We all want to be able to express our opinion online – be heard by our friends and talk (back) with our opponents. At the same time, we don’t want to be exposed to speech that is inappropriate or crosses a line. Tech companies tackle this conundrum by setting standards for free speech, a practice protected by federal law, hiring in-house moderators to examine individual pieces of content and removing them if posts violate predefined rules.
The approach clearly has problems: intimidation, misinformation on topics such as public health and false descriptions of legitimate elections are rampant. But even if content moderation were implemented perfectly, it would still be missing a slew of issues that are often portrayed as moderation issues, but really aren’t. To address those issues, we need a new strategy: treat social media companies as potential polluters of the social fabric and directly measure and mitigate the effects their choices have on the human population. Read the full story.
By Nathaniel Lubin, a fellow at the Digital Life Initiative at Cornell Tech and former director of the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House under President Barack Obama, and Thomas Krendl Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell Tech.
The must reads
I’ve scoured the internet to find today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 The US Is Trying To Make Its Limited Monkeypox Vaccines Last
By injecting only one fifth of a normal dose. (NYT $)
+ The Danish company that makes vaccines against monkeypox will not produce more until 2023. (wired $)
+ Intellectual property rights are a major obstacle to wider access. (Slate)
+ Everything you need to know about the monkeypox vaccines. (MIT Technology Review)
2 We need better ways to report major cyber-attacks
Private security companies are in favor of a new initiative by a US federal agency. (protocol)
+ China-backed spies have hacked into European armies and government agencies. (The register)
3 Silicon Valley Gets Into The Arms Trade
Rising geopolitical tensions mean more sales opportunities. (Economist $)
+ Why business is good for military AI startups. (MIT Technology Review)
4 A crypto mixing service has been sanctioned by the US
On his role in laundering billions of dollars of crypto. (TechCrunch)
+ The US battle to regulate crypto is intensifying. (wired $)
+ A lot of celebrities have been slammed for not making their cyrpto connections public. (BuzzFeed News)
5Game-Loving Kids In China Are Being Targeted By Scammers
Scammers promise extra playtime in exchange for money. (The register)
7 Skin Cancer Is Not Diagnosed In Black Patients
A catalog that examines how diseases appear on different skin colors can help make diagnoses. (dark)
+ Doctors using AI are more likely to develop breast cancer than either alone. (MIT Technology Review)
8 A bitter lawsuit is tearing the flying car industry apart
One of the best-funded companies has accused another of stealing trade secrets. (Fast company $)
+ Meanwhile, a jet-train hybrid is under development in Canada. (Inverse)
10 Who is the money industry really meant for?
For those without money, much of his advice is meaningless. (new statesman $)
+ The risks and benefits of paying off student debt on the blockchain. (MIT Technology Review)
Quote of the day
“When we made big profits, I got a little delirious, and now that I look back on myself, I’m quite ashamed and remorseful.”