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!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Digital Divide

The concept of the "the digital divide" looks at the gap between those who can and cannot access information through technological means. This often leads to economic and social inequality based on the lack of access to information and resources that Internet capabilities provide. The question of the week was: "What social/economic forces shape communication infrastructure?" The digital divide looks at both social and economic variables as it examines which areas in the United States have more broadband access than others, as well as the general demographics of the people who live in the areas that receive certain levels of this access.

The digital divide is most prevalent throughout the United States when looking at rural vs. urban areas. According to Whitacre of phys.org, as of 2015 "74% of households in residential urban areas in the US had broadband connections compared to 64% of rural households". There is an obvious increase in broadband connections for those residing in urban areas. Most scholars look at demographics as one of the main reasons why there is this gap. Some social factors such as race, family income and the level of educational attainment play a further role in the digital divide. From a general standpoint, "certain residents face a larger digital divide than others" (Carlson, 2016). Residents of a minority race, lower family incomes, and those who have lower educational attainment are less likely to access this information.

From an economic standpoint, telecommunication companies also decide whether to install lines by looking at physical factors, such as distance. If there are less people in the area, it would be a greater distance to provide access to, and fewer residents to share the cost.

In summary, the access to technology and information depends on whether a person is living in a rural or urban area, with other social and economic factors taken into consideration. These play a role in the actual development and access to communication infrastructure, as well as an individual's ability to access beneficial resources and information.

Works Cited:

Carlson, E., & Goss, J. (2016, August 10). The State of the Urban/Rural Digital Divide.
Retrieved April 18, 2017, from

Whitacre, B. (2016, June 9). Technology is improving – why is rural broadband access still
a problem? Retrieved April 18, 2017, from

Monday, April 24, 2017

Grand Theft Auto Violence

Grand Theft Auto is a popular roleplaying video game where you, the main character, get to act out the role of a criminal involved in organized crime. You are given tasks from various mob bosses and kingpins. Grand Theft Auto has garnered a lot of media attention about its possible influence on it's audience, mainly linking gameplay to real life violence. The question of the week is: "Do media have direct effects?". This is related to the question by analyzing the immediate effects Grand Theft Auto may have on its users. According to a study on video game effects done by researchers at Iowa State University, video games and higher aggression showed to have a correlation at a high level (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). However, according to a different study published in a Media Psychology journal, video games and violence have a very small amount of correlation, also suggesting that there is no proof of causation (Weber, Ritterfeld, & Mathiak, 2006). Although there is a debate on to what extent video games has on its users, Grand Theft Auto has come to the forefront of the debate with many lawsuits having been filed against the franchise. This suggests that although not completely backed by scientific research, societies feelings on the franchises message have had a direct effect on who they perceive is to blame for violence.

Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition,
            aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific 
            literature. Psychological science12(5), 353-359.
Griffiths, M. (2015, February 20). Video game bans: the debate about guns, GTA, and real-life violence. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/video-game-bans-the-debate-about-guns-gta-and-real-life-violence-10057296.html
Griffiths, S. (2013, October 10). 'Granddad' Theft Auto: Middle-class, middle-aged parents are most likely to play violent crime game. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2451785/Grand-Theft-Auto-Middle-class-middle-aged-parents-likely-play-game.html
Greenwood, D. (2010, June 22). Grand Theft Auto Is Good for You? Not So Fast... Retrieved April 18, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/grand-theft-auto-is-good/
Leung, R. (2005, March 08). Can A Video Game Lead To Murder? Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/can-a-video-game-lead-to-murder-04-03-2005/
Margolin, E. (2013, September 25). Did 'Grand Theft Auto' turn an 8-year-old into a killer? Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.msnbc.com/thomas-roberts/did-grand-theft-auto-turn-8-year-old
Plot Summary. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0802999/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl
Straubhaar, Joseph, and Robert Larose. (2008). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.
Weber, R., Ritterfeld, U., & Mathiak, K. (2006). Does playing violent video games induce aggression? Empirical evidence of a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Media psychology8(1), 39-60.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Envy, Depression, and Facebook

Question: Do media have "direct effects"?

According to the textbook, media effects are changes in cognition, attitudes, emotions, or behavior that result from exposure to the media. Facebook is a social media site that has potentially negative effects on its users’ emotional states. Research has shown that use of Facebook can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. This is especially true if these are already pre-existing issues for the user, if the user experiences envy of others on the site, and/or they are using Facebook heavily. College students are at particular risk for such depression, due to the fact that they “may still be struggling to establish their identities apart from their families, and, consequently, may be more susceptible to peer influences” (Steers, 2014). 

It is not just scholars who are noticing these effects on Facebook users. In recent times, there has been an increase in helpful articles such as “What To Do If Facebook Makes You Feel Depressed” and in users posting on forums about their struggles with depression and Facebook envy. There are, of course, also many positive effects of connecting with others on social media. However, it is important to be aware of how social media use can be negatively affecting your emotional state and others’.

Some more information can be found at the following links:

Facebook World Stats and Penetration in the World - Facebook Statistics 2016. (2017, March 6). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/facebook.htm
Labrague, L. J. (2014). Facebook use and adolescents' emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress. Health Science Journal8(1), 80-89.
Steers, M. N., Wickham, R. E., & Acitelli, L. K. (2014). Seeing Everyone Else's Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms. Journal Of Social & Clinical Psychology33(8), 701-731.
Social media makes me feel even worse about myself. (2016, June 27). [Online Forum]. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.reddit.com/r/depression/comments/4q3r3d/social_media_makes_me_feel_even_worse_about_myself/
Tandoc, J. C., Ferrucci, P., & Duffy, M. (2015). Facebook use, envy, and depression among college students: Is facebooking depressing?. Computers In Human Behavior43139-146.

Tinder's direct effect on STD increases

I would answer the question of the week “does media have direct effects?” by examining the recent cases of increased STDs in young adults in the United States and internationally have been linked to the fairly new and extremely popular social-media dating app Tinder. This accusation of Tinder causing a direct effect of increased STDs broke news when the Rhode Island department of public health pointed to Tinder as a cause of the increased STDs in young adults in their state, and later other STD epidemics in Utah and Wales according to their departments of public health also blamed Tinder for the increase. The non-profit organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation creates a billboard pointing to the Tinder STD accusations. Tinder refutes the AHF claims, but eventually Tinder creates a health and safety section of their website which includes a STD testing center locator.

  How Tinder presents how to use its app, and how media portrays Tinder is causing the main effects since media makes Tinder appear to be a humorous and safe app that promotes “hook-up culture” to young adults. While media makes Tinder seem like harmless fun, media and how Tinder presents itself is causing direct effects because of the lack of responsibility they take to acknowledge they encourage high-risk sexual behavior and because of this it is leading to direct effects of the increased STD cases.

Work Cited:
Bull, S., & McFarlane, M. (2000). Soliciting sex on the Internet: What are the risks for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV? Sexually Transmitted Disease, 27(9), 545-50.
Hatch, H. (n.d.). Swipe right for chlamydia: How Tinder is sending STD rates skyrocketing. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://kutv.com/news/local/swipe-right-for-chlamydia-how-tinder-is-sending-std-rates-skyrocketing#.VWcjt9q6fu0
March, E., Grieve, R., Marrington, J., & Jonason, P. K. (2017). Trolling on Tinder® (and other dating apps): Examining the role of the Dark Tetrad and impulsivity. Personality And Individual Differences, 110139-143. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.01.025
Public Health Wales - Public Health Wales warns of syphilis risk. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/news/33044
Reported Cases of STDs on the Rise in the U.S. (2015, November 17). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/std-surveillance-report-press-release.html
Rhode Island Department of Public Health. (2015, May 22). HEALTH Releases New Data on Infectious Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and HIV. Retrieved April 1
Sumter, S. R., Vandenbosch, L., & Ligtenberg, L. (2017). Love me Tinder: Untangling emerging adults’ motivations for using the dating application Tinder. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 67-78. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2016.04.009
White, D. (2016, January 22). Tinder Adds STD Testing Center Locator to Dating App. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://time.com/4190222/tinder-adds-std-testing-center-locator/