Categories
Opinion Quinnipiac Social Media Social Media Class

Quinnipiac Assignment 09 – ICM 552 – Content Moderation and Ethics

Quinnipiac Assignment 09 – ICM 552 – Content Moderation and Ethics

Content Moderation Principles

Content Moderation isn’t as modern as you might think. Ratings systems are not new. Even before the internet, film reviewers like Siskel and Ebert would routinely award stars or thumbs up or down. Book reviewers would favor a work with placement in a well-known periodical, such as the New York Times Review of Books.

But there’s been a change. Reviews are now big business. Under social technographics theories, Critics encompass over 1/3 of all users online.

Quinnipiac Assignment 09 – ICM 552 – Content Moderation and Ethics
Critics (Social Technographics) – Image (http://image.slidesharecdn.com/vamsocialmediafinalcombined-100317211719-phpapp02/95/virginia-association-of-museums-vam-2010-conference-museums-building-communities-through-social-media-combined-presentation-11-728.jpg) by slidesharecdn.com and use of Social Technographics verbiage are claimed under fair use for educational purposes.

I believe that there are differing ethical considerations, depending upon the type of content under critique. There are fundamental differences between works of art and consumer goods and services.

Rating Consumer Goods and Services

For the rating of consumer goods and services, a lot of the measurements are quantitative ones. E. g. a size 10 shoe must be within certain length parameters. Those don’t change if the shoemaker is a large company or a tiny one-person cottage industry. The same is true if there is a promise for the manufacture of the shoe in a certain time frame. Either it’s delivered on time, or it’s not. The one-person operation and the huge multinational conglomerate both have the same seven-day week.

In some ways, it’s reminiscent of the contractarian ethical theory. This is whereby ethics are based on mutual agreement. So the shoemaker tells the consumer that the shoe fits a size 10. The consumer buys the shoe because they rely on the shoemaker providing a product within accepted length parameters. If the shoe is too long or too short, then the shoemaker is in breach.

Subjectivity

There are subjective qualitative measurements as well. Is the shoe stylish and comfortable? Is it in fashion? Some of those variables are under the control of the shoemaker. Others, like the whims of fashion, are not.

But the reviewing of consumer goods and services is generally in the objective and quantitative realm. If the shoe isn’t in fashion, or the consumer doesn’t like the color, they don’t buy it. Reviewing after the fact is usually of fit, durability, and other measurable considerations. That’s not quite the case with works of art.

Rating Works of Art

For rating works of art, there is virtually nothing that’s measurable or objective or quantitative. While a film critic might dislike, say, the Lord of the Rings< films because of their length, that’s generally not the only reason a professional critic will supply. Instead, the critic will mention if the plot held their interest. They’ll mention if the characters were true to the source material. And if the actors’ performances were credible. Plus if a parent can safely take their children with them to the picture. About the only one of these review elements that is quantitative is the latter. And even the question of suitability for children is a subjective one.

Bucking for Improvements in Content Moderation

Further, a bad review for a consumer good/service can (should) lead to improvements. The company should try to make amends. According to Beth Harpaz’s article, Debate over ethics of deleting negative reviews, companies should actively try to improve their customer service after a complaint.

“TripAdvisor spokesman Kevin Carter said businesses are instead encouraged to reply to reviewers publicly on the site. It’s not unusual to see a negative review followed by an apology from a business detailing what’s been done to make amends.”

But no such option truly exists for works of art. A reviewer might hate scenes of the burning of Atlanta. Yet they won’t get an official new version of Gone With the Wind. So that’s not unless the reviewer personally edits the work. Even then, the edited version would be seen as unofficial and unsanctioned (and likely a copyright violation). All that the reviewer can do is (a) dissuade people from voting with their wallets for certain works of art. And, possibly, (b) convince the artist to try better next time.

For works of art, it’s more of the Eudaimonism theory of ethics – the well-being of the individual has central value. So, does the work entertain? So does it enlighten, uplift, or inspire? Gone With The Wind can. The Venus de Milo can. Shoes, however, cannot.

Categories
Quinnipiac Site Development Social Media Social Media Class

Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 552 Dark Patterns in User-Oriented Design

Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 552 Dark Patterns in User-Oriented Design

Doostang versus Amtrak

For Social Media Ethics class, we were asked to compare dark patterns, which are designs which are put together in order to trick users into clicking on something (often to sign up for something they don’t want).

Doostang

Doostang is a rather unfortunately-named jobs site, claiming to have top financial and consulting jobs. Attempt to apply for a job through them, however, and you’re passed to a sign-up screen. Fair enough, a lot of jobs sites require an account. But this one’s just a little bit different.

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 552 Dark Patterns in User-Oriented Design
Doostang sign up page

Instead of defaulting to selecting the free sign-up, or not selecting any of the radio buttons at all, Doostang defaults to signing its potential customers up for a $9.95 “Premium” 2-day trial.

But wait, there’s more!

And it doesn’t make Doostang look so good. The Better Business Bureau has quite the file on Doostang, and rates them a D-. What’s the most common complaint? Billing and collection issues. A complaint dated January 21, 2014 says it best:

Complaint: I never agreed to automatic renewal or recurring payments. As can be seen in my usage history, I did not know I had a membership to this site, and never used it. At no time did I authorize recurring payments.

Desired Settlement: Please refund all monies taken after the initial payment. Please do not make me take additional action.

Business Response: Doostang is very clear in stating that all memberships are automatically renewed unless canceled. Members may cancel their subscriptions at anytime.

This is one of Dark Patterns’s classic forced continuity complaints, and it’s also a roach motel, in that it’s deceptively simple to sign up for a Premium service on Doostang, but it’s a real bear to get out of one.

Amtrak

Amtrak, like many other common carrier transportation companies, offers the user the option to purchase travel insurance. However, the option is just that, an option.

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 552 Dark Patterns in User-Oriented Design
Amtrak travel insurance purchase page

While the questions about buying travel insurance are set off in a different-colored box, and you must pass through this screen and make a decision before you can pay for your ticket, Amtrak doesn’t choose either travel insurance option for you. Instead, you are required to decide, one way or the other. There’s no question that Amtrak is trying to make the buying of travel insurance seem like a smart thing to do. But the consumer isn’t beaten over the head with numerous dubious reasons to make the purchase, and the screen is easy to understand.

Turning Doostang Away from the Dark Side

Doostang has two jobs to do, possibly three.

  1. Eliminate the preselection of anything on the sign-up page, or default to the free option. Clearly explain why a job seeker would want a Premium option. End forced continuity.
  2. Make it easy to cancel an accidentally added Premium service by adding online cancellation options and lengthening the time a consumer has before a full refund is no longer permitted. Close the roach motel.
  3. (Optional) Add more free services. Currently, Doostang only allows for applying to one job under the free service. This is the job connected to the referring URL. What if the free service was expanded, say, to that entire session, or for three job applications? A consumer just surfing in from a referral URL would never pay and, perhaps, would be served more advertisements. But someone clicking around, applying to a few jobs or opening up a long session would be using more valuable materials. Complaints of not knowing they were signing up for a paid service would have a lot less credence.

Come to the light, Doostang! It’s not too late!

Categories
Facebook

Ditto Labs and Photo Recognition

Ditto Labs and Photo Recognition

What is Ditto Labs, and what do they do?

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, there is a start up company that is doing something pretty revolutionary when it comes to social media (and more traditional) marketing. What is it? It’s the ability to scour the enormous fire hose full of data out there, the thousands if not millions of images that are shared on a daily basis, and it looks.

What is Ditto Labs hunting for?

Brand logos! In May of 2014, Ditto Labs raised over $2 million for its photo analytics software.

Ditto Labs and Photo Recognition
Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being used as a secondary logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Essentially, the software allows a typical company (say, Starbucks coffee) to view its brand imagery in the ton of daily uploaded photographs. Is a government official drinking from a hot cup with the logo? Did the paparazzi get a picture of a royal ducking into a Starbucks? Is someone wearing a tee shirt? Did someone take pictures of a 5K race sponsored by the company, and catch the logo in the background of the image? All of these are fair game for Ditto Labs.

What is Tumblr’s Connection?

In August of 2014, Ditto Labs announced that they were partnering with Tumblr to capture all of the logos on the many, many images shared, manipulated, commented upon, voted for, and re-shared on that blogging service. There are an estimated 120 million posts created on Tumblr on a daily basis, and most of them have at least one image. Many of them sport several.

The search for brand logo recognition makes some sense, as brand logos mainly change in size but not in color or aspect ratio (although that is possible, of course). That is, a Starbucks logo is going to look like a Starbucks logo.

Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, 1962. Dis...
Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, 1962. Displayed in Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Starbucks changes their logo (and they have in the past), they will simply hunt for all possible iterations of it. And if an artist on, say, Deviant Art, looks to make art with the logo (a la When will this work for people?

Not so fast! For humans, the differences are a bit too tricky. Even assuming more or less steady weight and hair styles throughout a person’s life, there are still going to be changes that reflect the aging process. Facebook can still be fooled when it comes to suggesting tags. It will be harder to make something like this work for human facial recognition.

But I bet that’s coming.

Categories
Opinion Quinnipiac Social Media Social Media Class

Quinnipiac Assignment 07 – ICM 552 – Wal-Mart and the PR Disaster on Wheels

Quinnipiac Assignment 07 – ICM 552 – Wal-Mart and the PR Disaster on Wheels

In 2006, Wal-Mart got into major trouble when the company published a fake blog without divulging its origins or backing. Wal-Mart’s PR company, Edelman, apparently was behind the creation of an entity called Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFWM). In turn, WFWM put together the promo.