The Download: The grim spread of the Buffalo shooting video, and crypto’s tough test
This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
Social media platforms are still struggling to stop the spread of the video of the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday that left 10 people dead, most of them Black. Experts say it is a sign of their inability to stop the spread of racist ideologies online.
The 18-year-old gunman broadcast the shooting in a grocery store in a predominately Black suburban area to the streaming platform Twitch on Saturday morning. Twitch pulled the livestream down within two minutes of the attack. However, a video of the incident was quickly posted to Streamable. According to the New York Times ., that video was viewed over 3 million times before it was removed. The recording was shared across Facebook, Twitter and another clip that claimed to show the gunman firing on people in the supermarket was visible more than four hours after it was uploaded to Twitter. According to Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz ., TikTok users also shared search terms that would take viewers directly to the full video on Twitter.
Although Twitch removed the livestream in less time than the 17 minutes it took Facebook to take down the live broadcast of the 2019 mosque shooting. in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 51 people died, the rate at which the recordings were able to spread across the internet shows little has changed. A 180-page manifesto uploaded by the suspect to Google Docs last Thursday credited the 4chan community for his radicalization in white supremacy and repeatedly cited the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory–which many social media companies pledged to eliminate from their platforms in the wake of the Christchurch attack. Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said that terrorist content on social media is a sign that platforms are failing to prioritize user safety. He says, “We have been victims to the greedy, desiccated ignorance of social media companies too long, the burden having being borne by societies instead of companies themselves.”
Crypto is weathering a bitter storm. Some people hold on to their lives.
One shining premise of DeFi, or decentralized finance, is that it can spread out and automate operations, and remove power from middlemen such as banks, to make the system more resilient to global forces.
But, with the traditional market falling rapidly and Big Tech stocks plunging, this theory of resilience is being put to the test. The results are not good. Read more .
It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t allow them to.
As self-driving cars become more common and we become more used to seeing vehicles driving around with no human in the vehicle, the question of who is driving will grow more serious. Many of the rooftop lidar sensors used to mark them out will become smaller, making it easier to hide behind them. However, if they do ever make it onto our roads, other drivers (humans) will need to be able to see exactly where they are and what they are dealing with. Read more .
By Jack Stilgoe. He is a professor at University College London in science and technology policy.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Shanghai wants to end its covid lockdown on 1 June
Exhausted residents must be hoping that reality complies with official aspirations. (The Guardian)
Daily cases in the city have dropped to their lowest level in 52 days. (SCMP)
China’s economy has paid the price for the nation’s zero-covid policy. (Bloomberg $)
2 Abortion rights activists are starting to accept crypto donations
But paying for abortions using crypto could expose both the people getting the abortions and the donors. (NYT $) After a wild week, no one seems to know what’s in store for crypto. (WP $)
One of crypto’s most influential chief executives says he has no confidence in Bitcoin as a payments network. (FT $)
The crypto crash could be just the tip of the recession iceberg. (The Atlantic $)
3 Chinese TikTok users are hero-worshiping Putin
The reality of Russia’s brutality in Ukraine has been heavily censored in China as well as Russia. (Foreign Policy)
But even pro-Russia bloggers reported its military failure in the Donets last week. (NYT $)
4 Elon Musk’s free-speech vision for Twitter could spell trouble in India
The country has a huge hate speech problem, aided and abetted by powerful politicians. (WP $) Texas’ social media law will allow extremist content to flourish, tech groups say. (Bloomberg $)
Musk claims he’s been told off by Twitter’s legal team for violating an NDA. (The Hill)
5 Photo sharing apps are a welcome respite for social-media-fatigued teens
But share some of the same old risks. (WP $)
6 Advertisers are still able to target ethnic groups on Facebook
Despite a policy change that was supposed to prevent it from happening. (The Markup)
7 NFTs are a new way to make money for dead artists’ estates
But some are more like a frame than a work of art. (New Yorker $)
8 The hardest part of flying a car is knowing where to land it
Which means the new industry may have to rely on aerospace companies. (WSJ $) Private plane usage surged during the pandemic. (BBC) Tesla’s success has inspired a whole host of new electric vehicles and boats. (NYT $)
9 This math formula tells you the perfect time to turn up at a party
It all hinges on how punctual your friends are. (The Atlantic $)
10 Spreadsheets are now cool
You can thank/blame TikTok. (FT $)
Quote of the day
“Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do.”
–An open letter from more than 1,400 current and former Apple employees resisting the company’s new rule requiring workers to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Wall Street Journal reports.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.