the places we grew our careers and social circles on have all been damaged beyond repair by men who, despite having billions of dollars, look like they have the suds and the emotional intelligence of a paper straw 5 minutes after it has entered my iced latte. they're surrounded by yes-men with less-money who are about half as smart as the character i played in my early satire days. i truly hope they all find the immortality they seek, and also that they then get trapped in quicksand, respectfully.
Confessions of a Scambaiter, Part I (Global Anti-scam Org)
Scambaiting is the action of conversing with a scammer for a prolonged period of time so as to distract him/her from further scamming.
I will admit that scambaiting began as a form of vengeance. A few weeks fresh from my scam discovery D-Day, the urge to seek some form of justice still raged through my veins. I began with language apps, then stemmed into Facebook and dating apps. In the beginning, the goal was only to waste the scammer’s time. After a while, it became a form of dark therapy, allowing me to relish over and over that I had “played” the “player” -- I was in on the charade before the scammer could even begin his charade. There was no sympathy for scammers, just a burning desire to know why they would scam sincere and kind people. I had heard that some scammers were human trafficked into their job, but I couldn’t believe it. It was to me another ploy from the scammer playbook -- engender sympathy from victims to maximize profits.
My perspective has shifted since then to a better understanding of the industry, one in which things are not totally black and white. I’ve also gained a better perspective of what can be lied about and what can’t. The following tales highlight some of the most memorable moments since I started scambaiting last August. I hope to put a face behind the people involved in scamming and shed light on human trafficking.
Luckily for Daddy, his workplace is kind. All employees receive a minimum wage base pay, plus a 16% bonus for successful scams. They live in a relatively clean dormitory, and no one is beaten or hurt. Workers may go out freely on certain days, being tourists at the Burj Khalifa, shopping for groceries, or visiting fresh fruit farms. The employees, most of whom have likely never before left their home country, overall appear to be enjoying their scam life. This can be juxtaposed next to the weekly influx of victims we receive in our victims group, many of whom are in tears or suicidal. Many of whom lost their life savings.
Recently, Daddy showed off his $21k bonus from scamming an individual out of nearly $138k. He was so excited he could barely sleep for days.
Max Read: What's the deal with all those weird wrong-number texts?
These texts are usually the lead-in to romance scams that usually end with fake crypto deposits, written so as to imply wealth and success on the part of the scammer, who is often an abused and captive worker operating multiple phones and attempting to con several people from a compound operated by shady gambling rings somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Now what? It seems likely we can expect this species of pig-butchering scam to eventually fade into the background, thanks to victims getting wise and authorities cracking down. An interview with the subject of the GASO rescue mission suggests that the scam rings’ operations in Europe and North America, at least, are not as profitable as they’d hoped…
This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes offline ☼
Low-tech Magazine refuses to assume that every problem has a high-tech solution. A simple, sensible, but nevertheless controversial message; high-tech has become the idol of our society.
Kait Sanchez: How Bunny the dog is pushing scientists’ buttons (The Verge)
When Bunny presses “Settle, Sound, Ouch,” she might be using a novel string of known words to tell someone to quiet down, or she might be pressing a random series of buttons while confirmation bias on our part does the rest of the work. Even Devine says that she thinks Bunny’s “speech” is primarily operant conditioning, where Bunny has made an association between pressing a button and something happening. A true understanding of language goes beyond simple associations, and involves pulling unique combinations of words together into narratives.
Maura Judkis: Can these dogs really talk, or are they just pushing our buttons? (Washington Post)
Pet owners and cognitive scientists are exploring if we can teach dogs to speak with buttons, called AAC devices.
“I do have to say, ‘Okay, how much am I reading into this?’ How much of this is anthropomorphized and how much is like, I’ve already interpreted these buttons in this way, so I’m going to continue to interpret and it becomes its own sort of dialect?” she says. “I try and remain open to all of the possibilities.”
Kate Wagner: Don’t Let People Enjoy Things (The Baffler)
An issue common to all of our LPET posters is that they think criticism means forbidding people from enjoying media in general. First of all, people are just as allowed to *dislike* things as they are permitted to enjoy them—you can’t trick them into changing their minds with your authoritarian meme posting. Second, I introduce this radical idea: you can still enjoy things while being critical of them—it can even lead to a greater appreciation of societal and historical context, and it can make you usefully wary of the role the shit forces of the world play in the media we consume. It can also help us maintain our political and social integrity while watching or reading or listening to whatever is offered to us. For example, my peacenik, anticapitalist proclivities may make me critical of many mainstream blockbusters, but they also afford me a greater appreciation of movies like ‘Office Space’ and Dolly Parton’s classic ‘9 to 5.’ Finally, though our LPET posters think otherwise, it is indeed possible to *like some things about a piece of media and dislike things about that same piece of media all at once*.
Built by Nicole He and Eran Hilleli.
Invisible Roommates is an augmented reality (AR) application that would make visible how the devices in your home interact with one another. The application would make use of existing technology to portray the different devices connected to your network as little living characters, playfully illustrating how these pieces of technology communicate while making it easier for you to understand what is happening in your home.
Fraidycat is a desktop app or browser extension for Firefox or Chrome. I use it to follow people (hundreds) on whatever platform they choose - Twitter, a blog, YouTube, even on a public TiddlyWiki.
There is no news feed. Rather than showing you a massive inbox of new posts to sort through, you see a list of recently active individuals. No one can noisily take over this page, since every follow has a summary that takes up a mere two lines.
You can certainly expand this 'line' to see a list of recent titles (or excerpts) from the individual - or click the name of the follow to read the individual on their network.
A Real-Time Website Privacy Inspector
Who is peeking over your shoulder while you work, watch videos, learn, explore, and shop on the internet? Enter the address of any website, and Blacklight will scan it and reveal the specific user-tracking technologies on the site—and who’s getting your data. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Melissa Blake: A Message to TikTok Parents Who Use My Face to Make Their Kids Cry (Refinery29)
The cruel New Teacher Challenge is a viral prank making its way through TikTok that uses disabled faces like mine as the punchline.
So far, TikTok hasn’t done much to combat this online hate. When people report accounts that have been using my photos in this challenge, they’ve received statements that TikTok has found no violation of the platform’s rules. It’s not just there. When I’ve reported Twitter accounts for posting photos of a blobfish to bully me, more often than not, Twitter says it doesn’t violate any rules either.
I want to be clear: I am violated. Every single time. Each photo, taunt, and cruel word is a clear violation of my dignity and my worth as a human being. And every time these platforms fail to take action, they’re sending the message that this bullying is okay. So many disabled people have become inured to our appearance being mocked. That’s not something we should ever have to get used to.
Ben Smith: How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right (NYT)
Many tech journalists, entranced by the internet-fueled movements sweeping the globe, were slow to spot the ways they might fail, or how social media could be used against them. Dr. Tufekci, though, had “seen movement after movement falter because of a lack of organizational depth and experience, of tools or culture for collective decision making, and strategic, long-term action,” she wrote in her 2017 book, “Twitter and Tear Gas.”
That is, the same social-media savvy that hastened their rise sometimes left them “unable to engage in the tactical and decision-making maneuvers all movements must master to survive,” she wrote.
That’s a lesson many social movements have learned since those days, and this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests locked in some immediate political gains.
An area where she might be ahead of the pack is the effects of social media on society. It’s a debate she views as worryingly binary, detached from plausible solutions, with journalists homing in on the personal morality of tech heads like Mark Zuckerberg as they assume the role of mall cops for the platforms they cover.
“The real question is not whether Zuck is doing what I like or not,” she said. “The real question is why he’s getting to decide what hate speech is.”
She also suggested that we may get it wrong when we focus on individuals — on chief executives, on social media activists like her. The probable answer to a media environment that amplifies false reports and hate speech, she believes, is the return of functional governments, along with the birth of a new framework, however imperfect, that will hold the digital platforms responsible for what they host.
Taylor Lorenz: ‘Challenge Accepted’: Why Women Are Posting Black-and-White Selfies (NYT)
A representative from Instagram said that the earliest post the company could surface for this current cycle of the challenge was posted a week and a half ago by the Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrão. Others have noted that women in Turkey began sharing black-and-white photos recently to raise awareness about femicide.
Though the portraits have spread widely, the posts themselves say very little. Like the black square, which became a symbol of solidarity with Black people but asked very little of those who shared it, the black-and-white selfie allows users to feel as if they’re taking a stand while saying almost nothing. Influencers and celebrities love these types of “challenges” because they don’t require actual advocacy, which might alienate certain factions of their fan base.
Let's face it. We are all stuck indoors.
And it's going to be a while till we travel again.
Window Swap is here to fill that deep void in our wanderlust hearts by allowing us to look through someone else's window, somewhere in the world, for a while.
A place on the internet where all we travel hungry fools share our 'window views' to help each other feel a little bit better till we can (responsibly) explore our beautiful planet again.
Thread by @RottenInDenmark on ‘cancel culture’ (Twitter)
I think this is why the "cancel culture" moral panic gets under my skin so much. *So* many of Americans' false unof people and events come from the fact that the media was traditionally run by a tiny number of gatekeepers.
It sometimes seems that automated bots are taking over social media and driving human discourse. But some (real) researchers aren’t so sure.
Defining the bot is a tricky problem; technically, it could be any automated account, like a news aggregator, or amplification software, like Hootsuite. Mr. Kazemi found many bots tweeting about Covid-19, including neighborhood health clinics using marketing software to post daily pandemic P.S.A.s about washing your hands.
He also found that humans were often mistaken for bots. Consider the “grandpa effect,” as he called it: people who were mistaken for bots because they used social media in “uncool or gauche” ways, he said. Users fond of hitting the share button on news articles also resulted in false positives. This led Mr. Kazemi to wonder whether Botometer should be renamed “Normiemeter.” He tweeted: “Can you imagine the headlines? ‘50% of accounts tweeting about Covid are normies.’”
Cat Zhang: TikTok Report: BENEE’s “Supalonely” and the Inexplicable Power of Vibeyness (Pitchfork)
In our new recurring series, we look at the good, the bad, and the straight-up bizarre songs spreading across TikTok via dances and memes.
TikTok’s trend-setting prowess has given famous people an even greater incentive to dip their toes into the mortal world. A little song and dance comes with the possibility of a handsome reward, at least for the musicians: hits that soundtrack TikTok memes clobber their way to the top of Spotify’s Viral 50 with the rapaciousness of King Kong scaling the Empire State Building. It usually works like this: some impossibly cool teenager with above-average rhythm choreographs a dance; said dance must be rudimentary enough for anyone to learn—give or take a few hours and several YouTube tutorials—but dynamic enough for you to look impressive if you put in the work. Like a fast-casual burrito, TikTok dances are customized from the same basic ingredients, but adding something new and spicy to the mix can work wonders. Particularly fresh choreo—or at least moves backed by the right influencer—can single-handedly rocket a song to the top of the viral charts.
We're a playlist platform that directly supports independent music, built on our streaming integrations and powerful curation tools. The closest analogy for what we are would be Patreon for music or Substack for playlists.
We enable artists to create a space to elevate the music and artists that they enjoy for their fans and accept tips from supporters. You can think of it as a newsletter of music, featuring thoughts alongside selections for fans to listen to.
We enable fans to have a closer connection to their favorite artists via curated playlists, personal thoughts, and early previews of their work.
Use these instructions to get up and running with helping your community!
Kick off your city's relief efforts as we all learn to cope with COVID-19 with this starter powered by Gatsby, Airtable, and community efforts.
This project is aims to make it as easy as possible to launch and manage an index of resources in your city during the COVID-19 pandemic.