Data monsters

Documentary | Former social media execs decry Big Data
by Bob Brown
Posted 9/24/20, 02:56 pm

Former social media company executives tell all in the new Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. The practices that have made Facebook, Google, and other platforms wealthy and powerful are “bringing out the worst in society,” former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris alleges. 

Social media services record “every single [online] action” and run them through complex algorithms, according to former Twitter exec Jeff Seibert. The better these formulas predict people’s internet habits, the more advertisers pay.

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Moore and Redmayne: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

A symbolic makeover

Hollywood | The Oscars get new diversity standards for the best picture category
by Collin Garbarino
Posted 9/23/20, 11:37 pm

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences suffered embarrassment in 2015 when critics pointed to a lack of diversity in film nominations and #OscarsSo­White started trending on social media. April Reign, the activist who started the hashtag, noted that the academy’s membership at the time was 92 percent white and 75 percent male.

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Getty Images/Netflix

Real-world consequences for Netflix

Entertainment | Cuties angers customers … and Congress
by Megan Basham
Posted 9/15/20, 08:15 pm

When Netflix apologized last month for its promotional artwork for Cuties, a French film about a group of 11-year-old girls who perform sexually suggestive dance moves, it assured subscribers the poster did not accurately represent the movie’s content. Now that the movie, rated TV-MA, has debuted, many feel artwork did represent the film, and the content itself is even worse.

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