Fixing social media, and US monkeypox vaccines

We all want to be able to speak our mind online: be heard by our friends and talk (back) to our opponents. At the same time, we don’t want to be exposed to speech that is inappropriate or that crosses a line. Tech companies address this conundrum by setting standards for free speech, a practice protected by federal law, hiring internal moderators to vet individual content and remove it if posts violate predefined rules.

The approach clearly has problems: harassment, misinformation about issues such as public health, and misrepresentations of legitimate elections run rampant. But even if content moderation were implemented perfectly, there would still be a number of issues that are often presented as moderation issues but really aren’t. To address these issues, we need a new strategy: treating social media companies as potential polluters of the social fabric and directly measuring and mitigating the effects their choices have on human populations. Read the whole story.

By Nathaniel Lubin, Cornell Tech Digital Life Initiative Fellow and former director of the White House Office of Digital Strategy under President Barack Obama, and Thomas Krendl Gilbert, Cornell Tech Postdoctoral Fellow.

Required readings

I’ve combed the internet to find you the funniest/important/scary and fascinating stories about technology.

1 The United States is trying to make its limited monkeypox vaccines last
By injecting only one-fifth of a normal dose. (NYT$)
+ The Danish company that makes monkeypox vaccines will not produce more until 2023. (via cable $)
+ Intellectual property rights are a major obstacle to wider access. (Blackboard)
+ Everything you need to know about monkeypox vaccines. (MIT Technology Review)

2 We need better ways to report major cyberattacks
Private security companies are in favor of a new initiative by a US federal agency. (Protocol)
+ Chinese-backed spies have hacked European military and government agencies. (The Register)

3 Silicon Valley is getting into the arms business
Rising geopolitical tensions mean more sales opportunities. (Economist $)
+ Why business is booming for military AI startups. (MIT Technology Review)

4 The US has sanctioned a crypto-mixing service
About their role in allowing billions of dollars in crypto to be laundered. (TechCrunch)
+ The US fight to regulate crypto is intensifying. (via cable $)
+ Plenty of celebrities have been busted for not disclosing their encrypted connections. (BuzzFeed News)

5 Game-loving children in China are being targeted by scammers
Scammers promise more game time in exchange for money. (The Register)

6 YouTube is too big for Russia to block
But its closest rival, RuTube, is working furiously to catch up. (WSJ$)
+ How Russia took over Ukraine’s Internet. (NOW $)

7 Skin cancer is underdiagnosed among black patients
A catalog that explores how diseases appear in different skin colors could help with diagnosis. (not dark)
+ Doctors using AI detect breast cancer more often than either alone. (MIT Technology Review)

8 A bitter lawsuit is tearing apart the flying car industry
One of its best-funded companies has accused another of stealing trade secrets. (fast company $)
+ Meanwhile, a jet-train hybrid is under development in Canada. (Inverse)

9 Facebook’s chatbot is not a fan of its own manufacturers
Which is more than a little awkward. (motherboard)
+ Meta-owned WhatsApp will now let you leave groups unnoticed. (The Guardian)

10 Who Is The Money Content Industry Really For? 💸
For people without money, a lot of his advice doesn’t make sense. (New Statesman $)
+ The risks and rewards of paying off student debt on the blockchain. (MIT Technology Review)

quote of the day

“When we were making big profits, I got a little delusional, and looking back now, I’m quite embarrassed and remorseful.”

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