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This is a story that really cracks the vernier on Obama’s plastic smile. Underneath all that shiny new unspoiled politician lies the heart of… just another backbiting politician:

The Battle to Control Obama’s Myspace
By Micah L. Sifry, 05/01/2007 – 11:15pm
In November 2004, Joe Anthony, a paralegal living in Los Angeles, started a unofficial fan page for then-newly-elected Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) on MySpace.com. Inspired by Obama’s keynote address at that summer’s Democratic convention, Anthony had never been politically active before. “I was just blown away,” he told me. He put time into the site every day, answering emails from people wanting to “friend” the page, pointing them to voter registration information, and, once Obama threw his hat into the ring, telling them where to find out more detailed positions taken by the candidate.

By the time of Obama’s official campaign announcement in late January, Anthony’s Obama profile–which had the valuable url of myspace.com/barackobama–already had more than 30,000 friends, well more than the other contenders. Over the following weeks, it continued to grow at a rapid pace, generating lots of headlines about Obama winning the “MySpaceurl has only about 12,000. And it’s under new ownership. Joe Anthony, one of the super volunteers of the Connected Age, has lost control of the page he started to the professionals on Obama’s staff.

How all this happened is a complicated tale that is still unfolding, and none of the parties involved–Anthony, the Obama online team, and the MySpace political operation–emerge from this story unscathed. Speaking on background, Obama campaign staffers are spreading word that Anthony just wanted a “big payday.” Anthony in turn has posted a missive on his blog (that was originally sent to me as an email) accusing the Obama team of “bullying…[and] rotten and dishonest” behavior. However one parses those accusations (more below), the Obama campaign’s reputation as the most net-savvy of 2008 has taken a big hit. And MySpace executives have been forced to take extraordinary action to resolve a dispute between two high-profile users of their invaluable site, one a passionate volunteer with a huge network of friends and the other a frontrunning presidential candidate who has helped make MySpace a new factor in the 2008 contest.

primary.” Yesterday, the profile had just over 160,000 friends. Today, that This is more politics than tech, but it caught my attention, and I thought it deserved to be addressed:

Top Hamas official: Kill all Americans (Jerusalem Post)
Sheik Ahmad Bahr, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, declared during a Friday sermon at a Sudan mosque that America and Israel will be annihilated and called upon Allah to kill Jews and Americans “to the very Last One.”

In “Advancing-New-Media” news:

Give bloggers Capitol access

This is the first article in a weekly series, exclusively in The Hill, exploring the recommendations of the Sunlight Foundation’s Open House Project, which advocates online transparency in Congress.

Members of Congress are increasingly turning to bloggers as a way to communicate about public policy. Yet these citizen journalists who cover Congress lack what most mainstream reporters in Washington take for granted: access to the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Sunlight Foundation’s Open House Project, a collaborative and bipartisan effort to increase the House of Representatives’ online transparency, Congress can take several simple steps to improve transparency and foster a new spirit of openness. Giving bloggers credentials to cover Congress would be a groundbreaking way to shed light on the inner workings of government.

The debate over bloggers and online journalists on Capitol Hill isn’t a new one. In recent years, they’ve clashed with congressional press galleries as the Internet has grown in popularity and prominence.

And in what is probably the biggest tech/politics story of the day:

Digg Surrenders to Mob

To say what happened today on Digg was a “user revolt” is an understatement. The Digg team deleted a story that linked to the decryption key for HD DVDs after receiving a take down demand and all hell broke loose. More stories appeared and were deleted, and users posting the stor
ies were suspended.

That just got the Digg community fired up, and soon the entire Digg home page was filled with stories containing the decryption key. The users had taken control of the site, and unless Digg went into wholesale deletion mode and suspended a large portion of their users, there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop it.

Digg CEO Jay Adelson responded on the Digg blog earlier this afternoon but it was clear he did not yet understand the chaos that was coming. The post only added fuel to the fire. Just now, co-founder Kevin Rose posted yet again on the Digg blog, effectively capitulating to the mob’s demands: He says

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Until today, it seems, even Digg didn’t fully understand the power of its community to determine what is “news.” I think the community made their point crystal clear.

Vive La Revolution.

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