What does the Facebook experiment teach us?

I’m intrigued by the reaction that has unfolded around the Facebook “emotion contagion” study. (If you aren’t familiar with this, read this primer.) As others have pointed out, the practice of A/B testing content is quite common. And Facebook has a long history of experimenting on how it can influence people’s attitudes and practices, even […]

Microsoft Research opens New York City lab

I am giddy with pleasure to share Jennifer Chayes’ announcement that Microsoft Research is opening a new lab in New York City that will be filled with computational social science types. The New England lab that I call home combines qualitative social science, empirical economics, machine learning, and mathematics. We’ve long noted the need for […]

Best Of Apophenia

I have been writing on this blog since I was 18 years old, over half of my life. During that period, lots of other venues for writing have emerged and I have written on them as well. You can find writing of mine at Medium, on LinkedIn, and in short form on Twitter. I have […]

Degradation, Legitimacy Threats, and Isolation

New research on census, youth, mental health; a recent talk and an upcoming one tl;dr:  1. New paper with Janet Vertesi: “The Resource Bind: System Failure and Legitimacy Threats in Sociotechnical Organizations” 2. “Techno-legal Solutionism: Regulating Children’s Online Safety in the United States” (my paper with María Angel) was officially published as part of the ACM CS+Law symposium.  […]

KOSA isn’t designed to help kids.

Congress is using kids to hold Big Tech accountable. Kids will get hurt in the process. In a few minutes, the Senate Judiciary will start a hearing focused on “Big Tech and the Online Child Exploitation Crisis.” Like most such hearings, this will almost certainly go off the rails in a wide variety of directions that I […]

Brain Candy, STS Opportunities, and Girl Scouts

I know I’ve been doing a crap job of sharing updates or juicy blog posts. Sorry! Here are some varied updates. And hopefully I’ll pen a proper commentary shortly. I’m (hopefully) going to come back later this week with more thoughts on the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and what it takes to support young […]

Protect Elders! Ban Television!!

(Some thoughts on the efforts to regulate children’s use of social media) Have you noticed how many people ages 65+ watch television every day? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 90% of those in this age bracket watch TV Every.Single.Day!!!! ::gasp:: And that data was collected before the pandemic! By <hand-waving logics of a […]

What if failure is the plan?

I’ve been thinking a lot about failure lately. Failure comes in many forms, but I’m especially interested in situations in which people *perceive* something as failing (or about to fail) and the contestations over failure that often arise in such situations. Given this, it’s hard not to be fascinated by all that’s unfolding around Twitter. […]

Crisis Text Line, from my perspective

Like everyone who cares about Crisis Text Line and the people we serve, I have spent the last few days reflecting on recent critiques about the organization’s practices. Having spent my career thinking about and grappling with tech ethics and privacy issues, I knew that – had I not been privy to the details and […]