New Paper: Why do people share fake news?

I’m really proud of this paper. It’s my attempt to further a new model of media effects that takes into account active audiences, media messages, and technological affordances. I focus on conservative audiences for fake news as a case study.

Basically: People share fake news because it furthers partisan narratives that are promoted by mainstream (mostly) conservative media and expresses personal and political identity.


  • Most fake news isn’t political, but sensational. Still more is created to be polysemic and appeal to people across the political spectrum in order to increase viewership (and therefore money).
  • Conservative fake news doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Much of it builds on “deep stories” that have been present on Fox News for decades.
  • The mainstream media (NYTimes, WaPo, etc.) is tied to an elite, liberal identity. Part of this is due to years of conservative media promoting the idea that urban elites look Continue reading "New Paper: Why do people share fake news?"

Window Media Creation Tool 8gb Error

Well, in a twist of fate that I am still bemused by, I am in Microsoft-land now and this fact has led me inevitably to my first Windows install since about 2008.  It went pretty well, except that I didn’t have the recovery key for the previous installation, so had to do a scratch install.  You’d think it would be easy, since they give you a tool that does all the hard work! All you need is a USB drive of at least 8gb to become the installation media.

But then you put in your larger-than-8gb USB drive and the program says “Your USB must be at least 8gb!!”.   You reformat, you think “Maybe I need FAT32”, etc.  No luck.  All roads lead to the mysterious 8gb error, even when your USB drive is empty and large.

So you look online, and the forums Continue reading "Window Media Creation Tool 8gb Error"

Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) spec addressing WGLC comments

IETF logoA new draft of the Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) specification has been published that addresses the Working Group Last Call (WGLC) comments received. Changes were:

Thanks to Samuel Erdtman and Hannes Tschofenig for contributing to the editing for this version and to Jim Schaad and Roman Danyliw for their review comments.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

Travel updates 2018

I’m trying to keep my travel schedule fairly light so I can finish the book, but here’s what’s coming up:

  • June 29- July 1: CSST Decennial Sociotech Futures Symposium – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Two personal trips to NYC in July, one including a dissertation defense 🙂
  • October 10-13: AOIR in Montreal; participating in the Early Career workshop and presenting on a great panel on disinfo featuring me, Sam Woolley, Francesca Tripodi and Caroline Jack
  • October 27-28: Locked out of Social Platforms: An iCS Symposium on Challenges to Studying Disinformation (IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark) – keynote
  • November 2: “My Mother Was a Computer”: Legacies of Gender and Technology” digital humanities symposium at William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

#ThomasFire Tuesday

Here is the extent of the Thomas Fire, via VIIRS readings going back a week:

Here are the active margins of the fire alone. The distance from one end to the other is about 40 miles:

We also see it’s eleven or twelve separate fires at this point. The ones happening in the back country matter less than the ones encroaching on civilization. Here’s the corner we’re most concerned with, since we have a house in Santa Barbara:

That’s what’s burning now.

According to, the wind is a light breeze to the east-southeast, meaning back toward itself. This is good.

Here’s a photo set I shot driving to and from our place in Santa Barbara yesterday. It was pretty dramatic last night as we crept on a side road, avoiding the 101 traffic gawking its way past Summerland:

I’m not sure if some of those were back-fires Continue reading "#ThomasFire Tuesday"

“Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification approved for publication

IETF logoThe IESG approved the “Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification for publication as an RFC today. A new version was published incorporating the IESG feedback. Thanks to Ben Campbell, Eric Rescorla, and Adam Roach for their review comments. No normative changes were made. The specification is available at: An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

The Daily Tab for 2017_06_06

toomuchinformation I’ve decided I need to keep a public list on stuff that interests me, and to do it in a way that’s good to read now and easy to find later. The headline above is my first whack at a title. Required viewing::: A Good American. It’s a documentary on Bill Binney and the NSA by @FriedrichMoser. IMHO, this is the real Snowden movie. And I say that with full respect for Snowden. Please watch it. (Disclosure: I have spent quality time with both Bill and Fritz, and believe them both.) Bonus dude: @KirkWiebe, also ex-NSA and a colleague of Bill’s. (In case you think this is all lefty propaganda, read Kirk’s tweets.) Ice agents are out of control. And they are only getting worse (@TrevorTimm in The Guardian) WillRobotsTakeMyJob is brilliant. Check out its suggested jobs for titles it has no stats for. Yo to WaPo and the Continue reading "The Daily Tab for 2017_06_06"

Initial JSON Web Token Best Current Practices Draft

OAuth logoJSON Web Tokens (JWTs) and the JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE) functions underlying them are now being widely used in diverse sets of applications. During IETF 98 in Chicago, we discussed reports of people implementing and using JOSE and JWTs insecurely, the causes of these problems, and ways to address them. Part of this discussion was an invited JOSE/JWT Security Update presentation that I gave to two working groups, which included links to problem reports and described mitigations. Citing the widespread use of JWTs in new IETF applications, Security Area Director Kathleen Moriarty suggested during these discussions that a Best Current Practices (BCP) document be written for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs). I’m happy to report that Yaron Sheffer, Dick Hardt, and myself have produced an initial draft of a JWT BCP. Its abstract is:
JSON Web Tokens, also known as JWTs [RFC7519], are URL-safe JSON-based security Continue reading "Initial JSON Web Token Best Current Practices Draft"

Saturday Night in London

It’s about 9:30pm on Saturday.  I’m in a bar, on Hackney road in London, that I simply stumbled upon while wandering around.  It is an incredible place.  It is called “The Natural Philosopher” and I heartily approve.  It is an odd and slightly twisted cross between an old fashioned victorian study, and a curio shop.  I would take a picture – but this isn’t the kind of place you take a picture in.  It’s meant not for Facebook check-boxing, but for people to sit and be in the moment.  And here I am, in the corner, working away at the laptop.  Better than trying to snap pictures though. I haven’t written here for a long time.  But I dream about it.  I live a kind of guilt-driven life in some ways – how can I write here, when there are so many other greater priorities, outstanding commitments, all the things Continue reading "Saturday Night in London"

Seeing is believing

I didn’t watch Monday’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I listened to it, while I live blogged what I heard in a window on top of it. This was after getting up in the middle of the night at an AirBnB with terrible wi-fi in the middle of London. While Hillary scored some strong hits toward the end of the debate, I thought Trump sounded stronger, with many more quotable one-liners. So I gave the debate to him, much as I hated to. (Put me in the #NeverTrump column.) But in the morning everybody was giving the debate to Hillary. What did I miss? In a word: the video. When I watched some clips, it was clear that Hillary was winning. Trump looked rude and buffoonish, while Hillary did something wonderful: she looked into the camera as if into a friend’s eyes, while Trump mansplained away, and Continue reading "Seeing is believing"

An experiment 

Just wrote my first post on Medium. While I had read articles there regularly, I hadn’t ever written there. My instinct is to write here and nowhere else. But maybe I’m wrong. The only way I can find out is by writing on Medium and seeing what happens. So I did. Today. I shall watch … Continue reading "An experiment "

An experiment 

Just wrote my first post on Medium. While I had read articles there regularly, I hadn’t ever written there. My instinct is to write here and nowhere else. But maybe I’m wrong. The only way I can find out is by writing on Medium and seeing what happens. So I did. Today. I shall watch … Continue reading "An experiment "

Homework for Mozilla

outfox-trackersIt has been almost two years since I wrote Earth to Mozilla: Come Back Home, in response to the company’s conflicted dealings with the online advertising business. A lot has happened since then, including Mozilla hiring me to help make happen some of the stuff I suggested in that post. (Hats off to Darren Herman for bringing me in after I gave him and the company a hard time — and for being a huge advocate of The Intention Economy.) The most recent development on that path is a decision by Mozilla to exit the advertising business (beyond the whatever-it-is they get, passively, from searches). As Darren explains here, “Advertising in Firefox could be a great business, but it isn’t the right business for us at this time because we want to focus on core experiences for our users.” Much as it hurts the Mozilla staff and volunteers who worked Continue reading "Homework for Mozilla"

Grace Hopper Celebration and Presentation – Ethical Market Models.

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing for the first time. Here is a link to the paper that I presented – MarketModels-GHC Here are the slides
I also had the pleasure of working on a Birds of a Feather Session with Roshi from Google – she works on their identity team and was the one who asked me work on the session with her along with encouraging me submit a proposal for a lighting talk.
We had a great discussion about the internet of things and considering various ideas about what internet of things things…we might invent and how we might identify ourselves to them.
The conference is really a giant job fair for undergaduate women CS majors. There is not a lot there for mid-career women, all of the ones I Continue reading "Grace Hopper Celebration and Presentation – Ethical Market Models."

Glaciers moving at the speed of postings

ice-floes-off-greenland (Cross posted from this at Facebook) In Snow on the Water I wrote about the ‘low threshold of death” for what media folks call “content” — which always seemed to me like another word for packing material. Back around the turn of the millennium, John Perry Barlow said “I didn’t start hearing the word ‘content’ until the container business felt threatened.” Same here. But the container business now looks more like plumbing than freight forwarding. Everything flows. But to where?
Th timeline to the right of this it looks like a core sample of glacier ice, probing back to 1947, the year I showed up. Memory, while it lasts, is of old stuff which in the physical world would rot, dry, disintegrate, vanish or lithify from the bottom up. But here we are on the Web, which was designed as a way to share documents, not to save Continue reading "Glaciers moving at the speed of postings"

Why the strange uploads to @Flickr?

I’ve got 58,765 photos on Flickr, so far. These have 8,618,102 views, so far, running about 5,000 a day. The top count this last week was 11,766. Not that I’m into stats. I just want to make clear how deeply I’m kinda vested in it, as a photographer. (And that’s in just one account. I’m involved with three others as well, all by organizations to which I belong.) But man, it’s trying me lately. The main thing isn’t the UI changes, which are confusing, and seem to be happening constantly. (Though I’m sure they’re not. I just seem to be discovering new or changed things constantly.) Here’s the main problem. For some reason, large quantities of photos I don’t want being automatically uploading are uploading to Flickr. I don’t know where they’re coming from — other than me — or how they’re getting up there. I thought maybe it was the new
Continue reading "Why the strange uploads to @Flickr?"

I’m Quoted in Guardian Article re: Ellen Pao

Yesterday a reporter called me up and asked me for comment on Ellen Pao. I said “What did you expect?” It became the headline! – I continued “Ellen was at the center of a high-profile sexual discrimination suit versus a major VC firm and she was put in charge of the teenage boy section of the internet. What did you expect was going to happen? It was inevitable that they would turn on her,” You can read the whole article here – I wasn’t the only one unsurprised by what happened. :)

‘What did you expect?’ Women in tech reflect on Ellen Pao’s exit from Reddit

When your Empire has no Clothes

How many data points does it take to call something a trend?  With the hack and subsequent data dump of the internal files of Hacking Team, a company most of us never even knew existed until this week, the world is getting to see a very public examination of the naked inner workings of an organization. This is the second time I can think of this kind of hack occurring.  The first was, of course, Sony Pictures. Some number of hackers have turned two different organizations inside out from a digital perspective, exposing even the mundane stuff for public ridicule.  And some of the most harshly ridiculed practices of all in both cases involved passwords and credentials. In the case of Sony Pictures, the effect was acutely embarrassing.  Scores of Excel spreadsheets, detailing personal, business, and IT system passwords, with filenames like “website passwords” and “usernames & passwords”.   When Gawker writes
Continue reading "When your Empire has no Clothes"

#mynameis my statement for the virtual press kit

I just wrote this up for the virtual press kit for the #mynameis protest.   With its real name / authentic name policy Facebook is violating the rights and dignity of thousands if not millions. Individuals of all stripes have authentic names that are not found on any of their legal paperwork.  In common law countries we have the right to define our own name and there rights need to be respected online. Identity is contextual. That is the same person may use different names authentically in different social contexts – within the Drag Queen and LGBT community – one name Lil Hot Mess for example and in a professional day job a completely different name – more likely one on formal legal paperwork but not necessarily.  These different contexts have their own contextual authenticity. Google+ when it began several years ago also had a real name or Continue reading "#mynameis my statement for the virtual press kit"