Berkman in the News
“There’s a huge schism that has appeared between the business and users — the culture,” said David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “This is important because the product is the community, unlike Amazon or something. If you alienate your users, there’s no product left; the thing of value is the community they’ve built.”
The online experience is changing rapidly, explains Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, and not necessarily for the better. We should act to make sure current norms such as web surfing remain unfettered as the Internet evolves. If not, we’ll be allowing Internet powerbrokers to control how and through which means we access online information. Zittrain is author of the book The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It and writes for the blog of the same name.
One study by Laura Frieder of Purdue University and Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard University, found that the stocks mentioned in those otherwise annoying emails experienced a huge price increase, as well as a big jump in volume, after the messages were sent. Clearly, investors’ skepticism is being trumped by an eagerness to believe. As Zittrain told me: “Greed all too easily colors our objectivity,” and this is true for all types of investors.
Just take those annoying spam emails that promise a fortune in some penny stock. Believe it or not, researchers have found a large number of investors actually follow the recommendations contained in the spam. One study by Laura Frieder of Purdue University and Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard University, found that the stocks mentioned in those otherwise annoying emails experienced a huge price increase, as well as a big jump in volume, after the messages were sent. Clearly, investors’ skepticism is being trumped by an eagerness to believe. As Zittrain told me: “Greed all too easily colors our objectivity,” and this is true for all types of investors.
A community-driven business doesn’t have to run itself the way its community does, any more than an airline’s backoffice should be run by two people in a cockpit. But the business does need to be fluent in the values and dynamics of its community, just as the airline’s CEO needs to understand that passengers should be treated differently than freight. That helps explain why last week the users of Reddit.com, a popular message board, were up in arms.
At a talk hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society on June 23, Mitali Thakor, a PhD student in MIT’s HASTS program and a Berkman affiliate, discussed her findings on techniques and strategies for preventing and prosecuting child exploitation and human trafficking, and how new digital approaches to addressing these issues affect young people online.
While it’s difficult to say what proportion of these claims are erroneous or duplicate, it’s likely to run into thousands per month. Other claims, like the one we’re highlighting today, underline why we absolutely need Google’s Transparency Report and the DMCA notice archive maintained by Chilling Effects.
Sands Fish, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, said that the success of #TakeItDown materialized, at least in part, because there was an organized community ready to mobilize. “Black Twitter has become an established public essentially over the past year,” he said. Currently, Fish is working with the Mapping Police Violence project to identify the link between deaths of black people at the hands of the police, and national press attention.