Facebook has to identify uploader of revenge porn, says Dutch court

25 Jun, 2015   | by:

A Dutch Court today ruled that Facebook has a duty to identify a person who has uploaded revenge porn video on its social network. In this case, the video displays a woman, Chantal, performing oral sex on her now ex-boyfriend. A fake account bearing Chantal’s name was created and used to share the private video with her friends and others. Chantal’s ex-boyfriend, who recorded the video, has always denied uploading the video. Although Facebook removed the video within one hour, the video had already found its way online and is still being shared. Chantal went to court and claimed release of information identifying of the person who created the fake account and uploaded the video. More…



Elonis case decided by U.S. Supreme Court leaves lingering questions for online speech

12 Jun, 2015   | by:

Facebook is the modern-day microphone. The social media platform, in contrast to traditional ways of conveying messages, provides the opportunity for opinions to be amplified immediately to millions of others with the click of a mouse.

But unlike an orator physically standing before you where speech patterns can be scrutinized, emotions can be evaluated, and body language can be deciphered, words from a Facebook user become one-dimensional in transit to readers. Often, those construing messages miles away add their own color and depth to the communication composed behind an emotionless keyboard, creating a discrepancy between the intent of the original speaker and the how the expression is perceived by other parties.

This results in dissonance in the interpretation of messages between the speaker and listener in the digital world not as prevalent through in-person communications. The divergence in the discernment of words created through online speech can add complications to speech laws where intent is a key inquiry and can determine innocence or guilt. More…

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Business Fish goes all in: affect-images and the Facebook machine

8 May, 2015   | by:

In this brief piece, I’m going to address the culture of image responses in online communication, and look at how and why I think Facebook has incorporated its own system. Within the last two years Facebook has provided a new feature in its chat and thread systems: the ability to comment or post using small images called ‘stickers’. Finding a precise date on the inclusion of stickers into the Facebook social media ecology is difficult because the inclusion hasn’t been marked by much in the way of press releases or other trumpeting. Stickers subtly became a part of the everyday use of Facebook without much fanfare, neither changing extant services nor replacing existing ones. We collectively woke up one day, logged-in, maybe noted a new button in our chat windows and then perhaps thought in passing “was that smiley face there yesterday?” Perhaps we used them, perhaps we did not, but they were now here to stay. More…

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Things that caught our eye

When Facebook and Apple freeze your eggs – Listen up Ladies!

15 Oct, 2014   | by:

This may be an unusal news post from our side, but I am fascinated and shocked about the new perks Facebook and Apple are willing to offer women. Because Silicon Valley has come up with an idea to encourage women who pursue their careers and also want to have children. According to a Swiss Newspaper Facebook and Apple are now willing to offer highly qualified academic women incentives – meaning money – to freeze their eggs in order to keep on working. Women are no longer under the pressure to have a baby before they are 40 and can pursue a fruitful and long career in these two companies. Apparently, women have been doing this for a while in the U.S. NBC News says that these two companies are most likely the first to offer this kind of coverage for non-medical reasons. Brigitte Adams, founder of the patient forum, said:

“Having a high-powered career and children is still a very hard thing to do.”

“By offering this benefit, companies are investing in women and supporting them in carving out the lives they want.”

Even though I myself believe in women being able to have a great career while at the same time having children, I am not quite sure what kind of message this offer is sending us. It seems like these perks are just another sign from the corporate world telling women that a career and children are two incompatible wishes unless you freeze your eggs – thus postponing actually having children at an early stage in your “work-life”. So women of the world or at least of Silicon Valley (for now) listen up: You can have children, just not straight away!

Enjoy the full story “Perk Up: Facebook and Apple Now Pay for Women to Freeze Eggs” here.

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Things that caught our eye

Privacy Online: From Access to Content, to Access to Meaning

1 Oct, 2014   | by:

danah boyd’s newest blog entry is – again – a very insightful read. She argues that privacy on the Internet is more complex than the mere control of access to personal information:

Achieving privacy requires a whole slew of skills, not just in the technological sense, but in the social sense. Knowing how to read people, how to navigate interpersonal conflict, how to make trust stick. This is far more complex than people realize, and yet we do this every day in our efforts to control the social situations around us.

(Many of) today’s teenagers know that they cannot control the access to their online information. So, they try to control their privacy via access to meaning. One tactic to do so is social steganography, i.e., to hide messages and meaning in plain sight. boyd and Marwick – in the longer, more academic version of the text – provide an example of social steganography:

Carmen, a 17-year-old Latina from Massachusetts, uses Facebook to talk to friends and family. She loves her mother’s involvement in her life, but feels that her mother has a tendency to jump in inappropriately and overreact unnecessarily online. Carmen gets frustrated when her mother comments on her Facebook posts “Because then it scares everyone away. Everyone kind of disappears after the mom post … And it’s just uncool having your mom all over your wall, that’s just lame.” When Carmen and her boyfriend broke up, she wanted sympathy and support from her friends. Her inclination was to post sappy song lyrics that reflected her sad state of mind, but she was afraid that her mother would overreact; it had happened before. Knowing that her Argentinean mother would not recognize references to 1970s British comedy, Carmen decided to post lyrics from a movie that she had recently watched with her geeky friends. When her mom saw the update, “Always look on the bright side of life,” she commented that it was great to see Carmen doing so well. Her friends, recognizing the lyric came from the Monty Python film Life of Brian where the main character is being crucified, immediately texted her.

However, exercising control over one’s privacy via access to meaning can be very difficult as well, since others can publish unwanted content and meanings, for example by tagging embarrassing pictures or commenting in undesired ways.

In a networked setting, teens cannot depend on single-handedly controlling how their information is distributed. What their peers share about them, and what they do with the information they receive cannot be regulated technically, but must be negotiated socially. […] no technical solution can provide complete reassurance. Instead, teenagers often rely on interpersonal relationship management to negotiate who shares what about them, who does what with their information, and how their reputations are treated.


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