(updated below)

Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it’s hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they’ve learned no such lesson. That tactic continues to be the staple of how major US and British media outlets “report,” especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials – laundered through their media – as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting.

UK removed a number of spies after Russia and China accessed top-secret raft of documents, newspaper says.

mega_logoFor the past several years the publication of a so-called ‘Transparency Report’ has become common on large technology focused sites. Reddit, Twitter and evenAmazon produce such documents.

Facebook publicly clashed with Belgium’s Commission for the Protection of Privacy in April, over a disputed report about the social network’s data protection measures. Now another battle is on the horizon. 

cassetteIn recent years copyright holders have demanded stricter anti-piracy measures from ISPs, search engines and payment processors, with varying results.

Continuing this trend, various entertainment industry groups are now going after organizations that manage and offer domain name services.

The latest tweak to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm factors in the amount of time users spend viewing stories.

Software engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas announced the change in aNewsroom post Friday, acknowledging that Facebook users don’t necessarily like, comment on or share every post that is important to them.


The world’s biggest online encyclopedia finally uses HTTPS to encrypt your connection, so you can learn anything you want without people being able to snoop on your browsing.

Localytics, an analytics and marketing platform for mobile and Web apps, has today released new research documenting the struggles app marketers face in retaining active users, with a particular focus on user retention (defined as the percentage of users who return to an app 11 or more times) and user abandonment (defined as the percentage of users who use an app only once).

It turns out loose lips do sink ships. Last week Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisleregaled an audience about how the U.S. military used the social media accounts of ISIS members to pinpoint and destroy an ISIS facility. As he told a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C., some under his command were combing through social media feeds:

A prize for Edward Snowden

But will he be able to travel to Norway? A few months ago, it was as if everybody wanted to be Charlie (Hebdo). This gesture was laudable enough (if not always credible), but who wants to be Edward Snowden? After two years, the world’s most important whistleblower is still in Moscow. His chances of returning […]

Display and search have been two of the biggest drivers of advertising spend for years, but still advertisers are struggling to achieve their business goals through them.

A user’s choice of social media activity can provide a host of insights into their personality. With enough data points, it’s possible to learn a lot more. It’s also possible to learn interesting facts about the audiences of publishers on Facebook using page interaction data. A study from Fractl and BuzzStream the connections between gender, education, political leanings, and preferred publications of Facebook users.

A YouTube built for gamers

As a kid, I spent hours on the living room couch playing video games with friends, taking turns trying to beat Ganon in “Ocarina of Time” and trading Pokémon until I had all 151. Soon controller passing and Game Boy link cables gave way to network multiplayer and PC LAN parties. Eventually, my living room became a virtual one, with a network of gamers sharing experiences and discoveries.
In its developer forum, Twitter has confirmed that it will no longer require Direct Messages to be in 140 characters and under.

9781781685839_Hacker__hoaxer-294b89cbd6b3950d9cdbfb0e39e66884Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Gabriella Coleman. Brooklyn, NY: Verso Books, 2014. 464 pp.

John Postill
RMIT University
Melbourne, 12 June 2015
forthcoming, American Anthropologist

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