The Interface - Issue #5

Revue
 
Yesterday I wrote about Facebook's decision to delete thousands of posts from Russia-linked web pages
 

The Interface

October 13 · Issue #5 · View online
An evening newsletter about Facebook, social networks, and democracy.

Yesterday I wrote about Facebook’s decision to delete thousands of posts from Russia-linked web pages, preventing researchers from conducting further analysis on them. A headline in Politico today made it seem like Twitter did the same thing: “Twitter deleted data potentially crucial to Russia probes.”
Read the story, though, and you find that what Twitter did was … allow users to delete their own tweets.
One reason is Twitter’s aggressively pro-consumer privacy policies, which generally dictate that once any user revises or deletes their tweets, paid promotions or entire accounts, the company itself must do so as well. Twitter policy requires similar actions by private companies that pay for access to its real-time global data stream and repository of saved data for use in marketing and other commercial analysis.
The other reason is that Russian cyber tradecraft dictates that operatives immediately erase all of their digital breadcrumbs, according to former FBI Executive Assistant Director Robert Anderson and others familiar with Russian influence operations.
A professor quoted in the story calls it a “scandal,” and yet it seems to me this is exactly what most users want Twitter to do when they delete their tweets and profiles. You can argue Twitter should retain tweets longer, but how long? And only in the event that they’re being used in foreign intelligence operations? I’m sure investigators would love to be able to see every tweet from Russia’s misinformation campaign during the 2016 election. But asking Twitter to have changed its retention policies before Russia could delete its tweets feels like it’s asking too much. 

Facebook Users Were Unwitting Targets of Russia-Backed Scheme
Russia-backed Facebook page colored with hot-button phrases
What Does Facebook Consider Hate Speech? Take Our Quiz
The McGowan Debacle
The temporary suspension of actress Rose McGowan this week continued to reverberate on Twitter today, after some women took the day off from tweeting in protest. I tend to side with those who say that silencing women is a victory for the harassers, but to each her own.
#WomenBoycottTwitter and who gets to find solidarity in a hashtag
Twitter Users Split on Boycott Over Platform’s Move Against Rose McGowan
The Real Reason Twitter Restricted Rose McGowan's Account Instead Of Just Deleting One Tweet
Elsewhere
What Is Nameflaming? How Chelsea Clinton And Sean Spicer Got Owned
The Hidden Forces Behind Toutiao: China’s Content KingThe Hidden Forces Behind Toutiao: China’s Content King
Launches
Facebook now lets you order food without leaving Facebook
Takes
Twitter Needs a Public Police Blotter
Twitter Should Stop Pretending
Facebook Can't Stop Doing Too Many Things
And finally
Have a good weekend! Tell me if this is useful or if it sucks! I am having a strange amount of fun putting this together! casey@theverge.com
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Carefully curated by Casey Newton with Revue.
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