New OSCE RFoM resource on safety of female journalists online

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I am super-thrilled about this new publication launched by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in early February.

The compilation of essays and interview-based articles, New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists (available as a free download here) collects stories and best practices from women doing journalism and media work around the world, framing them through the prism of  the recommendations issued by the OSCE RFoM Dunja Mijatović earlier in September 2015.

“The contributions in this publication written by Criado-Perez’ and other free speech advocates show the severity and the magnitude of the abuse female journalists are subjected to,” said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović. “Online abuse of female journalists has become a clear and present threat to journalism, free media and freedom of expression.”

The resource brings together research and case studies of the damaging effects on journalism and free speech, outlines the legal and human rights issues, and identifies key factors in the effective prevention of and response to online abuse of female journalists, as well as addressing the broader context of misogyny and violence against women and considering their root causes.

Contributors to the publication are: Zorana Antonijević, Caroline Criado-Perez, Aina Landsverk Hagen, Alison Bethel McKenzie, Elisa Lees Munoz, Snježana Milivojević, Courtney C. Radsch, Sejal Parmar, Elana Newman, Susan Drevo, Bradley Brummel, Gavin Rees, Bruce Shapiro and Becky Gardiner.

As someone who contributed to this collection through sharing my own experiences of working as a female journalist, I am convinced this resource will be an important tool and source of knowledge for other women in the field, as well as the media, policy-makers and human rights advocates.

Download the publication here.

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New article! News Bots: Automating news and information dissemination on Twitter

Our new article with Nicholas Diakopoulos, News Bots: Automating news and information dissemination on Twitter,” is now out and available online in Digital Journalism. Here’s the abstract:

So-called “robot” journalism represents a shift towards the automation of journalistic tasks related to news reporting, writing, curation, and even data analysis. In this paper, we consider the extension of robot journalism to the domain of social platforms and study the use of “news bots”—automated accounts that participate in news and information dissemination on social networks. Such bots present an intriguing development opportunity for news organizations and journalists. In particular, we analyze a sample of existing news bot accounts on Twitter to understand how news bots are currently being used and to examine how using automation and algorithms may change the modern media environment. Based on our analysis, we propose a typology of news bots in the form of a design and editorial decision space that can guide designers in defining the intent, utility, and functionality of future bots. The proposed design space highlights the limits of news bots (e.g., automated commentary and opinion, algorithmic transparency and accountability) and areas where news bots may enable innovation, such as niche and local news.

IGF-USA 2015 panel: Truth and Trolls

Photo by William M Cunningham on Twitter.

Photo by William M Cunningham on Twitter.

“Truth and Trolls” was an awesome panel discussion, organized by Cloudflare at the Internet Governance Forum USA 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 16, 2015. The panel looked at ways of dealing with toxic speech while protecting free speech online.

We talked about the current state of online discussions, the difficulty of controlling those who “troll” and tried to find answers to questions like, “Are there better ways to preserve freedom of speech and civility online? Are there ways to use the Internet to fact-check posts and to ostracize or shame trolls? How could hate speech laws end up limiting free speech online?”

Other members of the panel included:

Greg Barber – Director of Digital News Project, The Washington Post
Jennifer Hanley – Director of Legal and Policy, Family Online Safety Institute
Courtney Radsch – Director of Committee to Protect Journalists
Lara A. Ballard – Special Advisor for privacy and technology in the Office of Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB/CIP), Department of State
Moderated by: Heather West – Public Policy, Cloudflare

Here’s a Storify summary of the panel discussion.

The Kremlin Troll Army and Ukraine’s Response to Russian Information War

Here are two recent TV appearances where I discuss the inner workings of the Kremlin’s so-called “troll army“—an organized effort to manipulate the online discourse and news agenda—as well as the odds of similar Ukrainian efforts to counteract Russia in the information war.

I joined Floriana Fossato and Ilya Klishin to talk Kremlin trolls and information manipulation with Al Jazeera English Listening Post. Here’s the full segment (not available inside the US).

I also spoke to VOA Ukrainian service during the ChasTime news show about the latest investigations of the troll headquarters and their work, as well as what Ukraine has been doing in response to the Russian efforts (video in Ukrainian).

News Bots, Anyone?

Can automated bots be successfully used in news making and journalism work? Nicholas Diakopoulos wrote a great piece for EJO about our research on “news bots” and their implications for journalists, designers, and editors.

There are obvious economic benefits to robot journalism, but aside from writing a pile of straight news articles in finance or sports could they one day serve higher-order public interest journalism? For instance, could such robot journalists bring or enhance a critical mass of attention and public pressure to important civic issues? How are such technologies going to change the public media sphere that we inhabit?

Read the whole article at EJO: Can Robots Do Public Interest Journalism?

New Case Studies on Ukraine for Civic Media Project

The Civic Media Project from MIT Press is finally live. This is a great collection of over 100 case studies from all over the world, covering everything from open data to emerging technologies, community activism with social media and more. It is bound to be a great learning tool for students and a solid source of contextual information for scholars.

The long list of wonderful contributions includes two of my case studies, “Mapping the 2012 Election: Use of Crowdmapping in Ukraine” (Systems & Design section) and “Galas: Mobilizing & Managing Volunteer Humanitarian Efforts Online During Euromaidan Protests In Ukraine” (Community & Action section). I am very excited to be a part of such a wonderful community of civic media scholars and to join the conversation on the website. Go and read the case studies and the insightful comments and reviews available at civicmediaproject.org.

Bringing You The Latest from The Russian Internet

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On August 1 I joined RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project, as a Coeditor and will now be helping the esteemed Kevin Rothrock to interpret the Russian-speaking internet for our English-language readers. I am thrilled to work with Kevin and the rest of the Global Voices team, and hope to bring you the latest about Russian internet laws, politics, protests, memes and social network gossip from the Russian-speaking part of the net. Here are some of my recent contributions:

RuNet Echo is also covering the developments in Eastern Ukraine, and we have an excellent series of interviews with Ukrainian bloggers, citizen journalists and active social media users, Eastern Ukraine Unfiltered, courtesy of Daniel Kennedy.  Read all of these and follow other stories about the amazing world of Russian internet. Dig in!

Bits and Pieces: Recent Media Appearances

Two Recent Stories on Ukraine: YanukovychLeaks and Fact-Checking Crimea

Linking to two recent stories I did for Global Voices on the developments in Ukraine:

Ukrainian Journalists Take Regime’s Corruption Public With YanukovychLeaks: Journalists deep dive for drowned documents left behind by ousted President Yanukovych at his lavish estate, and create a public online database of regime corruption.

Ukraine’s Activists Debunk Russian Myths on Crimea: As tensions escalate with Ukraine accusing Russia of invading its autonomous southern region Crimea, Ukrainian activists are busy debunking false news in Russian media by sifting fact from propaganda online.

Follow more Global Voices coverage of Ukraine, Russia and Euromaidan protests.

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Ukraine Protests and Violence: Links To Latest Updates

"Fighters, don't shoot your own people!" -- sign in office building in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 20, 2014. Courtesy of @ngumenyuk on Twitter

“Fighters, don’t shoot your own people!” — sign in office building in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 20, 2014. Courtesy of @ngumenyuk on Twitter

As the situation in Ukraine gets more and more ugly and inhumane, with dozens of people dead and hundreds wounded by the regime, I find it hard to write any of my own thoughts here. There are simply no right words to describe what I feel as a Ukrainian and as a human. So here are a few links to useful summaries, lifestreams and news sources.

For up-to-the-minute news, follow me on Twitter as I retweet and translate into English the main events and highlights (not exhaustive, but the most I can do): @tanyalokot

Round-up of lifestreams from Kyiv and Twitter lists of English tweeters about Ukraine that I and my colleagues from Global Voices compiled: Follow the Escalation of Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Live

More social media sources and liveblogs from @Brown_Moses.

A subReddit for the content and news from the protests: /r/UkrainianConflict

KyivPost (local English-language news outlet) liveblog of the events.

I will try to to update with more sources as the situation develops.

I am currently in the US. Going to work today seems much less real and important than following and tweeting about events in Ukraine. Death & suffering are not virtual, and pain is felt across thousands of miles. The injustices and crimes against humanity are not acceptable and must stop.