Gather a mob and Facebook will now let you make political demands. Tomorrow Facebook will encounter a slew of fresh complexities with the launch of Community Actions, its News Feed petition feature. Community Actions could unite neighbors to request change from their local and national elected officials and government agencies. But it could also provide vocal interest groups a bully pulpit from which to pressure politicians and bureaucrats with their fringe agendas.
Community Actions embodies the central challenge facing Facebook. Every tool it designs for positive expression and connectivity can be subverted for polarization and misinformation. Facebook’s membership has swelled into such a ripe target for exploitation that it draws out the worst of humanity. You can imagine misuses like “Crack down on [minority group]” that are offensive or even dangerous but some see as legitimate. The question is whether Facebook puts in the forethought and aftercare to safeguard its new tools with proper policy and moderation. Otherwise each new feature is another liability.
Community Actions start to roll out to the US tomorrow after several weeks of testing in a couple of markets. Users can add a title, description, and image to their Community Action, and tag relevant government agencies and officials who’ll be notified. The goal is to make the Community Action go viral and get people to hit the “Support” button. Community Actions have their own discussion feed where people can leave comments, create fundraisers, and organize Facebook Events or Call Your Rep campaigns. Facebook displays the numbers of supporters behind a Community Action, but you’ll only be able to see the names of those you’re friends with or that are Pages or public figures.
Facebook is purposefully trying to focus Community Actions to be more narrowly concentrated on spurring government action than just any random cause. That means it won’t immediately replace Change.org petitions that can range from the civilian to the absurd. But one-click Support straight from the News Feed could massively reduce the friction to signing up, and thereby attract organizations and individuals seeking to maximize the size of their mob.
You can check out some examples here of Community Actions here like a non-profit Colorado Rising calling for the governor to put a moratorium on oil and gas drilling, citizens asking the a Florida’s mayor and state officials to build a performing arts center, and a Philadelphia neighborhood association requesting that the city put in crosswalks by the library. I fully expect one of the first big Community Actions will be the social network’s users asking Senators to shut down Facebook or depose Mark Zuckerberg.
The launch follows other civic-minded Facebook features like its Town Hall and Candidate Info for assessing politicians, Community Help for finding assistance after a disaster, and local news digest Today In. A Facebook spokesperson who gave us the first look at Community Actions provided this statement:
“Building informed and civically engaged communities is at the core of Facebook’s mission. Every day, people come together on Facebook to advocate for causes they care about, including by contacting their elected officials, launching a fundraiser, or starting a group. Through these and other tools, we have seen people marshal support for and get results on issues that matter to them. Community Action is another way for people to advocate for changes in their communities and partner with elected officials and government agencies on solutions.”
The question will be where Facebook’s moderators draw the line on what’s appropriate as a Community Action, and the ensuing calls of bias that line will trigger. Facebook is employing a combination of user flagging, proactive algorithmic detection, and human enforcers to manage the feature. But what the left might call harassment, the right might call free expression. If Facebook allows controversial Community Actions to persist, it could be viewed as complicit with their campaigns, but could be criticized for censorship if it takes one down. Like fake news and trending topics, the feature could become the social network’s latest can of worms.
Facebook is trying to prioritize local Actions where community members have a real stake. It lets user display “constituent” badges so their elected officials know they aren’t just a distant rabble-rouser. It’s why Facebook will not allow President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence to be tagged in Community Actions. But you’re free to tag all your state representatives demanding nude parks, apparently.
Another issue is how people can stand up against a Community Action. Only those who Support one may join in its discussion feed. That might lead trolls to falsely pledge their backing just to stir up trouble in the comments. Otherwise, Facebook tells me users will have to share a Community Action to their own feed with a message of disapproval, or launch their own in protest. My concern is that an agitated but niche group could drive a sense of false equivocacy by using Facebook Groups or message threads to make it look like there’s as much or more support for a vulgar cause or against of a just one. A politician could be backed into a corner and forced to acknowledge radicals or bad-faith actors lest they look negligent
While Facebook’s spokesperson says initial tests didn’t surface many troubles, the company is trying to balance safety with efficiency and it will consider how to evolve the feature in response to emergent behaviors. The trouble is that open access draws out the trolls and grifters seeking to fragment society. Facebook will have to assume the thorny responsibility of shepherding the product towards righteousness and defining what that even means. If it succeeds, there’s an amazing opportunity here for citizens to band together to exert consensus upon government. A chorus of voices carries much further than a single cry.
Don’t Freak Out When Your Phone And TV Start Blaring This Week
It’s important to know the test is coming so that you don’t panic when it’s conducted. Earlier this year, many Floridians were startled awake when a test emergency alert was sent to their phones at 4:45 a.m. local time — though the test was only intended to be broadcast to televisions.
An even scarier incident infamously occurred in 2018, when a false warning of an incoming ballistic missile was sent to the citizens of Hawaii. Nobody was warned of the test because it wasn’t actually a test — someone at the emergency operation center evidently pushed the wrong button (and was eventually fired for their mistake).
In addition to false alarms or poor timing, FEMA officials have warned that the software used for the Emergency Alerts System could potentially be vulnerable to hackers, who could send out false alarms, among other things. While there’s currently no evidence of this, FEMA recommends keeping the software updated on mobile phones, TVs, and other devices to better keep malicious hackers out of the system.
After all, the purpose of the EAS, WEA, and nationwide tests of both is to better prepare the public in the event of a real emergency, minimizing confusion and maximizing the dissemination of information. “The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” said FEMA in an official statement.
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL 43 Review: Better Bar The Badge
Make no mistake, for while it may be more frugal, the SL 43 isn’t lacking in fun. There is a reason, after all, that rear-wheel drive sports cars are still prized. Though the absence of the 4MATIC all-wheel drive standard on the SL 55 and 63 may steal a little sure-footedness (and all-season usefulness), there are decided upsides to be considered, too.
Weight is a big one: the SL 43 tips the scales at 3,825 pounds, making it 353 pounds less than the SL 63. That obviously pays dividends for heft in the corners and general poise, but the rear-wheel drive SL also distributes its weight better: 52% front and 48% rear versus 54% front and 46% rear on the SL 63. While the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ system in the SL 55 and 63 can push all the power to the rear wheels if the situation demands it, you’re still carrying all the hardware.
In Comfort mode, the SL 43 cruises with firm aplomb. There’s still a pleasing gurgle from the engine — sounding, frankly, outsized to its actual capacity and cylinders — and the exhausts will bark gruffly if you lean into the gas. AMG doesn’t offer air suspension here, with the SL 43 getting AMG Sport Suspension as standard. Its steel springs are dialed in on the stiff side but not obstinately so, keeping the roadster level in corners but not getting uncomfortably bumpy on poor-quality surfaces.
Rivian’s Dual-Motor EVs With Max Range Are Now Up For Sale
Compared to the rest of the EV trucks on the market, the maximum range battery pack for Rivian’s R1 series has a substantial lead. For example, the extended battery pack on the F-150 Lightning offers up to 320 miles of range — almost 100 miles less than the R1T. The closest to the R1T’s range is the GMC Hummer EV pickup, at a max range of 329 miles.
Competition among seven-seater SUVs is a bit tighter. The R1S’s popular competitor, the Tesla Model X, provides a range of up to 348 miles on its biggest battery.
The max range battery for the R1 lineup can be added to either the Dual-Motor AWD drive system or the pricier Performance variant. When paired with the highest-tier battery, both engines will provide the same maximum range. The standard Dual-Motor variant offers 533 horsepower, 610 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds for the R1T and the R1S. This model with the Max battery starts at $89,000 for the R1T, and $94,000 for the R1S.
The Performance drive system provides 665 horsepower, 829 pounds of torque, and a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds for the vehicles. You can snag this variant with the Max battery at $94,000 for the R1T, and the R1S for $99,000.
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