Publisher vs Platform: Where's the Line, and Does it Matter?

Popzazzle | Monday, 12 April 2021 |

"If Twitter or Facebook's publishing is deemed to be libellous, defamatory or discriminatory, they can be sued. That's the basic, theoretical goal."


legal matters
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels (image modified).

By Bob Leggitt
© Popzazzle
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One of the hot debating topics of early 2021 centred around the rights and immunities afforded to social media platforms. In particular, whether these vast monoliths of info-dissemination have mutated into publishers, and thus, whether they should be subject to the stricter rules that apply to publishing.

So what defines a publisher? What defines a platform? And what difference does it make? Let's find out...

The Threat of the Audio Cassette

Popzazzle | Tuesday, 6 April 2021 |

"Never let it be said that contempt is blind to status."


Audio cassettes

By Bob Leggitt
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Remember audio cassettes? They seem beyond harmless today, but forty years ago they were considered by some to be a global catastophe waiting to happen. Yes, back in 1981, the British Phonographic Industry believed that these inert-looking and actually rather pretty bits of plastic and tape had the power to destroy the music business...

Why You Might As Well Use Google: The Grim Reality of "Ethical Tech"

Popzazzle | Monday, 5 April 2021 |

"That puts DuckDuckGo in the company of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Cloudflare, Megaupload, and wait for it... Pornhub. That is the general ethical standard we are talking about."


Bingle search

By Bob Leggitt
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In the digital backwater that is alternative social media, we've come to expect a timeline punctuated with animated cries of “ditch Google!”. But ask for a rationale, and the orator will routinely point a nifty hyperlink at a piece of content marketing. A comprehensive damnation of Big Tech, fused with an all-important alternative recommendation. A slick word-parcel that either emerged directly from the lips of Eth Tech, or looks like it was financed with an Eth Tech backhander. So, what the heck is Eth Tech? You ask.

Doctored and Forged Screenshots: The New Weapon of Online Warfare

Popzazzle | Sunday, 21 March 2021 |

"Sparring Internet warriors have more recently taken to using doctored screenshots as a means to get their opponents' social profiles shut down... And in this twilight zone of low scrutiny, things can get very, very ugly."



Tweet doctored by Bob Leggitt.

By Bob Leggitt
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It's perhaps a stretch to say that doctoring a screenshot is the easiest thing in the world, but it takes less than a minute in Firefox or Chrome, with no additional software.

I'm deliberately not using the word “Photoshopped” in this post, because despite this being a common reference for edited screenshots, simple text-modification does not require anything as elaborate as a market-leading image editor. I'm using words like fake, forged and doctored, because most modified screenshots have not been anywhere near Photoshop. They've most likely been Chromed or Firefoxed. It's that easy.

And yet the result can convince a huge number of people that a completely fictitious statement or conversation was typed by the person to whom it's attributed. Let's face it, half the Internet will believe that Einstein's dating bio said “Genius. Swipe right” - if you put it on a suitably reverent background with a monochrome of his wizened face in the corner. And that's presenting someone's words secondhand. When you're presenting their words firsthand, the credibility rises further. And the stakes can be exceptionally high...

How To Tell if Ideological Influencers Really Care About Disadvantage

Popzazzle | Wednesday, 17 March 2021 |

"...And do black lives still matter? Or are we now supposed to dump that and concentrate on the 'Not all men but most men and we don't know which men so we have to fear all men and we'd better not say the actual words but that includes black men' campaign?"


Chess set pawns down
Photo by Bob Leggitt.

By Bob Leggitt
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Judging someone's character and motivations is sometimes more a matter of what you don't see than what you do. Ideological influencers claim to stand for the disadvantaged, but I've discovered a quick way to get a sense of whether they're really there to do that, or merely to use the concept of victimhood for personal gain.

The method entails searching for two keywords, relating to groups that have a very high incidence of disadvantage, and so should, theoretically, figure in the campaigning of someone who claims to be fighting disadvantage. The two keywords are:

Big Tech's Secret Fear: The Disappearing Web

Popzazzle | Wednesday, 10 March 2021 |

"Why would both Facebook and Twitter ignore 99.99% of successful startup ideas, but suddenly jump aboard with newsletters? On closer inspection, the answer is obvious..."


Padlocks
Photo by zhang xiaoyu on Unsplash (image modified).

By Bob Leggitt
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The World Wide Web is slowly disappearing. No, really. It is! I mean, obviously, it's all still around somewhere. It's just that with every week that goes by, a little more of it closes off unconditional access. And the conditions are getting more demanding as the hourglass runs down.

Will Brave Search End DuckDuckGo's Party?

Popzazzle | Sunday, 7 March 2021 |

"DuckDuckGo, Startpage and Qwant are Microsoft and Google's bedfellows. Not their competition... Brave Search will be competition - not a bedfellow."


Future Search Crystal Ball
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash.

By Bob Leggitt
© Popzazzle
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In the last week, Brave - the browser provider - announced a buyout of a low-profile search engine called Tailcat, and a plan to integrate it into the Brave brand. We might expect that to raise a few groans of: “Oh please, not another 'private search engine'”, but this one genuinely does look different, and I think it's a really exciting development.