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Friday Five


1. 100 Websites That Shaped the Web

Gizmodo breaks down some of the weirdest, best, worst, and most interesting websites in the history of the internet. From YouTube to Something Awful, its all here. A well rounded list that takes itself just about as seriously as it needs to in order to get through the task at hand.

2. YouTube Politicians

Following last week’s note on the Brazilian elections, Ryan Broderick spoke to some of the many political figures in Brazil who have risen to prominence via YouTube. Many of them belong to Movimento Brasil Livre, or MBL, which Broderick analogs as the Brazilian Breitbart. The figureheads openly admit to watching and learning from the current American political landscape to craft their messages and use the internet to their advantage. Its a pretty eye-opening perspective on what may be coming next to our own politics as the internet continues to play a larger and larger role in getting someone elected here stateside.

3. Inside CNN’s Bomb Scare

CNN’s New York studio is located within the Time Warner Center, across Columbus Circle from a Trump Hotel, and at a fairly large cross section of Midtown and Central Park West. For two years, I worked around the corner at 3 Columbus Circle, so it was more than a little bizarre to see the vantage point from my old coworkers and see a very familiar block turned into a police scene. While many other bombs were mailed out to other Democratic Party leaning politicians, for a bomb to be sent to a newsroom presents a rare situation; how do you cover an attempted terrorist attack on your own place of work?

4. Fact v. Fiction

In a new study, only 17% of people over the age of 65 verified five true facts as — well, facts. The Pew Research study brings to light something thats hard to talk about but, as our parents, relatives, and loved ones spend more time on social media, bears repeating: those who did not grow up on the internet have a much harder time finding facts on it. This isn’t a problem unique to older people, but it does seem much more prevalent with them. An “erosion of the line between fact and opinion” is a dangerous sentiment when a large swath of our news and political narrative is gleaned from social media and other easily skewed sources. Even still, there’s a difference between skewed stories and straight up falsehoods. No matter what your political views are, a critical eye when consuming media is a necessity. It didn’t take long for “false flag” stories and claims to begin cropping up within minutes of the bomb reporting earlier this week, for example, despite piles of evidence and even White House confirmation that this was something really happening.

5. The AI Cold War That Could Doom Us All


1. WhatsApp and the Brazilian Election

Facebook (owner of WhatsApp) recently launched a "war room," a section of their office dedicated to fighting election interference. On the same day the press embargo on reports about the war room were lifted, the company was hit with its latest scandal. Interest groups in Brazil had purchased voter rolls and were sending mass far-right propaganda to WhatsApp users. It begs the question: despite the large amounts of PR, how serious is Facebook about dealing with fake news?

Related: Facebook's War Room Is Definitely Managing at Least One Crisis

2.The Story of Red Dead

Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming out in about a week. Ahead of one of the gaming industry's most anticipated releases, Blake Hester for Polygon got the oral history of the franchise. The story includes Peter Gabriel, multiple corporate takeovers, and a lot of tequila.

3. Jamal Khashoggi's Last Opinion Piece

Khashoggi, who was tortured and murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate, had submitted a piece for translation and publishing shortly before his disappearance. While much of the world tries to confirm the suspicions that the Saudi government was responsible for what happened to Khashoggi, his last piece for the Washington Post serves as an unintentional obit.

"These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence."

4. Facebook's Inflated Metrics

On the other end of Facebook scandals this week, a new lawsuit may tie Facebook to the failure of many publications to "pivot to video." Facebook's own internal documents have revealed the company inflated video view metrics, by up to 900%, while simultaneously selling video ad products to publishers, advertisers, and media companies. The media world was kind of dumbfounded by being faced with the facts that the story the ad platforms were selling them may have not been painting a full picture of the situation, years after they've shifted their content production and business models to adapt to what the (inaccurate) metrics were telling them.

5. A Five-Year-Old Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights


(Hey this site looks kinda bad right now. I’m working on it still. I just wanted to get this back up and running again.)

1.Climate Genocide

You may heave heard about a recent report issued by the IPCC regarding the dangers of the current trend of climate change. The IPCC report paints a dire picture, but as is often the case, science somewhat disregards the realities of society. While the entire planet is in danger, these dangers inevitably will inflict harm upon the lower classes first. While the rich throw money at Elon Musk to take them to the next home planet, or prep themselves in bunkers in New Zealand, what will become of the rest of us?

2. Facebook Isn’t Sorry

I genuinely do not have the time or energy to catch you up on what has been going on with Facebook since I last updated this site/newsletter. Suffice to say this: all is not well in the Zuckerberg Empire. Hot on the heels of it’s latest data scandal, Facebook introduced a new product which includes a body-tracking camera and a far-field microphone. Yes, just put this high tech spy device in your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. What could possibly go wrong?

Related: Tech Workers Want To Know What They’re Building

3. The Morality War

A disagreement over one piece of culture points to where our discourse has arrived when it comes to talking about all culture — at a roiling impasse. The conversations are exasperated, the verdicts swift, conclusive and seemingly absolute. The goal is to protect and condemn work, not for its quality, per se, but for its values. Is this art or artist, this character, this joke bad for women, gays, trans people, nonwhites? Are the casts diverse enough? Is this museum show inclusive of enough different kinds of artists? Does the race of the curators correspond with the subject of the show or collection? Increasingly, these questions stand in for a discussion of the art itself.

4. A Visit to Opioid Country

What does opioid addiction look like? Where do opioid addicts live? As our nation continues to be held in the death grip of an opioid epidemic, how is the American view of addiction changing, if at all? Aaron Thier’s piece uses a small glimpse to provide a greater perspective on the current status of the pill-popping populace.

5. Journalists Can’t Quit Word

We all know and loathe Microsoft Word. Yes, it works. It just works. As someone who's professional life revolves largely around writing, I have to open the program at least once a workday. However more and more offices, newsrooms, and freelancers have begun the slow dragging transition to Google Docs. In a remote-first/gig economy/I’m-writing-this-from-my-couch world more and more writing and editing is being done without any physical files ever being created. While the latest versions of Word allow for change-tracking and editing, as well as cloud saving, the ease of putting your writing on a Google Doc, hitting share, and then watching your editor tear apart your in real time is something different. Google accidentally created the best and worst tool for writing. Editors can see how many writers slaved over a single clause, or how many times I’ve added and removed that comma, and so on. Editors can make polite suggestions, entire editorial conversations take place in comment threads attached to a highlighted phrase. It’s truly bizarre. Rachel Withers, for Slate, spoke with writers, journalists, and editors about how, despite all the changes, Word still persists in some of the largest busiest newsrooms across the country.