Facebook starts 2G Tuesdays; SXSW’s troubles with gaming panels continue; and more.
Government openings: As the Open Government Partnership’s annual summit starts in Mexico City, Martin Tisne, the Omidyar Network’s director of policy for its government transparency initiative, argues that it’s not enough for governments to promise to be more open with their data: “Do we change the course of history with the mere existence of more data or because people access it, mobilize, and press for change?”
Related: In tandem with the summit, the White House released its third “Open Government National Action Plan,” which it says “both broadens and deepens efforts to help government become more open and more citizen-centered.”
A “We the People” petition on the White House website demanding that President Obama publicly affirm his support for strong encryption has received more than 100,000 signatures, which means it is due an official response, Jenna McLaughlin reports for The Intercept.
Conference call: With BuzzFeed and Vox Media both threatening to withdraw from SXSW Interactive unless two controversial panels are reinstated, the festival’s organizers are now considering an all-day event focused on combatting online harassment, Re/Code’s Noah Kulwin reports. The “Level Up” panel on overcoming harassment has already been reinstated.
If you want to go even deeper into the rabbit hole of abuse and disinformation that afflict just about everyone who tries to take on the GamerGate trolls, read Arthur Chu’s piece in the Daily Beast about how SXSW mishandled a panel on improving online culture that he was involved in proposing.
Life in Facebookistan: Facebook is giving its employees the “opportunity” to experience what using the company’s mobile app feels like to someone with a slow connection typical to the emerging markets the company is trying to conquer, Jillian D’Onfrio reports for Business Insider. The initiative, which is called “2G Tuesdays” and is supposed to “help close the ’empathy gap’” between Silicon Valley and emerging markets, works like this: “When a Facebook employee logs in to the app any Tuesday morning, they’ll see a prompt at the top of their News Feed asking whether they want to try out the slower connection for an hour. ‘For that next hour, their experience on Facebook will be very much like the experience that millions of people around the world have on Facebook on a 2G connection,’ Facebook engineering director Tom Alison says. “They’re going to see the places that we need to improve our product, but they’re also going to see the places where we have made a lot of progress.”
No word on whether Facebook employees will also be given the “opportunity” to take public transit to work instead of its private San Francisco shuttle bus service, or be offered the opportunity to buy their own food and do their own dry-cleaning.
This is civic tech: Loveland Technologies, the Detroit civic hacking company, has built a city-wide map in support of Angel’s Night, an annual effort to combat the spread of suspicious fires and arsons that take place around Halloween. The map highlights vacant structures that are in arson “hot spots” and those next to occupied homes deserving particular attention.
Civic start-up Give Lively, a new social enterprise dedicated to building technology that permits people to “give better” is seeking a senior engineer.
Writing for Philadelphia magazine, Hannah Sassman and Gretjen Clausing explain how Philadelphia could negotiate a much better deal with Comcast that would genuinely benefit the city’s poor, provides affordable internet to all, and expand technology education in all the city’s schools. The city’s franchise agreement with the giant Fortune 50 company is up for renewal.