Posted by: denaragoble | November 13, 2017

Does Any Internet User Really Have Privacy Anymore?

In “The Political Economy of Privacy on Facebook,” Christian Fuchs brings up an idea that seems so simple, though I had never considered it before.  The idea that users of Facebook are being exploited for all the information and data they create.  Facebook takes this data and sells it to advertising companies, so they can create targeted ad campaigns.  Fuchs brings up that Facebook should compensate its users for the data they are helping create which essentially makes money for Facebook.  Most Facebook users don’t know what kind of data is stored about them and what that data is used for.

After learning more about Girl Talk and the type of music he creates (remixes of songs that technically belong to other artists), I wonder how he hasn’t gotten into legal trouble already.  With the very public lawsuit that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost due to allegedly “ripping off” the music of Marvin Gaye to create their song ‘Blurred Lines.’ This relates directly to the idea that Ferguson makes in his TED talk, that there is no original music these days, everything you hear is a remix of something else.  Girl Talk compared medical research with remixing songs.  You can do all this research, and broad medical ideas can be patented so future research can’t use these ideas.  If information was free to use without worrying about legal issues, the progress in medicine (and creativity) may move much faster because of this information sharing.

Posted by: lucaspisano | November 13, 2017

“Privacy Paradox”

The age of the internet is causing severe growing pains for America, especially when it comes to the issue of privacy. The article: The ‘Privacy Paradox’ in the Social Web:The Impact of Privacy Concerns, Individual Characteristics, and the Perceived Social Relevance on Different Forms of Self-Disclosure author Monika Taddicken conducted communication research at the University of Hamburg, Grindelberg. The focus of this research was centered around the “privacy paradox”, which suggests, while people are concerned about their privacy on the internet, their behavior does not match those concerns. To deduct if this paradox exists, Taddicken used online survey’s to examine the contrast between people’s concern for privacy, verses their self- disclosure rates.

Before we get into the findings of this article, I feel like I should discuss my own personal reflection about this topic. With much debate recently over the first amendment, free speech, and fake news, it’s easy to forget about the importance of the fourth amendment – the right to privacy. While reading this article, I found myself wondering why it has been so easy for me to self-disclose my personal informational on the internet. I feel now more than ever it is important to fight to sustain these rights, and stay vigilant on this issue.

In conclusion, the findings of the article pointed out some key factors. Younger people disclosed more personal information, female users are more affected by their online privacy concerns, and finally the results indicate that privacy concerns hardly impacts one’s actions of self-disclosure proving the privacy paradox.

CBS looks into web privacy:

Posted by: Sean Evans | November 13, 2017

Chatbots to Occupy the Time of Pesky Scammer Emails

A New Zealand based cyber security firm called Netsafe has created an email chatbot that houses an endless array of responses to reply to scam emails. Despite chatbot replies to scam emails not exactly being an entirely new idea, Netsafe developed a nifty video to accompany its chatbot system that is vivid and amusing.

Whether gold or millions of dollars scammers are overly willing to offer up, scamming is a billion-dollar industry with millions of victims. Email scammers will do anything to fool someone into forking over their personal information, even if it means posing as a close friend or relative by email, phone, or letter addressed to their home. With one goal in mind, scammers will stop at nothing to acquire bank information, social security numbers, or passwords.

re scam image 2 bingo night

With technology in the form of cell phones an exponentially increasing means of every man, woman, and child downward neck driven view, the collection of our trends, likes, and habits are constantly being monitored and collected to cater ads and popups to the highest likelihood of drawing our attention. What does this have to do with scam emails? Simply that our every online action is being followed, as a profile of our interests are harvested into a database to influence our next purchase, Facebook/Twitter follow, and cat video like.

The cyber world is a dangerous place with countless threats. What are we doing to protect ourselves and our children?

baby in stroller

Posted by: cprofita | November 13, 2017

Instagram Revolt Reveals The Power Of Consumer Protest


In “The Political Economy of Facebook,” Christian Fuchs argues social media sites should be held to a socialist concept of privacy in which users are protected from economic surveillance and exploitation by the sites’ owners.

Fuchs makes the case that people are working for free when they use social media sites because companies like Facebook are collecting and quietly selling their data to advertisers.

One of the solutions he suggests is consumer protests and organized watchdog movements.

“Critical citizens…should observe closely the surveillance operations of corporations and document these mechanisms and instances in which corporations and politicians take measures that threaten privacy or increase the surveillance of citizens,” Fuchs writes.

A 2012 revolt against Instagram reveals the potential of such movements.

After Facebook bought Instagram, the photo-sharing site changed its privacy policy and terms of service. One line in its new policy suggested it could sell users’ photos to advertisers.

A massive backlash ensued, and many Instagram users deleted their accounts in protest.

In an interview with NPR, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom admitted he hadn’t read the new policies all that carefully, and “one of the sections…can be interpreted that we were going to take user photos and somehow use them in advertising.”

“We have a graph of account deletions at the time, and it was skyrocketing,” he said. “And we were like ‘What do we do?’”

Proving the power of protest, Systrom wrote an apology and removed the offending language from the new policy.

The New York Times (Wakabayashi & Qiu, 17 Oct 2017) and Guardian (Levin, 2 Oct 2017) articles about Facebook and Google spreading fake news similarly referenced the idea that these companies appear to resist accepting responsibility for their roles in this issue, frequently giving vague promises to creating solutions. David Carrol (Wakabayashi & Qui, 17 Oct 2017), a professor at the Parson School of Design, suggests that ultimately these companies don’t know enough about the people purchasing advertisements, insinuating that it comes down to the revenue these companies receive for such advertisements.

The Washington Post published an article following the Senate Hearing of Facebook, Google, and Twitter (Borchers, 1 Nov 2017). The article provides further examples of the ideas expressed in the New York Times and Guardian articles. None of the CEOs showed to the hearing and sent lawyers instead. It also appeared that not much preparation was done, as many questions went unanswered and some responses were very vague or unclear. In a program where we address the importance of authenticity in communication, it really seems to me that these companies’ actions in response to fake news is anything but authentic. I do wonder, if these companies were not making money off such stories, if their future actions would seem more sincere. Additionally, as private companies with different intentions than traditional media, can they even be held responsible if they are merely providing the platform to share content created by individuals expressing rights to free speech and creativity?

Posted by: denaragoble | November 6, 2017

Fake News or the Truth? That is the Question of the Day

In Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action, the authors distinguish between biased news, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda from fake news and define fake news as “misinformation that has the trappings of traditional news media (pp. 4).”  I think all of these  news types meld together to create “fake news.”  As we can see from the 2016 presidential election and the Las Vegas shooting, fake news is sometimes very hard to identify.  Especially when it starts popping up on trusted news sites that are supposed to combat fake news (Wakabayashi & Qiu, 2017).  Our country is so divided right now, I think it’s easier for fake news or alternative facts to be taken as the truth.  During the debates of the 2016 presidential election, so many facts are spouted off, it’s impossible to know if all of them are true.  If someone isn’t media literate they won’t be inclined to do their own research and fact check.  Luckily, there are groups that are helping bring media literacy education to the classroom.  Groups such as the National Association of Media Literacy Education and The News Literacy Project are helping teach media literacy to students at a younger age.  Because even though kids these days spend more time online and are more digitally connected, that doesn’t mean they know how to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the information they find.

Koc, M. & Barut, E. (2016).  Development and validation of New Media Literacy Scale (NMLS) for university students.  Computers in Human Behavior, 63, pp. 834-843.

Lazer, D., Baum, M., Grinberg, N., Friedland, L., Joseph, K., Hobbs, W., & Mattsson, C. (2017).  Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action.  Conference held February 17-18, 2017.

National Association for Media Literacy Education.

The News Literacy Project.

Wakabayashi, D. & Qiu, L. (2017, October 18).  Google Serves Fake News Ads in an Unlikely Place: Fact-Checking Sites.  The New York Times, pp. B1.

Posted by: lucaspisano | November 6, 2017

Combating Fakes News

Government’s, social groups, and conspiracy theorist are using social platforms to frame agenda-setting narratives, which can be extremely dangerous in a democratic society. In this week’s readings, we examine how fake news has serious implications on these political agenda-setting narratives. Social media is shaping the way Americans communicate locally and nationally. As the Internet is further embedded into our everyday lives, how do we ensure people aren’t unknowingly reading fake news, propaganda, click-bait headlines, or being fed mainstream bias opinions?

The article Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action examines methods to combat fake news. It emphasized education on media literacy, making the “truth” louder, and building a shared infrastructure for social media research to ensure we reestablish credibility for media distribution. In the highs school classrooms in Italy – they are conducting experiments to help kids identify fake news and verify source references. It will be interesting moving forward to see how the American classrooms respond to the crisis of fake news. Some of the other options included government regulations of free speech, which could ignite a wildfire of controversy.

In summary, we learned the dangers of fake news, how we can combat it, and the importance media literacy. Given the current climate of fake news in society, it is imperative that we, as strategic communicators, continue to attempt to stop the divide fake news is creating in our democratic society.




Posted by: ashbeanpdx | November 6, 2017

Real or fake? How to make yourself more media literate

In Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action, Lazer et. al. confirm that we experience vulnerability to fake news due to the “rapid proliferation of online news and political opinion outlets, and especially social media.” Given the quick rise in digital technology into our everyday lives we are not likely to give it up that easily. So how do you avoid the clickbait headlines of fake news? Lazer et. al. suggests three immediate opportunities:

  • Involve conservatives in discussions about misinformation in politics.
  • Make the truth “louder” by collaborating with journalists and strengthening trustworthy information sources.
  • Develop shared resources for conducting academic research on the presence of fake news and its spread on social media platforms.

Another approach could be teaching media literacy. Italy has decided to add curriculum for high school students to learn to recognize fake news. NPR reports here: “the experiment will be rolled out in 8,000 schools to start showing students how to check the source of an article and to create blogs to expose hoaxes.” The NPR interview also suggests that governments may limit free speech as a way to combat fake news. Do you agree that we are at the mercy of what appears on our news feeds? Will attempts to curb fake news result in government’s potentially suppressing free speech?

Posted by: Allison Bailey | October 30, 2017

Web 2.5…

In this week’s readings we see the way that social media has an impact on Political discourse from both ends of the spectrum. From the user standpoint of being able to facilitate change, via the immediacy and reach of social media, and from the political stand point of trying to bridge the cultural divide. Yet, now we have entered a realm of uncharted political and social media territory. Where rather than a tool to connect, it is being used as leadership as a policy delivery system, and in many cases, it is being used as a tool to divide. As we see the shift in our own political climate will that change the way that worldwide social media constructs and messaging take place. As stated in The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change, we read reference to the downfall of Philippine President Joseph Estrada, and how he blamed the “text messaging generation” for his downfall (Shirky 2011). Which begs the question if technology can have such a great impact, what is to happen to a leader who conducts all business via social media, who scandalizes one’s self through the unfiltered and unsupervised commentary, as we see from our current president, and what does that mean for diplomatic relations with other countries?  Is it still considered engagement, or has it crossed line into something yet to be classified?

Works Cited:

Shirky, C. (2011). The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change. Foreign Affairs, 90(1), 28-41.

Posted by: marionmbarnes | October 29, 2017

Podcasting Excluded from Social Media Efficacy Debate

In The Political Power of Social Media, author Clay Shirky paints a dire picture of social media’s efficacy as a tool for prompting political change. He cites two reasons: first that social media is nothing more than a platform for “slacktivism,” and second that repressive governments are now savvy enough to use social media to squelch dissent. The latter assertion was addressed in Youmans and York’s piece Social Media and the Activist Toolkit, but the first point invites an exploration into a tangential platform: podcasting.

Podcasts are generally excluded from the social media category. But as podcasts move from the niche-interest realm into the daily news milieu, that omission becomes less justified. On the Social Media Today website, writer David Simons argues podcasts have evolved, adding functionality that invites listeners to contribute to the conversation via websites, live call-ins and other interactive options. In addition, listeners often recommend or share subscription links with friends, similar to the way one might “like” a Facebook post.

Assuming podcasts are part of the social media landscape, what does that indicate about users’ involvement in political activism? In Listening In: Building a Profile of Podcast Users and Analyzing Their Political Participation, the authors find that listeners are statistically more likely to be politically active. The study establishes “an empirical relationship between podcast use and political participation, both online and offline. This relationship remains constant, even when controlling for the effect of other media consumption on participatory behaviors.”

Because podcasts are considered a newer addition to the “new media” category, the platform has been excluded from conversations about social media efficacy. To gain a broader view of usership tendencies, podcast listeners should have a place at the table.


Chadha, M., Avila, A., & Zúñiga, H. G. (2012). Listening In: Building a Profile of Podcast Users and Analyzing Their Political Participation. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 9(4), 388-401. doi:10.1080/19331681.2012.717481

Shirky, C. (2011). The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change. Foreign Affairs, 90(1), 28-41. Retrieved from

Simmons, D. (2012, May 8). Do you Consider Podcasting part of Social Media? Retrieved October 27, 2017, from

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