For Sale: Grimes’s Soul

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Souls: Much like content, Twitter harvests them, they’re monetiseable, and closely associated with hell.

Grimes, a member of the Cyber Baby–Elon Musk trio, is putting her soul to work by auctioning part of it, in the form of a legal document, to the highest bidder. She told Bloomberg that at first she was planning on pricing it at $US10 ($15) million to deter collectors but later thought twice about it, in light of looming economic catastrophe. Join us, Grimes, and watch the RSS feeds.

The exhibition will be online at Gallery Platform Los Angeles through June 3 and at the Maccarone Los Angeles through August 31.

I wish I didn’t have to, but I must preface this with Donald Trump’s war, hereby declared as an executive order, against Twitter and other social media platforms. (Have you heard? Scroll down if you’ve heard). Since the company put fact-check labels on his disinformation tweets about mail-in voting on Tuesday, he dropped whatever national interest stuff he was supposed to be working on and spent the last few days toying with an executive order so that social media companies can’t label his tweets. He used Twitter’s service to tell us all about how he’s been censored, warned Twitter (in a tweet) that “FAIRNESS IS COMING,” and signed the order this afternoon.

Untangling all of the contradictions in the interpretation of censorship here could take hours; journalists have. The order reflects GOP lawmakers’ historic misinterpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which they believe only protects “neutral” platforms. (Whatever that means.) Basically, according to their flawed reading, Facebook can’t take down racist conservative memes without making the company legally liable for everything posted on the site.

And the rest of the world had takes. The award for dumbest to cross Gizmodo’s Slack today goes to Cameron Winklevoss, who’s famed for suing Mark Zuckerberg for (allegedly) stealing his idea for Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg swiftly covered his arse. And Trump did this, upon signing the order…

…to which Gizmodo’s interim editor-in-chief, Andrew Couts, replied on Slack: “HAHAHAHAHA good fucking god.”

YouTuber gave up adopted child after years of monetised videos

Turning children into a consumable web product is a terrible business idea.

This was a lesson learned by YouTuber Myka Stauffer, who has placed her adopted son in another home after a 27-part series on her “adoption journey” brought her millions of views, various sponsorships, and media opportunities. Followers are outraged.

Fans noticed that the child had disappeared from Stauffer’s vlogs and Instagram feed over the past several months, where she’d been featuring him since 2017. Her reveal, “Huxley’s EMOTIONAL Adoption VIDEO!! GOTCHA DAY China Adoption,” racked up over 5.5 million views.

Buzzfeed charts the rise of Stauffer’s star to her Tuesday confession video, in which she tearfully explains with her husband that they were unequipped to cope with the child’s special needs. Stauffer explained that the child has been adopted by a new mother who has “medical professional training.” The Stauffers have four other children.

I don’t have any opinions on this! I don’t know what it’s like to be a mum! I just know what it’s like to be a child, and I’m grateful I was never vlogged.

A plague of locusts

Image: Getty

CNN is reporting on a plague of locusts.

With covid-19 hindering efforts to fight the swarm, billions of locusts are taking over East Africa and threatening to wipe out the harvest — “potentially ravaging the livelihoods of some 20 million people who are already food insecure in the region.” According to CNN, Kenya saw a 60 km long, 39 km-wide swarm in January.

More data can be found in the catastrophically dismal Global Report on Food Crises 2020, from the international Food Security Information Network. The report finds that desert locusts are expected to be one of the main causes of food insecurity this year.

Runners can run (with masks, at a distance)

If you’re of the strongly opinionated anti-jogger-stigma crew, then good news! Vox has an animated explainer finding that the risk of infecting a passerby with covid-19 while on a run is nonzero but relatively low. “[The runner] would have to expel enough viral particles to kickstart an infection,” reporter Sigal Samuel says in the video. “Those particles would have to travel several feet of distance, withstand the pressures of wind, rain, humidity — then the particles would have to actually land in your throat or your upper respiratory tract or on your hands, which you would then use to touch your eyes, your nose, or your mouth.”

What’s up with the Drudge Report?

Looks like another chapter in the mystery of the Drudge Report, the spooky breaking news aggregator that was, at one point during the 2016 election, the second-most-visited media outlet on the web. (Currently, it stands at number 74 in that category.) Craig Silverman of Buzzfeed News reports that the site has lately been directing loads of traffic to a page run by an Armenia-based developer, which rips and reposts articles directly from the New York Times and other media outlets. Silverman found that Drudge directed 8 million hits to the site dnyuz.com since November. After Buzzfeed contacted Google, the company booted dnyuz.com from its ad network.

Strange, though it’s not the first time Matt Drudge, media’s Riddler, has driven traffic to a questionable site. In 2017, the Washington Post noted that Drudge has also driven a significant amount of traffic to RT, Sputnik News, and InfoWars, especially during its election cycle boom.

ACLU goes after face recognition company

The ACLU has filed a complaint against Clearview AI, a face recognition company which has harvested over 3 billion images from social media profiles without users’ permission and sold it as a smartphone app that enables customers to submit an anonymous photo and retrieve a set of matching images with links back to the source. In January, the New York Times reported that law enforcement officials have used the app to identify perpetrators.

The ACLU is suing on behalf of groups such as immigrants, sex workers, and sexual assault survivors, on the basis that the technology opens people up to political and personal surveillance — for example, at protests and AA meetings. “Neither the United States government nor any American company is known to have ever compiled such a massive trove of biometrics,” they write. ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler told the New York Times that, “if left unchecked, Clearview’s product is going to end privacy as we know it.”

The ACLU is bringing the case in Illinois, where a rare biometric privacy policy allows individuals to sue for up to $US5,000 ($7,501) per violation.

Dinosaur reads a story to puppies

No additional context.