Media Literacy


10 Years Later, Google Stops Scanning Your Email, But Not For the Reasons You’d Think

EUGENE – Google’s pseudonymous parent company Alphabet Inc. announced late last week that it would discontinue the use of controversial in-email advertisements. For over a decade, the company scanned the content of users’ emails for keywords and then displayed relevant ads right in Gmail. Despite ongoing protest from consumer and digital rights activists, as well […]

Facebook Town Hall Feature Trades Privacy for Efficacy

// In the wake of the 2016 election, Facebook unveils Town Hall. The new feature will ‘strengthen the online community’ by connecting users to the elected officials that represent them. If keeping users on-site to create marketable data is in Facebook’s best interest, can Town Hall really deliver? Will the ad platform use Town Hall data for targeting? Who […]

First They Came for Our Zunes

// If private employees must agree to remote access of work issued devices like cellphones, laptops and tablets, shouldn’t the same security measures be in place for our government employees? In this quick blog post I try to look at the DOJ/Apple decryption debacle from another angle.


Quick Update: In the News

Most of the time I find myself reporting and commenting on tech news. Once in a while, however, I’m part of that news:

For my work with Code for Philly – a Code for America Brigade, I was recognized both on the official CfP blog, and on (a tech blog with a focus on civic engagement […]

Square Pegs in Round Holes: Facebook Real Name Reporting Policy

// This is a follow up to a previous article on Facebook’s Real Name Policy, “Pseudonyms: Not Who You Share With, But Who You Share As”

Back in early October, I wrote a lengthy piece on pseudonymity online – the way we assume multiple identities based on context. Just like you may act and speak differently with close friends than you would at work, so too (generally) goes conduct online. This is accomplished through usernames, avatars, and other privacy tools. […]

Block it to me, Block it to me, RESPECT. (Part 2)

//  Part 1 of the Block It To Me series explored the consequences of using an ad block for users, content writers and advertisers. Part 2 will focus on the ways major ICTs like Apple, Facebook and Twitter are hedging their bets – and stirring up the digital marketing industry – all while returning to basics.

Rotten […]

Block it to me, Block it to me, RESPECT. (Part 1)

// In part one of this series, I’ll explore the pros and cons of ad blocking as stirred up by the latest iOS release. I’ll lay out the arguments for and against using an Ad Blocker on mobile and desktop to help you make a more informed decision. Remember, it is your right to use the […]

Social Security: Facebook Sweeps Latest Zero Day Under the Rug

// In this blog post, we’ll explore implications of the latest Facebook privacy vulnerability, the way media outlets covered the story, and the flippant response from Menlo Park.

In recent years, more and more users the world over are turning to mobile as their primary point of internet access. Well represented in that shift are both […]

Lurking, Creeping, Stalking: Facebook Turns to Web’s Oldest Signals for Relevance Algorithm Change

// In a June 12th post on their public relations blog, Facebook introduced a new change to their content relevancy algorithm. Software Engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas discuss including “how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed” when calculating what content to display in your News Feed. In this blogpost, I explore some of the use […]

#Mobilegeddon as a force for Media Literacy

On one hand: It’s great that Google is forcing the industry to adopt mobile friendly standards. Considering such a large portion of people with internet access ONLY do so through small screens, it’s a great way to provide access to content previously unavailable.

On the other hand: I would argue that it shouldn’t take Google making a major […]