I remember learning a long time ago that in places like Germany, places that had recently been ravaged, nearly totally destroyed, with much death and misery, by Nazis and other fascists, it was illegal to do things like display a swastika. This is the kind of thing that makes many Americans throw a conniption. Continue reading Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz punches the Nazi
on Thursday, November 3rd, 2017, deactivated Donald Trump’s Twitter account. It was an employee of Twitter on his last day of work. He did what Twitter should have done, by its own rules, months ago.
Trump’s latest violation of Twitter policy was probably his calling for the death of an American Citizen who had just been sentenced for a crime he had pled guilty for, but that was not a death penalty crime.
If I called for the death of someone, they would delete my twitter account, and I can’t really kill someone by saying “kill them.” But the President actually does have that power, and short of actually ordering a black op to have someone murdered, he can insist that someone should be killed, and one of his deplorable followers may well carry it out. If that happens in this case remains to be seen. At this point, anything bad that happens in part or fully due to a Tweet by Donald Trump is Twitter’s fault.
In a series of strange events, President Donald Trump once again invoked violence against a CNN reporter and, apparently, embraced the idea that he is a fascist.
Following the homicidal terrorist attack on anti-White Supremacist demonstrators, trump saw fit to post the following tweet, memorialized here in a retweet by Kyle Griffin, an MSNBC producer.
Similar to an earlier contrived production in which Trump himself is shown in a video beating a CNN reporter, this shows a train labeled TRUMP running over a CNN reporter in cartoon form.
That tweet was deleted soon after being posted. I wonder how that happened. Did Trump think better of his choice? Did General Kelly storm the bathroom and wrestle Trump’s phone away from him? Did the NSA dive in there and delete the offending tweet in such a way that Trump will never see that it was deleted but the rest of us will? Can they even do that?
Meanwhile, a guy from the UK named Mike Holden, tweeted the observation that Trump is a fascist, so his alleged ikntent to pardon Arizona Joe Arpaio, Sheriff makes sense. Astonishingly, trump re-tweeted Holden’s remark.
I checked. Trump’s twitter account does not say “retweets are not endorsement,” and we know from the evidence of considerable prior practice that Trump’s retweets are, in deed, endorsements.
That tweet was also removed, and again, one wonders how that happened.
SNL, are you paying attention?
I found out about these tweets in this WaPo article.. So, it is probably fake, but whatever.
Trump is reportedly pressuring public news media and other outlets to not distribute information about Obamacare, as they normally would, in an effort to sabotage the n-Law. This is what dictators do.
Trump’s people in the “press” room have bullied the press to the point that they are finally starting to lash out. This is what dictators do.
This is a moment to watch and remember. pic.twitter.com/Ld6EGfwiPx
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 27, 2017
Trump has attacked another female journalist, this time Mika Brzezinski, with another enigmatic blood coming out of her body parts comment.
This is what dictators do.
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) June 29, 2017
— The Hill (@thehill) June 29, 2017
Reminder: Back during the campaign, Trump called Ms. Brzesinski “crazy and very dumb”
“Just heard that crazy and very dumb @morningmika had a mental breakdown while talking about me on the low ratings@Morning_Joe. Joe a mess!”
Is anybody going to do something about this?
I’m not sure this has happened before, and most people are unaware, so I thought a quick note was in order.
If you were previously following the President of the United States on Twitter, when it was Barack Obama, you followed @POTUS.
Twitter has created an account called @POTUS44, which is for President Obama. You are now automatically following that handle.
Twitter redesignated @POTUS to apply to President Trump, and left all of the President Obama followers on that account as well. So, you are now following President Trump at @POTUS.
The same applies, in parallel, to the First Lady and the Vice President.
Meanwhile, these folks have their own civilian twitter handles. President Obama is simply using his old handle (and, by the way, he follows me, just sayin’).
So, you may or may not want to update your Twitter accounts accordingly.
What if you went to drive to work one day and the highway on ramp was closed, and a big sign across it said “Highway is closed. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Well, you would find your way to a different highway entrance. But say that one was closed as well.Then, you check around and find out that all the highways in your state are closed because the state decided to close them. No more highways for you.
Or, one day you go to check the mail and there is a single post card, and nothing else, in your mail box. The post card reads “The United States Postal Service has permanently suspended operation. Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a nice day.”
Or one day you go to turn on the TV and … well, never mind, you get the point.
This morning I received an email from Socialite, a software application, telling me that the software app would not be developed further, could no longer be updated, and was no longer for sale. The main reason for Socialite’s demise is summarized in this text from their web site:
In 2012 Twitter announced API changes and made it clear that traditional Twitter clients, such as Socialite, should not be developed. Some of these new rules made developing Twitter support in Socialite 2 impossible, so after much deliberations we stopped the development of Socialite 2.
End-of-life of Google Reader in 2013 was the last nail in the coffin of Socialite, as without it Socialite loses much of its appeal.
Now, I don’t use Socialite, so this does not matter to me, but it is part of a larger problem that has been a difficulty for everyone. First, with respect to Twitter, it seems to me that Twitter does change its API now and then, which in and of itself causes havoc in the development community. Furthermore, it seems that these changes in Twitter API are not necessarily improvements, but rather, sometimes involve removal of functionality. One could even argue that Twitter has a policy of changing, and sometimes even “breaking,” it’s API in order that software projects that make use of it no longer work.
I remember a few years back when Twitter was still pretty new and there were all sorts of great ideas for using the Twitter environment to do things like citizen science. But it seems to be the case that any long term use of Twitter, especially if that use requires use of the API (but even if it does not), isn’t worth attempting because any investment one puts into the project could be obviated at any time by Twitters policy. That policy, it seems, is “Innovate with Twitter at your own risk.”
The second part of this is, of course, Google Reader being shut down by Google. This is a little different. I might be wrong, and do correct me if so, but Twitter seems to be somewhat arbitrary in its API changes, and seems to do very little to support and encourage development with its framework. Google, on the other hand, seems to encourage development of projects and activities based on its services. Nonetheless, a lot of people were surprised when the widely used Google Reader, which served as a key component of many development projects, was axed. Getting rid of a project few people use and that seems to not have really taken off is one thing (and Google has done that a number of times, which is an obviously likely outcome of diverse innovation which Google seems to do). But Twitter is not Google. Twitter is the kind of project that could easily have been one of many services offered by a company like Google. Twitter, when it changes itself in a way that destroys functionality, is not dropping support for one of many projects. It is making itself irrelevant and annoying as a tool for incorporation in other projects.
So, what is the difference between roads and mail service on one hand and Twitter and Google on the other? The former are public goods, funded publicly and regulated by the government. Similar projects exist in most countries around the world and they integrate across national boundaries. The latter are projects of private companies that have every right to change their services, restrict use, or even shut down entirely.
Amazon is similar. Over time, Amazon has become one of the major, if not the major, supplier of two things one does not usually associate with a book store: Servers and cash registers. If you use a service that requires computer servers and/or storage of data, such as Netflix, you may well be using Amazon indirectly because they provide servers for a gazillion clients. When a bunch of Amazon servers go down, the Internet can choke majorly, though fortunately this happens rarely. Similarly, when you make an on line purchase at any on line company other than Amazon, there is a reasonable chance that you are using Amazon indirectly, as they provide the on line purchasing system to a lot of other vendors. And, now and then, you might even buy a book from Amazon.
When Amazon decides to change what it does or how it does it, which they can do arbitrarily within the range of existing contracts, a lot of things can, potentially, change. A minor example of this happened recently to those of us based in Minnesota, when Amazon, not by necessity but simply to make a point, shut down associates in the North Star State. That was part of my income stream (though a very small part, I quickly add) and Amazon simply sent me an email one day saying that this would no longer be a thing, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Twitter, Amazon, Google, and similar things are like the railroad, mining, and lumber companies of yore, run by a small number of highly influential individuals who happen to be in charge by a combination of luck and whatever else makes you one of those people. The thing is, these corporations effectively serve as public goods, just like our roads, our power grid, our water and sewage systems, our public mail service, our fire departments, etc. but they are not public entities.
At the moment, we who use the Internet, software, etc. are at risk of the arbitrary decisions of a handful of modern Robber-Barons who got into their present position for reasons other than being thoughtful, sensitive, public servants. All hale the free market.
Is there anything that can be done about this? Possibly. Here are a few ideas.
1) The US Senate can pass a resolution requiring Obama to bomb Twitter. That would not solve anything, and of course it can’t really happen, but the debate in the Senate would be high entertainment.
2) The government can take over Amazon, Google, Twitter and a few other companies, sort of like how it took over the companies that built roads and canals (and to a lesser extent, railroads) in days of yore.
3) A version of the government takeover in which the government doesn’t really take over but “authorities” are created, like the ones that handle ports, airports, etc. today (those entities were originally private, in many or most cases).
(These two options, 2 and 3, seem impossible, many will think they are bad ideas. And they will be bad ideas right up until the moment Google is about to go bankrupt or is embroiled in some sort of scandalous legal difficulties of some kind, and a “bailout” is needed. A thing like Google will never need a bail out of course. Like banks. And car manufacturing companies. They would never need a bail out either.)
4) Alternative services, like Amazon, Google, Twitter, etc. can be developed by non-profits using an OpenSource GPL-like model. Those services would probably not be big, or widely used. But they would be there. Then, one day, when the big players falter or become too annoying in one area or another, the OpenSource alternatives can grow a little here and there, and eventually, become the norm.
5) See below (this is where you put your ideas in the comments):
I have mixed feelings about automatic updates of one or more social networking sites from another social networking site. Like when you twitter something and your Facebook status gets the same string of words, or visa versa. I know a few people who do this on a regular basis, and it seems to work very differently depending on what the person tends to write and how the connection between her or his social networking sites is set up.
Continue reading Sending tweets to Facebook, status updates to Friend Feed, blog posts to Twitter, and on and on
While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.
Continue reading How Twitter can make history