With our policy increasingly polarized and democracy retreating, worried Americans are responding in many ways. Some, such as former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams, have mounted a fight against voter repression. Others, such as Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, are pressing social networks to change their products and policies to promote transparency and accuracy in political advertising.
And then there’s actor Chris Evans, best known for playing Captain America in 10 Marvel movies. According to a new and sincere cover story that came out today in CablingEvans is doing …….. this:
He would build an online platform organized in orderly sections (immigration, medical care, education, economics), each with a series of questions of the kind that most Americans cannot succinctly answer. What exactly is a rate? What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Evans would invite politicians to answer the questions in one-minute videos. He would conduct the interviews himself, but always behind the camera. The site would be a place to hear both sides of a problem, to get the TL; DR at WTF was happening in American politics.
The origin story of A starting point, as the site will be called, is as follows. One day during a break from filming Avengers: Infinity WarEvans was watching the news. He heard an unknown acronym: NAFTA or maybe DACA. He searched Google for the term and found headlines that had multiple and competitive views. He clicked on the Wikipedia entry, but discovered that it was very long. “It’s an endless thing,” Evans told Arielle Pardes, “and you think, who’s going to read 12 pages about something?”
I don’t know, anyone who cares?
In any case, Evans was overwhelmed to realize that to answer his question, he might have to read for several minutes. Then he decided to solve his problem in the following more logical way: flying to Washington every six weeks, recording more than 1,000 videos of members of Congress and Democratic presidential candidates, and publishing them on a website he created with an actor friend and “the founder and CEO of a medical technology company called Masimo. “
And when all the videos are published, then what?
If Evans succeeded, he believed, this would not be a fry website. I would be helping to “create informed, responsible and empathic citizens.” “It would reduce partisanship and promote respectful discourse.” At the very least, “it would involve more people” in politics.
Of course, all of that assumes that people who will not read a Wikipedia entry will see videos instead. I would always prefer to read some sentences about an unknown topic than listen to a filibuster congressman about it until the camera turns off, but maybe you are a big fan of C-SPAN.
Still, there are some obvious problems with the creation of Evans. One, supposes that citizens can be better informed by listening directly to politicians. Certainly, politicians have a privileged point of view when it comes to some issues, mainly their own opinions. But on most issues, the middle member of Congress can only repeat what the staff and lobbyists told him in briefings. Suggesting that they have a monopoly on the truth is naive.
Two, A starting point assumes that you can reduce partisanship by exposing people to multiple points of view. In fact, the opposite is true. Human beings are resistant to facts, never more than when a fact contradicts a deep-rooted belief. Previous studies found a so-called “counterproductive effect” in which seeing an event contrary to your opinion would make you believe your opinion wrong. even more. Subsequent studies have had trouble replicating that finding, but at least it seems fair to say that changing people’s views is extremely difficult to do, especially with simple facts.
Finally, a starting point begins with the premise that voters are basically equal and differ mainly in the amount of information they have about candidates and issues. Actually, politics is tribal. As Ezra Klein explains in a book that will come out later this month, Americans are increasingly polarized around their identities, and partisan affiliation represents a large and growing portion of that identity. Therefore, the inclination to discard what the members of the opposite political party say without thinking, depending on what they represent.
I don’t want to criticize Evans too much here: there are worse ways of spending time than trying to increase participation in the political process. (For example, Evans ” Avengers co-star Chris Hemsworth has a subscription-based fitness application.) But if you’re worried about democracy, it’s probably better to join with existing civil society groups, activists and political scientists than do it alone. Defeating Thanos required the Avengers to work together with heroes even stronger than them. Captain America knew it. Too bad Evans doesn’t do it.
Today in the news that could affect the public perception of the great technological platforms.
Trend up: Facebook launched a new security feature that sends users a notification when their account is used to log in to a third-party application. It is both an additional layer of protection and a way for people to gain more control over their information.
⭐ The National Security Agency announced that it alerted Microsoft to a vulnerability in your Windows operating system, instead of following the agency’s typical approach to keeping silent and exploiting the flaw to develop cyber weapons. Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger in the New York Times Explain the significant change in the protocol:
The warning allowed Microsoft to develop a patch for the problem and gave the government an early start to address the vulnerability. In previous years, the National Security Agency has compiled all kinds of computer vulnerabilities to gain access to digital networks to collect information and generate piracy tools to use against US adversaries.
But that policy was heavily criticized in recent years when the agency lost control of some of those tools, which fell into the hands of cybercriminals and other malicious actors, including North Korean and Russian hackers.
By taking the credit for detecting a critical vulnerability and leading the call to update computer systems, the National Security Agency seemed to adopt a change in strategy and assumed an unusually public role for one of the most secret weapons of the US government. The measure shows the extent to which the agency was damaged by allegations that it caused hundreds of millions of dollars in preventable damages by allowing vulnerabilities to circulate.
The new California privacy law gives consumers the right to view and delete their data. But getting access often requires giving more personal details. (Kashmir Hill / The New York Times)
Network security giant Cloud flame He said he will provide his security services to US political campaigns for free. The measure is part of the company’s efforts to secure the upcoming elections against cyber attacks and electoral interference. (Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch)
The person in charge of creating and enforcing Twitter Rules is the main lawyer of the company, Vijaya Gadde. She says CEO Jack dorsey rarely influences individual application decisions. Oh well in that case! ((Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg)
Twitter discontinued Grindr from your ad network after a report revealed privacy concerns regarding how the application shared personal data with advertisers. (Garett Sloane / Ad Age)
Triumph He apparently prefers to tweet just because he doesn’t like to wear the reading glasses he needs to see his phone’s screen. (Matt Stieb / Intelligent)
⭐ Twitter CEO Jack dorsey He said the company will probably never release the edit button. In a video interview with Cabling, the executive crushed the idea that the function could be launched in 2020. The edgeJames Vincent explains:
[Dorsey] He points out that the service has advanced since then, but the company does not consider it worth a edit button. There are good reasons to edit tweets, he says, how to correct typographical errors and broken links, but also malicious applications, such as editing content to deceive people.
“So, these are all considerations,” says Dorsey. “But we probably never will.”
Twitter is preparing to launch anchored lists for Android. Now available on iOS, the feature allows users to create a list of topics or accounts and then pin them to the main feed. (Ben Schoon / 9To5Google)
Youtube launched a new feature called profile cards that shows a user’s public information and comment history. The function has been promoted as a way for creators to more easily identify their biggest fans by offering easy access to their previous comments. It is currently available on Android. (Sarah Perez / TechCrunch)
Youtube introduced filters in the subscriptions tab in your iOS application to help you decide what to see next. The filters, which include “not observed” and “continue watching”, will come to Android “in the future” (Jay Peters / The edge)
Now there is a tool to mute VC in Twitter. The website urges people to “silence the leadership and opinion topics of VC from their feed.”
Less investor tweets means less content to consume and more time to literally do anything else.
Reading the interface, for example.