For Your Next Game of Trivial Pursuit

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well gosh, Facebook’s numbers aren’t as high as they’d have JOE PUBIC believe. That was probably a typo! Per Mashable:

In a March filing, Facebook claimed about5% to 6% of its accounts — or 40.3 million to 50.7 million — were fake. The company also says it bans at least 20,000 accounts daily and estimates about 600,000 accounts per day are compromised.

20K bans per day, a year and a half after Tumblr supplanted Facebook as the hot new trend in teen trolling. I wonder what that number was in 2010, at the peak of RIP stuff. THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW.

A Whole Lotta Mad

April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

The cat = internet

The guy holding the camera = Facebook

It’s gonna be a bumpy CISPA!

Zuckerberg + CISPA = <3

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment


If there’s anything we can learn from THE SOPA and THE ACTA, it’s that’s Reddit’s already REALLY MAD ABOUT THIS!!!! Verily I am tenting my fingers.

Click here for further info-lulzment. The cheezburger aka copyright monster par excellence macro is a nice touch!

Good News Everyone!

April 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Facebook just bought Instagram for one hundred krillion dollars. This is excellent news, people are already very excited! No really, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. “Like” that in your “like” button and “like” it! Because nothing bad ever happens when an entire economic sector becomes dependent on the solvency of a single corporate entity. NOTHING BAD AT ALL. Certainly not the possibility that Facebook will soon saturate every possible market, then in its inevitable decline pull the rest of the cyber-circus tent down with it. Nope, some things are too big to fail, like the banking or auto industries!

In conclusion, good job Zuck! You have just surpassed the lovely Samantha Brick as honorary troll of the week.

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I like the part about finding teeth that Michael can’t explain. I’d be crying too!

I like the part about OH MY GEE. I’d be night puking too!

I like the part about how Zuckerberg is basically playing Tech Jesus, taking credit for all of the good in the world and blaming all of the bad on MySpace or whatever. I’d be counting my gold doubloons while stroking my own penis too!


It’s All Fun and Games Until Facebook Starts Losing Money

December 13, 2011 § 3 Comments


Over the last few months, I’ve had the very cool and sometimes incredibly weird opportunity to talk to all kinds of media people and academics about my research, particularly the stuff I’ve done with Facebook memorial page trolling. Although I’m grateful for (if a little confused by, since what the hell do I know) the platform, I often end up feeling like some kind of ambassador to trolldom. This is a very odd position to occupy, especially when talking about the most emotionally damaging forms of trolling behavior.

Especially weird, and especially difficult to articulate, is my position on Facebook’s position on trolling. Essentially, and as I’ve explained before, I’m deeply suspicious of Facebook’s motives, and find myself at odds with almost every single one of their policies — including their pushback against trolls. But not because I think RIP trolling (it’s important to note that not all FB trolling is RIP trolling; many FB trolls steer clear of memorial pages, but that’s a different conversation) is awesome and above rebuke. Quite the contrary. What I take issue with is the profound cynicism of Facebook’s response, compellingly discussed here.

It might seem surprising for me to use Grant’s argument –which gestures towards and in no uncertain condemns a number of problematic trolling/trollish behaviors– to support the claim that Facebook’s response to trolling is disingenuous and gross. Despite the strange bedfellowsedness of it all, I think Grant’s argument is apt, especially the following:

If it was not clear before, we must understand now that Facebook wasn’t built for us — it was built for the profit of the very few. That Facebook is of value to the public as a communications platform is only important to Facebook insofar as it allows them to sell targeted advertising against our own speech. Its governing document, the Terms of Service, has been repeatedly applied unfairly and without accountability to its users, as its purpose is to legally protect Facebook from our conduct, not provide us with a free space, or even a safe space. 

In other words, it’s not the trolling Facebook cares about. It’s the economic disruption that trolling causes. Currently it’s in their interest to make trolling impossible, but this isn’t so much a victory for the targets of trolling as much as evidence that trolling is bad for business. For one thing, you can’t advertise to trolling sockpuppets. They have no purchasing power, and consequently have no place on the site. When Zuckerberg waxes poetic about “authentic user identity,” this is what he’s describing. Real people are worth money. Fake people are not.

Again, I’m not suggesting that Facebook’s response to trolling is somehow unfair to trolls. Instead, it illustrates the ways in which economic incentives trump whatever lip-service Facebook might be paying to the groups they think are most relevant to their interests. Trolls just so happen to be the canary in this coal mine.


October 30, 2011 § 4 Comments


Yochai Benchler, “Networks of Power, Degrees of Freedom” (2011)

The series of tubed networks that is INTERNET allows users to bypass traditional channels of power, i.e. WikiLeaks. These new avenues aren’t in themselves game changers, not necessarily, and are a mixed bag politically (depends on who has the freedom and who has the power to do what for what reasons), but represent a shift away from older, more contained/containable models of control and towards bottom up (or perhaps more appropriately, every-which-way) collective-ish power, depending, again, on who exactly is doing what with what, and why, and how — details that need to be filled in before proper analyses can be run. Still, the shift in itself is a very big deal –not exactly “good,” not exactly “bad,” but certainly “different” and “important”– even if said power is still mostly nascent.

Tom Bissell, “The Unbearable Lightness of Games,” Extra Lifes: Why Video Games Matter (2010) 

Video games are fun because they’re fun, and sometimes that’s a difficult position to articulate. It is easy to sound a bit douchey or apologetic when talking about video games, and this can be distressing. Because one’s love of games generally and/or one game in particular is so closely tied up into who one is. Making them an odd topic of criticism. Easier if you take more of a structural approach. Still, that I is a difficult I to navigate.


Yesterday my dear friend at sent me this, a newspaper article examining the “dark side” of Facebook’s ascendancy. He assumed said darksidedness would loop back to standard cybertroll rage brigading, so was surprised to find a much more nuanced argument about the unintended political consequences of Facebook’s fetishization of “authentic” user identity. As I have previously bleated, “authentic” user anything is a weird and highly annoying concept; it assumes that “authenticity” isn’t just possible but is the ideal mode of being online. This article doesn’t address the saliency of Zuck’s basic assumption (i.e. that “authenticity” is a real thing even in real life), but does suggest that Facebook’s push for “true” identity, which simultaneously solicits and exploits personal information, is naive at best and culturally myopic at worst.

Because sure, as a citizen in a relatively stable, developed country, it might be shitty that Facebook mines all your data, but having your real name attached to the fact that you like snowboarding and just ordered season 1 of the Gilmore Girls is unlikely to put you in any immediate physical danger. Again, if you happen live in a place where those sorts of details don’t matter to anyone but advertisers. In other parts of the world, “authentic identity” –here synonymous with “traceable identity”– is a huge, the huge, liability. Where you are and who’s in charge matters, and matters in a big way, as systems that keep privileged people connected with all the friends they don’t like can also be harnessed for various stripes of repressive fuckery — harkening to Benchler’s claim that networks themselves are value-neutral. It’s the people we have to watch out for, because a really kool social tool for one person can be a mode of oppression for another. Picture definitely related.

(thanks for the protip nightguy)

Today’s Travels – It’s Like a Furry Ball, With Some Sticks That Come Out

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Oh but screw spiders! I cannot even tell you how excited I am about Facebook’s awesome new features. I think ruining Facebook is a great idea! Thanks Zuck!

It's beautiful.

Here, enjoy this tearjerker.

Today’s Travels – Hot New Internet Trend

July 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

No, not planking.

Elves or whatever these are! Screaming at each other. Because these are dark times, Harry.

Also here’s a whole new take on r-34: the CHRIST clause.

This is really good you guys.

Speaking of whole new worlds, MINE ARE COLLAPSING.

Also, I’m still working on my super secret outside project. And am waiting for the next batch of stupid books to arrive, hence the apparent slowdown in output. Don’t you worry though, mama’s staying just as busy as ever. But there are certain things one mustn’t share publicly.

“…and superpoke them”

July 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh dear god, this constant reading riting and rithmitic (ok, mostly posting questionable content onto Google+ augmented by bursts of studying and/or dissertation planning) is really making my heads hurt. Today I read a book called The Words That Took Us There: Ethnography in a Virtual Reality which I’ll be summarizing in another post along with several other somewhat annoying digital ethnographies that somehow ended up in my Folklore list. I also read a thing on cemetery statues (“Vengeful Virgins, Naked Mourners and Dead White Guys”) which was actually pretty interesting, though not at all relevant to my project or anything having anything to do with my exams. In it, Jeannie Thomas examines the gender discrepancies in cemetery statuary of yore and argues that representations of cemetery figures are reflective of changing cultural attitudes towards death and embody existing attitudes towards gender as well as –and this was particularly intriguing– the concept of individuality. Por ejamplo female cemetery statues are usually pretty sexy and typically represent stock symbolic figures while male cemetery statues almost always depict the individual dead guy and almost never flash any junk, due in part to the heterosexual male gaze (cemetery statues are created in honor of specific men for the enjoyment/reflection of other men) but also because in post-industrial America the size of a guy’s dick actually has more to do with the size of his bank account, which is flashed by the existence of the statue itself and not so much by his literal shriveled penis.

Anyway I simply cannot bring myself to write much more about today’s research.

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