This year we’ve gotten one question from listeners more than any other: is Facebook eavesdropping on my conversations and showing me ads based on the things that I say? This week, Alex investigates.
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Our fifth episode of the “Wireframe” digs into the intersection of design and ethical practice. In it we trace the origins of Facebook’s famous Like button back in time to a frenzied hackathon in the last decade when it was conceived as a way of easily spreading positivity all over the Internet. We then look at the massive, unintended consequences of that tiny but momentous bit of UI, and how it demonstrates a model for creating products you love so much you can’t put down, for better or worse. This was one of my favorite episodes because it endeavors to ask questions every designer should be thinking about in his or her work.
Original video: https://soundcloud.com/gimletcreative/episode-5-is-good-design-good-for-you
Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Wed, 14 Nov 2018 15:25:52 GMT Available for 30 days after download
S01E07: The Decentralized Web
Darius talks a lot about the decentralized web and in particular ActivityPub, a newish web specification that is trying its best to make it possible for social network sites to talk to each other in a standardized way. You might be familiar with Mastodon as a kind of Twitter replacement, and we talk about that but also PeerTube and a few other things. Emma has many questions about this uncharted territory of the web, and Darius answers them by saying "well, in theory" a lot. Like a lot a lot. Things mentioned: the Friend Camp code of conduct and that time Facebook bought Instagram and then disabled Instagram’s Twitter compatibility.
“We want to make the best tools in the world, and we want to do it for decades to come. I’ve been doing WordPress for 15 years, I want to do it the rest of my life.”
The last time I chatted with Kara was in 2013 in the back of a pedicab in Austin. This time I got to sit in the red chair at Vox headquarters in San Francisco, and per usual Kara was thoughtful, thorough and to the point: we talked about WordPress and the future of the open web, the moral imperative of user privacy, and how it all relates to what’s going on at Facebook.
(As it turns out, Facebook also is turning off the ability for WordPress sites — and all websites — to post directly to users’ profile pages. The decision to shut down the API is ostensibly to fight propaganda and misinformation on the platform, but I think it’s a big step back for their embrace of the open web. I hope they change their minds.)
Kara and I also talked about distributed work, Automattic’s acquisition of Atavist and Longreads, and why every tech company should have an editorial team. Thanks again to Kara and the Recode team for having me.
Everything was on the table — and after Facebook’s wildest year yet, that’s a really big table.
Yesterday, I motored my Ford Fiesta down to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., to interview CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg.
I had not done a formal interview with Zuckerberg since he appeared at our D: All Things Digital conference in 2010, when the company was in its early days. Now, Zuckerberg was ensconced in a massive building with a garden on the roof, part of an even larger campus that sprawled all over and was still growing.
Also growing? Increased scrutiny and criticism of the social network Zuckerberg had built into a behemoth.
It’s well deserved given the sloppy way the company has handled a range of issues of late, including not monitoring how user data was abused by Cambridge Analytica, not stopping the Russians from manipulating the platform in the 2016 elections and allowing false news from suspect publishers like Infowars to be distributed on the platform.
The controversies have landed Zuckerberg and Facebook in hearings here and in Europe and have tarnished his nerd-god image.
In this 90-minute interview we talked about a range of things, from news to data to privacy to China to his political ambitions. As you will hear, Zuckerberg can cling closely to talking points, but he also did reveal more than he has about this annus horribilis for him and, well, the rest of us.
While many are justifiably angry at him and at Facebook, I decided to not strafe the billionaire entrepreneur. I tried instead to engage him in a conversation about how he has mishandled his growing power and responsibility and what he planned to do about it.
I think the interview gives a picture of an earnest and canny tech leader who is also grappling with the darker side of his creation. At one point, I asked him who was to blame and who should pay the price for the Cambridge Analytica controversy and he rightly named himself, as the person who invented Facebook. “Do you want me to fire myself on this podcast?” Zuckerberg joked. Spoiler alert: He did not.
Unfortunately, we did not get to every topic. We did not touch on the important issues of diversity, tech addiction and other issues that I hope to get to discuss with him in our next interview.
From Google search to Facebook news, algorithms shape our online experience. But like us, algorithms are flawed. Programmers write cultural biases into code, whether they realize it or not. Author Luke Dormehl explores the impact of algorithms, on and offline. Staci Burns and James Bridle investigate the human cost when YouTube recommendations are abused. Anthropologist Nick Seaver talks about the danger of automating the status quo. Safiya Noble looks at preventing racial bias from seeping into code. And Allegheny County’s Department of Children and Family Services shows us how a well-built algorithm can help save lives.
Is our increasing immersion in the online world affecting our ability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not?
Mark is an inventor, writer and entrepreneur, with more than three decades experience in digital technology.
He believes Facebook is constantly trying to shape the emotional state of its users, to make them happy to stay there longer.
Mark says the world is increasingly being presented to us as we want to see it, rather than as it really is.
Looking ahead, he is wondering whether we’re approaching the last days of reality.
I interviewed Harris recently for my podcast. We talked about how the 2016 election threw Silicon Valley into crisis, why negative emotions dominate online, where Silicon Valley’s model of human decision-making went wrong, whether he buys Zuckerberg’s change of heart, and what it means to take control of your time. This transcript has been edited for length and clarity. For the full conversation, which includes the story of what happened when Harris brought legendary meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh to Google, listen or subscribe to The Ezra Klein Show.
We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. Plus James Essinger and Suw Charman-Anderson, tell us about Ada Lovelace, the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm) in 1843.
Meet Matt King. He’s an enngineer who works at Facebook HQ in California. He’s one of the people on a team who works towards making the big social network accessible. (a transcript of this podcast will appear on this page soon)
King explains the recent AI innovation on Facebook which describes photos to blind people. He talks about future aspirations and tells us what you can get to eat on Facebook campus, for free, at lunchtime. His favourite is a huge big salad, hence the title of this podcast.
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