aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
danah boyd on Beacon
She sees the opt-our requirement of Facebook’s new ad approach as a dangerous precedent:
For all of the repentance by Facebook, what really bugs me is that this is the third time that Facebook has violated people’s sense of privacy in a problematic way. I documented the first incident - the introduction of the News Feeds - in an essay called “Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreck.” In this incident, there were no privacy adjustments until public outcry. The second incident went primarily unnoticed. Back in September, Facebook quietly began making public search listings available to search engines. This means that users’ primary photos are cached alongside their name and networks on Google. Once again, it was an opt-out structure, although finding the opt-out is tricky. Under privacy settings, under search, there is a question of “Which Facebook users can find me in search?” If you choose “everyone,” that includes search engines, not just Facebook users. The third incident is Beacon.
In each incident, Facebook pushed the boundaries of privacy a bit further and, when public outcry took place, retreated just a wee bit to make people feel more comfortable. In other words, this is “slippery slope” software development. Given what I’ve learned from interviewing teens and college students over the years, they have *no* idea that these changes are taking place (until an incident occurs). Most don’t even realize that adding the geographic network makes them visible to thousands if not millions. They don’t know how to navigate the privacy settings and they don’t understand the implications. In other words, defaults are EVERYTHING.
Like most companies, Facebook probably chose the “opt-out” path instead of the “opt-in” path because they knew that most users would not opt in. Even if they thought the feature was purrrfect, most wouldn’t opt-in because they would never know of the feature. Who reads the fine print of a website notice? This is exactly why opt-out approaches are dangerous. People don’t know what they’ve by default opted-in to. They trust companies and once they trust those companies, they are at their mercy.
* At the end of last year, 1 of every 31 adults in the United States was in prison, in jail or on supervised release.
* An estimated 2.38 million people were incarcerated in state and federal facilities, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2005.
* Of that 2.38 million, 38% are Black.
* Of that 2.38 million, a bit under 5% are women. “The female jail and prison population has grown at double the rate for men since 1980; in 2006 it increased 4.5 percent, its fastest clip in five years.”
* About 15,000 people were held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities, an increase of 43 percent over last year.
* “In several states, incarceration rates for blacks were more than 10 times the rate of whites. In Iowa, for example, blacks were imprisoned at 13.6 times the rate of whites, according to an analysis of the data by the Sentencing Project.”
* “Still, many prison systems are accommodating record numbers of inmates by using facilities that were never meant to provide bed space. Arizona has for years held inmates in tent encampments on prison grounds. Hundreds of California prisoners sleep in three-tier bunk beds in gymnasiums or day rooms. Prisons throughout the nation have made meeting rooms for educational and treatment programs into cell space.”
Oprah: how transcendent is she?
The weekend buzz was that Oprah transcends race, transcends celebrity and transcends politics.
Oprah Winfrey’s campaign swing last weekend with Democrat Barack Obama was greeted with record-breaking crowds and an equal amount of speculation over how much impact the media mogul might have on the White House race.
After all, Oprah has sent several books to the top of the bestseller list. Why couldn’t that magic touch take a candidate to the top of the polls?
But a new survey out Monday night shows Winfrey’s endorsement is unlikely to nudge Obama higher in the polls—and could potentially hurt the Illinois senator.
According a New York Times/CBS News poll released Monday, only 1 percent of Democrats polled reported that Winfrey’s endorsement would make them more likely to support Obama, while 14 percent said they would be less likely to vote for the candidate because of Winfrey’s support.
Emphasis is Joe Gandelman’s.