Social Media

22 stories
To track a killer
HealthMap tracks Ebola’s footprints online, preparing for the next big outbreak
HealthMap
Since March, a group of data-savvy epidemiologists at Boston Children’s Hospital have watched Ebola slowly spread through West Africa, ominously lighting up their dials first as a trickle, then a torrent of mentions on social media and online news reports. The group, HealthMap, has been steadily ahead of the curve tracking this year’s outbreak. One day, they hope to be a step ahead of the next big disease. Read More
a fine line
Facebook reveals research guidelines after playing with users' feeds
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Back in 2012, researchers from Facebook and Cornell University altered the kinds of posts people saw in their Facebook feeds to study the way they responded to them. When Facebook users found out this year, they were mad. Now Facebook has responded, with its chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer publishing a response, laying out a set of guidelines by which research on Facebook will be conducted in the future. Read More
Putting up walls
Facebook apologizes to drag queens, but politics of online identity and privacy persist
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Two weeks ago, Facebook began suspending the accounts of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag and community service organization. Members who'd been active on Facebook under their stage names were locked out until they registered with their legal names. For those members who wanted to keep their stage identities separate from the rest of their lives, at least online, Facebook's actions threatened to tear down a critical wall of privacy. After attempted discussions with Facebook, a whole lot of media (and social media) attention, and a Change.org campaign that's collected more than 36,300 signatures, on Wednesday Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox apologized to the group. Read More
Face-to-face > Facebook
Americans would rather debate politics IRL than online
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Twitter helped rally crowds in Tahrir Square and Gezi Park, but when it comes to debating political topics, Americans are more likely to connect offline than on social media. Those are the results of a new study that surveyed US residents about how and when they talked to friends and colleagues about tracking by the NSA and Edward Snowden. Read More