By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Adrian Fernandez Baumann

The real problem with Facebook; or, taking a stroll down Indian Dick Road

Facebook now allows you to post a link to a story in the Kansas Reflector that was critical of Facebook. I tested it a little while ago. As I wrote the other day, I assumed it was initially blocked not because of the actual content of the story. I offered one data point — a Johnny Cash lyric I posted a few years ago that got me in trouble, apparently because it makes reference to guns and murder. Here are two more.

First, the Reflector story that got blocked is about a climate-mitigation program called Hot Times in the Heartland. Whoa! Sounds like some kinky stuff going on in the wheat fields.

Second, one of the worst stories about Facebook censorship I’ve heard involved The Mendocino Voice. I wrote about it in our book, “What Works in Community News.” It seems that the Voice had used Facebook to pass along an important announcement from the sheriff’s office about a wildfire evacuation route. It got taken down, though it was quickly restored when the Voice howled. No explanation was ever offered, but Adrian Fernandez Baumann, the Voice’s co-founder, observed that the post included a reference to Indian Dick Road.

The real problem with Facebook — and other Meta products, like Instagram and Threads — is that Mark Zuckerberg and company refuse to invest a single penny beyond what is absolutely necessary to create a better product. Everything is automated, robo-censors control our lives, and complaining is only occasionally successful.

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A pioneering cooperatively owned media outlet turns off the lights

Update: Laura Hazard Owen has more — a lot more — at Nieman Lab. Pretty ugly stuff.

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The Devil Strip, a pioneering cooperatively owned magazine in Akron, Ohio, has closed its doors. More of an arts and culture outlet than a news organization, the operation has nevertheless stood as a successful example of an independent project owned by its employees and the community.

WKYC reports that the end came over the weekend — staff members were told on Friday that the money had run out, and on Monday they received layoff notices. The station adds:

Founded in 2014, The Devil Strip was a community-owned magazine that focused on music, arts, news, and culture in Akron. For as little as a dollar a month, readers had the opportunity to become members of the co-op. An investment of $330 allowed you to become a co-owner.

More from The Devil Strip’s Twitter account:

In March 2020, I spent a week in Northern California reporting on The Mendocino Voice, a for-profit news site that was converting to cooperative ownership. At that time the founders, publisher Kate Maxwell and editor Adrian Fernandez Baumann, told me that The Devil Strip was one of the projects they had studied.

I hope The Devil Strip might be able to reorganize and come back, though the tweet makes it sound like they’ve hit the end of the road. Founder Chris Horne has not tweeted about it except for a cryptic reference to a “sabbatical.” I’m sure he’ll have more to say soon.

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