Roger Waters and Mark Zuckerberg

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters had a strongly worded response for Mark Zuckerberg when Facebook requested the rights to one of his songs.

"And the answer is, 'Fuck you. No fuckin' way,'" Waters said. "I only mention that, because this is an insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything ... I will not be a party to this bullshit, Zuckerberg."

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Culture Feature

Myspace Was the Last Good Social Media Site

Myspace was the last social media that recognized the Internet's unique potential for individuality.

Myspace

At some point in 2006, I changed my name on Myspace from "Dan" to "D for Dandetta."

It was my freshman year of high school, and V for Vendetta had just come out in theaters (my friend and I snuck in after buying tickets to see Amanda Bynes' She's the Man). As a young, as-of-then-undiagnosed autistic nerd who thoroughly misunderstood social conventions, I decided that since V for Vendetta was easily the coolest R-rated movie I had ever seen, cute girls would think I was very cool by association if I tailored my online social presence to reflect it.

I made my profile background black to represent the darkness in my heart, and I changed the text color to red because revolution is bloody or something. I also set Vincent Valentine's theme song from Final Fantasy VII, which was edgy and mysterious just like me, to play on my profile in an endless loop.

One girl I had a crush on actually did start calling me "Dandetta." I thought she used it as an affectionate nickname, but in retrospect, probably not. In my defense, my brain was not fully developed.

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Culture Feature

7 New Year's Resolutions for America to Get Its S**t Together in 2021

We're crossing our fingers that the US finally found its rock bottom in 2020.

Hey, America, you okay?

Because honestly...you're not looking so good. We know that 2020 was a rough year, but you haven't exactly been doing yourself any favors with how you've handled it.

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Culture News

Can Kim Kardashian Really Live Without Instagram and Facebook? Can You?

With social media giants like Facebook and Instagram woven into our daily lives, does a boycott have real weight?

Kim Kardashian has nearly 190 million followers on Instagram, where she's in the habit of posting at least once a day.

If her followers were a nation, they would be the 8th most populous on the planet. But the citizens of Kardashia (Kimeroon? The United Kimdom?) will not be receiving any diplomatic news or thirst traps from their dear leader on Wednesday.

As she announced on Instagram on Tuesday, she is taking part in the one-day boycott of Instagram and Facebook organized by Stop Hate for Profit and promoted by other celebrities, from Katy Perry to Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Culture News

Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Sucking Up to Donald Trump (and Attacking Twitter)

With Donald Trump preparing to crack down on social media, Mark Zuckerberg is echoing Trump's sentiments

Last week two of Donald Trump's tweets attacking mail-in voting were flagged by Twitter as inaccurate, with a link to clarifying information.

Predictably, President Trump did not take the note well and is now preparing to sign an executive order with the purpose of cracking down on social media companies. In a move that strikes at the very foundation of the Internet, the new order will seek to give the federal government authority over how these platforms moderate user content.

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Engadget

Facebook will no longer tolerate any misinformation hosted on its site–except if it's funny.

The $600 billion company recently announced a new policy banning videos manipulated by AI software, also known as "deepfakes." But the policy is a softball to appease critics who malign Facebook's leniency towards political ads that contain false information. Facebook's head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, announced that they will remove videos from Facebook and Instagram according to the following criteria:

"It has been edited or synthesized — beyond adjustments for clarity or quality — in ways that aren't apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say. And:
"It is the product of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merges, replaces or superimposes content onto a video, making it appear to be authentic."

The first loophole is that videos made with less sophisticated software, deemed "shallow fakes," are still allowed to circulate freely, which does nothing to combat the spread of false information contained within more rudimentary videos. Both deepfakes and shallowfakes experience spikes in popularity and invade the internet around election times; Facebook's new policy is clearly part of their preparation for the tumultuous 2020 presidential election.

One notable deepfake in recent years is of House speaker Nancy Pelosi as she seems to slur her words. Shared by many Trump supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, the video is clearly manipulated with basic editing effects found on any smartphone. Since no AI software was used to create the video, it's still permitted under Facebook's new policy.

Likewise, a manipulated video mocking Mark Zuckerberg himself is still allowed to exist on the platform, because it falls under the policy's second loophole: satire and parody. If the video is made for comedic purposes, then it's exempt from the policy. "This is indeed a step in the right direction ... We need to leave breathing room for satire and parody," said Danielle Citron, law professor and vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. However, the policy leaves so much room for interpretation that it's bound to be inconsistent. "I would have liked the policy to have included manipulated deceptive media showing someone acted in ways they didn't," Citron said. "Think about deepfake sex videos."

"Facebook wants you to think the problem is video-editing technology, but the real problem is Facebook's refusal to stop the spread of disinformation," a spokesperson for Pelosi said. Aside from the new policy, Facebook will also use "independent third-party fact-checkers" to review videos. If flagged, videos may be permitted to exist on the platform but with a label clearly identifying them as false and manipulated. Those videos will appear less frequently in users' news feeds (and will be outright rejected if they're ads).

Why not remove all false information? Bickert said, "If we simply removed all manipulated videos flagged by fact-checkers as false, the videos would still be available elsewhere on the internet or social media ecosystem. By leaving them up and labelling them as false, we're providing people with important information and context." Okay. But why not label every piece of deliberate misinformation as "false" or "satire?" Why not clearly demarcate fact from fiction in an effort to re-establish the firmament of truth over lies? Maybe because Trump is a sitting U.S. president who is impeached and courting a war with Iran, Australia is on fire, and we're living in an era of celebrity-endorsed misinformation.