Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CNN vs Reddit user controversy

Sparked by the controversial tweet put out by President Trump on July 2nd depicting himself slamming an individual into the ground a la WWE style, CNN’s publishing of an article turned controversial shines a light on 2 important duties that both the producers of content and consumers of content have: a duty to inform the producers of content that they have crossed a line. In this instance, some legal lines appear to have been crossed by CNN.

While that answered the question of “who monitors the media”, the question of “who controls the media” hasn’t really been answered yet. And in the end, only those who hold a position of authority within a media source choose what they want to cover and have published.
But while one can very easily brush this off as the fault of someone that simply didn’t do their job properly, a company of CNN’s size should very much have higher quality standards when it comes to editors reviewing articles before they are made public, regardless of what side of the political spectrum you align with. Otherwise, potential legal troubles can emerge, as pointed out by consumers of this content, such as Julian Assange and Ted Cruz to name just a few.

  • Kaczynski, A. (2017, July 05). How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/04/politics/kfile-reddit-user-trump-tweet/index.html
  • Dailymail.com, L. Q. (2017, July 05). CNN is accused of 'blackmailing' Reddit user who created Trump GIF by 'threatening to reveal his identity if he posts more offensive material'. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4667962/CNN-accused-blackmailing-pro-Trump-Reddit-user.html
  • Silva, D. (2017, July 02). Trump tweets video of himself body-slamming 'CNN'. Retrieved September 14, 2017, from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/president-trump-tweets-wwe-video-himself-attacking-cnn-n779031
  • Tweets taken from the twitter accounts of Julian Assange, Ted Cruz, CNN, and Andrew Kacyznski
  • New York Consolidated Laws, Penal Law - PEN § 135.60. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/penal-law/pen-sect-135-60.html
  • FindLaw for Legal Professionals | Law & Legal Information. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from http://lp.findlaw.com/

Twitch and the regulated media

The Question of the week for my presentation was Who controls and monitors the media. My case study relating to this looked at Twitch.tv and some regulations it has regarding its viewers and producers. Twitch is a privately owned streaming service that strives to maintain a community of respect and passion.To ensure this quality of content, Twitch utilizes the ESRB video game rating system to identify which games are prohibited on their site such as Adult Only content. Outside of the ESRB, Twitch also bans the use of excess sexuality or violence. In this process, Twitch has banned users for showing off detailed gun replicas, using hate speech and offensive language, illegal solicitation, or sometimes even simply having inappropriate attire.

To ensure this quality of content, Twitch utilizes the ESRB video game rating system to identify which games are prohibited on their site such as Adult Only content. Outside of the ESRB, Twitch also bans the use of excess sexuality or violence. In this process, Twitch has banned users for showing off detailed gun replicas, using hate speech and offensive language, illegal solicitation, or sometimes even simply having inappropriate attire.

One of Twitch's larger issues that have led to past lawsuits (Twitch won) had to deal with viewing bots, programs design to inflate viewing numbers. This was considered fraud and cybersquatting and Twitch has had several users permanently banned for creating and implementing these bot programs.

Here are my sources:

•About. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from https://www.twitch.tv/p/about/
•Community Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from   https://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/983016
•Cook, J. (2014, October 20). Twitch Founder: We Turned A 'Terrible Idea' Into A Billion-Dollar   Company. Retrieved September 14, 2017, fromhttp://www.businessinsider.com/the-story-  of-video-game-streaming-site-twitch-2014-10
•DiPietro, M. (2016, June 17). On Artificial Viewers, Followers, and Chat Activity. Retrieved   September 14, 2017, from https://blog.twitch.tv/on-artificial-viewers-followers-and-chat-  activity-317906f1c7ea
•Goldsmith, J., & Wu, T. (2006). Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world. Oxford   University Press. Retrieved on September 10, 2017, from  http://www.rexsresources.com/uploads/6/5/2/1/6521405/who_controls_the_internet_.pdf
•List of Prohibited Games. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from   https://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/1992676-list-of-prohibited-games
•Parenti, M. (2010). The Politics of News Media. Sacred Heart University Review, 19(1), 1. Retrieved   September 10, 2017, from http://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/shureview/vol19/iss1/1
•Twitch Interactive Inc. v. Bouchouev et al, 16-cv-3404, (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN   DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE DIVISION June 17, 2017).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Net Neutrality and the ISP Boogieman

My case study was a semi-dramatic rant about how internet service providers are coming to steal our rights and destroy the freedom of the internet. Looking back on it, I may have gone a little too hard in the paint, but I think the points I made are still very valid. When answering the question "who controls the media" it is very important to ask who controls the means of access to media. The internet has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the 1990s, and it is growing and changing more rapidly then our regulations can keep up with. The internet represents the bleeding edge of society and culture, and is becoming (if it is not already) the centerpiece of tomorrow's society. It goes without saying that whoever control the internet will have a lot of power moving forward, and I for one don't feel warm and fuzzy about that controller being large corporations. As I discussed in my presentation, the current chairman of the FCC Ajit V. Pai, represents a very suspicious element in the fight for a free internet. A cursory glance at his back story reveals some very conflicting work (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_V._Pai, yes this is a wikipedia link, please have mercy). He served on the Justice Department's antitrust division, and then went to work for telecom giant Verizon, who you may know from such recent foibles as https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/07/verizon-wireless-apparently-throttles-streaming-video-to-10mbps/. Maybe Pai is a cool guy, and has all of our interests at heart. But I get a little suspicious when people who work in the private sector move on to oversee the same industry they worked in, and will likely return to after their new 5 year term is up. But I'll leave the judgment up to you.

Government in Social Media

In my case study, I delved into the government’s involvement in social media. Because governmental involvement is generally a new idea, I focused my idea on how politicians, in the past, rejected media and now it is embraced. It was rejected because it encouraged knowledge to the people. Now, these political figures have embraced social media because it allows them to be the gatekeepers of news. Government officials were almost forced to join the social media movement because asynchronous communication was starting to create problems, in that; there was no filtration in the information being shared. So in order to try and regain power over the common man, they had to ensure that their opinions and stances were explained. This case study uses scholarly citations to help explain that “with the coming of new media, people who have long been on the receiving end of one-way mass communication are now increasingly likely to become producers and transmitters”. Because politicians and government officers are being so strictly monitored, it is easy for individuals to make mistakes that could hurt their careers and reputations. Following that, it is easy for important officials to control and influence media. This was well represented in the case study done on “Fake News”. President Trump was able to discredit and jeopardize the integrity of news stations that rival his opinions. The overall purpose of this case study is to explain the power of gatekeepers and how much politicians have evolved in the sense of social media.

Banerjee, I. 2008. “The Impact of New Media on Traditional Mainstream Mass Media – A Critical    Assessment.” A Series of Lectures on Trends & Future of the Malaysian Mass Media. Presented at Dewan Tunku Canselor, University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur. 
Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Facebook and facial recognition software

The social media networking site Facebook is known for its photo uploading and sharing capabilities. Over the past few years, Facebook has been integrating software that has facial recognition capabilities. This has caused controversy as to whether or not this software should be legal, nevertheless whether or not it is moral. For week one’s question “Whats so “New” about New Media?”, I decided to delve further into the topic of facial recognition and how it is just one of the many new additions to media that has incorporated more advanced technology. Unfortunately due to all the controversy surrounding this software, many lawsuits have come to light. In a recent lawsuit, Facebook user Namesh Patel took a stand for his privacy and decided Facebook’s facial recognition software was going too far. Patel’s Lawsuit claims that Facebook is violating Biometric Information Privacy Act by maintaining a database of user’s faces. The BIPA or Biometric Information Privacy Act “Sets limits on how companies can store and use people’s biometric identities” (Strickland, December 2016). Laws like BIPA have caused concerns due to the lack of application to social media. Although this law was originally intended for limiting the government's use of facial recognition, cases like this one have tried to use it in application to social media. Facebook claims that BIPA does not cover using facial recognition for the purpose of photographs and physical descriptions. Facebook is also receiving a lot of flack for programming this software into users’ Facebooks without consent. “Facebook did not obtain consent”, rather they integrated the software and in order to turn it off, a user must manually go do it in their settings (Buckley & Hunter, December 2011). This software will continue to cause issues in the future if privacy laws are not put into place in the near future. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fake News & Facebook

For my case study, I focused on the impact of fake news on Facebook and how that relates to what is new about new media. In the age of new media, information is now able to reach billions of people pretty instantaneously. However, my question about this new age rapid information transfer is what kind of effects could there be when billions of people are told false information all at once. Fake news, which is articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, has become increasingly popular on Facebook, particularly during the 2016 presidential election. Because new media is increasingly in the hands of individuals who follow no particular criteria for their selection of information, as opposed to being under the control of owners and publishers like in traditional media, people are easily able to post whatever information they want, whether it is true or not. Furthermore, since the new media age allows information to theoretically reach an infinite number of people within seconds, billions of people can see this false information that individuals are posting practically immediately. This situation begs the question of how many people are believing what they see on the internet/social media? Overall, new media are not the gatekeepers that traditional media is, and because nearly the whole world population uses some form of new media, many negative effects can arise through this rapid news transfer that new media allows for.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Welcome to COMM 330-Fall 2017

Howdy! Welcome to COMM 330 for Fall 2017. This blog serves as a discussion space for student case study presentations related to core themes in the course.  As stated in the course syllabi
students are to post a 200 word blog post summarizing the core argument of their presentation focusing on how they would answer the week’s discussion questions, stated in the syllabi, based on research done for their presentation, feedback they receive, and insights gleaned from other presenters.. Students are also encouraged to post helpful links to articles or web site related to their presentation. Posting of these comments online is due by start of the next class following their presentation. Happy Blogging!