CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Week 9 Readings Summary

Here are some notes to remind you of the Readings of the Week, on the topic of computer-mediated communication.

We will spend the first part of the class with a dedicated discussion of online hate speech and will reflect on some questions of relevance to current attention on Black Lives Matter.

Note that there is also breaking news on this right now: various companies threatening to pull ads from Facebook if they do not make a better effort to remove hate speech from their platform. (I don't expect you to have time to read a new paper but I have added one on this topic to the Week 9 list now). For some of you, what you completed for A4 may give you ideas for our discussion as well.

Other topics from this week's readings include cyberbullying, which many of you chose to focus on in A1, and a host of other valuable concerns due to our reliance on computerized forms of communication.

Online dating: finding it less intimidating to meet online - also easier to break up through a text (callous?) - spouses checking up on each other's online history (trust)

Facebook: being used by employers, parents, universities so your profile may be examined (or photos posted of you by others) and does this make you concerned? - secret mood manipulation experiment and what users gave up as part of their contract with the service; there was an uproar about ethical use - challenges with massive numbers of Facebook friends and lightweight relationships but some feel obliged to keep up - do you enjoy being able to learn the blow by blow recounting of the lives of others?

Blogs: the use of blogs by celebrities and politicians and whether this is becoming expected, creating pressure - do you pay any attention to blogs? - what do you think of the Twitter-obsessed US president?

Emails: employees being asked to delete email trails: is this acceptable? governments at times interested in seeing those trails - expected quick response from everyone ends up infeasible for some - reasonable to imagine better email etiquette?

Personal assistants ioT like Siri: concerns about privacy loss and records of conversations: are you concerned? - is this now invaluable communication?

The Shadow Scholar: written by someone who makes a living writing essays and theses for others, for a fee - feasible given the way that computer mediated communication operates - from the rich and lazy to the incompetent - any concerns? any suggestions for what to do?

Cyberbullying: a truly significant social concern (causing suicides) that has come into being because of the technology we created which supports this kind of activity - could we have designed the Internet any differently or is there something that we can do right now which will help? (a challenge for you to think of technological solutions to fight this problem) - efforts to put in laws in Nova Scotia were quelled (against Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada) - debates in parliament (support for groups that educate and assist) - cross-boundary perpetrators - prevalent experience for many teens: victims and onlookers and bullies can all be examined - can parents play a role? can teachers?

Hate speech online: directly involved in Christchurch attack (tool for terrorists? Internet-driven hate?) - manifestos and what to do about them - Reddit hate speech in wake of Charleston church shooting

Questions to consider: hate speech can be promoted online, reinforcing fringe groups with negative sentiment and yet actions to rise up against hate speech can also be supported online, in a major way - which use of online discussion is more powerful?

Announcements: - A5 and A6 are still on the go - special classes Jul 20 (video game discussion: view the associated TV program if you can (5th Estate Top Gun)) - guest speakers Jul 22 - course evaluations in class on Jul 27 along with A5B: TAs will send you an A5 to evaluate once A5s submitted (due START of class time) after your course evaluation is done -- A5B sheet will be up on Handouts page soon along with requests for A5 formatting from TAs - ** NOTE: for Week 10 we are all together on July 15 and the July 13 is cancelled: please try to attend synchronously for an important workshop on gender balance in computer science (see note in prof. Cohen folder); we will also try to expand the mandate briefly to discuss other underrepresented groups