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TEXTBOOK: Ch. 10: The Internet and Social Media

Terms in this set (102)

A Short History of the Internet:

There are conflicting versions about the origins of the Internet.

In the words of media historian Daniel J. Czitrom, they involve "the military and the counterculture, the need for command and control and the impulse against hierarchy and toward decentralization".

The more common story --the command-and-control version--is that the internet is a product of the ______________.

in this version, the air force in 1962, wanting to maintain the military's ability to transfer information around the country even if a given area was destroyed in an enemy attack, commissioned leading computer scientists to develop the means to do so.

But many researchers and scientists dispute this "myth that [has] gone unchallenged long enough to become widely accepted as fact," that the internet was initially "built to protect national security in the face of nuclear attack".

In the decentralization version, as early as 1956 psychologist Joseph C. R. Licklider, a devotee of Marshall McLuhan's thinking on the power of communication technology, foresaw linked computers creating a country of citizens "informed about, and interested in, and involved in, the process of government".

He foresaw "home computer consoles" and television sets connected in a nationwide network."

"The political process would essentially be a giant releconference," he wrote, "and a campaign would be a months-long series of communications among candidates, propagandists, commentators, political action groups, and voters.

The key," he added, "is the self-motivating exhilaration that accompanies truly effective interaction with information through a good console and a good network to a good computer."
Military Applications:

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched _____________, Earth's first human-constructed satellite.

The once-undisputed supremacy of the United States in science and technology had been usurped, and U.S. scientists and military officials were in shock.

The Advanced Search Projects Agency (ARPA) was immediately established to sponsor and coordinate sophisticated defense-related research.

In 1962, as part of a larger drive to promote the use of computers in national defense (and giving rise to one of the stories of the Internet's origins), ARPA commissioned Paul Baran of the Rand Corporation to produce a plan that would enable the U.S. military to maintain command over its missiles and planes if a nuclear attack knocked out conventional means of communication.

The military thought a decentralized communication network was necessary.

In that way, no matter where the bombing occurred, other locations would be available to launch a counterattack.

Among Baran's plans was one for a "packet switched network."

He wrote, "Packet switching is the breaking down of data into datagrams or packets that are labeled to indicate the origin and the destination of the information and the forwarding of these packets from one computer to another computer until the information arrives at its final destination computer. This (is) crucial to the realization of a computer network. If packers are lost at any given point, the message can be resent by the originator."

the genius of the system Baran envisioned is twofold:
(1) common communication rules (called _________________) and common computer languages would enable any type of computer, running with any operating system, to communicate with another; and
(2) destination or delivery instructions embedded in all information sent on the system would enable instantaneous "detours" or "rerouting" if a given computer on the network became unavailable.
These "old line" sites were joined in 2006 by Twitter, a social media site designed for "micro-blogging," posts of up to 140 characters (called "tweets") displayed on senders' profile pages and delivered to their subscribers ("followers").

In 2017, Twitter began testing a doubling of its character limit to 280.

Delivery can be restricted to a specific circle of followers, or, by default, it can be public.

There are 67 million active monthly users in the U.S. and they send 500 million tweets a day.

While much of the activity is innocuous, like following a celebrity (singer Katy Perry has 95 million followers), much of it is serious.

It was Twitter activity that alerted the national media to the shooting of Michael Brown and the protests that followed in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes said that Twitter "is a heat map and a window, a place where sometimes the things that are 'trending' offer very real insight into the current informational needs of a huge swath of news consumers, some of whom traditional outlets often miss".

It is also the medium of choice for many world leaders and other news makers.

For example, President Donald Trump regularly uses it to bypass what he called the "dishonest press" to communicate directly with the public, though the traditional media will often report on his tweets.

Trump explained, "I can go 'bing bing bing' and I just keep going and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out - this morning on television, Fox: "Donald Trump, we have breaking news"".
But once we've made the decision to use social media, we must decide "how" we present ourselves.

As you'll soon read, many people worry about their privacy when online, but in our everyday use of social media we willingly offer even the minutest details about our lives, taking pains to update those offerings, and even supporting those entries with visual evidence.

When we do this we make judgments about the self we choose to reveal.

We select our screen names and profile pictures to identify ourselves as we wish to be identified.

But do we openly try to deceive?

If you think most social media users do, you subscribe to the _________________________________, which argues that social media users tend to show idealized characteristics that do not reflect who they really are.

But this may not happen as much as you might think.

For most users, their time on social media constitutes "an extended social context in which to express [their] actual personality characteristics, thus fostering accurate interpersonal perceptions.

[Social media] integrate various sources of personal information that mirror those found in personal environments, private thoughts, facial images, and social behavior, all of which are known to contain valid information about personality".

As a result, social media use makes it very difficult to hide who we actually are, and as such it's more likely that the ______________________________, the idea that we use social media to communicate our actual identities, holds true.

The openness of social media makes it impossible for us to control information about ourselves and our reputations - others can post information about us - and our friends constantly provide accountability and feedback on our profiles and other material we post.

That is, those who know us keep us honest.
In other words, the Internet can give voice to those typically denied expression.

The Internet is fast, far-reaching, easy to use, and perfect for activism at all global levels from local to global.

This digitally inspired civic engagement is dramatically demonstrated by ________________ (sometimes called _________________), geographically dispersed groups connected only by communications technology, quickly drawn together to perform collective action.

The 8-million-member is the best-known site for the coordination of flash mobs and, as it has matured, online political action.

Using e-mail and social media, has a history of generating large-scale protests and civic action on issues of social justice and the environment.

For example, it successfully mobilized Californians to move their state assembly to pass a bill requiring public disclosure of political donations and Hawaiians to raise the state's minimum wage.

And since 2010, GoFundMe has used _______________________, the practice of using digital technology to solicit donations from a large number of people for a cause or project, to attract financial and other support for those in need because of calamities big and small.

Its 2016 funding pages for victims of flooding in Louisiana attracted $11.2 million, and the pages for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando collected $9 million.

When the islamic Center in Victoria, Texas, was destroyed in a fire under suspicious circumstances in January 2017, a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild it drew more than a million dollars from over 22 thousand donors in its first 5 days, easily exceeding the $850,000 goal.
Using Media to Make a Difference: Did Fake News Help Elect a President?:

Did you hear that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ran an underground child sex-slave network out of the basement of a pizzeria near the White House?

Did you read that President Barack Obama laundered money for Muslim terrorists and that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump for president in the 2016 election?

These stories, all obviously false, were shared millions of time on the Internet, especially on social networking sites.

But did these stories, many designed primarily to help one candidate win the presidency, have their intended effect?

In a political race marked by acrimony and distrust, not only between the candidates but between large portions of the American electorate, it is nearly impossible to single out any one reason Republican Trump defeated Democrat Clinton.

But given her nearly 3-million-vote plurality in the popular vote and his narrow wins in the 3 traditionally Democratic states that gave him the Electoral College history, many observers saw fake news, largely antti-Clinton, as a deciding factor in what was, until the final days, a very close race.

Fake news had many authors.

Some were pranksters who saw their jokes taken seriously.

Some were "entrepreneurs" at home and abroad attempting to draw clicks, and therefore ad dollars, with outrageous stories.

Some were satirists mocking the gullibility of those in government and the media who were too quick to accept any "news" that fit their preconceptions.

Some were "planted" by opposition political operatives, and some were agents of the Russian government determined to assist their favored candidate, as acknowledged by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Regardless of their motives for creating fake news, these writers quickly discovered that favorable Trump satires and those damaging to Clinton would be shared far more widely on Facebook and other social networking sites than would stories sympathetic to Clinton.

"It's all Trump. People go nuts for it," marveled Canadian satirical fake news writer John Eagan.

After the election, the American public learned that Facebook users were 2-and-a-half times more lily to read fake news than news from reputable journalism sites and that 23% of their fellow citizens shared fake political news, about half of whom knew at the time they passed it on that it was false.

They saw that during the last 3 months of the campaign the 20 top fake news storie on Facebook generated more shares, likes, and comments than the top 20 stories from actual news sites, and that the 23 best-performing fake news stories on Facebook in 2016 combined for 10.6 million engagements - shares, reactions, and comments - or about 460,000 each.

There was fake news; it was read and it was shared.

But did it make a difference?

It certainly did to the owners and customers of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle "self-investigated" the site of Clinton's supposed sex ring, firing 3 shots while inside.

Facebook, Twitter, and google believed it made a difference, as all 3 companies implemented a number of technological and human-based solutions to identify, fact-check, and limit the spread of fake news.

CNN and the BBC thought it did, establishing reporting units to chase down and debunk false news stories.

The American public believed it did, as 64% said it had "the power to sow confusion".

Ultimately, while it may be impossible to definitely determine if fake news helped elect a president, there is little doubt that fake news did make a difference n an alternative and more insidious way.

Philosophy professor Michal Lynch explains, "There are an alarming number of people who tend to be credulous and form beliefs based on the latest thing they've read, but that's not the wider problem.

The wider problem is fake news has the effect of getting people not to believe real things."

People, he said, think, "There's no way for me to know what is objectively true, so we'll stick to our guns and our own evidence. We'll ignore the facts because nobody knows what's really true anyway."

That is how fake news really made a difference; it damaged our democracy by weakening our ability to govern ourselves because we, as citizens, are left with little common, objective reality from which to engage in civic-and-civil-discourse.
Another confounding issue is that new and existing material is often combined with other existing material to create even "newer" content.

This makes it difficult to assign authorship.

If a user borrows some text from one source, combines it with images from a second, surrounds both with a background graphic from a third, and adds music sampled from many others, where does authorship reside?

To deal with these thorny issues, in 1998 the U.S. Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Its primary goal was to bring U.S. copyright law into compliance with that of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The act does the following:

-Makes it a crime to circumvent anti piracy measures built into commercial software

-Outlaws the manufacture, sale, or distribution of code-breaking devices used to illegally copy software

-Permits breaking of copyright protection devices to conduct encryption research and to test computer security systems

-Provides copyright exemptions for nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions under certain circumstances

-Limits the copyright infringement liability of Internet service providers for simply transmitting information over the Internet, but ISPs are required to remove material from users' websites that appears to constitute copyright infringement.

-Requires web casters (those who broadcast music over the Internet) to pay licensing fees to record companies

-States explicitly that _______________ - instances in which copyrighted material may be used without permission or payment, such as taking brief quotes from a book - applies to the Internet

What the debate over Internet copyright represents - like concern about controlling content that children can access and efforts to limit troublesome or challenging expression - is a clash of fundamental values that has taken on added nuance with the coming of computer networks.
Cultural Forum: Why Not Here?":

The security and use fo our online information, a topic that has roiled the public forum since the internet was in its infancy, was once again a topic of debate in late 2016, when Google, Amazon, and other American online businesses agreed to a "safe harbor" arrangement with the European Union that would allow the transfer of people's digital data, previously strictly limited, back and forth across the Atlantic only if those companies promised not to make that data available to U.S. Intelligence agencies, a protection not available to American Internet users.

European Internet users sued to stop the agreement because for many, "an individual's right to privacy [is] almost on par with freedom of expression" and they believed that there was too great a risk that those promises would not be kept.

Other online privacy differences exist, even though American companies are bound by Europe's rules when doing business there.

For example, not only do Americans not have the right to have their personal data erased and not only must they opt out of data tracking rather than opt in, but Google offers on-screen information to European users giving them details on the cookies a site is using and what information is being collected.

In addition, all European Union Internet and social media users have the right to demand that a site provide a detailed account of every bit of information it has collected on them, and that material must be supplied.

Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule also gives people the power to have search engines dente listings they consider outdate or irrelevant.

Whether you think that is a good idea or not (should a drunk driver who killed an innocent pedestrian have the right to demand the erasure of links to online news sources that reported that event?), these discrepancies raise an important question for Web privacy advocates: why do American-based Internet and social media companies offer their overseas users greater privacy protection than they do their U.S. customers?

"Europe's data protection rules have become the default privacy settings for the world." said Billy Hawkes, one-time Irish data protection regulator.

Hong Kong, for example, now requires opt-in.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and even China have adopted data-privacy rules much like those in Europe, some backed by serious financial penalties for violators.

But the situation in the United States remains as it has been since the Internet's inception; the government generally prefers to let the industry regulate itself on privacy matters.

Enter your voice.

Why should this be the case?

As you've read, a large number of Americans do not feel secure in much of their online activity.

Why can't we have the privacy controls that American Internet companies grant to others?

Is it our basic distrust of government intervention in mass communication issues?
-If so, why do 64% of Internet users want greater regulatory protection for their online data?

is it that we trust out social media companies to do the right thing?

Then how do you explain the fact that half of American social media users do not trust the sites they use to protect their personal data?

Is it our own ambivalence?

Are we the authors of our own online fate?

How else can you explain the fact that 1/3 of Americans say they are willing to exchange basic personal information with a website in exchange for "compelling content."
Developing Media Literacy Skills:

The Declaration of Internet Freedom:

Given its importance to virtually all aspects of human endeavor, many people believe that the internet should be treated as a basic human right.

This philosophy is contained in the Declaration of Internet Freedom, originally developed by a coalition of 1,500 of the world's leading technology and Internet freedom advocates.

Among the 2,000 organizational and 75,000 individual signatories in 150 different countries are the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, and the Mozilla Foundation.

Translated into 72 languages, the Declaration is posted at

It sets out 5 principles that all governments and corporations should follow to keep the Internet free:

1. "There must be no censorship of the Internet." (All expression is free and equal, and users must be free to access it as they wish. Today, scores of national governments continue to censor content because, they say, they wish to impose traditional social values, keep political stability, or maintain national security.)

2. "There must be universal access to fast and affordable networks." (The internet is the most democratizing of all media; to remain so, access-technological and economic-must be available to all, regardless of locale or financial situation. Despite its impressive reach, 3.7 billion of the Earth's people have no access to the internet.)

3. "There must be freedom to connect, communicate, create, and innovate over the Internet." (The internet renders us all creators as well as consumers, generators of innovations as well as their recipients. There should be no barriers to entry or dissemination. You'll recognize this as a call for net neutrality; today 74% of all nations have no such guarantee.)

4. "there must be protection for new technologies and innovators whose innovations are abused by others." (The internet is a benign technology, it is its use that brings value, good or bad. Advances and those who make them must be free from censure if others misuse their work.)

5. "There must be privacy rights and the ability for users to control how information about them is used." (We are all humans with dignity. The remarkable power of the internet does not change the inherent value of being free-absent surveillance-to be who and what we want to be. In 84% of the world's countries, laws that prevent mass online surveillance are "weak or nonexistent.")

As the Internet, World Wide Web, and social media increasingly become necessities and even life-sustaining utilities, media-literate users have an obligation to do more than know and support this declaration.

We must make our own declaration of intent to make the most of our online freedom.