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Big Revolution - Radicalised by YouTube

Hello from my sofa in Manchester on a Sunday morning, where spring seems to have finally replaced the
March 11 · Issue #14 · View online
Big Revolution
Hello from my sofa in Manchester on a Sunday morning, where spring seems to have finally replaced the extended winter we’ve experienced recently…

Big things at SXSW
Facebook's movie poster-enhancing AR.
- Facebook is showing off an augmented reality feature that enhances movie posters in the real world.
- Blockchain is everywhere and nowhere. You can’t move for blockchain-focused events, but there are no practical applications to be seen. To be expected, maybe, but it does show that the hype is way out of perspective right now.
- Elon Musk ‘crashed’ (i.e., was invited to speak at) a Westworld panel. The fact he spoke is more interesting than the things he said. However, Musk has been added to the bill for an official Q&A session today. Hopefully he’ll be asked about his plan for underground buses with overground bus stops.
Big things you need to know today
- Twitter has suspended a bunch of accounts that stole other users’ tweets and worked in groups to make content viral in exchange for money.
- It’s easy to fool computer vision systems into misidentifying objects, or not seeing them at all – it you know how. This Wired article explores what’s likely to be a cat-and-mouse game as we (in all likelihood) increasingly rely on automated identification of people and objects.
- There’s embarrassment for the UK government as yet more WhatsApp chats between MPs have been leaked. The most secure messaging system in the world can be beaten by a screenshot.
- The top news reporter on Facebook works for The Onion. 🤔 Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the rest of the top ten produce hyper-partisan political content.
- Steve Bannon is trying to stoke the flames of division in Europe right now. In an interview, he says he wants to be “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement.” Will he be more successful east of the Atlantic than in the US, where he was fired by Trump and ousted from Breitbart?
One big read
YouTube’s recommendation engine tends to push users to more ‘extreme’ versions of whatever they’re watching. Hiking becomes mountain climbing, vegetarianism becomes veganism… 
“It seems as if you are never 'hard core’ enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm,” observes Zeynep Tufecki. So, it should be no surprise that YouTube has the capacity to radicalise people’s political interests.
As I understand it, there’s no proof that YouTube does radicalise anyone specifically through this feature, but the potential is clearly there.
One big tweet
Big tech’s heads in the sand? This tweet is from a New York Times panel at SXSW.
Matt Cagle
Big tech is not worried enough, they think the current scrutiny will blow over. Companies like Facebook are going on the offensive, if anything.-@NellieBowles

7:47 PM - 10 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
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