Are TikTok Algorithms Changing How People Talk About Suicide?

A number of those surveyed raised concerns regarding the complete avoidance of the word “suicide.” One participant said it was “dangerous” and “isolating” to avoid the word, while another said, “My brother committed suicide and my sister attempted suicide. I don’t think we should be scared of using the word.”

“Overall, respondents indicated a preference for terms that were perceived to be factual, clear, descriptive, commonly used, non-emotive, non-stigmatizing, respectful, and validating,” Padmanathan says. Further research is needed to determine whether “unalive” could potentially be stigmatizing, but she notes that words can and do affect the way we think about suicide, citing a 2018 study.

The study—led by a communication scientist at the University of Munich—presented participants with news reports about suicide which were identical except for the word used to describe suicide itself. Some of the reports included the neutral German term [...]  read more

Who Owns 4chan?

By 2016, Nishimura announced that the costs of running 4chan were simply too high and suggested the site’s closure was imminent. In 2018, Nishimura attempted to cleave the site in two—leaving 4chan intact, with its obscene and pornographic boards, but creating a safe-for-work alternative, attractive to advertisers, on 4channel. The separate domains continue to this day, but both sites rely on the same self-serve advertising platform. The not-safe-for-work 4chan domain seems mostly to show ads for porn, while 4channel features ads for Steam games, cryptocoins, and NFTs.

Website analytics firm Similarweb estimates that both 4chan and 4channel are still within the 1,000 most popular websites in the world.

When the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol  [...]  read more

How to Limit Who Can Contact You on Facebook

From the Facebook Privacy Checkup page on the web, you can click Who can see what you share to choose what the default setting is for this audience selector. If you want your posts to be seen only by a certain group of people, or by everyone on Facebook except for a few contacts, you can configure this here.

There’s also a section called Limit past posts. If you click the Limit button underneath it, any older posts that were shared with an audience of friends of friends or indeed anyone on the web will be locked down so only your current Facebook friends can view them.

Facebook Messenger

Choose what happens with messages from people you don’t know.
Facebook via David Nield

Anyone you’re Facebook friends with can send you a direct message via Facebook Messenger, so if you don’t want this to happen then you need to unfriend or block them. (See below for more details on this.)

Anyone else who’s on Facebook can message you too, but these messages don’t go directly to your inbox: Instead, they go to a message requests folder. On the desktop [...]  read more

Texas Cites Clarence Thomas to Defend Its Social Media Law

Florida’s law remains blocked, and the state is keenly interested in the outcome of the Texas battle. Florida on Wednesday filed a Supreme Court brief supporting Texas, and the Florida brief was cosigned by 11 other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

“Amici states have a strong interest in defending the regulatory authority of sovereign states in this area,” the Florida brief said. “Indeed, many states have enacted, or are considering, laws that resemble Texas’s and Florida’s laws, and believe that the Fifth Circuit was correct to stay the district court’s injunction pending appeal.”

The Texas law applies to social media platforms with “more than 50 million active users in the United States in a calendar month.” It says that a “social media platform may not censor a user” based on the user’s “viewpoint” [...]  read more

How to Migrate Your Newsletter From Substack to Buttondown

Maybe you don’t want to give 10 percent of your revenue to a venture-backed Silicon Valley company. Maybe you don’t trust a venture-backed Silicon Valley company to not eventually pivot away from newsletters entirely and destroy everything you built. Or maybe you just don’t want your newsletter hosted on a service that actively recruits and pays extremists. There are all sorts of reasons you might want to leave Substack, is all I’m saying.

Some writers are leaving Substack for Ghost, which isn’t an altogether natural transition. That’s why I recommend (and personally use) Buttondown. Here’s how you can migrate your subscribers and archive from Substack over to Buttondown.

Buttondown versus Stubstack

Buttondown offers a comparison with Substack, if you want to look at its list, but a few features stand out to me.

The first is pricing. Buttondown is free for up to 100 subscribers, after which it costs $9 a month for up to 1,000, and [...]  read more

How to Stay Informed Without Getting Paralyzed by Bad News

One day Recently, I arrived at the Manhattan office where I work as a tutor. I hoped to tame my inbox before my first session. Instead, I clicked a news alert and succumbed to a media storm of Ukrainian refugees fleeing bombed homes and President Biden’s ominous warnings about Russian chemical warfare. This news cycle—more like cyclone—then submerged me in TikToks of teenagers tearfully mourning their country, families sheltering in subways, and footage of Ukrainians’ secure lives mere weeks earlier. Soon my chest was constricting uncomfortably. A donation to the International Rescue Committee couldn’t entirely comfort me before my client arrived.

I’m describing my morning, but I’m not the only one with this experience. Peculiarly, when updates about Ukraine make me feel powerless, I feel additional anxiety knowing I can’t sit and scroll forever. Despite life-changing events, I’m living in one of the world’s most expensive cities: I have to fulfill [...]  read more

Do People Caught on Ring Cameras Have Privacy Rights?

Big picture, there’s no legal issue with posting surveillance cam content. Experts agree that it is generally legal to post video footage captured in a public space where the subject of the video lacks a reasonable expectation of privacy. (Things get a bit trickier with audio recordings, where states vary in consent rules, but, again, these rules often don’t apply when a person is in a public space, like on a sidewalk.) While a person’s front door area is legally considered “private” for Fourth Amendment purposes—meaning the police can’t snoop around without a warrant—a homeowner can surveil their own space. Accordingly, the decision to post content is almost entirely at the discretion of the camera’s owner, who also carries the burden of ensuring that their use of surveillance devices does not violate local privacy ordinances, according to Ring’s terms of service.

For its part, Ring warns users against using cam footage in a manner that is “harmful, [...]  read more

Adam Mosseri Says He Wants Big Tech to Give Up Control

So you’re saying that you could have done it earlier, but it was good to wait for blockchain because no one would have believed you otherwise?

I’m not saying that. But there is a truth to that framing. It has less to do with blockchain and more to do with competition in the market for creators, and us feeling a sense of urgency for being the de facto platform for them. Instagram specifically has enjoyed immense market fit with creators for a very long time. Now, a lot of other platforms have wised up to the value of creators. As more power shifted from institutions to individuals, the competition for creators and creators’ business has exploded. And it has created a strong incentive for us to do way more to help creators make a living directly, as opposed to indirectly.

Traditionally, creators build an audience, and they monetize that audience. Branded content on Instagram is probably a $15 billion industry, roughly—I don’t know, many billions [...]  read more

If Tech Fails to Design for the Most Vulnerable, It Fails Us All

What do Russian protesters have in common with Twitter users freaked out about Elon Musk reading their DMs and people worried about the criminalization of abortion? It would serve them all to be protected by a more robust set of design practices from companies developing technologies.

Let’s back up. Last month, Russian police coerced protesters into unlocking their phones to search for evidence of dissent, leading to arrests and fines. What’s worse is that Telegram, one of the main chat-based apps used in Russia, is vulnerable to these searches. Even just having the Telegram app on a personal device might imply that its owner doesn’t support the Kremlin’s war. But the builders of Telegram have failed to design the app with considerations for personal safety in high-risk environments, and not just in the Russian context. Telegram can thus be weaponized against its users.

Likewise, amid the back and forth about Elon [...]  read more

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