A 2010 New Yorker profile of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could haunt him now amid Cambridge Analytica news. The profile, written by Jose Antonio Vargas, details a leaked exchange between the Facebook creator and a friend who wasn’t identified. Zuckerberg, who never disputed the tasteless conversation, later on said he “absolutely” regretted the chat.
The chat log was first leaked to the technology website Silicon Alley Insider and depicted instant messages from Zuckerberg in which he brags to an unnamed friend about having unfettered access to the data of "any" Harvard student. When the friend asks Zuckerberg how he gained such access, the social network creator cruelly mocked people’s supposed naivete.
"Yeah, so if you ever need [information] about anyone at Harvard, just ask," Zuckerberg said to the unidentified friend. He added, "I have 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, [and] SNS." The friend sounds surprised in response and asks, "What!? How'd you manage that one?" Zuckerberg replied, "People just submitted it. I don't know why. They 'trust me.'" He then said, "Dumb f***s."
Zuckerberg's insensitive commentary could cause him even more legal and social trouble as recent reports point to accusations of data harvesting and manipulation by Cambridge Analytica. For about a year, the United Kingdom-based data analytics consulting firm has gained notoriety as some allege that it played a psychological role in both Donald Trump’s victory in the United States and the United Kingdom’s Brexit campaign.
Now, both companies are under even more global fury after former Cambridge Analytica employee, Christopher Wylie, blew the whistle on the company and accused Facebook of allowing Cambridge Analytica to access, scrape, and harvest around 50 million users' personal data through personality quizzes. Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny misconduct.
In spite of denying wrongdoing, the leaked chat shows that Zuckerberg not only enjoyed complete and unquestionable access to the deeply personal data of unsuspecting users, he also ridiculed people’s trust in him.
In an astonishing development, Pennsylvania’s Republican state House speaker, Mike Turzai, is now saying his party will actively consider impeaching four state Supreme Court justices who struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander. On Tuesday, a dozen Republican state legislators filed legislation on Tuesday to carry out this undemocratic power grab, but rather than reject it out-of-hand, Turzai is allowing it to move forward.
Impeachment remains an unlikely outcome: Republicans hold the bare minimum two-thirds majority in the state Senate to remove the justices, so it would only take a single Republican senator to block an impeachment effort. But a simple majority in the House is all that’s needed to refer impeachment to the upper chamber, and democracy shouldn’t have to rely on whether a Republican legislator is willing to buck his own party.
And even if this effort doesn’t succed, it’s still an ominous sign that Republican leaders are even contemplating such an attack on the rule of law instead of immediately denouncing it. The justices did nothing but lawfully interpret the state constitution’s guarantee of “free and equal” elections in striking down one of the most extreme partisan gerrymanders in the modern era and replacing it with a much fairer map—an outcome that can only boost civic participation and strengthen democracy in the Keystone State.
Judges in a democracy should never be impeached for their jurisprudence. Doing so sends a chilling message that undermines the very principle of judicial independence. Even if Republicans don’t ultimately act on this disturbing threat, it only serves to normalize the concept of removing judges in the future who issue rulings that Republicans dislike—and it’s yet another escalation of widespread Republican attacks on state-level judicial independence over the past decade.""
We trust our friends far more than any institution – a vulnerability Cambridge Analytica exploited via Facebook. But we won’t be so trusting again
How on earth did Donald Trump win the presidency when he lost the popular vote by such historic margins?
To put this in perspective: John Kerry lost the popular vote in 2004 by almost the same number of votes as Donald Trump 12 years later.Continue reading... ""
West Virginia teachers may have headed back to school after a deal for a 5 percent pay raise, but their recent strike has inspired teachers from other states to fight for better pay, health and retirement benefits and improved working conditions. Noah Karvelis, an Arizona music teacher and organizer for the Facebook group Arizona Educators United, told the website Shadowproof that the West Virginia strike “woke up a sleeping giant” among teachers all over the United States.
Arizona teachers started #RedForEd, a campaign in which teachers, lobbying for a pay raise, wear red to protest outside the state capital in Phoenix. In just two weeks, AZ Central reports, Arizona Educators United has attracted more than 34,000 members. Teachers have not yet set a date for a strike, but they're planning a statewide day of action protest on March 28.
In Kentucky, five districts are closing Wednesday to attend a rally in Frankfort to protest Senate Bill 1, which would hurt teachers' retirement benefits, ending traditional pensions for future teachers and cutting the cost of living benefits for those currently retired. Governor Matt Bevin is already under fire for calling teachers who oppose the bill "ignorant" and "selfish."
Oklahoma teachers, however, may be closest to following West Virginia's footsteps; teachers in the state have told the state legislature that they have until April 1 to give teachers their first raise in 10 years, or they will strike.
Their livelihoods depend on it. As Mary Best, a classroom teacher for 33 years and now president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, told AlterNet, "Since 2008, Oklahoma has led the nation in cuts to education (23.6 percent). Student enrollment has steadily increased, but funding has decreased."
"Momentum for a teacher walkout has been growing since the failure of the Oklahoma legislature to pass a pay raise," Best continued. Like in West Virginia and Arizona, she believes "the social media moved the action. A Facebook group 'Oklahoma Teacher Walkout - The Time Is Now!' emerged and fueled the movement. The group grew to over 40,000 in the first weekend, and the group currently has over 69,000 members."
Alicia Priest, the president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said that before setting a strike deadline, teachers have tried multiple other tactics in the decade since their last raise (proposing bills through the state legislature as well as ballot initiatives), but none of them worked.
She emphasized that a strike for better teacher pay is as much about advocating for students, noting that if teachers are not fairly compensated, they often end up paying for supplies out of their salaries, taking on second jobs and sometimes leaving the profession altogether. Oklahoma, which ranks 49 out of 50 in teacher pay, is already losing qualified teachers to other, better-paying states. Priest noted, "We have 300 graduates from colleges of education ready to be teachers, and one district alone has 330 openings."
She continued, "We're already at a deficit because students aren't choosing teaching as a career because of working conditions. That makes me incredibly sad because I love teaching. It's an amazing profession."
A strike, Priest said, "emboldens our teachers and gives them hope, that when they step out of their classrooms, they do it to advocate for their students." She called the strike a "last-ditch effort to make a difference in funding for Oklahoma students."
As in West Virginia, public support for the teachers' strike has been high. "Parents and students have been supportive and view it as a lesson in organizing," said Best. "In Oklahoma City, many of the parents will be present at the capitol." Priest agrees, noting that "our communities know that underfunded schools are hurting them, and makes it so higher-paying jobs aren't coming into our state."
She's been heartened at the outpouring of support, recalling how, "in Tulsa, a group of parents organized parents and kids [are organizing] at every school in Tulsa, cheering teachers on as they walked out of the school building at the end of the contract day."
In return, and in response to concerns over childcare and lost school lunches, Priest says teachers—in addition to organizing their own protests—have been "organizing all over the state to have childcare services and making sure students aren't food insecure. It's all pretty exciting."
Best agrees that public support is critical, advising that other teachers considering a strike should, "Make sure you have statewide support from the community. Also, it is important to make sure that the majority of districts will participate. In Oklahoma, with 515 districts, this has been difficult. Fortunately, our largest districts are participating."
Both union leaders agree that West Virginia's strike, and the protests in Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky, is a good sign for labor unions, and teachers' unions especially, going forward. "I do think the tide is turning," Best said. "Teachers are tired of salaries that have not have kept pace with other professions."
Priest even thinks public support for teachers could impact the upcoming midterm elections: "We are going to be pushing from this time forward [that] there is a direct correlation between who is in office and what's going on in funding for public schools. If [a candidate] says they support public schools and then votes a different way, then we need to make a change at the ballot box."