Party crasher: Obama brings down Reddit during Mitt Romney’s big week | The Verge

President Barack Obama’s surprise appearance on Reddit could not have been better timed. As Mitt Romney and the Republicans engaged in the vestigial tradition of counting delegates, hoping their speeches would filter down to the electorate through the media, President Obama reached millions of people directly by answering questions on arguably the biggest social media site that could still be considered underground. On his MacBook, of course.

The president was only logged on for half an hour, only answered ten questions, and yes, his answers were as rehearsed as in any public venue. The best AMAs are those where the subject literally means “ask me anything.” By contrast, Obama left upwards of 10,000 questions unanswered. Many people couldn’t even access Reddit during the event because the site was so overwhelmed with traffic.

The democratic process is alive and well… on Reddit!

Apple Is Said to Discuss an Investment in Twitter via @NYtimes

Apple, which has stumbled in its efforts to get into social media, has talked with Twitter in recent months about making a strategic investment in it, according to people briefed on the matter.

Apple has worked Twitter into its computer operating system. Apple made it easy to send photos from iPhone to Twitter.

While Apple has been hugely successful in selling phones and tablets, it has little traction in social networking, which has become a major engine of activity on the Web and on mobile devices. Social media are increasingly influencing how people spend their time and money — an important consideration for Apple, which also sells applications, games, music and movies.

Apple has considered an investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars, one that could value Twitter at more than $10 billion, up from an $8.4 billion valuation last year, these people said. They declined to be named because the discussions were private.

via nytimes.com

Declaration of Internet Freedom


Declaration of Internet Freedom

internet icon

Preamble

We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.

Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open.

Declaration

We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

  • Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
  • Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
  • Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
  • Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
  • Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

via aaaainternetdeclaration.org

An open-sourced call for basic rights on the internet. I’m thrilled to see this document born in response to the horrendous congressional overreaching we saw in the SOPA and PIPA acts, and hopefully it’s widespread adoption will help curtail crap like that in the future.

Yahoo and Facebook Confirm Deal To Cross-License Their Patent Portfolios, Sell Ads Together | TechCrunch

Facebook and Yahoo are calling off their heated patent lawsuit battle, and in fact have just agreed to cross-license their entire patent portfolios to each other without money changing hands, sources directly familiar with the deal tell me. Sources also confirmed that the two web giants are entering into an ad sales partnership that will let Yahoo show Like buttons in its ads

via techcrunch.com

Seems like a strategically odd move for Facebook to align itself with last decade’s biggest loser. I guess the patent trolls have won?

How Google+ Has Morphed Over The Past Year & What We Can Expect in 2013 via @RWW

The fact that Google+ has 75 million daily users is testament to it being such a key part of Google’s more established and bigger properties – such as search and YouTube. As a standalone social network, Google+ still struggles to achieve the user engagement that Facebook and Twitter have. Facebook is where you go to see what your friends are up to, Twitter is the daily virtual water cooler. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a ghost town, but as a social network Google+ isn’t where the action is. The action is on Facebook, Twitter, … and YouTube, Google search, Blogger and other Google products.

One year ago, I think we all expected Google+ to turn into a better standalone product than what we’ve got now. But despite that, Google+ has turned out to be incredibly useful to Google. If I was to project what Google+ will be like in July 2013, I’d guess it will be even less about being a standalone social network and even more about supporting YouTube, Google search et al. One hopes it will also have a better API, so that more third party services can utilize that Google+ glue.

via readwriteweb.com

I know I haven’t logged into G+ in over a month, so I guess I’m no longer an ‘active monthly user’ unless you count seeing G+ integration into my search results. I wonder how many of their reported 150M AMUs are auto-signed in by Google services, as opposed to explicitly slogging over to the actual Google+ site?

Cheating and deception are at Reddit’s core, founder reveals via @VentureBeat

one other strategy proved crucial to Reddit’s early success, which most people are unaware of: The team submitted a ridiculous amount of content under fake user accounts to give the appearance of popularity. Yes, you read that right. Reddit — a site that values a fair and open democratic process  to determine worthy content and police itself — sleeps soundly on a bed of lies.

“When you would go to Reddit in the early days there would be tons of content,” Huffman said, explaining that the initial Reddit submission page contained only a “URL field” and “Title field” to plug in. Yet when logged in as an admin, a third field appeared that allowed the team to enter a custom user name that would automatically be registered for an account upon hitting submit. The fake user submissions, which were motivated by embarrassment over having an empty site, actually had a positive impact in a few different ways, he said.

via aaaaventurebeat.com

^1

Stuxnet Will Come Back to Haunt Us via @NYTimes

THE decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility late in George W. Bush’s presidency marked a significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the Internet. Washington has begun to cross the Rubicon. If it continues, contemporary warfare will change fundamentally as we move into hazardous and uncharted territory.

It is one thing to write viruses and lock them away safely for future use should circumstances dictate it. It is quite another to deploy them in peacetime. Stuxnet has effectively fired the starting gun in a new arms race that is very likely to lead to the spread of similar and still more powerful offensive cyberweaponry across the Internet. Unlike nuclear or chemical weapons, however, countries are developing cyberweapons outside any regulatory framework.

via nytimes.com

I hear politicians and military pundits using the logic of 1950′s warfare to justify cyberwarfare: that when they hit us, we can hit them back. As if a virus were a missile, or a similar physical weapon.

But the metaphor of traditional warfare breaks down when cyber weaponry can’t be controlled – and in fact, aren’t even physical objects. A virus is an idea — not a thing.

Assuming we can control their use, when they are by design, deeply chaotic, is a special kind of naievete. But it’s the kind of hubris we could – and should – expect from the country that first engaged in “preemptive warfare.”

Why the NYT-Flipboard deal is a smart move via @om

For the first time, subscribers will be able to access Times content via something other than the NYT’s own site or apps. It may not be a huge revenue generator (at least not in the short term), but it is still an encouraging sign of a traditional media player trying to adapt to a new model.

Starting this Thursday, the Times will provide all of its content — articles, videos, photo slideshows and blog posts — to subscribers who use Flipboard, while non-subscribers will get a free sample of certain articles. Denise Warren, who runs the NYT’s website, said that the deal made sense for the newspaper because it is promoting digital subscriptions, and an analysis of its readership showed that 20 percent of the paper’s subscribers use third-party apps like Flipboard to consume content. Said Warren:

We realized that we have an opportunity to enable this kind of access for paying subscribers, and we thought it was something we ought to try and see how users react to it.

via gigaom.com

Members of Congress trade in companies while making laws that affect those same firms

One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.

The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.

Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation.

via washingtonpost.com

How is this not insider trading? They have privelaged access to private information, and use that information to make personally profitable trades on the stock market. Depressing!

Acxiom, the Quiet Giant of Consumer Database Marketing via @NYTimes

Right now in Conway, Ark., north of Little Rock, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for a company that, unlike Silicon Valley’s marquee names, rarely makes headlines. It’s called the Acxiom Corporation, and it’s the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing.

Few consumers have ever heard of Acxiom. But analysts say it has amassed the world’s largest commercial database on consumers — and that it wants to know much, much more. Its servers process more than 50 trillion data “transactions” a year. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States.

Such browsing seems innocuous — hardly data mining. But it cues an Acxiom system designed to recognize consumers, remember their actions, classify their behaviors and influence them with tailored marketing.

But the multichannel system of Acxiom and its online partners is just revving up…

via nytimes.com

Check out the uber-creepy promotional materials they offer.

Do you give your phone number or zip code out at the checkout register?