent in both intent, execution, and possible consequences—calling 911 to make a false report of being in danger as a way to target someone. As a result of the publicity, she was fired from her job as the vice president at an investment firm, and she “voluntarily” surrendered her dog to the shelter she had adopted him from. I’m sure it’s a difficult time for her, but is it enough of a deterrent to future Amy Coopers? Absent a prosecution, I’m not so sure. And NYPD officials have already told us that they are “not going to pursue” any charges against her, that they have “bigger fish to fry,” and the district attorney “would never prosecute that.”

    If protecting black people’s lives from blatant false reports that may endanger them is not big enough fish to fry, what is? Social-media rage is not an unalloyed good. It has its excesses. But until there is sufficient lawful deterrence for this particular crime, I’m not ready to condemn this mob or this fury.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Swatting #Media_mob #Racisme #Médias_sociaux

  • Hong Kong Protests: Inside the Chaos - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/11/escalating-violence-hong-kong-protests/601804

    Almost every protest results in videos of protesters being beaten by the police. Many are live-streamed, to horrified viewers. Thousands have been arrested. Fearful accounts are coming out of the police stations, alleging torture, sexual assault, and rape. On Telegram, many protesters claim that some recent suicides are actually murders by the police that have been disguised as suicides. (It’s not clear whether these claims are anything more than just rumors, misinformation, or a tendency to believe the worst.) When being arrested, it is not unusual for protesters to shout their name, in the hopes of lawyers and family being able to reach them, and some yell that they are in no way suicidal. If they aren’t heard from again, they want to make sure it’s clear who’s to blame.
    I often ask protesters whether they fear the consequences of showing up to these protests. Many of my interviews are interrupted: by tear gas and pepper spray, by police lines marching toward us, by the water-cannon truck. The seasoned protesters are less and less afraid of the tear gas. Some wear tear-gas masks, but risk a year in jail just for that, or even a riot charge, which carries a potential 10-year sentence. Some wear flimsy surgical masks, which may help conceal their identity, but don’t do anything for the burning sensation in their eyes, throat, and lungs. They cough, they run, they wash their eyes with saline or water, and they go on. They do, however, fear being kidnapped or killed.

    One of the women who chatted with me had baby-blue drawings of stars and the moon on her fingernails. The other had a fashionable hat that matched the color of her surgical mask, her animated eyes shining in the small opening between them. They didn’t have helmets or goggles, and weren’t carrying backpacks with such gear.

    Aren’t you afraid? I asked, gingerly. “We are afraid,” they quickly admitted. They even giggled, but it got serious quickly. This is our last chance, they said very matter-of-factly. If we stand down, nothing will stand between us and mainland China, they said. They talked about Xinjiang, and what China had done to the Uighur minority. I’ve heard about the fate of the Uighurs from so many protesters over the months. China may have wanted to make an example out of the region, but the lesson Hong Kongers took was in the other direction—resist with all your might, because if you lose once, there will be a catastrophe for your people, and the world will ignore it.

    The two women weren’t sure whether they would win. That’s also something I’ve heard often—these protesters aren’t the most optimistic group. No rose-colored glasses here. “But we cannot give up,” one insisted, “because if we do, there will be no future for us anyway. We might as well go down fighting.”

    One of the young women gave me an umbrella: a tool protesters use to shield themselves from the sun, from CCTV cameras, from overhead helicopters, from the blue water laced with pepper spray and fired from water cannons, from tear-gas canisters. They had noticed I didn’t have one, and were worried for me. They had brought extras to share. “You might need this,” one of them said as she handed it to me, and wished me good luck. And then the clouds of tear gas drifted in our direction, as they so often do in Hong Kong these days, and we scattered.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Hong_Kong

  • Trump’s Executive Order Isn’t About Twitter - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/05/trumps-executive-order-isnt-about-twitter/612349

    Par Zeynep Tufekci

    In reality, Trump’s salvo on social-media companies has primarily an audience of one: Mark Zuckerberg. And it is already working. After the executive order was issued, Facebook’s CEO quickly gave an interview to Fox News in which he said, “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” He added, “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

    It’s important to pay attention to what the president is doing, but not because the legal details of this order matter at all. Trump is unlikely to repeal Section 230 or take any real action to curb the power of the major social-media companies. Instead, he wants to keep things just the way they are and make sure that the red-carpet treatment he has received so far, especially at Facebook, continues without impediment. He definitely does not want substantial changes going into the 2020 election. The secondary aim is to rile up his base against yet another alleged enemy: this time Silicon Valley, because there needs to be an endless list of targets in the midst of multiple failures.

    Trump does very well on Facebook, as my colleagues Ian Bogost and Alexis Madrigal have written, because “his campaign has been willing to cede control to Facebook’s ad-buying machinery”—both now, and in 2016. The relationship is so smooth that Trump said Zuckerberg congratulated the president for being “No. 1 on Facebook” at a private dinner with him. Bloomberg has reported that Facebook’s own data-science team agreed, publishing an internal report concluding how much better Trump was in leveraging “Facebook’s ability to optimize for outcomes.” This isn’t an unusual move for Facebook and its clients. Bloomberg has reported that Facebook also offered its “white glove” services to the Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte, to help him “maximize the platform’s potential and use best practices.” Duterte dominated political conversation on the site the month before the Philippines’ May 2016 presidential election. And once elected, Duterte banned independent press from attending his inauguration, instead live-streaming it on Facebook—a win-win for the company, which could then collect data from and serve ads to the millions who had little choice but to turn to the site if they wanted to see their president take office. (Duterte has since been accused of extrajudicial killings, jailing political opponents, and targeting independent media.)

    Playing the refs by browbeating them has long been a key move in the right-wing playbook against traditional media. The method is simple: It involves badgering them with accusations of unfairness and bias so that they bend over backwards to accommodate a “both sides” narrative even when the sides were behaving very differently, or when one side was not grounded in fact. Climate-change deniers funded by fossil-fuel companies effectively used this strategy for decades, relying on journalists’ training and instinct to equate objectivity with representing both sides of a story. This way of operating persisted even when one of the sides was mostly bankrolled by the fossil-fuel industry while the other was a near-unanimous consensus of independent experts and academics.

    For Facebook, that gatekeeper is a single person, Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s young CEO is an emperor of information who decides rules of amplification and access to speech for billions of people, simply due to the way ownership of Facebook shares are structured: Zuckerberg personally controls 60 percent of the voting power. And just like the way people try to get on or advertise on the president’s seemingly favorite TV show, Fox & Friends, merely to reach him, Trump is clearly aiming to send a message to his one-person target.

    As a consequence, Facebook became cautious of taking actions that would make it look like it was holding back right-wing information machinery. That was the environment in which the country headed into the 2016 election—five months during which all stripes of misinformation went easily viral on Facebook, including stories that falsely claimed that the pope had endorsed Donald Trump, or that Hillary Clinton had sold weapons to the Islamic State. These stories were viewed millions of times on the platform, many of them outperforming traditional news sources. The pressure to keep Facebook friendly to the Trump campaign continued unabated after the election. When Facebook appeared to be considering changes to its microtargeting rules in 2019—for example, not allowing political campaigns to use the same level of microtargeting tools that product advertisers can, a potential strike at “a major Trump ad strategy”—the Trump reelection campaign swiftly attacked the platform, and the rules were left unchanged.

    Silicon Valley engineers and employees may well be overwhelmingly liberal, but Facebook is run by the algorithms they program, which optimize for the way the site makes money, rather than sifting through posts one by one. This is probably why the trending-topics controversy seemed like such a big hit: It took the one tiny section where humans had some minor input and portrayed the whole platform as working the same way. The employees may be liberal, but the consequences of how social-media companies operate are anything but. In 2016, for example, Facebook, Twitter, and Google all “embedded” staffers with both campaigns, without charge, helping them use the sites better and get more out of the many millions of dollars they spent on the platforms. However, this was especially helpful to the Trump campaign, an upstart with a bare-bones staff. Unsurprisingly, the “bulk of Silicon Valley’s hands-on campaign support went to Trump rather than to Clinton.”

    Trump and his campaign understood the power of Facebook better than the Clinton campaign, and formed a mutually beneficial relationship. Trump spent $44 million on the site, compared with the Clinton campaign’s $28 million, but ad money is only part of the story. A key role of Facebook is promoting organic content: posts, not ads, written by people who may range from partisans to campaign operatives to opportunists who just want the clicks. Some of the authors of these viral pages are motivated by promoting their ideology. Others are just grifters, using Facebook to maximize their spread so that they can collect ad money from their own webpage—which probably uses Google’s industry-dominating ad infrastructure. It’s a complete circle of back-scratching that is rarely commented on or known outside of a small number of experts and industry practitioners.

    The Trump campaign also made better use of Facebook’s own artificial-intelligence tools, like “lookalike audiences”—a crucial functionality that lets advertisers find many new people that Facebook predicts will act similarly to a small “custom” audience uploaded to the site. In other words, if you upload a list of a few thousand people who are open to your message, whether it is interest in a harmless hobby or incendiary claims against a political opponent, Facebook’s vast surveillance machinery, giant databases, and top-of-the line artificial-intelligence tools can help you find many, many more similar targets—which you can reach as long as you’re willing to pay Facebook. These are the kinds of advanced functions that Facebook makes easy to use, and staffers embedded with the Trump campaign would be able to explain and help with.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Facebook #Publicité_politique #Trump #Intelligence_artificielle

  • Don’t Wear a Mask for Yourself - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/dont-wear-mask-yourself/610336

    If you feel confused about whether people should wear masks and why and what kind, you’re not alone. COVID-19 is a novel disease and we’re learning new things about it every day. However, much of the confusion around masks stems from the conflation of two very different functions of masks.

    Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. Luckily, blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth mask.

    The good news is that preventing transmission to others through egress is relatively easy. It’s like stopping gushing water from a hose right at the source, by turning off the faucet, compared with the difficulty of trying to catch all the drops of water after we’ve pointed the hose up and they’ve flown everywhere. Research shows that even a cotton mask dramatically reduces the number of virus particles emitted from our mouths—by as much as 99 percent. This reduction provides two huge benefits. Fewer virus particles mean that people have a better chance of avoiding infection, and if they are infected, the lower viral-exposure load may give them a better chance of contracting only a mild illness.

    COVID-19 has been hard to control partly because people can infect others before they themselves display any symptoms—and even if they never develop any illness. Three recent studies show that nearly half of patients are infected by people who aren’t coughing or sneezing yet. Many people have no awareness of the risk they pose to others, because they don’t feel sick themselves, and many may never become overtly ill.

    Models show that if 80 percent of people wear masks that are 60 percent effective, easily achievable with cloth, we can get to an effective R0 of less than one. That’s enough to halt the spread of the disease. Many countries already have more than 80 percent of their population wearing masks in public, including Hong Kong, where most stores deny entry to unmasked customers, and the more than 30 countries that legally require masks in public spaces, such as Israel, Singapore, and the Czech Republic. Mask use in combination with physical distancing is even more powerful.

    We know a vaccine may take years, and in the meantime, we will need to find ways to make our societies function as safely as possible. Our governments can and should do much—make tests widely available, fund research, ensure medical workers have everything they need. But ordinary people are not helpless; in fact, we have more power than we realize. Along with keeping our distance whenever possible and maintaining good hygiene, all of us wearing just a cloth mask could help stop this pandemic in its tracks.

    #COVID-19 #Masques #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • Les meilleurs articles à lire pour comprendre la crise du Covid-19
    https://www.ladn.eu/entreprises-innovantes/parole-expert/meilleurs-articles-crise-coronavirus-covid19-yuval-harari

    Pour percer le mystères des prévisions des épidémiologistes...

    Par Zeynep Tufekci, le 2 avril, dans The Atlantic - à suivre sur @zeynep

    Si vous ne connaissez pas Zeynep Tufekci : C’est une sorte de techno-sociologue qui s’intéresse donc aux implications sociales des nouvelles technologies, de l’intelligence artificielle et des méga-données, entre autres. On vous recommande la lecture de son ouvrage Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes, qui décrypte l’influence des réseaux sociaux sur les mouvements sociaux à travers le monde.

    Ici, le constat de Zeynep Tufekci : Pour la crise du Covid-19, les recommandations fournis par les chercheurs reposent sur des modèles prédictifs. Or, il semble souvent a posteriori apparaître faux. Pourquoi ? Pare ce que ces modèles décrivent un éventail de possibilités - et que ces possibilités varient selon les comportements qu’elles nous font choisir.

    Trois idées fortes à retenir :

    Les épidémies se développent de façon exponentielle, ce qui les rend particulièrement sensibles à nos actions.
    Les modèles et les calculs reposent sur des chiffres qui sont contestables.
    Ces estimations sont surtout faites pour nous éviter de faire les choix les plus funestes.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci

  • Closing the Parks Is Ineffective Pandemic Theater - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/closing-parks-ineffective-pandemic-theater/609580

    Par Zeynep Tufekci

    In the short run, closing parks may seem prudent, when our hospitals are overrun and we are trying so hard to curb the spread of COVID-19. But in the medium to long run, it will turn out to be a mistake that backfires at every level. While it’s imperative that people comply with social-distancing and other guidelines to fight this pandemic, shutting down all parks and trails is unsustainable, counterproductive, and even harmful.

    To start with, the park crackdown has an authoritarian vibe. In closing Brockwell Park, for example, pictures showed two police officers approaching a lone sunbather, who was nowhere near anyone else—well, except the police, who probably had something better to do. Such heavy-handedness might even make things worse, as it may well shift the voluntary compliance we see today into resistance.

    Finding sustainable policies is crucial, especially since this pandemic likely isn’t going away in a few weeks. It’s plausible that we will be social distancing, on and off, for another year. That means we need to consider how to maintain compliance with strict measures over that long of a time.

    he outdoors, exercise, sunshine, and fresh air are all good for people’s immune systems and health, and not so great for viruses. There is a compelling link between exercise and a strong immune system. A lack of vitamin D, which our bodies synthesize when our skin is exposed to the sun, has long been associated with increased susceptibility to respiratory diseases. The outdoors and sunshine are such strong factors in fighting viral infections that a 2009 study of the extraordinary success of outdoor hospitals during the 1918 influenza epidemic suggested that during the next pandemic (I guess this one!) we should encourage “the public to spend as much time outdoors as possible,” as a public-health measure.

    Read: How the 1918 pandemic frayed social bonds

    Mental health is also a crucial part of the resilience we need to fight this pandemic. Keeping people’s spirits up in the long haul will be important, and exercise and the outdoors are among the strongest antidepressants and mental-health boosters we know of, often equaling or surpassing drugs and/or therapy in clinical trials. Stress has long been known to be a significant suppressor of immunity, and not being able to get some fresh air and enjoy a small change of scenery will surely add to people’s stress. We may well be facing a spike in suicides and violence as individuals and families face significant stress and isolation: The Air Force Academy initially imposed drastic isolation on its cadets due to the coronavirus, but had to reverse course after two tragic suicides. Domestic violence is another real concern: Not having a place to go, even for an hour, may greatly worsen conditions in some households.

    The history of disaster response is full of examples of extraordinary goodwill and compliance among ordinary people that disintegrate after authorities come down with heavy-handed measures that treat the public as an enemy. Rebecca Solnit’s book A Paradise Built in Hell details many such cases, such as the lives lost when the military was ordered into post-earthquake San Francisco in 1906 to control the dangerous and unruly “unlicked mob” that was primarily a figment of the authorities’ imagination. Unfortunately, the official response worsened the subsequent fire (which was more damaging than the earthquake itself) by keeping away volunteers “who might have supplied the power to fight the fire by hand.” Some ordinary citizens were even shot by soldiers on the lookout for these alleged mobs of looters and dangerous behavior from citizens. Similarly, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as a review of Solnit’s book summarized, “there were myriad accounts of paramedics being kept from delivering necessary medical care in various parts of the city because of false reports of violence.”

    When the efforts to “flatten the curve” start working and the number of known infections starts going down, authorities will need to be taken seriously. Things will look better but be far, far from over. If completely kept indoors with no outlet for a long time, the public may be tempted to start fully ignoring the distancing rules at the first sign of lower infection rates, like an extreme dieter who binges at a lavish open buffet. Just like healthy diets, the best pandemic interventions are sustainable, logical, and scientifically justified. If pandemic theater gets mixed up with scientifically sound practices, we will not be able to persuade people to continue with the latter.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t limit park attendance at all, but there are better answers than poorly planned full closures.

    Governments could make a special appeal to people who have yards to leave parks for those who do not. (Wealthier people tend to have their own yards or lots, which is another reason not to shut down parks and deny outdoor access to poorer people.)

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Espaces_verts #Coronavirus #Exercice #Autoritarisme

  • Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes de Zeynep Tufekci : Internet et la révolution
    https://www.en-attendant-nadeau.fr/2020/04/01/internet-revolution-tufekci

    par Zoé Carle
    1 avril 2020
    Près de dix ans après les soulèvements de l’année 2011, Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes de Zeynep Tufekci redonne vie à des analyses presque anachroniques et rappelle ce moment fragile où les dissidents de Tunisie, d’Égypte et de Turquie avaient une double avance, générationnelle et technique, sur les régimes répressifs qu’ils ont momentanément déstabilisés. La chercheuse, sociologue et développeuse informatique de formation, replace le rôle d’Internet dans l’évolution des mouvements de contestation et de leur répression.
    Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes. Forces et fragilités de la contestation connectée. Trad. de l’anglais (États-Unis) par Anne Lemoine. C & F Éditions, 430 p., 29 €

    Après la douche froide de l’affaire Cambridge Analytica aux États-Unis et les preuves de l’instrumentalisation des réseaux sociaux dans plusieurs processus électoraux censément démocratiques, tout se passe comme si on s’interdisait d’évoquer le rôle d’Internet à un autre endroit de la politique : au sein des mouvements sociaux. Ce relatif silence contraste avec l’enthousiasme de mise au tout début de la décennie 2010, au moment des « printemps arabes », où de nombreux commentateurs ne tarissaient pas d’éloges sur les « révolutions Facebook » tout en posant des équivalences rapides entre révolution technologique et émancipation politique.
    Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes. Forces et fragilités de la contestation connectée

    Pendant les manifestations de juin 2013 à Istanbul © CC/Mstyslav Chernov

    Ce trop-plein de storytelling technophile avait été logiquement suivi d’une avalanche de déplorations cyberpessimistes, s’appuyant notamment sur les analyses d’Evgeny Morozov dans The Net Delusion : The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Au fur et à mesure que les régimes dictatoriaux percevaient les potentialités de l’outil connecté à des fins de surveillance et de répression, les positions cyberpessimistes l’ont emporté, invisibilisant les travaux faisant le lien entre les mobilisations et Internet.

    À l’époque, la question des médias sociaux était trop et mal posée. Zeynep Tufekci rappelle la lassitude des activistes à ce sujet face à des journalistes leur posant inlassablement une question ingénue : les réseaux sociaux eux-mêmes n’étaient-ils pas à l’origine de ces soulèvements ? La question n’était pas exempte d’une forme de néo-orientalisme, comme l’a montré Yves Gonzalez-Quijano dans Arabités numériques (Actes Sud, 2012) : ces jeunes activistes étaient « médiagéniques » parce qu’ils nous ressemblaient avec leurs lunettes en écaille et leurs smartphones, et ces technologies créées en Occident – donc émancipatrices par nature – leur avaient permis de lancer leurs e-révolutions.

    Comme le souligne Tufekci, dans ces premiers commentaires l’accent était mis sur la technologie et non sur les usages, et c’est bien ce qui irritait les activistes qui « estimaient que les médias n’accordaient pas aux activistes arabes le mérite d’une utilisation nouvelle et réellement innovante de ces outils ». L’un des grands mérites du livre est de saluer les activistes de 2011 comme des pionniers en matière de médiactivisme et de logistique de l’action collective. Yves Gonzalez-Quijano a montré que ce rôle de pionnier ne venait pas de nulle part, qu’il avait éclaté de façon spectaculaire cette année-là, car l’émergence de la cyberdissidence arabe à partir des années 1990 était passée relativement inaperçue. Tufekci rappelle les initiatives novatrices qui ont vu le jour à la charnière des années 2010, comme 140 journos en Turquie ou Tahrir supplies en Égypte, qui ont toutes deux exploité l’outil, à des fins d’information dans le premier cas, de logistique pour le matériel médical dans le second.

    « La technologie n’est ni bonne ni mauvaise ; et n’est pas neutre non plus », nous rappelle l’auteure, et il convient de prêter attention à ses usages. Tufekci tient ainsi le pari d’une recherche empirique d’ampleur, alliant rigueur ethnographique par l’observation des acteurs en ligne et hors ligne, et connaissance fine des architectures d’Internet et de ses plateformes de réseaux sociaux, sans jamais se départir d’une ambition théorique et politique annoncée dès l’introduction. À partir de ses observations sur les mouvements altermondialistes dans les années 1990, la chercheuse accumule données et enquêtes pour documenter ce qu’a signifié l’arrivée d’Internet puis son développement pour les mouvements sociaux.

    Que son point de départ soit le Chiapas n’est pas un hasard : « les réseaux de solidarité zapatiste marquent le début d’une nouvelle phase, l’émergence de mouvements connectés au moment où l’internet et les outils numériques commencent à se répandre parmi les activistes et plus généralement au sein des populations ». La chercheuse a choisi ainsi de se concentrer sur les mouvements anti-autoritaires de gauche, pour comprendre la convergence entre une culture politique et une culture technique – celle de l’Internet libre, puis des réseaux sociaux.

    Plusieurs terrains d’enquête (Tunisie, Égypte, Turquie, Occupy, Hong Kong) fournissent le gros des données dont dispose Tufekci, qui n’hésite pas à aller chercher des contre-exemples à la fois contemporains – comme le mouvement conservateur du Tea Party – et plus anciens, pour mettre en relief l’intérêt des pratiques d’une part, d’autre part le renversement des chaînes d’action qui permettent les mobilisations. À ce titre, elle convoque régulièrement le mouvement pour les droits civiques comme un point de comparaison historique permettant de comprendre les ruptures en termes logistiques et organisationnels que permettent les réseaux sociaux. Elle examine les forces et les faiblesses des mouvements sociaux dans une sphère publique « connectée », à partir de cette vérité toute simple : « Une société qui repose sur l’imprimerie et une société possédant une sphère publique en ligne ne fonctionnent pas selon les mêmes écologies de mécanismes sociaux. »

    Grâce à une écriture volontairement accessible, l’ouvrage suscitera l’intérêt des chercheurs et des activistes comme des simples curieux. On y trouvera des idées fortes, dont l’expression pourra parfois sembler répétitive mais qui ont le mérite de la clarté. La première partie aborde de façon générale les technologies numériques et les mécanismes des mouvements sociaux. La deuxième, « Les outils de l’activiste », montre que la sphère publique connectée s’est transformée avec l’avènement des plateformes de médias sociaux autour de 2005. Espaces commerciaux privés, régis par des algorithmes mystérieux, avec des politiques de gouvernance spécifiques, ces plateformes tour à tour entravent et permettent la mise en contact et la communication de grands groupes de personnes.

    Tufekci examine les « affordances » des technologies numériques dans leurs caractéristiques techniques à partir de quelques cas – notamment avec la question du nom ou du pseudonymat pour certaines catégories d’activistes. Enfin, la troisième partie s’intéresse aux interactions entre mouvements et autorités et aux signaux mutuels qu’ils s’envoient au sein du rapport de force. S’intéressant aussi aux compétences développées par les régimes répressifs sur le terrain numérique, les différents chapitres font le point sur les mutations profondes qui ont affecté ces signaux ou, pour le dire autrement, ces indicateurs de puissance, au premier chef desquels la manifestation.

    C’est l’une des idées phares du livre : en tant que signal envoyé par les mouvements sociaux, la manifestation à l’ère des mouvements sociaux connectés a radicalement changé de statut. Elle n’est plus le point d’aboutissement d’une longue organisation interne, fastidieuse, et par conséquent le signe d’une capacité mobilisatrice et d’une structuration efficace du mouvement, mais au contraire le moment inaugural d’une contestation permise par le développement d’outils qui font se retrouver dans l’espace public physique – sur des places, par exemple – des individus mus par un même sentiment d’indignation.

    Tufekci explique que les outils technologiques sont aux mouvements sociaux ce que les sherpas sont aux alpinistes : si au XXIe siècle la levée de masse est au bout du clic, elle n’est plus perçue comme un signal de puissance par les autorités, comme les grandes manifestations organisées pendant de longs mois par le mouvement des droits civiques. Au moment d’attaquer le sommet – ou les puissants –, la musculature fait défaut. C’est ce que Tufekci nomme les « internalités de réseau » : si la mobilisation et la manifestation sont rendues plus faciles, le travail de structuration interne qui permet la maturation des processus de décision et surtout la capacité tactique passent à la trappe.
    Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes. Forces et fragilités de la contestation connectée

    Pendant les manifestations de juin 2013 à Istanbul © CC/Mstyslav Chernov

    La question de l’organisation est centrale dans les thèses de Tufekci et permet d’expliquer la déconfiture de la plupart des mouvements une fois passée la manifestation. Elle lie cela à la fois à la culture politique de ces mouvements et aux outils dont ils disposent, qui exacerbent leurs forces – la capacité de mobilisation rapide – mais aussi leurs faiblesses. L’absence de leaders, élément caractéristique des mouvements étudiés, est à la fois une force et une faiblesse, qui les pénalise à deux moments essentiels : lors des négociations, puisque les mouvements ne sont pas reconnus dans les négociations par la partie adverse, et dès qu’il s’agit d’opérer des changements tactiques.

    Présents de longue date dans la sociologie de l’organisation (Tufekci rappelle l’article « The Tyranny of Structurlessness » de la féministe américaine Jo Freeman), ces éléments semblent toujours utiles aujourd’hui. De fait, les questions tactiques se sont posées avec acuité dans ces mouvements qui ont grandi avec les cultures anti-autoritaires de l’ère Internet. Dans son roman La ville gagne toujours (Gallimard, 2018), Omar Robert Hamilton, écrivain et révolutionnaire égyptien, met en scène des activistes aux prises avec l’espoir puis le goût amer de la défaite. La même question lancinante hante le récit : auraient-ils dû prendre Maspero, le siège de la télévision nationale ? Cela aurait-il changé le cours des choses ? À quel moment ont-ils perdu, une fois passée l’occupation de la place Tahrir ?

    Depuis 2011, les régimes ont aussi retenu la leçon : la manifestation n’est plus forcément un signal fort. Les manifestations à l’ère des réseaux sociaux peuvent être organisées en un rien de temps et être massives, mais elles sont désormais le moment inaugural d’une mobilisation collective qui peut être réprimée. Prenant en compte la contre-attaque des systèmes répressifs, à distance des événements, Twitter & les gaz lacrymogènes repolitise la question des émotions et de l’attention, déplaçant les questions d’information, de contre-information et de propagande à l’ère des réseaux sociaux. Au XXIe siècle, la véritable ressource d’un mouvement social n’est pas l’information, mais bien l’attention.

    On ne peut comprendre autrement les stratégies des autorités en matière de propagande : la surabondance d’informations, la multiplication des fausses informations, la focalisation sur tel élément au détriment d’autres, ont pour but de noyer l’attention des citoyens et surtout de briser la chaîne causale qui fait le lien entre la diffusion d’informations et la production d’une volonté et d’une capacité d’action d’abord individuelle puis collective : « Dans la sphère publique connectée, l’objectif des puissants n’est souvent pas de convaincre la population de la vérité d’un récit spécifique, ni d’empêcher une information donnée de sortir (de plus en plus difficile), mais de produire de la résignation, du cynisme et un sentiment d’impuissance au sein de la population. »

    Ce livre remarquable, déroulant ses analyses sans jamais se départir d’une tonalité joyeuse, se lit aussi comme un antidote à ces passions tristes qui empêchent d’agir. Et remet au goût du jour ce slogan de la révolution égyptienne : اليأس خيانة, « Le désespoir est une trahison ! ».

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