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Media Bits and Bytes – February 6, 2024

From “Salt of the Earth” to “Barbie”

Poster promoting the theatrical premiere of the 1954 film Salt of the Earth. Credit, Independent Productions Co. / Wikimedia Commons
  1. Taylor Deepfakes
  2. Islamophobia in the Wall Street Journal
  3. Big Tech Backslide
  4. Hollywood Now… and Then
  5. How Joe Sacco’s Graphic Novel Broke the Silence
  6. Time to Focus on Info Literacy
  7. Gaza: Skewed News 
  8. Open Source AI?
  9. Red Menace/Yellow Peril: Sen. Cotton Baits TikTok CEO 
  10. Diversity and AI


Taylor Deepfakes

By Mathew Ingram
Columbia Journalism Review

Last week, fake pornographic images of singer Taylor Swift started spreading across X (formerly known as Twitter). X’s inability to stop the proliferation of Swift porn may have been caused in part by Elon Musk’s dismantling of the company’s trust and safety team, most of whom were fired after he acquired Twitter, in 2022.

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Islamophobia in the Wall Street Journal

By Shruti Rajkumar

The Wall Street Journal is facing outrage on social media over “Islamophobic” rhetoric in an opinion piece about a Michigan city. The op-ed referred to Dearborn — a suburb of Detroit with the largest Muslim population per capita in the U.S. — as “America’s Jihad Capital,” saying that people there “side with Hamas” amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Gaza-based militant group.

Big Tech Backslide

Free Press

We found that in 2023, the largest social-media companies have deprioritized content moderation and other user trust and safety protections, including rolling back platform policies that had reduced the presence of hate, harassment and lies on their networks. These companies have also laid off critical staff and teams tasked with maintaining platform integrity. 

Hollywood Now… and Then

How Joe Sacco’s Graphic Novel Broke the Silence

By Diba Mohtasham

When cartoonist Joe Sacco first published Palestine a little more than 30 years ago, most people were indifferent. The nonfiction graphic novel was part comic book, part memoir of his journeys through the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and nothing like it had ever really been published before. Today, the acclaimed graphic novel is considered a trailblazing work.

Time to Focus on Info Literacy

By Dijana Šobota
Equal Times

Today, information literacy is increasingly viewed not just as a set of skills for finding and using information, but also for evaluating it, i.e., enabling critical consciousness and ethical use of information. According to this understanding, information literacy is strongly linked to empowerment, social justice and civic activism, thus affirming its role and value in a broader social context.

Gaza: Skewed News

By Maximillian Alvarez
The Real News

Israel’s genocide in Gaza has undoubtedly become the most broadcasted atrocity in history. In spite of this, corporate news outlets have trafficked in coverage that all-too-often flouts a reality we can see before our eyes. This sort of unreliability evinces far more than a crisis of integrity in legacy media—it’s a sign of a deep political crisis that runs to the upper echelons of our system. 

Open Source AI?

By Kelsey Piper

There’s a whole cottage industry of advice about how to trick the AIs into ignoring their safeguards. But there’s a very straightforward way around all such protections: Take a model whose weights — its learnable parameters — have been released publicly, like Llama 2, and train it yourself to stop objecting to harmful or illegal content.

Red Menace/Yellow Peril: Sen. Cotton Baits TikTok CEO 


A day after TikTok CEO Shou Chew was questioned in the U.S. Senate, Singaporean social media users have called out the U.S. lawmaker for his questioning. A Singaporean, Shou Chew was repeatedly questioned by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton on his nationality and his links with China. Social media users accused Cotton of racism and poor understanding of Singapore.

Diversity and AI

By Jorge Calderon

As AI’s presence in our lives increases, so does the number of diverse founders leveraging it to develop positive, socially impactful services and products. Yet their voices and perspectives remain largely absent from policy discussions and decisions that will shape the future of AI and its influence on our society.