Twitter’s Disinformation Data Dumps Are Helpfulto a Point

In October 2017, Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett faced difficult questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about foreign interference in the 2016 election. Flanked by representatives from Facebook and Google, Edgett explained how Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) had systematically spread fake news and stoked partisan sentiment through a carefully coordinated, years-long social media campaign. A year later, Twitter released an archive of more than 10 million tweets, from 3,841 accounts it said were affiliated with the IRA, hoping to encourage “open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics.” The company has followed with additional data dumps, most recently last month when it released details of accounts linked to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Catalan independence movement …

Does Twitter Even Know How to Tweet?

Franz Reichelt, the Flying Taylor, leapt from the Eiffel Tower on February 4, 1912, expecting his homemade parachute to do its job. Nobody actually thought he would jump. To secure deck access, Reichelt had assured Parisian police that he would be sending a dummy over the edge. When the chute failed to fill, it was very much a real person who hit the ground. The French press immediately seized upon Reichelt as a morality tale—the foolish Icarian inventor who disregarded warnings and became the broken embodiment of the cost of moving too fast. The modern-day Reichelt is not a man, but a corporation: Twitter. The social media platform is, as everyone has said innumerable times, deeply flawed, yet it blithely …

How Twitter Became My Sacred Space

I woke up one day, at age 38, and realized I was the worst kind of bored housewife. My kids were old enough to no longer need me, my amusing(ish) satirical novels were largely being unread, and my life had become a dull hum of paint colors and upholstery. I live on New York’s Upper East Side, where everyone shares the same small, incredibly specific concerns—private schools, vacations, and getting our husbands to notice us. I was drowning in provincialism. And so, like any well-adjusted person, I took to the internet. I went to Twitter originally to express my displeasure at the way the president of the United States was running things. I was devastated by the election and looking …

18-Year-Old Starts Having A Seizure On The Train, Receives Help From Total Stranger That Later Shares The Whole Story On Twitter

Every day we are bombarded with negative stories; wars, poverty, natural disasters and people ‘destroying’ each other on social media. We have never experienced a time when we are so saturated in information, and this constant stream of ‘bad news,’ (which sells, unfortunately) can affect our Elena Rostunova (not the actual photo) Writer Erynn Brook, whose writing “weaves through conversations about media, people, culture, technology and anything else that pops into my world,” shared her experience while riding the train home, just a few stops from her station. She was approached by an 18-year-old girl who suffered from epilepsy and was about to have a seizure. I’m waiting on kitty ultrasound results and trying to distract myself a little bit …

The Defiant, Restorative Joy of Lurking Online

The internet is a vast and wondrous place, friends—or, rather, it was. Scale and greed and countless other culprits have spun the geologic clock backward. A realm that once comprised countless nations has become a supercontinent, a monolith of homogenized use and mood. In its present state, it comprises two primary uses, each of which manages to be more existentially unsatisfying than the other. The first is simply a giant data set, a contextless compendium of information consulted via websearch or Alexa query to fill whatever momentary gnaw has interrupted your day. How often you need to replace the filters in your water tank. The nature and purpose of something called "voodoo floss." How tall Halsey is. The result, invariably, …

How Do You Pronounce Buttigieg? The Internet Counts the Ways

The trick to pronouncing the last name of presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is to keep your lips almost totally puckered through all three syllables. At least, that's the only way I'm able to do it. If I can get my lips halfway between a pout and a whistle, and say it in one quick exhale, I can get it: Bood-eh-jedge, bood-eh-jedge, bood-eh-jedge. I learned this a few days ago from watching video after YouTube video of Buttigieg saying his own name. Until then, whenever I'd read the name Buttigieg—which wasn't that often, until very recently—I'd read over the weird spelling, make the sound "boojig" in my mind, and move on. I was sure I'd never …