Twitter announcement

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Twitter announcement

Postby Cerin » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:49 pm

I was wondering what those of you who tweet think about the reported announcement that Twitter will begin filtering tweets to conform to the standards of individual countries. Do you agree with the author that it is a bad idea, or is it not a big deal to you? Will it affect your use of Twitter? Is there an alternative to Twitter that people can turn to if they don't support this policy?

Twitter Commits Social Suicide
By Mark Gibbs, Forbes


Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country - while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.

With those words earlier today, in a blog posting titled "Tweets still must flow" the management of Twitter's went over to the dark side and may well have dug their own grave.

In what can only have been a fit of corporate insanity, Twitter announced that it has the ability to filter tweets to conform to the demands of various countries.

Thus, in France and Germany it is illegal to broadcast pro-Nazi sentiments and Twitter will presumably be able to block such content and inform the poster why it was blocked.

Quite obviously, Twitter's management believes that there is some kind of value in being able to filter in this way but given that, over the course of 2011, the number of tweets per second (tps) ranged from a high of almost 9,000 tps down to just under 4,000 tps, any filtering has got to be computer-driven.

So, consider this tweet:

@FactsorDie Nazi Germany led the first public anti-smoking campaign.

Could that be considered to be pro-Nazi? How will a program accurately make that determination?

What concerns me is that if the algorithm Twitter uses registers a false positive (i.e. determines that the tweet is pro-Nazi when it isn't) and the tweet has any time sensitivity to it then that attribute will be completely nullified by the time the tweet makes it out of tweet-jail if it ever does.

On the other hand if the software makes a false negative (i.e. determines that the tweet is NOT pro-Nazi when it is) then the filtering is useless and Twitter will be held accountable by every political group with an axe to grind.

Now it might be argued that some percentage of false positives or false negatives will be acceptable but what is that percentage? 0.0000o01%? That equates, at a minimum of 4,000tps, to 3,456 misclassified tweets per day or 1,261,440 per year!

And will the filtering software be able to detect irony and sarcasm? I rather doubt it.

And what about the fact that Twitter will be implicitly editing all tweets? Doesn't that attract legal issues in that they are taking on an editorial responsibility and therefore become a lightning rod for lawsuits?

I see Twitter's management having made a huge epic, mistake. In trying to appease the demands of political pressure they've dug themselves a huge hole that they won't be able to climb out of. The mere fact that they have published a blog posting claiming that they can filter seals their fate.

I really like Twitter; it's a unique and amazingly rich social platform but Twitter's management may have just diminished if not wiped out their edge and their global relevance.

You can't service all of humanity if you allow the needs of politics to triumph over the needs of the people. And if you can't service all of humanity, what is your relevance?


Forbes

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Postby portia » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:53 pm

I am not on Twitter, but I agree that once you have admitted that you have the ability to filter tweets, and will (try to) do so, you are sunk. Now you are in trouble if you do and in trouble if you don't.

I believe some (many; most?) libraries have claimed not to have the ability to keep records of books individuals check out, once they are returned. What they do not keep, no one can make them produce.
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Postby portia » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:53 pm

DP.
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Postby vison » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:43 pm

I don't tweet. I think tweeters are twits.

But this is insanity. Suicide.

And, good riddance, I say. :)
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Postby Evenstargazer » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:17 pm

i agree with portia. i don't use twitter or fb but this is just another way to censor internet freedom. just like sopa and everything else.
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Postby portia » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:47 pm

And another potentially self destructive act.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has apparently decided not to pass along any more funds to Planned Parenthood. The stated reasons are that there is a Congressional investigation of Planned parenthood, relating to abortions. The funds had been used to pay for mammograms, about 170,00 over the past 5 years.

I don't approve. Mostly because I think that the "Congressional investigation" is almost certainly political nonsense, I think that Komen should wait until/unless something comes out of the investigation that shows a probability of illegal activity, before changing funding.

If I were a donor to either, I would switch the whole donation to Planned Parenthood, until the situation is resolved.

Later: I read that a new person in charge of political issues for Komen was an anti-abortion candidate for the governorship of Georgia(?). IMO, she has let her personal agenda cause harm to the organization she is supposed to be helping.
Last edited by portia on Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jnyusa » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:24 pm

That is undoubtedly what will happen.

I understand from my students that there is already a campaign growing within the medical community to protest the Koman Foundation decision. And Planned Parenthood has been through this before, several time, where the religious right conducted a smear campaign against them.
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Postby portia » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:56 am

Mr. Portia, Jr. has sent me the following link to an author's page about donating his profits to Planned parenthood.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/02/01/e ... education/


It is very naive for anyone to take a statement that a person or organization is under "congressional (or FBI, or Police) investigation" as meaning anything. When Clinton was President there was a series of politically motivated congressional investigations, by a variety of Republican-headed committees and sub-committees. That is when I started to be ashamed of my party's leadership.
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:00 am

Portia, it is not naive on the part of Komen. It is a calculated and well prepared step to disguise with subterfuge the real reason for stopping aid to PP, ie the abortion issue. The whole operation has the footprints of the modern right all over it.
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Postby Hobbituk » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:37 am

vison wrote:I don't tweet. I think tweeters are twits.

But this is insanity. Suicide.

And, good riddance, I say. :)


I think anyone who writes-off Twitter so easily, without considering how vital it has been during things like the Iranian elections and last year's 'Arab Spring', (not to mention every other movement and news story of the last few years), shouldn't really be calling others 'twits'.

But it is a common enough reaction from those who don't understand it, certainly. :)
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Postby JewelSong » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:50 am

Well, the Komen Foundation has reversed its decision.
http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/sto ... 52948536/1
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Postby vison » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:56 am

Hobbituk wrote:
vison wrote:I don't tweet. I think tweeters are twits.

But this is insanity. Suicide.

And, good riddance, I say. :)


I think anyone who writes-off Twitter so easily, without considering how vital it has been during things like the Iranian elections and last year's 'Arab Spring', (not to mention every other movement and news story of the last few years), shouldn't really be calling others 'twits'.

But it is a common enough reaction from those who don't understand it, certainly. :)


I would imagine that 99.9999999% of tweets are of the "i at mall" variety.

I can live without it. I realize that many can't.

I spend enough time online as it is.
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Postby Hobbituk » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:02 pm

vison wrote:
I would imagine that 99.9999999% of tweets are of the "i at mall" variety.

I can live without it. I realize that many can't.

I spend enough time online as it is.


The thing about conversations is they depend on the people having them. Dull and vacuous people might spend 99.99howevermany9s% of the time saying "i at mall". I don't know. I don't choose to read their tweets. The great thing about Twitter is you make your own experience. Just like life, really.

Of course it's not for everyone, but that doesn't make those who use it 'twits'.
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:47 pm

Have Komen reversed their policy? The statement looks intentionally ambiguous. It has all the hallmarks of another attempt at subterfuge.
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Postby vison » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:36 pm

Hobbituk, don't feel picked on in particular. Don't forget I'm a geezerette and all this newfangled tech stuff makes me ol' head go wuggawugga.

I bet you didn't know my computer is powered by sled dogs in harness? And my keyboard is a converted Underwood typewriter? And not a steampunk one, either. :)
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Postby Hobbituk » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:02 pm

Oh, I'm happy enough to be called a twit myself... it has connotations of class that become hilarious when applied to a prole like me :)

I did have a flashback to our PM David Cameron making similar comments about Twitter a couple of years ago. Not someone I would like to associate with you, of all people, with!
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Postby Swordsman_Of_The_Tower » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:58 pm

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:Have Komen reversed their policy? The statement looks intentionally ambiguous. It has all the hallmarks of another attempt at subterfuge.


I've heard they are just going to fund them until the end of the year then "re-evaluate"

It's PR
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Postby Jnyusa » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:45 am

Yesterday's spin:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/325666/editor ... h-backlash

Make of it what you will.

(You don't have to register to listen to this)
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:06 pm

The proof that Komen has been taken over by the religious right is that they quietly cancelled funding for stem cell research.
Ah well, they are destined now for a massive crash. Someone memorably described the Republican infiltration of the charity as their tapeworm.
I presume everyone knows they spent tens of thousands of dollars in secretly lobbying against affordable health reform in 1990 and again since 2008.
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Postby vison » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:14 pm

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:The proof that Komen has been taken over by the religious right is that they quietly cancelled funding for stem cell research.
Ah well, they are destined now for a massive crash. Someone memorably described the Republican infiltration of the charity as their tapeworm.
I presume everyone knows they spent tens of thousands of dollars in secretly lobbying against affordable health reform in 1990 and again since 2008.


Tens of thousands?

Amateurs. Rank amateurs. 8)
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Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:28 pm

Quite likely more. I was trying not to exaggerate and may have understated it. It's too late over here to provide figures.
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Postby Democritus » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:55 am

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:Quite likely more. I was trying not to exaggerate and may have understated it. It's too late over here to provide figures.


When I move to the US in a couple of months I will be setting up an automatic monthly payment for Planned Parenthood, I can't think of a better American based charity to give money too at the moment.

As for the Korman foundation, looks like the power of the interwebs struck again and they have reversed their decision: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/03/uproar-over-planned-parenthood-cut-forces-susan-g-komen-reversal.html
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Postby Cerin » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:34 am

Would everyone mind taking further comments about the Komen situation over to the 'Right to Life Movement' thread (about eight down from this one)? That's where basil posted about it first, and it does seem more in line with the subject of that thread (right to life movement intent on murdering women).
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Postby Silverberry_Spritely » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:45 am

Some popular sites who've refused to censor have been banned in regions of China. Seems to me this is probably protecting the freedom of information by stating they'll censor according to countries' laws rather than being banned entirely by refusing to budge.

Twitter is a great way to pass on succinct messages quickly. They're smart to keep themselves more accessible to all by saying they'll tow the line.
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