Wikileaks’ Collateral Murder and its implications

6 04 2010

It’s hard to discuss materials such as the recently leaked video of a U.S. Apache helicopter’s fatal strike against a group of Iraqis, including Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, both Reuters employees, without becoming completely intertwined with the multiplicity of political and social implications of the act itself. The video, titled “Collateral Murder,” had been buried by the Department of Defense since 2007, was leaked to Wikileaks.org, a site devoted entirely to anonymously releasing previously hidden information to the general public and published on Monday, to the immediate attention of the Internet.

Reuters had been unsuccessfully trying for years to gain access to the video and radio transmissions from the attack under the Freedom of Information Act, and now finds itself in the strange position of having to report on another news outlet discovering the truth about the death of its own employees.

Image courtesy of Wikileaks

The shortened version of the video already, at the time of this post, has nearly 1.3 million views. The unedited, 40-minute clip has more then 180,000 views. And though there’s plenty of debate in regard to the content of the video, the fact that it’s now so readily available gives further credence to the belief that greater Internet prevalence gives birth to greater dissemination of information, regardless of government secrecy. For the average citizen, it’s a harrowing look into the U.S.’s continued occupation of Iraq, one that, despite the black and white imagery, is more vivid and revealing than the vast majority of the media coverage over the past few years.

For man in the government and military, it’s an egregious breach of protocol. U.S. intelligence has a tenuous relationship with Wikileaks, punctuated by a March 18, 2008 document detailing the desire to shut the site down for national security purposes, released by Wikileaks on March 15, 2010. And for the established media, it’s a stark reminder that their reputation as gritty keepers of the truth, of investigative mavericks is on the line. Wikileaks, after all, displays a quote from The National on November 19, 2009, which says, “WikiLeaks has probably produced more scoops in its short life than the Washington Post has in the past 30 years.”

Both videos are embedded beneath the cut, along with several articles from the likes of The Atlantic, Kotaku and The New York Times examining the leak from several different angles.

– By Morgan Little, http://www.imaginingtheinternet.org

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Facebook continues making moves in the corporate direction

6 04 2010

Integration between large corporations and social media is continuing to increase, and it’s hard to imagine how everyone is keeping up. In light of new Facebook protocols and some insightful predictions from Mashable and the Wall Street Journal, it appears as if Facebook will be upping the integration ante once more.

Last Friday, Facebook debuted another controversial Site Governance law concerning privacy, which sparked some interesting conversations about third-party websites having access to the personal information of consenting users. Under the new offer, Facebook proposes to provide personal data to “pre-approved third-party websites and applications” unless a user chooses to opt out of that feature in their privacy settings.

Furthermore, Facebook may soon encourage users to “Like” brands. According to Peter Kafka of MediaMemo, people click “Like” twice as often they click “Become a Fan.” This is a problem for corporations trying to reach out to audiences through the Facebook platform. Most public relations strategies involving Facebook hinge on that one button click to “Become a Fan.” If users don’t engage this way, then companies cannot reach out through updates and campaigns because these targeted messages only go out to fans.

Will these minor governance modifications be the catalyst that will finally bring brands into the coveted social lives of Facebook users? Apple seems to think so. Earlier this week Apple created an application for their App Store. The App Store is now a Facebook fan page and it’s off to a momentous start, attracting over 120,000 fans in its first week. The page mimics the iTunes store to a T; the features tab even has an “App of the Week” and a Top 10 Chart.

Not only can this simple fan page generate major income for Apple, but it is also a great way to track customer feedback.  On the App Store’s wall there are dozens of new apps posted every day and hundreds of comments from Apple customers under each one. On the other hand, because these posts are in the Facebook medium, it is even harder to sift through the junk. Many posts on the page contain profanity and some posts are not even related to the subject. Some users already complain about how difficult it is to sift through the user comments in the digital Apple store, will the introduction of this App fan page just add to the noise? Or will it make purchasing an app a simpler decision?

Many large companies are struggling with this dilemma. Businesses know that decisions about their products are being made on locations on the Internet other than their corporate site, but they don’t know how to effectively harness this knowledge to their advantage. In the future it’s likely that we all can anticipate a greater corporate presence on Facebook and more customer-centric and interactive elements on corporate sites.

By Lianna Catino