Here is a fine story about creepy social media:
"The Day Yahoo Decided I Liked Reading About Child Murder"
Sarah Kendzior (archive) describes the Yahoo! portal's decision to feed her news stories about horrible things happening to chidren. It must have been like being trapped in a car with one of the brothers Grimms' interlocutors.
Kendzior takes this in several directions, each noteworthy for our purposes. First, she links this Gilles de Rais curation to Pariser's filter bubble argument. We should check to see if the bubble goes on to have a fearsome reputation, down the road.
Specifically she target's Yahoo!'s Content Optimization and Relevance Engine (C.O.R.E.). That service currently tells me these are the most popular stories on the Web, unpersonalized as I haven't logged in:
Mystery jackpot winners step up
Huge unknown shopping site,
Ex-U.S. Olympic star dies
Star's breasts reduced in ad
Second, Kendzior compares Yahoo!'s John Wayne Gacyismo to other media:
Portals like AOL or Yahoo, with their mix of gossip and politics and recipes and celebrity death watch masquerading as "trending now" (Larry Hagman? Ernest Borgnine?), feel like a throwback to a time of inclusive, if dim-witted, media.
Unfortunately, that is not just a historical comparison. TV news continues to shower us frantically with that kind of torrent. Again, this could be a sign of the classic way Americans apprehend new technology: by naturalizing if not romanticizing previous technologies.
(thanks to Steven Kaye)