August 21, 2018

Fighting Conspiracies, Sandy Hook Parent Is Thwarted by Online Policies

Online platforms are not held liable for copyright infringement claims against people who use their platforms as long as they remove or block access to content in response to the claims. This is crucial to the function of any website where people can post content, and internet companies have traditionally tended to err on the side of removal, even when claims may be dubious. This has created opportunities for abuse, and Automattic has made fighting that a corporate cause.

The company created a “Hall of Shame” to call out businesses and people filing notices for frivolous reasons or to tamp down negative news coverage.

For years, Automattic’s strident response to copyright abuse earned praise from digital rights advocates. Now, this approach has effectively lumped in Mr. Pozner with the abusers. “Strictly from a copyright perspective, WordPress’s response is outside the norm,” said Tom Rubin, a lecturer at Stanford Law School who oversaw Microsoft’s copyright group and takedown process for 15 years.

“They avoid getting involved because fair-use determinations are notoriously complex and fact specific,” Mr. Rubin said of online platforms. “Platforms would rather eliminate their own potential liability by taking the content down and leaving it to the parties to battle amongst themselves in court.”

Matt Mullenweg, the chief executive of Automattic, suggested in a recent interview with Recode that the company was confronting misinformation. “For things that we host and run and provide our kind of company backing to, implicitly through hosting it, we do avoid hate speech,” he said. He added that “egregiously fake or harmful things — we’re pretty good at getting off the system.”

In the case of Mr. Pozner, however, Automattic suggested that its approach was imperfect. “While our policies have many benefits to free expression for those who use our platform, our system like many others that operate at large sale, is not ideal for getting to the deeper context of a given request,” the company said in a statement.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/13/business/media/sandy-hook-conspiracies-leonard-pozner.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Inside Twitter’s Struggle Over What Gets Banned

“In all my time at @Twitter, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen folks so energetic, enthusiastic, ready to collaborate as after #OneTeam,” Del Harvey, the head of Twitter’s trust and safety team, tweeted at the time.

Then late on Sunday, Apple yanked most of the content from Mr. Jones and Infowars off its iTunes store, quickly followed by deletions at Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. At Twitter, executives met on Monday morning to debate their own response. They ultimately decided that Mr. Jones had not committed enough infractions to result in a permanent ban from the site.

Mr. Dorsey discussed that decision on Tuesday in an internal post on Periscope, the live-streaming video platform owned by Twitter, according to an employee who watched the stream and who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Yet Twitter publicly kept silent about its process, drawing a barrage of criticism from users who said the site was protecting Mr. Jones and Infowars. Mr. Jones later went on Twitter to blast other social media companies for what he said was their censorship, and called on President Trump to weigh in on the takedowns.

Mr. Jones did not respond to a request for comment.

On Tuesday evening, Mr. Dorsey finally posted about Twitter’s decision to keep up the posts of Infowars and Mr. Jones. In his tweets, the chief executive suggested that other social media companies had caved to political pressure by removing Mr. Jones’s content. He also said the task of fact-checking Mr. Jones’s sensational claims should fall to journalists on the platform rather than Twitter’s own moderators, prompting confusion.

Emily Horne, a former Twitter spokeswoman, lashed out at Mr. Dorsey for blaming the communications staff for failing to adequately explain rules. “These decisions aren’t easy, but they aren’t comms calls and it’s unhelpful to denigrate your colleagues,” Ms. Horne tweeted, adding that leaving up Mr. Jones’s posts was “the wrong call.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/technology/twitter-free-speech-infowars.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Shift: Facebook Banned Infowars. Now What?

Late Sunday, Apple — which has often tried to stake out moral high ground on contentious debates — removed Infowars podcasts from iTunes. After seeing the news, Mr. Zuckerberg sent a note to his team confirming his own decision: the strikes against Infowars and Mr. Jones would count individually, and the pages would come down. The announcement arrived at 3 a.m. Pacific time.

In the days that followed, other platforms — YouTube, Pinterest, MailChimp, and more — said they, too, were banning Infowars. The notable exception was Twitter, which decided not to ban the site or Mr. Jones. The company’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, tweeted a veiled shot at the way his rivals handled the situation.

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” he said.

Now, cut off from most of his audience, Mr. Jones will have to chart a new course. He has already stepped enthusiastically into a role as a free-speech martyr. (After the ban took effect, Infowars slapped a “censored” label on its videos and launched a “forbidden information” marketing campaign.) And conservatives — and even some free-speech advocates on the left — worried that social media companies may be entering a new, censorious era. Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas, paraphrased the famous Martin Niemöller poem about German accommodation of Nazism: “First, they came for Alex Jones.”

Social media executives have a history of going to great lengths to assuage fears of anti-conservative bias, and this week was no exception. On Thursday, Richard Allan, a Facebook vice president of policy, published a blog post about the company’s commitment to free speech. With the exception of violent threats and hate speech, he wrote, “we lean toward free expression. It’s core to both who we are and why we exist.” Mr. Dorsey also appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show, where he gave reassurances that Twitter does not discriminate against conservatives.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/technology/facebook-banned-infowars-now-what.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

A Conversation With: Maria Konnikova Shows Her Cards

Then I met Erik Seidel, one of the best poker players in the world. He agreed to become my coach, though he told me, “You’re a hard worker, and you have a good background for this, but who knows if you’re going to be any good?”

It’s been an unexpected journey. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that I would have gone in less than a year from not knowing how many cards were in a deck to winning a major poker title.

What did that involve?

I’ve been studying, playing, living, breathing poker for eight to nine hours a day. Every day! When I’m between events and in New York, I’m reading, watching videos or live-streaming very good players.

There might be a specific concept I want to work on, and I’ll watch some videos of people doing this and take notes. Sometimes I’ll go to New Jersey and hop onto the poker website at an internet cafe. Online poker is illegal in New York, but not in Jersey.

When Erik Seidel said you had the right background, what did he mean?

I think he was talking about my background in experimental psychology. I did a doctorate on overconfidence and risky decision-making with Walter Mischel, who invented the “marshmallow test.”

I wanted to see if people with high levels of self-control made better decisions in risky conditions, like in the stock market. Usually, people with high self-control do so much better at everything than people with low self-control.

But it ends up that in unpredictable environments like the stock market, successful high self-control people — when in an environment where control is taken away from them — take longer to figure things out. They are too confident and won’t take negative feedback from the environment.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/science/maria-konnikova-poker.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Anita Miller, Who Battled John Cheever’s Family, Dies at 91

In addition to her son Bruce Joshua Miller, a publisher’s sales representative, Ms. Miller is survived by her husband; two other sons, Mark Crispin Miller, a journalist, author and professor, and Eric Lincoln Miller, a book packager and former publisher; a brother, Joseph Wolfberg; and four grandchildren.

Jordan Miller had started a poetry magazine and was running a news clipping service when the couple became accidental publishers. She had earned a doctorate at Northwestern and was seeking to publish her dissertation on the English novelist Arnold Bennett when they mulled becoming publishers themselves.

Among the manuscripts they considered was “A Guide to Non-Sexist Children’s Books.” They published it as an experiment. Reviews and sales were so successful that they established what became Academy Chicago Publishers.

Among the other books they published were “The Fair Women: The Story of the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893” (1981); “Sharon” (2005), by the Millers, the first full biography in English of the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon; “The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Hearings” (2005); “What Went Wrong in Ohio” (2005), about election irregularities; “Hiding in Plain Sight: Eluding the Nazis in Occupied France” (2012); and “County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital” (2013).

Dr. Miller wrote or edited more than 75 books and, like her husband, worked with Chicago Review Press for two years after Academy Chicago was acquired. She received the Pandora Award from the British-based organization Women in Publishing in 1996.

She once described her unforeseen profession as an “addiction.”

“I was born with it,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 2014. “When I brushed my teeth, I had a book propped up on the sink.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/obituaries/anita-miller-author-and-eclectic-publisher-dies-at-91.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Tribune Ends Deal With Sinclair, Dashing Plan for Conservative TV Behemoth

Mr. Ruddy saw Tribune’s decision to pull out of the deal as a personal victory. “I like taking on hopeless causes, especially when I believe the facts and good sense argue for such a cause,” he said. “Opposition to this merger brought together members of both parties in Congress, as well as groups and individuals across the political spectrum.”

The agreement between Sinclair, which is led by David D. Smith, and Tribune had allowed either to walk away if the deal did not close by Wednesday. Tribune said in its statement that it would seek compensation for all losses incurred from what it called Sinclair’s breach of the agreement, an amount it pegged at more than $1 billion.

The lawsuit details a litany of combative exchanges between Sinclair and the Justice Department. In November, the agency informed Sinclair it would need to sell off stations in at least 10 markets to obtain approval, but Sinclair refused, “deciding instead to antagonize D.O.J. officials,” the suit read. Meetings became so contentious, it said, that Sinclair effectively threatened the department to “sue me.”

Sinclair required approval from the Justice Department and the F.C.C., a process typically undertaken at the same time. But Sinclair preferred to broker an agreement first with the Justice Department, as it considered the F.C.C., and Mr. Pai, to be more friendly to mergers.

In a December letter addressed to the head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, Sinclair contrasted his position to that of Mr. Pai. “It was so refreshing to see the F.C.C., under Ajit Pai’s leadership, undertake a fundamental reform of its media ownership rules to relax regulations,” the letter read. It continued, “we have been surprised, therefore, by the extent to which the Division has thus far appeared unwilling to recognize how completely the world has changed,” referring to the Justice Department.

To satisfy rules that prohibit one company from owning the airwaves on such a dominant scale, Sinclair had proposed selling 23 television stations after the deal was completed. But under the proposal, several of the stations would still have effectively fallen within Sinclair’s operational control — a fact that the F.C.C. said raised “significant questions as to whether those proposed divestitures were in fact ‘sham’ transactions.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/business/dealbook/sinclair-tribune-media.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Anita Miller, Author and Publisher With Eclectic Bent, Dies at 91

In addition to her son Bruce Joshua Miller, a publisher’s sales representative, Ms. Miller is survived by her husband; two other sons, Mark Crispin Miller, a journalist, author and professor, and Eric Lincoln Miller, a book packager and former publisher; a brother, Joseph Wolfberg; and four grandchildren.

Jordan Miller had started a poetry magazine and was running a news clipping service when the couple became accidental publishers. She had earned a doctorate at Northwestern and was seeking to publish her dissertation on the English novelist Arnold Bennett when they mulled becoming publishers themselves.

Among the manuscripts they considered was “A Guide to Non-Sexist Children’s Books.” They published it as an experiment. Reviews and sales were so successful that they established what became Academy Chicago Publishers.

Among the other books they published were “The Fair Women: The Story of the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893” (1981); “Sharon” (2005), by the Millers, the first full biography in English of the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon; “The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Hearings” (2005); “What Went Wrong in Ohio” (2005), about election irregularities; “Hiding in Plain Sight: Eluding the Nazis in Occupied France” (2012); and “County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital” (2013).

Dr. Miller wrote or edited more than 75 books and, like her husband, worked with Chicago Review Press for two years after Academy Chicago was acquired. She received the Pandora Award from the British-based organization Women in Publishing in 1996.

She once described her unforeseen profession as an “addiction.”

“I was born with it,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 2014. “When I brushed my teeth, I had a book propped up on the sink.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/obituaries/anita-miller-author-and-eclectic-publisher-dies-at-91.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

By the numbers: The Stars of September


Notes on methodology

The People

The term “person of color” has definitions that may change across countries and cultures. Here, we are using primarily American constructions and definitions. Some examples: Ms. Hadid and her sister, Gigi, are of Palestinian and Dutch heritage. Emails to a representative for the sisters on how they prefer to identify were not returned. Because Gigi Hadid has spoken about the importance of her identity as Arab and is both welcomed and questioned for it, we count them as women of color. (Zendaya is biracial too, after all.) And because of the vagaries of American construction of identity, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez count and Penelope Cruz … doesn’t. (Clover Hope agrees.)

The Magazines

For this test, the magazines surveyed were Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, W, Glamour, and InStyle, all published by the industry’s major corporate players, Condé Nast, Hearst and Meredith, which recently acquired Time Inc. titles. We focused on magazines that seemed specifically and primarily concerned with fashion; that removed Vanity Fair, though September is its annual “Style Issue,” and magazines like Cosmopolitan and Allure. We looked only at magazines currently putting out print issues, so Teen Vogue and Self were out. And we exempted twice-yearly and quarterly magazines, and looked only at those with eight or more issues per year, which could reasonably be said to have September issues, even if they are not called “September” as such.

(W considers both its “Volume 4” issue, out in print next week, and its “Volume 5,” out Sept. 4, as September issues, for instance. Volume 4 is discussed above; 5 features Cate Blanchett, who guest-edited the issue with an all-female team of photographers, stylists and artists for a “Female Gaze” theme.)

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/style/diversity-september-issue-magazines.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

On the Runway: Vanity Fair’s September Cover Sells Something. And Not Only What It Says.

And yet that does make it hard not to wonder, when you add the celebrity to the clothes to the photographer, if the cover is effectively … a Louis Vuitton ad.

Magazines have long blurred the line between commerce and editorial content, tacitly supporting advertisers in their fashion shoots. Recently, some have begun venturing into e-commerce with various products in their pages (sometimes even taking a cut of each transaction). Stylists and photographers who produce editorial shoots are often the same ones behind ad campaigns.

But synergy like this, where the dots are connected out in the open, is rare. According to the magazine, though, it was not by design, but by accident.

Vanity Fair chose Ms. Schorr to shoot the cover in May, before it was aware that she had shot the Vuitton ad campaign, which was unveiled in mid-June. The magazine was drawn to her both because of her aesthetic and because she was one of the few photographers in fashion to speak out when the Harvey Weinstein revelations broke, demanding that fashion take responsibility for its own actions.

This is also, presumably, part of what drew Vuitton to her, since a number of previous ad campaigns had been shot by Bruce Weber, a photographer accused of abuse by more than a dozen men in an investigation in The New York Times.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/style/vanity-fair-michelle-williams-louis-vuitton.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

‘End Family Fire’ Campaign Hopes to Combat Accidental Child Gun Deaths

Mr. Adames, a military veteran, said that while he respected gun rights, gun owners have a responsibility to keep firearms secure.

“I understand that families own guns because they want to protect themselves,” he said. “However, if you have an irresponsible gun owner in your neighborhood, your community isn’t safe.”

About 4.6 million children live in homes where at least one gun is both loaded and unlocked, according to a study published this year in the Journal of Urban Health. And both the Brady Center and the Ad Council want to continue the campaign until that number goes down.

“We focus on issues for the long haul, and when we take one on, our focus is to stay at it until the issue goes away,” said Lisa Sherman, chief executive of the Ad Council, which has promoted firearm safety for almost two decades.

Long before that, the group advanced famous campaigns on other subjects. Since 1944, it has helped promote wildfire safety through the use of Smokey Bear and his famous catchphrase. Starting in 1979, it called for crime prevention with McGruff the Crime Dog. And since 1985, it has promoted seatbelt safety, initially with a campaign featuring two lively crash test dummies.

The “End Family Fire” campaign was created by Droga5, an advertising company founded in 2006, that was also responsible for The New York Times’s ad campaign “The Truth Is Hard.” The gun campaign has received support from a number of other groups, including the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, Bishops Against Gun Violence and Veterans for Gun Reform.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/business/media/family-fire-gun-safety.html?partner=rss&emc=rss