Whatever happened to the Next Big Things?

In tech, this was the smartphone decade. In 2009, Symbian was still the dominant ‘smartphone’ OS, but 2010 saw the launch of the iPhone 4, the Samsung Galaxy S, and the Nexus One, and today Android and iOS boast four billion combined active devices. Today, smartphones and their apps are a mature market, not a […]

Instagram still doesn’t age-check kids. That must change.

Instagram dodges child safety laws. By not asking users their age upon signup, it can feign ignorance about how old they are. That way, it can’t be held liable for $40,000 per violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. The law bans online services from collecting personally identifiable information about kids under 13 without […]

Mass media vs. social media

In the waning years of the last millennium, at my university, one of the cause célèbres of the progressive left was a concept known as “Manufacturing Consent,” the title of a book and film, by and starring Noam Chomsky. Its central thesis was that U.S. mass media “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry […]

Facebook staff demand Zuckerberg limit lies in political ads

Submit campaign ads to fact checking, limit microtargeting, cap spending, observe silence periods or at least warn users. These are the solutions Facebook employees put forward in an open letter pleading with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company leadership to address misinformation in political ads. The letter, obtained by The New York Times’ Mike Isaac, insists […]

Why the Facebook News tab shouldn’t be trusted

Are we really doing this again? After the pivot to video. After Instant Articles. After news was deleted from the News Feed. Once more, Facebook dangles extra traffic, and journalism outlets leap through its hoop and into its cage. Tomorrow, Facebook will unveil its News tab [Update: Here’s the announcement and our coverage]. About 200 […]

Zuckerberg on Chinese censorship: Is that the internet we want?

China is exporting its social values, political ads are an important part of free expression and the definition of dangerous speech must be kept in check, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued today in a speech at Georgetown University. He criticized how American companies that do business with China were becoming influenced by the country’s values. […]

Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies.

Permitting falsehood in political advertising would work if we had a model democracy, but we don’t. Not only are candidates dishonest, but voters aren’t educated, and the media isn’t objective. And now, hyperlinks turn lies into donations and donations into louder lies. The checks don’t balance. What we face is a self-reinforcing disinformation dystopia. That’s […]

Zuckerberg misunderstands the huge threat of TikTok

“It’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in leaked audio of him describing TikTok during an all-hands meeting. But it’s not. TikTok represents a new form of social entertainment that’s vastly different from the lifelogging of Instagram where you can just take a selfie, show something […]

Facebook promises not to stop politicians’ lies & hate

Facebook confirms it won’t fact check politicians’ speech or block their content if it’s newsworthy even if it violates the site’s hate-speech rules or other policies. This cementing of its policy comes from Facebook’s head of global policy and communication Nick Clegg, who gave a speech today about Facebook’s plans to prevent interference in the […]