How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump

In the wake of the Arab Spring and Barack Obama’s election, it looked like social media would lead us to a new golden age of peace, freedom and diversity. Now, it’s increasingly a weapon for authoritarians and racists. Zeynep Tufekci walks through how we got from there to here, and how to fix the problem (spoiler alert: All we have to do make our major institutions trustworthy and restore people’s trust in them so that won’t be a big job at all):

Power always learns, and powerful tools always fall into its hands. This is a hard lesson of history but a solid one. It is key to understanding how, in seven years, digital te`chnologies have gone from being hailed as tools of freedom and change to being blamed for upheavals in Western democracies—for enabling increased polarization, rising authoritarianism, and meddling in national elections by Russia and others.

Zeynep Tufekci/MIT Technology Review

More info on Drafts for the Mac

Drafts is a quick text capture and automation app for iPhone and iPad. If I want to write something, I open Drafts and start typing. Later I figure out where to send it. Email? Article? Text message?

Drafts is one of my most used apps. I’m very pleased it’s coming to the Mac.

I use SwiftText now for quick text capture on the Mac. Fantastic app, and I use it even more often than Drafts. But it doesn’t handle multiple documents well at all. And it doesn’t sync to iOS. I anticipate Drafts for Mac will nicely fill a hole in my workflow.

I’m typing this in Drafts now.


That moment when your Internet mysteriously disappears three minutes before an important conference call, and then just as mysteriously returns a minute later.

Not even the end of the beginning

With Jeff Sessions, David Pecker, Michael Cohen and maybe Paul Manaford turning on Trump, it’s looking like the beginning of the end. Of course, Trump has survived near certain doom before, but this time it’s looking maybe more likely.

The Trump Paradox: It was always inevitable that his administration would end in disaster and disgrace, and yet he survives every crisis and comes out stronger.

And, paraphrasing Churchill, getting rid of Trump isn’t the end. It isn’t even the middle. It’s just a first step. He’s the figurehead of a toxic culture.

Verizon ‘throttled’ critical internet service during wildfire battle, fire chief says

Hannah Fry, LA Times:

Santa Clara County firefighters were critically hindered by inadequate internet service while they helped battle the massive Mendocino Complex fire in July after Verizon slowed the speed of their wireless data, the county’s fire chief wrote in a federal court filing this week.

While the agency believed it had paid for an unlimited data plan, the Santa Clara County Fire Department discovered its data connection had been “throttled” down to 1/200 or less than previous speeds as it fought the largest fire in modern California history. Verizon Wireless representatives told the department it had exceeded its plan limit for data and suggested the agency purchase a plan at more than double the cost, according to court documents.

“This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services,” Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote. “Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding county fire’s ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services.” …

Katharine Trendacosta, a policy analyst with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the situation undercuts the argument that net neutrality rules hindered emergency services by not allowing internet service providers to prioritize their data.

“They’ve often said if we’re allowed to throttle some and not others then we can give better service to emergency responders. We’re seeing here that’s not true,” she said. “It wasn’t net neutrality that prevented them from doing it. It’s clearly their own policies.”

LA Times

Via Cory

December 1941. “Hunters. Dailey, West Virginia.” Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. High resolution photo at link.