zeynep tufekci Profile picture
Complex systems, wicked problems. Society, technology and more. @UNC professor. Word in @TheAtlantic & @NYTimes. My newsletter is @insight: https://t.co/NfMqinFg9E
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Oct 9, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
I call this the Beto effect. Hard to believe but many Dem candidates are underfunded because the party is.. well, it's the party that lost 2016. But a few splashy races give the opposite impression—the way holding the presidency 2008-2016 hid the electoral collapse of the party. Having studied movements/opposition in many countries, one frequent theme in losing efforts is the ratio of attention to factors not-under-their-control vs. factors under their control! This may get people upset with me but both Dem leaders & "resistance" often share this trait.
Oct 7, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
This meme is going around is so so terribly ignorant of what Tea Party actually did that it’s painful, unless it’s deliberately misleading. Tea Party took over *electorally* by being energized *and* strategic and well-funded—the protests mattered some but only through that path. There is actually a lot the left and the Dems could learn from the Tea Party experience but it requires actually finding out what happened. Not writing your own ignorant narrative.
Oct 5, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
That hoax is oversold, authors *very* deliberately misrepresenting what they did. If you fake data and get published, that’s fraud, not hoax. If you cherrypick pick a nice sentence from review that rejects paper, that’s not a successful hoax. See: michaelkeenan.tumblr.com/post/178734541… Predatory journals? Real problem. Some crappy work getting in? Issue in many fields. A reasonable discussion about the scope of humanities? Sure. But bring along discussing economics and it’s wild assumptions, too. This hoax isn’t a critique of academia. It’s a misleading stunt.
Oct 5, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Yazidi leader Nadia Murad won the Nobel Peace Prize!! Dear Journalists who'll interview her: PLEASE DON'T ASK HER TO RECOUNT THE SAME HARROWING STORY OF HER CAPTIVITY BY ISIS. She told it again and again—at great expense to her—to get media attention. Stop it now, please. Please. Journalists (and public!) should watch "On Her Shoulders"—a documentary about Murad and the Yazidi plight. Our demand that marginalized victims tell their story again and again and again, cry for cameras again and again and again, before we pay attention exacts a huge toll.
Oct 3, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read
Foreign meddling is real but it's a symptom not the actual illness: our domestic polarization and how our public sphere operates. We're looking for ibuprofen to cure an infection. For a solution, focus less on less Russia, more on the US. My NYT piece: nytimes.com/2018/10/03/opi… I find the evidence of RU meddling to be credible and so much of it happened in public! It might have had an impact given the close election—especially through hacked emails and also how media went along with that part. It's still not the correct focus to try to fix what ails us.
Sep 30, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
“Hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in South Texas.” “Children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited.”
Sep 28, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
"..led to the exposure of information from nearly 50 million of its users."

Only out is to stop storing so much user information. Storage should be exception
and should be end-to-end encrypted—not visible to Facebook either. Facebook won't do this because of its business model. No way to have this much surveillance on billions of people without some of the information eventually being misused, hacked, leaked, pilfered. Did they access all 50 million or did they go for high-value targets? Who knows? Doesn't matter. The fix is to change the vulnerability.
Sep 27, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read
cc: @Pinboard who’s been pointing out many such underfunded races on the Dem side. Often a race already saturated in cash can raise many million $, but a winnable one that needs $100,000 to get the message out often cannot raise much! Maybe I'm too cynical—though I'd prefer the term wide-eyed realist—but outcome-wise, I'm not sure how people expected anything else from today. Too much attention on consequences of elections (and electoral infrastructure) and *still* not enough attention to the election itself.
Sep 22, 2018 18 tweets 9 min read
New thread with latest info.
1-Triangle folks: you can drop supplies at RDU General Aviation until 6p Sunday (9/22). No more online options!
2-One place to donate online: needslist.co/group/174
3-I'll go to RDU today, taking whatever my Civic can carry 😬. DM me to connect. Lots of roads remain flooded and this stuff is being flown in as it gets donated. It's an appropriate and necessary method for immediate needs. I just saw that they took in all the non-perishable food already, and also learned that all hygiene products remain in need.
Sep 21, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
So volunteer pilots at RDU are flying supplies to coastal NC where many roads remain blocked. Folks can "Amazon Prime Now" (not Prime but *PRIME NOW*) directly. Send non-perishable food, diapers or formula etc. to 1725 E International, Morrisvile, NC 27560 amazon.com/registry/wishl… Also local folks can drop off their unused or new hurricane supplies directly at RDU or at the Dean Smith Center at UNC—the truck is supposed to be leaving or Lumberton, NC around noon today (Friday, 21st).
Sep 16, 2018 20 tweets 5 min read
Inadvartent experiment! My tweet on phone size and security got gobbled by the content machine. People Mag, NY Post, etc. featured it. 🙄 Result: a barrage of out-of-context harrasment. Just to see, I reported them. For example, this one is apparently okay by Twitter TOS.🤷‍♀️ After all the outcry, there is still no mechanism on Twitter to deal with a barrage of harrasment. You have to report each tweet individually with many many clicks, and at best that tweet alone is locked—long after you saw it anyway. No benefit to you, no deterrence to harraser.
Sep 13, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Measurement choice is destiny, case zillion. The popular hurricane scale, Saffir-Simpson, is based on highest sustained wind-speed—only one kind of risk, and often not the most important one. Florence is now larger, but with slightly slower winds at the center. So "weakened".😱 Chapel Hill/Carrboro is juuuuust on the border of Florence bands—don't even have rain where I am. Maybe later. All thoughts with coastal NC/SC communities who are experiencing brutal flooding and the first responders.

Also, we really should stop using the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Sep 13, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
"We want to reach as many customers as we can with this incredible technology," Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said, without irony, while Apple phased out the *only* phone I can hold without risking dropping. Stuck with Apple for security reasons. 🤬 latimes.com/business/techn… "Welcome to the big screens" says Apple and women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can't hold and constantly risk dropping. Company that designs $5 billion headquarters without a childcare center for the win.
Sep 12, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
North Carolina shelter list for evacuees. Weather geek twitter is great fun, and who knows what the actual track will be with all this model uncertainty, but the strength is assured and the coastal areas are looking to take a brutal wind+flood beating. I hope everyone who needs to evacuate has evacuated—or is about to.
Sep 11, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
That’s pretty unprecedented for UNC! Cancellation way before the storm will hit to let students leave. UNC students, especially in dorms: it makes sense to leave because power may go out, and it sucks to be without power and/or water for days. Other than that, dorms are solid buildings!
Sep 6, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read
Phone call from unrecognized number:
X: "Hi, we are CREDIT CARD COMPANY X FRAUD DEPARTMENT. We'd like you to verify some information."
ME: "Are you kidding me? You're training your customers to fall for scams?!? Nobody should give out info in response to random call."
X: "Oh." There was also the time DCCC was providing security advice to campaigns... by sending them attachments. 🙄washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/0…
Sep 5, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
Sheryl Sandberg is asked about selling/sharing data. She says "we sell ads", implying they don't sell data. That's true, but no defense. Facebook sells users' attention to advertisers by profiling them based on extensive surveillance. That's the root problem. #techhearings Sandberg/Facebook is asked what they don't allow. She says "hate speech/bullying, etc."—as per TOS. Fine, but the real action is the process that FB (and the industry) uses to police content. That's where it all goes down, as shaped by business model—how the cost center operates.
Sep 4, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Besides the factual inaccuracy, this is a *great* example of what works for good writing (post-hoc creation and exaggration of a faux "turning point" that fits well with three-act story-telling but isn't warranted by actual events) doesn't work that well for good analysis. Here's the factual inaccuracy part: (Also, even if McCarthy had been done in by one grand TV moment, that would be largely irrelevant today since the public sphere gatekeeping mechanisms have long changed drastically...)
Sep 3, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Either way, huge win for Bannon. Once invited, he’d get either attention and legitimization OR attention and claim to victimization. I’d guess he’d prefer the latter, which is what he now has been gifted. The battle before people isn’t over ideas, it’s over legitimization, attention and, crucially, state power. It’s great to debate “ideas” but that’s not what we’re doing here.
Aug 31, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Here! *This* is all the theory you need instead of hollow debates and misleading jokes about “economic anxiety”. It is, of course, about the economy because race is also about the economy—and vice versa. So is culture. It’s all about defining the deserving and who “das volk” are. He did not misspeak, and most everyone in that room understood exactly what he meant. This is the political realignment—that goes far beyond one person—sweeping the world.
Aug 25, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Good parsing of headlines/stats. I'm the child of an alcoholic, so all the feels about how this drug gets to be legal while millions do time for small amounts of pot but... despite the recent headlines, little evidence that occasional drinkers are at some worrisome health risk. Common pattern. There is an X which has catastrophic outcomes for some segment. But the harms from X don't nicely fit into a linear dose-response narrative. So you are left with the trade-off discussion: freedom/benefit of majority/most vs those at risk. But that's uncomfortable.