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Tonight's ONT Is A Long Strange Tip | Main | The Morning Report — 7/7/23
July 07, 2023

Daily Tech News 7 July 2023

Top Story

  • Instagram's Twitter clone, Threads, attracted 30 million users in its first day. (Ars Technica)

    Amazing what you can do when you already have 1.3 billion users.

  • Even the Twitter haters say Threads is useless. (Tech Crunch)

    It has instantly become the CNN of the social media world. There's nothing interesting there, nobody trusts it, and nobody actually uses it, but the advertisers feel safe.

  • Advertisers feel safe, but users are already being banned for harmless - if inane - material. (Tech Crunch)
    In the hours since Threads launched, users fleeing back to Twitter have already complained that they were flagged for relatively innocuous posts. One user complained that they were flagged on Threads for saying they were horny, so "Elon wins this round." Another said she was penalized for asking if users can "post boob," which Threads flagged as content that "resembles others that have been reported."

    "Tried calling myself stupid on threads and it got flagged for bullying," artist Mikaeladraws tweeted. "That place is not gonna handle any of our shit."
    And also for less-harmless material that nonetheless wouldn't raise an eyebrow on Twitter.
    Will it gain traction? I don't know. Maybe. There are people still using Facebook.

    Will it be any good? Not a chance.

  • Meanwhile I got suspended from Twitter for a week for using the word "idiot" three times in one day.

    Didn't know there was a bag limit.

Tech News

  • Meanwhile Bluesky Social lets you buy domain names and use them as your username. (Bluesky)

    Using domain names for verification I can see. You can have the username but you have to add a record to your DNS to verify it. You could also use it to verify employees and contributors.

    A certain number of technically-minded users and people with their own websites might like that too. You don't have to send scans of your passport or any other nonsense to verify, just match the user to your website.

    But I don't see it as being a major feature.

  • And distributed social platform Mastodon fixed a bug that, uh, let anyone take over the entire network with a single post. (Ars Technica)

    You could attach a file to your post and tell the server to overwrite, well, anything at all. You could upload a program and have the server run it for you, and then share it with other nodes in the network.

    This is what is known in information security circles as "not good".

  • The threat of 5G was greatly - or at least somewhat - exaggerated. (Light Reading)

    5G was banned in the vicinity of airports up until July 1, because of the possibility of it interfering with radio altimeters. The reason 5G interferes with radio altimeters is that it operates at a frequency that is vaguely in the same sort of general area of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the radio altimeters are broken.

    They've been broken for decades but it didn't matter until recently when mobile phones started operating in similar frequencies. The altimeters have their own reserved safe section of the spectrum, but they were designed in an area when they didn't have to care about that, and they didn't.

    The cost of retrofitting all those altimeters ran to literally dozens of dollars.

  • ZeroFox, the FBI's commercial partner in the illegal social media surveillance business - which the FBI absolutely definitely doesn't do - previously flagged BLM leaders as domestic terrorists despite them not being Catholic. (The Intercept)

    The FBI paid $14 million to ZeroFox to, apparently, do nothing at all, because paying them money to do what they do would be illegal.
    "So, the FBI does not monitor publicly available social media conversations?" asked Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

    "Correct, ma'am. It's not within our authorities," Sanborn replied, citing First Amendment protections barring such activities.

    Sanborn's statement was widely publicized at the time and cited as evidence that concerns about federal government involvement in social media were unfounded.

    Because criminals always tell the truth. Well-known fact.

  • Professional censors are up in arms over their illegal industry being called out as illegal. (Daily Caller)

    "The government should be able to inform social media companies about things that they feel are harmful to the public," Miriam Metzger, a University of California, Santa Barbara communication professor and an affiliate of its Center for Information Technology and Society, told the NYT.
    That's debatable.

    But what they absolutely can't do is conduct that conversation in secret.
    "We're not talking about direct government censorship."
    What we are talking about, Miriam, is the government co-opting corporations to carry out policies that are illegal for it to conduct itself.

    And that is illegal too.
    "We're talking about the government alerting social media companies to potential problems."
    Secretly. With threats.
    Metzger told the DCNF. "The social media companies can do what they want with the information. Personally, I doubt that the social media companies feel 'coerced' in these kinds of instances."
    Personally, Miriam, you're a fascist.



Disclaimer: Not that there's anything wrong with that. We just get to drop bombs on you and feel good about ourselves.
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