Sorry/Not Sorry

Uber CEO Tweetstorms Empty Apology For His Executive Threatening Journalists

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For a company that is struggling with its “asshole” public image, Uber has had a baaaad 24 hours.

A recap: At a private event, Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael told Buzzfeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith that in order to deal with bad press, Uber could run opposition research secretly on contentious journalists, dox them, target their friends and family, and quietly expose the private details of their lives. Then, Mr. Michael said that Pando founder Sarah Lacy should be held responsible for sexual assault committed against women by cab drivers, all because she encouraged people to use Lyft for reasons of Uber’s (suddenly obvious) misogynistic corporate culture.

Just in the past hour or so, Mr. Kalanick took to Twitter to issue an apology, though it doesn’t look like Uber is going to be changing the way it does business. It’s nice to see that he’s taking personal accountability enough to issue the apology on his personal social accounts, but it doesn’t nearly approach the ideal move: giving those same journalists that his executive threatened more access to his typically opaque and shady company. Read More

Expert Thoughts

Social Media Buzz Can (Kind of) Predict Box Office Success

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Twitter has analyzed a whole mess of data about what people are saying there about movies to see what it says about what movies are going to be popular at the box office.

Among the interesting data points in the post are that, according to Twitter, people have somewhere around 200,000 movie-related conversations daily.

Now here’s where it gets interesting: According to the data the movies generating the most tweets in October were Annabelle, Gone Girl, Dracula Untold, The Judge and Fury. But here’s the top five movies from October: Read More

I Fought the Law

Here’s the Lawsuit Twitter Just Filed Against the FBI

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Tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook have a surveillance problem on their hands: they have created some of the most ubiquitous surveillance networks in human history, and now the U.S. government is taking advantage of those systems by making them hand over their records. Now, Twitter is trying to tell the world exactly what’s been happening.

In a blog post called “Taking the fight for #transparency to court,” Twitters VP of Legal announced that they’re filing a lawsuit against the FBI and the Department of Justice:

It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received.

Read More

Exit Through the GIF Shop

There Is a Silent, Feature Length Film Made Entirely of GIFs and It’s Transcendental

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The .GIF has taken over the Internet. Once the purview of Geocities sites and cheap Internet 1.0 shenanigans, they’ve made a Renaissance as a form of humor and communication in Tumblr posts, Buzzfeed listicles and ways to express our existential dread — they even have their own search engine.

This past Sunday, in a packed screening room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, filmmakers Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus showed the first feature length experimental gif documentary. The film, called twohundredfiftysixcolors, is a historical record of the gif-as-art-form from 1987 to 2013 as told by the medium’s strangest, most viral practitioners. The team behind twohundredfiftysixcolors spent years putting the film together, collecting the gifs by putting out open calls, contacting artists and building a database of over 3000 gifs organized by similar aesthetic themes. Read More

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

Parody Twitter Account Perfects the Fine Art of Kardashian Memes

Truth. (Twitter)

Remember back in 2012, when everyone was wild about that #whatshouldwecallme tumblr? You know the one I’m talking about — the posts would say something like “WHEN MY BEST FRIEND AND I CHECK OUT THE SCENE AT THE BAR,” and underneath there’d be a GIF of a sassy cartoon peacock saying “Haters to the left.”

It was funny and all, but you know what we always thought would make it better? If it were strictly comprised of Kardashian memes, obviously. Lo and behold, such a thing exists on Twitter in the form of the @KardashianReact account. Read More

When Cops Tweet

Police Tweeted Request for a Crime Free Night So They Could Enjoy MLB Playoff Game, It Worked

It was a good night for Kansas City. (Wikipedia)

Kansas City Royal fans have waited 29 years to watch their team make another post-season appearance, so when the opportunity presented itself last night, they were determined to see it.

To ensure that they’d be able to fully enjoy the game, the Kansas City Police took to Twitter to kindly ask that the people of their city drive safely and refrain from committing any crimes during the game. Read More

Government 2.0

Reddit Declares Itself a ‘Government’

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While government agencies try to intervene in the celebrity hacking crisis by chasing down the responsible black hat, most of the chaos surrounding the “Fappening” has already come and gone. The stolen photos hit the internet, entire communities popped up and moderators rushed in to control the mess as best they could.

In that moment of extralegal turmoil, responsibility fell on companies like Reddit, Twitter and 4chan, reminding us that the most important modern channels of communication are in the hands of a few private companies. Read More