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Algorithms and institutional isomorphism

My notes on Caplan, R., & Boyd, D. (2018). Isomorphism through algorithms: Institutional dependencies in the case of Facebook. Big Data & Society, 5(1), 2053951718757253. Are data-driven technologies leading organisations to take on shared characteristics? This is the fascinating question addressed in this paper by Robyn Caplan and danah boyd […]

Repoliticising tech mythology

On the subject of the collapse of the tech mythology, a wonderful Slate headline succinctly conveys the significance of what is taking place: Facebook is a normal sleazy company now.  As Siva Vaidhyanathan puts it, “Facebook is now just another normal sleazy American company run by normal sleazy executives, engaged […]

No longer praying at the altar of virality

An important idea offered by Mike Caulfield. The embrace of frictionless sharing and the relentless pursuit of engagement have created the problems which are now being naturalised by the emerging ‘did Facebook lead to Trump’ discourse: We have prayed at the altar of virality a long time, and I’m not sure […]

The global ambitions of tech giants

A fascinating article on the LSE’s Media Policy Blog about the global ambitions of contemporary technology giants and the corporate structures which facilitate them: The folks who run these companies understand this. For if there is one thing that characterises the leaders of Google and Facebook it is their determination […]

The Reactionary Politics of Tech Bros

A slogan more frequently encountered on pro-police demos has been repeatedly daubed inside the Facebook headquarters, creating embarrassment for a corporation whose staff are overwhelmingly white and male: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reprimanded employees following several incidents in which the slogan “black lives matter” was crossed out and replaced with “all […]

the rise of human centred data science at facebook

An absolutely fascinating account of developments in the newsfeed algorith at Facebook since its introduction: Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s 32-year-old director of product for news feed, is Alison’s less technical counterpart—a “fuzzie” rather than a “techie,” in Silicon Valley parlance. He traffics in problems and generalities, where Alison deals in solutions […]

loyalty to the facebook mission 

From The Boy Kings, by Katherine Losse, pg 200: Most employees I talked with seemed not to be particularly bothered by the company’s decision to forcibly adjust people’s expectations of privacy, preferring instead to focus on the light and almost childlike- sounding goals of sharing and connecting people. “She just […]

the gift economy of the digital elite 

From The Boy Kings, by Katherine Losse, pg 194: The floor around Sheryl’s desk was piled with the endless gifts that she received from business contacts in lofty positions at Fortune 500 companies. People sent her Louboutin heels and Frette candles the diameter of dinner plates, which she unpacked while […]

the rituals of tech bros 

From The Boy Kings, by Katherine Losse, pg 134: That Sunday, after I’d slept off our long night, I logged in to Facebook to see an endless stream of videos that the boys had filmed at the club. In them, the boys were not chatting up or kissing girls they […]