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May 05 2010

09:41

#snprivacy: Journalists’ privacy plea to social networks

This post was written following months of mounting concern about the way new sharing and connection features are being implemented on the most popular social networks. If you agree with what we ask of social network developers, feel free to quote this blog, or tweet marking your messages #SNprivacy. Journalism.co.uk will be putting more questions about privacy policy to Facebook later this week. To have your say, please leave comments below, tweet @journalismnews, or email judith [at] journalism.co.uk.

Re: Privacy policy

Dear social networks,

You say you want to reflect real world relationships and connections. Well, in the real world there are connections and information that journalists don’t want made public, shared or given to third parties. Please help us protect our privacy, so vital to responsible journalistic work. It will help you avoid law suits and government inquiries, too.

We know that we need you to help us work more effectively as journalists, to share with others, and to make connections in ways impossible before your birth. But likewise social networks need users and their endorsement. Google’s head of public policy and government relations, Susan Pointer, recently said: “We live or die by the trust our users have in our services.”

Social networks also rely on bloggers and technology/media journalists to communicate new and changed tools accurately.

We realise there is some shoddy and inaccurate reporting around social networking, especially in some of the mainstream press, but there are also many writers who care about relaying information responsibly.

We believe changes to Facebook’s privacy settings are particularly worrying for journalists and bloggers, who have good reason for protecting their privacy and confidential sources.

As the US blogger and librarian Bobbi L. Newman reported, users now have to ‘opt out’ of auto-personalisation settings that allow their friends to share their content.

Furthermore, as developer Ka-Ping Yee exposed, privacy breaches were made in the original open API which allowed external access to Facebook users’ ‘event’ information. We are pleased to see Facebook has reacted to this and corrected the privacy error.

We believe Google Buzz was naive in setting up auto-connections between contacts in Gmail address books. The public availability of email addresses on Buzz, as reported by TechCrunch, was also of concern. We are pleased to see Google has amended these privacy errors.

Journalism.co.uk has recently revealed misleading information surrounding Address Book Importing (ABI), which we feel does not adequately explain how social networks are using – and keeping – users’ email address book information.

We argue that the default options should always be set so that the privacy of the user is respected. With friend friend finder tools, like Facebook’s, users should have to opt in to share email addresses and opt in to each one shared.

It’s an issue publicly highlighted by Google’s former chief privacy officer, Chris Kelly (currently running for office as attorney general in California):  he is calling on Facebook “to structure all its programs to allow Facebook users to give permission before their information is shared with third parties”.

We are worried by Twitter and Friendster’s lack of engagement with us on privacy and ABI issues.

Facebook, with which we did enter lengthy dialogue, has said it welcomes feedback. Nonetheless, we are concerned it continues to dismiss the issues thrown up by its friend suggestions and connection features, which are implemented with harvested email addresses.

In light of the privacy breaches and concerns outlined above, we ask six things of growing social networks.

1. Please conduct thorough user research before you implement new features

2. Please publicise new features before you launch them fully, allowing us time to change new or existing privacy settings as necessary

3. If you change privacy settings, please ask us to opt *in*, not opt *out*. Social networks should NEVER set the default option to share users’ information

4. Please provide clearer explanations about how data is shared and how connections are made

5. Please test your new features more thoroughly before launching

6. Please answer our emails or postings on your forums about privacy concerns and reports of privacy breaches – written as either users or journalists / bloggers

Note to bloggers: please feel free to reproduce this plea on your own blogs, with a link back to the original post.

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April 14 2010

08:00

March 30 2010

08:12

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – filtering your broadcasts to social networks

Social media: You can share tweets/links/articles shared by Twitter with Facebook and be selective about which updates you send through by using the selective tweets service and #fb hashtag. Tipster: Laura Oliver. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


March 17 2010

09:01

March 15 2010

09:15

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – analysing Facebook share buttons

Facebook: If you've got the option to share articles via Facebook on your website, look at this post on the Facebook developer wiki to find out how you can analyse who's sharing, liking and commenting on your articles. Tipster: Laura Oliver. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


March 05 2010

09:15

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – manage your site’s feed to social sites

Social media: If you want to distribute your website's stories via multiple social sites, Hootsuite provides a handy way to set-up and feed Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Tipster: Laura Oliver. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


February 25 2010

11:24

A social media documentary coming this spring

A new Canadian documentary film, due out this spring, uses social media to tell an alternative story about Vancouver’s Winter Olympics. It follows four individuals who “rallied” their community through social networking tools, to help empower the homeless and poor – who don’t necessarily fit into grand Olympic plans. The idea was to use mobile and online media to “provide a voice for those left behind”. (Hat-tip: Jon Slattery)

It draws on video blogging, photo-sharing and social networking to bring a “marginalised” community to the fore, “embracing leading-edge communication technologies, to empower, inspire, and break down the digital divide,” its producers say. The synopsis:

February 12, 2010.  Sixty thousand people have gathered in Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium to revel in the spectacle that is the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. It marks the beginning of a two week party that will focus a global spotlight on this city of half a million and, organizers hope, finally put to rest seven years of  surrounding controversy.   A few days earlier, a year long campaign which saw police issue hundred dollar jaywalking and spitting tickets to homeless people, had culminated in a successful sweep of the city’s impoverished Downtown Eastside to relocate undesirables to outlying communities.

When the story finally makes it to the mainstream news channels, it’s thanks to the diligence and combined power of a few concerned citizens, their video-streaming cellphones and the Internet.  With Glowing Hearts will give audiences the chance to see the world through the eyes of four such citizens,  as they rally their community around powerful new Social Media tools to show its true heart to the world. Based on the premise that the access to information is a human right, the film and accompanying website, will take audiences on a year long journey into the creation of an independent Olympic media center designed to guarantee that access  in a community whose voice is frequently ignored.

Here’s the site.

Here’s the trailer:

With Glowing Hearts from Andrew Lavigne on Vimeo.

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January 25 2010

10:05

Mathew Ingram: French journalists’ social media experiment is a ‘farce’

Mathew Ingram is sceptical about an experiment in which five French journalists intend to limit their sources to social media for a week.

Put simply, the French project is a farce and a sideshow. All it risks “proving” is that some journalists – and their masters (the experiment is being sponsored by the French public broadcasting association) – are as clueless as anyone else about Twitter or Facebook and how those services can benefit journalism.

Full post at this link…

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