Category: Lectures

Notes from #MIT8: ‘The Internet as Archive’ panel – Censorship by Algorithm

On Friday, May 3, I presented my paper Exploring the Boundaries of a Website: Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies in ‘The Internet as Archive’ panel at MIT8. Co-panelist Chris Peterson talked about user-generated censorship as a form of censorship by algorithm. He gave a few examples of this type of censorship: First, the example of Facebook users flagging links which led to Facebook blocking all links to and subsequently blocking links from websites linking to Second, the example of the Digg Patriots group which down votes all liberal articles to game the system into displaying more conservative articles on the Digg frontage. This type of user-generated censorship by ‘playing’ the algorithm that organizes content is related to Taina Bucher’s work on the threat of algorithmic invisibility on Facebook where she argues that the Facebook algorithm is designed in such a way that constant interaction with friends and the platform is needed in order to be visible to your friends in their NewsFeed. The algorithm does not only play an important role in the organization of content and friends but also in the (in)visibility of content and friends. Whereas on Facebook users may optimize their behavior/interactions […]

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MIT8 Talk: Exploring the Boundaries of a Website. Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies

Slides and notes from my conference presentation “Exploring the Boundaries of a Website. Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies” at MiT8: public media, private media. May 3-5, 2013 at MIT, Cambridge, MA. 1. I’m Anne, a PhD candidate and lecturer in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. I am part of a research group called the Digital Methods Initiative which is dedicated to developing digital methods and tools to analyze and map web data. In this paper I want to, first, explore the boundaries of a website and propose to reconceptualize the website as an ecology, and second, to put the Internet Archive to new uses by proposing a new method to reconstruct historical web ecologies using Internet Archive data. 2. What are the boundaries of a website? Where does a website begin and end? With the shift towards the web as platform, or Web 2.0, the boundaries of a website become become difficult to establish and delineate. In the early days of the web, often referred to as Web 1.0 or the ‘Web-as-information- source’, websites were created by webmasters and were fairly self-contained units as most content was stored on the same server […]

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Dataflows en de politieke economie van sociale media platformen

Transcript van mijn lezing tijdens de studiemiddag voor alumni van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen over sociale media. Universiteit van Amsterdam, 5 april 2013. 1. Introductie Dank voor de uitnodiging. Mijn naam is Anne Helmond en ik ben docent-promovendus bij Mediastudies bij Nieuwe Media en Digitale Cultuur. Hier doe ik onderzoek binnen de onderzoeksgroep het Digital Methods Initiative naar het web als platform en hoe we onze onderzoeksmethoden moeten aanpassen om het web als een ecologie te bestuderen. 2. Mediatie van processen door software Vandaag zal ik het hebben over de onderliggende infrastructuren van het sociale web en hoe hiermee de economische relaties van het huidige sociale media landschap worden georganiseerd. Deze korte lezing gaat in op hoe sociale media platformen relaties en activiteiten structureren aan zowel de voorkant als de achterkant van hun platformen. Om te begrijpen hoe de relaties tussen platformen en gebruikers worden georganiseerd, moeten we kijken naar de rol van zowel menselijke actoren als niet-menselijke actoren die processen mediëren, zoals de technische infrastructuur. Het uitgangspunt hierbij is het platform-specifieke karakter van sociale media platformen waar we een assemblage zien van software, databases, interfaces, content, activiteiten, gebruikers en externe webmasters die samen het platform vormen. Dit zal worden geïllustreerd […]

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Slides: Track the Trackers Workshop. Digital Methods Summer School 2012 #dmi12

Together with colleague Carolin Gerlitz I gave a workshop on Track the Trackers (based on our previous work) at the Digital Methods Summer School 2012. Introduction: In this short workshop you will learn how to map the cookie ecology related to a set of websites using the DMI Tracker Tracker tool and Gephi. The Tracker Tracker tool was conceived at the Digital Methods Winterschool 2012 in January. It is build on top of the anti-tracking plugin Ghostery and allows to identify the invisible web, devices that track user activities online and the services associated to them. In order to prepare for this workshop we recommend reading the related projects and materials listed below. Please download and install Gephi before the workshop starts so you can also learn how to visualize your results. On the Track the Trackers wiki page we documented related materials, readings and research. Please leave a comment if you have additional suggestions.

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Slides from my presentation on Web Archives and Digital Methods

These are the slides from my presentation on Web Archives and Digital Methods: Reconstructing the Dutch Blogosphere with the Internet Archive. During the NWO CATCHmeeting “Supporting Media Studies Research: Exploration and Contextualization” at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum I presented some web archive use scenarios with a specific focus on doing digital methods research with the Internet Archive. Abstract: Historically, the practice of web archiving has involved various institutions and the development of various practices, approaches and tools. Among them, three main approaches to web archiving have been developed: web archive research using the Internet Archive and Wayback Machine, the practice of archiving special collections of websites, and the national approach of archiving webs of specific countries. These approaches and practices do not only reflect the time in which they were conceived in the history of web archiving, but also put forward distinct ways in which they may be used and consequently what type of historiographical research can be done with them. However, there are also limits to what these tools and practices offer. The purpose of this talk is to introduce the limits of doing research with the Internet Archive with existing tools such as […]

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