Do they mean revoked?
A year ago I uninstalled Facebook and Twitter from my phone in an effort to slim down my social media fake news diet. The idea was I'd occasionally check in from my laptop. Which I didn't. So this week I've finally taken the plunge and deleted both accounts. Or rather, deactivated, you have to wait 30 days before they actually delete anything. I also nuked Quora, because of the hack rather than any particular tendency to undermine the foundations of democracy.
This leaves me with a potential problem. As a person with a rapidly decreasing social media footprint I might be asked to host the Oscars. It would be nice to be tapped, but I really don't want to and so I've published a complete archive of all my tweets. I'm pretty sure some of them would be disqualifying. Whew.
The Trust Project is a well meaning but doomed attempt to deal with fake news.
Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter are all on board because it's important to be seen to be doing something about the problem. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch writes:
"Here’s how this will work in practice: starting today on Facebook, an icon will appear next to articles in the News Feed. When you click on this icon, you can read information the publisher has shared related to their organization’s “ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work,” according to an announcement from The Trust Project."
Please take a minute to scroll through the Trust Protocol Phase I MVP. Yes, this is a minimal viable product where your most recent Diversity Staffing Report is required. I don't think they understand what an MVP is. Which would be fine if they understood how to fix the problem. They don't.
Back in January I wrote this about fake news on Facebook:
"The horrible danger is that if you don't fact check every stupid quote on image meme the power of repetition lodges them somewhere in your subconscious where they become that thing that you read somewhere. Which is OK if you only read quality news but deadly if you want to catch up on old friends quickly."
And back in 2010 on cable news and the Fairness Doctrine:
"24-hour news stations are especially bad because most days there just isn’t that much news. This leaves a choice between repeating the news that exists which is boring, or making stuff up which is a lot more fun. Unfortunately It’s also corrosive."
Yes, it would be nice to have a set of standards around more easily vetting the provenance of "news" that you find on the internet. But the problem is with people taking bullshit at face value (myself sometimes included). When you scroll by something that meets the loose standards of your confirmation bias the damage is done. You're not clicking any Trust Project icon and you're sure as fuck not upgrading Acrobat just to read the Breitbart Diversity Staffing Report.
The Trust Project isn't the answer. Facebook just pulled their disputed flag. The Fairness Doctrine isn't coming back. Is there a technology based fix that might work?
"That’s not going to happen, argues Data & Society founder and Microsoft researcher danah boyd. Google, Facebook, Twitter—none of these companies is sitting on a silver-bullet solution. As boyd wrote for us earlier this year, we have more than a technology problem: “[W]e have a cultural problem, one that is shaped by disconnects in values, relationships, and social fabric."
From The Fake News Culprit No One Wants to Identify: You on Backchannel recently. I see. It's up to me. I have to fix it.
I uninstalled Facebook and Twitter from my phone just over a week ago. I'm not abandoning social media entirely (although I toy with this regularly). Just pulling back a bit.
For the first few days I'd regularly find my finger headed to launch Facebook. Every time I had a minute to kill. Facebook has no end (usually) so it works even when my RSS feed is empty. I stocked Feedly up with more wholesome content (Trust Project approved no doubt). By the end of the first week I was sometimes even leaving my phone in my pocket.
Now I catch up on Facebook on my laptop every day or two. It's a much better experience - when you check 200 times a day the feed algorithm gets increasingly desperate to please you. It panics and serves up lame memes from someone who you think must have been a coworker at some point but don't really remember. I get through a few updates from friends that I'm actually interested in and bail before hitting the questionable stuff.
It's up to you too.
ITHCWY: Twitter: Put some status in status updates: Give me an extra character for every year that I’ve been with… http://goo.gl/fb/gCEpT— Robert Ellison (@abfo) July 8, 2011
After my horrible experience with Cleat last year I'm finally pulling the plug on my remaining Twitter API projects. Twitter is switching off their v1 API soon and I'm still so sick of it that I'm not even going to upgrade existing products. If you used Follower then I'm sorry. If you liked my Twitter public timeline screensaver then you're odd, but I'm still sorry. I'll still tweet, I'm just staying clear of the API.
You'd think Facebook or Twitter could scrape together a semi-functional Android client but apparently not.
Twitter has some size limit for photo uploads. In a sane world the client would resize a photo that was too large and just get on with it. Table stakes would be an error message. But no, it pretends everything is just peachy and then fails to upload. To post a photo to Twitter I have to remember to go into the camera settings and ratchet down the megapixels which I remember to do about never.
Facebook used to work occasionally but now just dumps an ugly immobile progress bar that won't go away until I reboot the phone.
Google+ probably works fine technically but if a photo is uploaded to a forest and there is nobody there to see it is that still in any sense counted as success?
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
Stonking police procedural set in the months leading up to a global catastrophe.
Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez
Excellent techno-thriller. A little more serious and focused than Daemon and Freedom (TM). It's about a worst case drone scenario, ants, extra-special forces and some smart birds. Very good.
Windows 8, Users 0? http://t.co/966Cuwjz
ITHCWY: Fight Facebook with Email: I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to… http://t.co/2G0pDdu0
Diaspora Founders To Move On, Handing Over Decentralized Social Network ‘To The Community’ http://t.co/KQGb2kpv -- sad, but not the future
Check out Catfood Earth Live Wallpaper on Google Play! https://t.co/NTJQ1sYL
ITHCWY: Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio: I've wanted to play with Twilio's voice and SMS service for a while and… http://t.co/KOK0PG2M
Twitter Cuts Off Tumblr's Ability to Find Friends http://t.co/1g3ZcClf
5 of 5 stars to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters http://t.co/9NF2nviH
Windows 8 Is Now Available For Developers (And For Everybody Else, There’s A 90-Day Free Trial, Too) http://t.co/iu1li6BV
Gotye's YouTube orchestra remix of "Somebody That I Used to Know" http://t.co/OUEXXltQ
ITHCWY: City by the Bay: View from Bernal Hill this afternoon. http://t.co/11cI3ctk
ITHCWY: Share a picture in MonoDroid: Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from… http://t.co/pByzvjmx
5 of 5 stars to Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez http://t.co/TKgUMNW0
BBC News - Mars rover makes first colour panorama http://t.co/fZ7u8smZ
How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking http://t.co/BDmRAbm3
ITHCWY: Catfood: WebCams for Android: I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but… http://t.co/azZUwkkz
BBC News - Photo shows Mars rover descent http://t.co/KfOv1qOF
Check out Catfood WebCams on Google Play! https://t.co/VTU8YiBd
ITHCWY: Not a Private Key: When jarsigner says "Key Associated with [alias] not a private key" it almost certainly… http://t.co/3sk89ENV
ITHCWY: Sending email via GMail in C#/.NET using SmtpClient: I’ve stubbed my toe on this a couple of times, so here… http://t.co/QJ7YjcjI
Help end patent litigation insanity and tell your congress person to back SHIELD. http://t.co/27anadBt
ITHCWY: Support SHIELD–a small measure of patent sanity: A friend pointed me at the SHIELD (PDF) act today. This… http://t.co/ArXHgZ0e
ITHCWY: Thank you for choosing HSA Bank!: No, thank you HSA Bank for not giving me a choice and then cheekily… http://t.co/9torSXCq
I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to some form of community manged slow death. I joined a pod a while back and was pretty impressed with the design. It was very similar to Google+: clean, nice features, nobody home.
I've also joined app.net. The concept here is a social network that you pay for, so the owners are aligned with the interests of the users and developers rather than advertisers and lame brands. I wish app.net well, but it's not the future. Best case (and it's not a bad one) it could be the new WELL - a community that people care enough about to pay for (I was on the WELL in the early 90's, splitting the tab with a friend so our handle was abft, account built for two). If that is the direction it goes in then simply having a slightly longer post limit than Twitter isn't really going to cut it. And cool as it might be most people aren't going to pay for a social network.
Any attempt to displace Facebook has to solve the problem that anyone interested in sharing anything with anyone else is already using Facebook. The only platform that is in any sense comparable is email. So someone needs to make email into a social network.
This could be an interesting startup. Create some account - [email protected] - anything you send directly to that address is a post. Anyone you copy is a mention. Reply to a thread with this email address included and you're replying on the social network as well. Anyone copied on such an email gets invited to the network if they're not already.
You've got a killer viral component and an instant social network that is supported on every platform with no investment needed. Everyone has email, and everyone is a member as soon as they claim their email address or get included in a post.
Maybe someone has tried this already and I just haven't seen it. I'm half tempted to have a crack at it myself.
What would be more interesting would be layering a social protocol over email, and implementing that protocol by proxy on top of email providers that don't or won't support it. This creates a core social service practically out of thin air. Facebook and Twitter are the new AOL and CompuServe. There has to be a way to leverage email into a free and open alternative.
Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from MonoDroid:
A fun mix of Java and C#. The directory got me to start with so check to see if the ExternalCacheDir is available and if not fall back to the internal CacheDir. Frustratingly Facebook doesn’t pick up on the text associated with an image regardless of the intent ExtraWhatever specified.
I've developed a bunch of stupid, niche and vaguely promising apps on top of the Twitter API. During that time I've slogged through various painful and rapid shifts like changing IDs, authentication schemes and diktats handed down on which parts of the ecosystem Twitter would like to control. I've had to roll my own OAuth and even re-word a blog post to Twitter Support's satisfaction to get a blocked application unblocked again. It's been a pretty frustrating experience but worth rolling with the punches until the past week.
Twitter suspended Cleat, a tool for posting from the command line. So I emailed to ask why, too much effort for them to explain the rationale at the time they're putting the suspension in place I guess. I got an auto-response asking for information they must have already had and I replied to this. A few days later I still hadn't heard back so I emailed again and the ticket had been automatically closed.
So far just the standard fuck-off-and-die support that you'd expect from a growing company that no longer wants to talk to it's users. But the auto-reply directed me to https://support.twitter.com/forms/ to file a new ticket. None of the options there relate to developers or a suspended application. I tried filing a ticket under 'deactivated account' which seemed the closest.
That form has a hard-coded 'With love,' valediction. Whoever thought that was cute should go through the process of trying to get help a few times.
This attempt auto-responded to say that my account was not suspended, and would I like to fuck-off-and-die or got back to the forms center?
So I tried another form that actually seemed to submit but haven't heard anything back.