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May I have a word about… testing times for Facebook, Google and co | Jonathan Bouquet 11 Nov 1:00am May I have a word about… testing times for Facebook, Google and co | Jonathan Bouquet
Things must really be getting tricky for the tech giants if they have to resort to terminating their staffLook, I know these are volatile times for the tech giants of
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Internet Platforms Censor Campaign Ads 5 Nov 7:41pm Internet Platforms Censor Campaign Ads
Rules on ‘inflammatory’ and ‘shocking’ content give Facebook and Twitter too much political power.
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Facebook, listen to your users and stop tolerating hatred | Carys Afoko 29 Oct 4:00am Facebook, listen to your users and stop tolerating hatred | Carys Afoko
The social media giant said sorry about Cambridge Analytica but is silent about sexual harassment If you read a newspaper or looked at a billboard this year you probably noticed a giant advert from Facebook saying “we’re sorry”. If you missed them don’t worry! The social media giant just received
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To regulate AI we need new laws, not just a code of ethics | Paul Chadwick 28 Oct 4:58pm To regulate AI we need new laws, not just a code of ethics | Paul Chadwick
Technology is becoming all-pervasive – global regulations must be created to avoid an unhealthy concentration of power in too few handsOn giant screens in the European parliament building in Brussels last week, the face of Mark Zuckerberg looked down on the world’s data protection and privacy commissioners assembled there for their annual conference. What he said was cautious and rather bland, but the imagery was potent: a young Big Brother issuing a tailored message to those who administer the laws of many lands. Zuckerberg did not take questions – a Facebook executive in the chamber did, after Zuckerberg faded from the screens into the green and sunny background of his distant locale. An actual dialogue with the controller of Facebook might have been illuminating. For example, does Facebook anticipate,
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The Guardian view on misinformation: a moral problem | Editorial 26 Oct 12:37pm The Guardian view on misinformation: a moral problem | Editorial
Those seeking to deceive politicians and the public know distraction works better than outright fraudMost of the recent worries over the spread of propaganda have concentrated on the use of social media: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all been
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Why I’m starting a revolt against poor, privatised bus services in Bristol | Frankie Langeland 23 Oct 10:11am Why I’m starting a revolt against poor, privatised bus services in Bristol | Frankie Langeland
As a new mother struggling to get her child to nursery I was so enraged I took to Facebook. Now hundreds of us are protestingI gave birth to my daughter in March, and I’ve begrudgingly had to place her in a nursery already because I have to work. The nursery is on the other side of Bristol to where I live. For more than a month now I’ve failed to drop her off on time because I’ve had to wait so long for a bus to turn up. The journey normally takes 45 minutes in the rush hour, but the waiting adds an extra 45 minutes (even though buses are supposed to run every 12 minutes). Getting her home in the evening has been even more of an ordeal. Night after night we couldn’t get back before her bedtime. At the end of the week, my baby had bags under her eyes and red pupils – the sign of a true commuter, but she’s only seven-months-old. The waits were so long I had to breastfeed her on the side of the road. I don’t mind breastfeeding in public, but I’d rather not be outside in the middle of October balancing my baby on my knee.
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The Guardian view on taming technology: it’s out of control | Editorial 21 Oct 1:02pm The Guardian view on taming technology: it’s out of control | Editorial
Technology’s power to manipulate minds and emotions may be too much for societyCan even a man with Nick Clegg’s record of unblemished political success rescue Facebook’s reputation? There is an awful symmetry in Sir Nick’s move from British politics to Facebook. In his earlier career, he stood for a posture of responsibility without power, of careless promises to which he was later held by an unforgiving electorate. In his new one there will be more of the same. Facebook too has a long record of cheap rhetoric about democracy and bringing people together – alongside a record of acting as a tool for destabilising democracies and in some cases for the encouragement of
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Whether to like Nick Clegg’s move to Facebook | Letters 21 Oct 11:50am Whether to like Nick Clegg’s move to Facebook | Letters
Clegg’s move to Facebook is mistimed, says
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If you’re on the side of democracy, Nick Clegg, why are you going to work for Facebook? | Carole Cadwalladr 21 Oct 1:00am If you’re on the side of democracy, Nick Clegg, why are you going to work for Facebook? | Carole Cadwalladr
When you take the Zuckerberg shilling, you’re leaving your principles behind you Dear Nick, congratulations on the
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I’m joining Facebook to build bridges between politics and tech | Nick Clegg 19 Oct 11:28am I’m joining Facebook to build bridges between politics and tech | Nick Clegg
It’s time we harnessed big tech to the cause of progress and optimism. I believe that Facebook can lead the wayNext week it will be
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Don’t let tech giants bury public service TV | Letters 15 Oct 1:00am Don’t let tech giants bury public service TV | Letters
Public service television shows must remain easy for audiences to find, say the heads of ITV, the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV and S4CThere is a global commercial battle going on to shape and influence what we watch, listen to or buy from the comfort of our homes. Whether it’s Amazon’s search results determining what we buy when we shop online, Facebook deciding which stories and posts we see on social media, or Google controlling the results when we search the internet, global technology firms are shaping our choices and our influences. Technological change is fundamentally changing the way people watch TV – superfast broadband delivers streaming services to the home through connected TVs and streaming sticks, 4G mobile allows people to watch on demand wherever they are, whenever they like. TV is no longer national, it’s global. For Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, television is increasingly the frontline in the battle for global influence.
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Editors have normalised hate, from Rod Liddle to Katie Hopkins | Suzanne Moore 17 Sep 1:03pm Editors have normalised hate, from Rod Liddle to Katie Hopkins | Suzanne Moore
The publication of racist views is now permissible – and the print media is to blame In 2010, I started a campaign against Rod Liddle becoming editor of the Independent as it was rumoured he would. When I say campaign, I mean that I joked on Facebook that I should be the editor, not him. People took it seriously as though there were a remote possibility of this when everyone knows I am allergic to offices, don’t believe in meetings longer than 10 minutes and am the world’s crappest schmoozer. My credentials were simply that I loved that paper and did not want it edited by a racist
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Dwarf wrestling mocks my son’s disability – are we back in the Victorian era? | Lisa Sumner 17 Sep 9:13am Dwarf wrestling mocks my son’s disability – are we back in the Victorian era? | Lisa Sumner
The Dwarfanators show perpetuates stereotypes. How can it be considered acceptable to laugh at achondroplasia? October is dwarfism awareness month, when the restricted-growth community and their families spread awareness of their condition around the world. So, as the mother of a little boy diagnosed with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, you can imagine my shock when I saw a Facebook advert for “midget wrestling” touring the UK this autumn. A week or so ago, I was made aware that the Dwarfanators are coming from the US to tour UK venues. I cried as I read the webpage advertising the show and felt it perpetuated the stereotype that people with dwarfism are only on this planet to provide entertainment for an average-height audience.
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Take it from the insiders: Silicon Valley is eating your soul | John Harris 1 Jan 1:00am Take it from the insiders: Silicon Valley is eating your soul | John Harris
Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen? One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat. If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning:
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Bitcoin is a bubble, but the technology behind it could transform the world | Will Hutton 23 Dec 2017, 7:05pm Bitcoin is a bubble, but the technology behind it could transform the world | Will Hutton
Blockchain poses as big a threat to banks as Facebook and Amazon did to conventional media firmsHumanity’s earliest, truly transformative general purpose technologies were the ability to cross-fertilise plants and cross-breed animals. Suddenly, it made more sense to farm than to hunt and gather. The surge in agricultural output meant humans could do other things than worry about survival; they could live in cities. Human civilisation began. The story of the subsequent millennia has been how some 30 general-purpose technologies of equal power, ranging from the printing press to the steam engine, have driven similar leaps in transforming our economy, our lives and our civilisation. Today, we are living through another.
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The Google-Facebook Duopoly Threatens Diversity of Thought 18 Dec 2017, 7:15pm The Google-Facebook Duopoly Threatens Diversity of Thought
A political website pulled an article after Google’s AdSense team threatened to withdraw advertising.
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9 Dec 2017, 7:05pm As corporate goliaths grow ever larger, Britain looks increasingly exposed | Will Hutton
A handful of companies now wields massive global power. Outside the EU, we will be their preyWe live in a world of corporate goliaths and the trend to gigantism is accelerating. The new era of hi-tech data capitalism has an embedded proclivity to monopoly. The bigger the network, whether Facebook or Google, the more valuable it is to be connected. Big is good in the digital universe, while even bigger is better. Meanwhile, analogue capitalism, confronted by the challenge of the new, is reacting by consolidating and merging into ever larger entities. Unless they do, comes the reply to any challenge from national competition authorities, they won’t have the heft and scale to meet the new competition. Increasingly, we are surrounded by the most awesome concentration of corporate power in the history of capitalism. In every industry, reported the Obama administration last year, the
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Jeremy Hunt is right. Please, Facebook, leave our kids alone | Gaby Hinsliff 8 Dec 2017, 1:00am Jeremy Hunt is right. Please, Facebook, leave our kids alone | Gaby Hinsliff
The company has just launched Messenger Kids in the US. We may be smartphone addicts, but that doesn’t mean we want our kids to get hooked tooRemember candy cigarettes? They were a
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Do we really want Mark Zuckerberg to run the world? | John Harris 27 Nov 2017, 1:00am Do we really want Mark Zuckerberg to run the world? | John Harris
The Facebook chief executive doesn’t need to become US president. He is already way too powerful for thatThe question is almost a year old, and not currently being asked in quite the feverish way it was over the summer. But let’s try it again: could Mark Zuckerberg run for US president? The founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook began 2017 by announcing
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No trolling, no threats, no swearing: the Manhattan mothers’ very civil war | Emma Brockes 23 Nov 2017, 12:25pm No trolling, no threats, no swearing: the Manhattan mothers’ very civil war | Emma Brockes
The Mommas Facebook group was shut down after endless online fights, but their impeccable debating standards are a lesson to us allSomething exciting happened in the world of online mothers’ forums this week, and it wasn’t a list of 10 new ways to spy on your nanny. In Britain there is
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WhatsApp: inside the secret world of group chat 12 Nov 2017, 3:00am WhatsApp: inside the secret world of group chat
When WhatsApp launched it quickly became the main messaging service for groups of friends and family. More recently it’s become a useful platform for activists and politicians, fuelling a ‘whisper network’ of alliances and playing a crucial role in the recent revelation of the sexual abuse scandal If Jan Koum and Brian Acton hadn’t been turned down for jobs at Facebook, the lives of a billion or so people around the world might look somewhat different today. Their failure to get hired, however, left the two former Yahoo! employees with enough time on their hands to play around with an idea. And eight years ago, that idea became
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How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy | Roger McNamee 11 Nov 2017, 4:00am How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy | Roger McNamee
The sad truth is that Facebook and Google have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. And this has come at a cost to our health In an interview this week with Axios, Facebook’s original president, Sean Parker, admitted that the company intentionally sought to addict users and expressed regret at the damage being inflicted on children. This admission, by one of the architects of Facebook, comes on the heels of last week’s hearings by Congressional committees about Russian interference in the 2016 election, where the general counsels of Facebook, Alphabet (parent of Google and YouTube), and Twitter attempted to deflect responsibility for manipulation of their platforms.
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Social Media Is the Trump of Industries 3 Nov 2017, 6:14pm Social Media Is the Trump of Industries
Don’t like Twitter, Google and Facebook? Tar them with the Russia brush.
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How to stop Google and Facebook from becoming even more powerful | Barry Lynn and Matt Stoller 2 Nov 2017, 6:00am How to stop Google and Facebook from becoming even more powerful | Barry Lynn and Matt Stoller
Banning these tech giants from buying any more companies would prevent them from entrenching their monopoly position – and help protect our freedom
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We are all angry on social media – at least try to listen to the rage of others | Zoe Williams 9 Oct 2017, 1:00am We are all angry on social media – at least try to listen to the rage of others | Zoe Williams
Far from expanding democracy, Facebook and Twitter polarise it. But conflict in our public discourse predates Silicon Valley, and has always inspired changeSeveral years ago I was on Facebook, looking for a thing – way outside my own networks, wandering around strangers’ pages like unfamiliar streets on the other side of my city. I was looking for the kind of person who would poison a dog at a dog show, which had apparently happened in Belgium. Two years later,
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My son deleted Instagram – but why is it so hard for so many teenagers? | Stephanie Merritt 6 Oct 2017, 7:57am My son deleted Instagram – but why is it so hard for so many teenagers? | Stephanie Merritt
Schools and parents need a greater awareness that our children want to be less dependent on social media and their online life Last November, after the US presidential election, I stopped using Facebook in a fit of moral high dudgeon over the by now familiar claims that it had spread and profited from inflammatory
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If journalists take sides, who will speak truth to power? | John Harris 6 Oct 2017, 1:00am If journalists take sides, who will speak truth to power? | John Harris
The idea that those who seek to hold the mighty to account should be activists is a very dangerous oneSince the Labour party conference roared to its triumphant close just over a week ago, a 90-second video has been punted around Twitter and Facebook featuring the indomitable MP-cum-national treasure Dennis Skinner. On YouTube,
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How smearing a student’s reputation was irresistible for the media | Nick Cohen 25 Sep 2017, 6:28am How smearing a student’s reputation was irresistible for the media | Nick Cohen
Many news organisations published Robbie Travers’ claims to have been victim of a PC stitch-up. If only they had dug a little deeper into the murky racial politics behind the story On 12 May, Robbie Travers sent Esme Allman, a fellow student at Edinburgh University, a Facebook message. “Hey Esme, just to let you know multiple news agencies have been delivered [sic] your comments on calling black men trash. You might want to think about saying that in future, some have been linked it [sic] to neo-Nazism.”
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The Australian government responds to Rohingya crisis – with emojis and cash! | First Dog on the Moon 20 Sep 2017, 3:35am The Australian government responds to Rohingya crisis – with emojis and cash! | First Dog on the Moon
What? Genocide? Really? How awful, is there a GoFundMe or a Facebook page?
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If Mark Zuckerberg runs for president, will Facebook help him win? | Katherine Haenschen 9 Sep 2017, 6:00am If Mark Zuckerberg runs for president, will Facebook help him win? | Katherine Haenschen
Facebook can shift elections. That’s why, with rumors swirling that the social media CEO might run, transparency is needed now more than ever Despite his protestations to the contrary, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been acting like someone planning to
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We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon. Here’s why | Nick Srnicek 30 Aug 2017, 1:00am We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon. Here’s why | Nick Srnicek
A crisis is looming. These monopoly platforms hoovering up our data have no competition: they’re too big to serve the public interest For the briefest moment in March 2014, Facebook’s dominance looked under threat.
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Thank you, Sinéad O’Connor, for showing the messy reality of mental illness | Paris Lees 9 Aug 2017, 7:50am Thank you, Sinéad O’Connor, for showing the messy reality of mental illness | Paris Lees
People tend to only talk about their mental health struggles after the event. The Irish singer’s Facebook video is difficult to watch, but vitally importantThree cheers for
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The right to be forgotten is the right to have an imperfect past | Suzanne Moore 7 Aug 2017, 8:04am The right to be forgotten is the right to have an imperfect past | Suzanne Moore
The data protection bill is about refusing to give ownership of our identity to the likes of Facebook and Google – because we all make mistakes when youngRecently, on a crowded bus, I saw a woman struggling with a toddler in full tantrum mode. The little child was sobbing and screaming “What is my password? What is my password” over and over again. The child’s mother could do nothing but shush her. Did this child have a password? Did the mother know it? We all hoped so. Anything to stop the meltdown.
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Going back to Facebook after four years is a sad and scary experience | Hannah Jane Parkinson 30 Jul 2017, 2:00am Going back to Facebook after four years is a sad and scary experience | Hannah Jane Parkinson
You can’t beat the site’s global reach, but the dullness of the news feed is something that’s easy to leave behind Four years ago this month, I made a decision that has altered my life considerably. I left Facebook. I peeled away from
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The Guardian view on the future of crime: it will be online | Editorial 19 Jul 2017, 12:19pm The Guardian view on the future of crime: it will be online | Editorial
The dangers of machine intelligence will grow as it spreads. We need to prepare nowWhen software gets smarter, the first effect is to empower the already powerful. The fantastic powers available now to Google and Facebook, which are now in practice the publishers of most of what appears on the public internet, is one example. More sinister is the power of nation states to spy on us, to manipulate their own citizens, and to disrupt the workings of their enemies. But these advantages cannot last. Soon they have to be reinforced by law, and ultimately force, as the techniques behind them spread and hardware grows cheaper and more plentiful. The speed of technological progress, and the ease with which ideas can now spread, mean that few techniques can long remain the preserve of large firms or entities. Every advance in power and convenience available to the ordinary consumer will soon be available to criminals too. Illegal commerce, whether in drugs, forged documents, stolen credit cards or emails, is nearly as slick and well organised as the legal sort. So are the criminal world’s labour exchanges: hiring someone to hack a website, or to boost your Twitter account with fake followers, is easily done. So is renting a botnet of suborned devices to knock an enemy’s website off the net. Last year large chunks of the consumer internet in the US were knocked out for hours, apparently by an assault
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Hate-filled abuse is poisoning Britain. I fought it, and ask you to do the same | Gina Miller 12 Jul 2017, 12:48pm Hate-filled abuse is poisoning Britain. I fought it, and ask you to do the same | Gina Miller
The 4th Viscount St Davids made vile threats to my life on Facebook and will pay the price. But this is part of a wider problem that needs an urgent solution
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Mark Zuckerberg’s got some cheek, advocating a universal basic income | Sonia Sodha 10 Jul 2017, 5:00am Mark Zuckerberg’s got some cheek, advocating a universal basic income | Sonia Sodha
It is a bit rich for Facebook’s CEO to back the idea of people living on a meagre state handout while his company does everything it can to minimise its tax bill
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How Antitrust Undermines Press Freedom 9 Jul 2017, 7:28pm How Antitrust Undermines Press Freedom
Facebook and Google dominate online ads, and news companies can’t join forces to compete.
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Mark Zuckerberg, the Church of Facebook can never be. Here’s why | Peter Ormerod 29 Jun 2017, 8:31am Mark Zuckerberg, the Church of Facebook can never be. Here’s why | Peter Ormerod
A good church is so much more than just a social network. And, crucially, it tells us that we are not at the centre of the worldYou can see why Mark Zuckerberg might be getting a God complex. Facebook now has
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The Guardian view on online politics: bring the ads into the light | Editorial 12 Jun 2017, 1:58pm The Guardian view on online politics: bring the ads into the light | Editorial
Facebook makes it easy to target very small sections of the electorate. The rest of us should be able to see these messagesElection campaigns should be fought in the open. Voters should freely make up their minds on the basis of arguments openly presented. This is a principle fundamental to the workings of democracy; but some forms of online advertising threaten to subvert it. In particular, micro-targeted advertising where the message is only seen by a carefully selected audience makes it too easy for politicians to make incompatible promises to different audiences, without anyone being able to check and correlate all of their messages. More worrying still is the claim that it aids the production of carefully targeted voter suppression ads, designed not to persuade people to vote for one party, but not to vote at all. By their nature these claims are hard to check. Despite the excellent work being done by groups such as
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Facebook needs to be more open about its effect on democracy | John Gallacher and Monica Kaminska 12 Jun 2017, 9:46am Facebook needs to be more open about its effect on democracy | John Gallacher and Monica Kaminska
Social media plays a huge role in elections. But while Twitter allows access to its data, Facebook’s secrecy means the extent of its influence may never be knownFacebook and Twitter fast became major electoral battlegrounds in the 2017 general election. It is here that campaigns had the potential to be won or lost. Young voters in particular
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On Facebook, even Harvard students can’t be too paranoid | Tim Dowling 6 Jun 2017, 3:37pm On Facebook, even Harvard students can’t be too paranoid | Tim Dowling
Now computers spy on us and typing speeds betray emotions, it’s touching that the smartest students in the land still think they can offend in privateThe other day I noticed that the little green light next to the camera built into my computer screen was on. It’s perfectly possible that I had recently used some app that required the camera, and forgotten about it; but I couldn’t find a way to turn it off. It’s unlikely anyone was really watching me pretend to work, but my computer definitely was.
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‘Blame the internet’ is just not a good enough response, Theresa May | Charles Arthur 4 Jun 2017, 11:03am ‘Blame the internet’ is just not a good enough response, Theresa May | Charles Arthur
After London Bridge the prime minister has wheeled out the usual scapegoat, and demanded controls on cyberspace – but that would open a Pandora’s boxWe can feel pretty certain that the London Bridge attackers did the following things: owned smartphones; and used Google, YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. That isn’t because owning those things and using those services marks you out as a terrorist: it’s because it marks you out as someone living in the west in the 21st century. The problem, as those companies (actually only two: Google owns YouTube, and Facebook owns WhatsApp) are discovering, is that politicians aren’t too picky about the distinction. Speaking outside 10 Downing St this morning, Theresa May was much more aggressive in her tone than previously. The London Bridge attack had its roots in Islamic extremism, she observed: “We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services, provide.” She continued: “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.”
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Theresa May wants to tackle online extremism. Here’s how to do it | Charles Arthur 26 May 2017, 9:08am Theresa May wants to tackle online extremism. Here’s how to do it | Charles Arthur
After the Manchester attack, there are fresh calls for regulation of Facebook and Google. But what’s needed, specifically, is a rethink of profit-seeking algorithmsSomething must be done. Particularly, something must be done about Facebook and YouTube (and to a lesser extent Twitter). That has become the reflexive rallying cry of UK ministers whenever there is a terrorist attack, or when one is thwarted.
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Are journalists prying too far into grief? | Jane Martinson 25 May 2017, 12:02pm Are journalists prying too far into grief? | Jane Martinson
Media treatment of tragedies such as the Manchester attack is in the spotlight. The industry must remember its reponsibility to the people whose stories it tells Emma’s mother heard that her daughter had been caught up in a terrorist attack from the Sun newspaper while Emma (not her real name) was still in shock, a long way away, with a disconnected phone and her Facebook account hacked.
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Facebook is too lenient on those peddling hate speech | Jessica Valenti 24 May 2017, 7:38am Facebook is too lenient on those peddling hate speech | Jessica Valenti
The social media giant too often gives the benefit of the doubt to disseminators of misogyny and white supremacism. That’s a dangerous – and unnecessary – policy There’s a quote from Maya Angelou that I’m fond of: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” It’s a sentiment I think about quite a lot when I’m
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The Guardian view on moderating Facebook: we need to talk | Editorial 22 May 2017, 2:55pm The Guardian view on moderating Facebook: we need to talk | Editorial
Should Facebook be policed as a public space or a private one? We need a wide-ranging debate on this giant company’s responsibilitiesFacebook became one of the largest media companies in the world by positioning itself as not a media company at all. That way it could not be held to the same kind of legal responsibilities as its competitors were. Instead it was, and remains, largely free to set its own editorial standards. As our
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Facebook generates massive profits – it can afford to protect the public | Suzanne Moore 22 May 2017, 9:40am Facebook generates massive profits – it can afford to protect the public | Suzanne Moore
The Guardian’s Facebook Files series has exposed the confused set of guidelines that underpin its moderation of images of suicide and non-sexual child abuseWhen Mark Zuckerberg
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Wake up! Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are running our lives | Hannah Jane Parkinson 12 May 2017, 6:33am Wake up! Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are running our lives | Hannah Jane Parkinson
We need to take these tech giants to task. They must acknowledge their influence and become truly accountable for their actions Let’s say you woke up this morning and after stopping your alarm clock, asked it to play some get-up-and-go music. You go to make breakfast and see that you’re out of butter, but it doesn’t matter,
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With its bedrock smashed to pieces, Labour cannot win | Aditya Chakrabortty 9 May 2017, 12:45am With its bedrock smashed to pieces, Labour cannot win | Aditya Chakrabortty
Despite Welsh industry’s tragic decline, the party took the region for granted. If the Tories win here, that’s whyTwo elections are being fought this month. Let’s call the first the official election. It’s the one you watch on the television, read about in the papers, see as a meme on Facebook. It’s the kind that leaps on the weekend’s local polling and proclaims it a disaster for Jeremy Corbyn. That serves up a hot take on any policy, no matter how trivial (four more bank holidays) or unachievable (
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2 May 2017, 8:18pm Updated Facebook and Diversity
How far is Sheryl Sandberg’s company leaning in?
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Who Watches a Murder Streamed Live on Facebook? 26 Apr 2017, 7:08am Updated Who Watches a Murder Streamed Live on Facebook?
Robert Godwin’s killing was replayed 1.6 million times. AI can help, but not with human nature.
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How Facebook became a home to psychopaths | John Naughton 23 Apr 2017, 2:00am How Facebook became a home to psychopaths | John Naughton
The man who shot dead an innocent 74-year-old, then posted his confession on Facebook Live, points up a worrying trend on social media The old adage “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. A while back, Facebook launched
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Fake News and the Digital Duopoly 4 Apr 2017, 7:11pm Updated Fake News and the Digital Duopoly
Google and Facebook have created a dysfunctional and socially destructive information ecosystem.
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1 Apr 2017, 7:05pm Society will be defined by how we deal with tech giants | Martin Moore
Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are taking more control of our lives. Will post-Brexit Britain let it continue?As Brexit begins and the government starts the laborious process of cutting and pasting the repeal bill, what should Britain do about the tech giants? There is a fissure growing between European and US attitudes towards these global super-platforms – “the Gafa” as Brussels calls them (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) – and the UK will soon need to decide on which side it sits. Will we continue to let these corporations and their services grow unchecked? Will we try to challenge their dominance and impose obligations on them? Or will we “take back control” and find a third way? The approach we take to Google, Facebook and their Silicon Valley peers will affect us all. Who can honestly say that they go through a day without using one of these companies’ services? We wake to their alarms on our phones; we check our emails on their platforms; we do our shopping on their browsers; we navigate by their maps; they host our virtual identities.
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30 Mar 2017, 9:26am No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there | Rutger Bregman
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dryThis piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state.
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Are we finally reacting to the disruptive supremacy of Facebook and Google? | Will Hutton 25 Mar 2017, 8:05pm Are we finally reacting to the disruptive supremacy of Facebook and Google? | Will Hutton
Germany challenges Facebook on personal data, Google agrees to police its ads: are these landmark events?
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Facebook needs news. So why shouldn’t it pay for it? 19 Mar 2017, 3:00am Facebook needs news. So why shouldn’t it pay for it?
Advertising is falling. Paywalls push readers away. But a big endowment from the tech moguls, to be shared among all papers, could work in everyone’s interestsOne basic truth is stark enough as newsrooms around Britain – and around the world – contract or close. The advertising money that used to underpin journalism isn’t there any longer. It is going, going, gone … into the maw of the internet in general, but Facebook and Google in particular. And without that revenue, journalism itself is at risk. Two expert writers in the current
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Whether trans or cis, let women be what they want to be | Gaby Hinsliff 9 Mar 2017, 3:09pm Whether trans or cis, let women be what they want to be | Gaby Hinsliff
Jenni Murray has fallen into a familiar trap. As a gender, we restrict ourselves with artificial definitions – there are many ways to be feminineWhen you’re on the phone, do you talk most of the time or listen? If you have a technical problem, do you ask advice, or try and fix it yourself? According to a quiz doing the rounds on Facebook, the answers to these and eight more questions predict age and gender with astonishing accuracy. So obviously I took the quiz, and back came the astonishingly accurate verdict: I am a 15-year-old boy. Rumbled, obviously. But then again, perhaps it’s just a clever parody designed to make a point about the crumbling of old certainties. So much for all that
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Instagram is my haven from rage-filled social media | Rebecca Nicholson 7 Mar 2017, 11:24am Instagram is my haven from rage-filled social media | Rebecca Nicholson
The photo-sharing site still offers moments of kindness – and we all need a slice of rainbow cake once in a while Like many people, I have had the moment where I have turned my back on Facebook. I’ve given up on being so connected, frustrated at how difficult it is to sit through anything without the unthinking reflex of a diversionary scroll through what people I have met at parties or old jobs are up to. But in the past, my freedom from Facebook has only ever lasted for a few weeks. I’ve always been back, digital tail between my legs, tentatively liking a status update about something funny my nephew has done. This time, however, I’ve cracked it. It was almost inadvertent. Tired of my phone constantly running out of space for very important photos of my dog, I read a memory-saving recommendation that suggested deleting the hefty Facebook app. It was the clean break that I needed. Now, I check it, on my laptop, once or twice a day. I no longer get notifications. I don’t spend hours scrolling all the way down, because on the browser, it’s too easy to accidentally like a holiday snap from a schoolfriend you haven’t spoken to since 2001, and that is as creepy as it is mortifying.
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Trump’s Sweden tweets expose the essential problem with social media | Suzanne Moore 20 Feb 2017, 8:03am Trump’s Sweden tweets expose the essential problem with social media | Suzanne Moore
The fantasy of a democratised communication has given way to all kinds of abuse, including misogyny and death threats – and trolling by Donald TrumpI like to go on Facebook and moan to friends about how awful Twitter is these days. There is neither rhyme nor reason on Twitter; just a lot of shouting by folk in a semi-aroused state of permanent outrage. Then there are the trolls – some of them “journalists” – roaming the Twitter plains for a reaction, and usually getting get it. Many of these are people with posh names, liberal-baiting sayers of the unsayable – the “unsayable” generally just being routine racism, sexism and idiocy. Attention is their choice of lubricant, and we really should not provide it. Then of course there is Donald Trump, who while tweeting on the toilet gives us direct access to his … brain? Policies? Night terrors? Or maybe he’s just devoted to giving us the pure stuff that the media would inevitably lie about.
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The Observer view on Mark Zuckerberg | Observer editorial 18 Feb 2017, 7:05pm The Observer view on Mark Zuckerberg | Observer editorial
His Facebook vision is anything but benign‘Are we building the world we want?” Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire CEO of Facebook, asked last week in a 5,700-word post that was quickly dubbed a “manifesto”. He used it to launch a strident defence of globalisation, striking a discordant note with the populism of contemporary political debate, and to set out his vision for the role he believes Facebook should play in creating a better world. While Zuckerberg appears to acknowledge some of the criticism that has been levelled at an increasingly powerful Facebook in recent years, it would be wrong to be lulled into a false sense of security by his reassuringly benign tones. In his post, he signals a shift in Facebook’s mission, historically focused on giving people the power to share and connect. On Friday, Zuckerberg wrote “the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us”.
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Mark Zuckerberg rules his empire but politics is another country | Anne McElvoy 17 Feb 2017, 2:22pm Mark Zuckerberg rules his empire but politics is another country | Anne McElvoy
The Facebook founder could yet lead other tech titans into the arena of public life. But they would need a whole new set of skillsAbraham Lincoln took under 300 words to deliver the
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What Facebook and Instagram’s censorship of my Tillmans post says about our fear of offending | Emma Blau 17 Feb 2017, 7:28am What Facebook and Instagram’s censorship of my Tillmans post says about our fear of offending | Emma Blau
My picture of an intimate piece was removed. But I’m uncomfortable with the idea that we have an intrinsic right to be comfortable at all timesI was delighted to attend the private view of Wolfgang Tillmans’ mid-career show
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Is technology smart enough to fix the fake news frenzy? | John Naughton 4 Feb 2017, 1:00pm Is technology smart enough to fix the fake news frenzy? | John Naughton
As we drown in misinformation, we’re looking to the tech giants to hit the truth button. If only it were that easyThe debate about “fake news” and the “post-truth” society we now supposedly inhabit has become the epistemological version of a feeding frenzy: so much heat, so little light. Two things about it are particularly infuriating. The first is the implicit assumption that “truth” is somehow a straightforward thing and our problem is that we just can’t be bothered any more to find it. The second is the failure to appreciate that the profitability, if not the entire business model, of both Google and Facebook depends critically on them not taking responsibility for what passes through their servers. So hoping that these companies will somehow fix the problem is like persuading turkeys to look forward to Christmas. What we learned in 2016 was the depth of the hole that digital technology has enabled us to dig for ourselves. We’re now in so deep that we can barely see out of it. Liberal democracy could be facing an existential threat, for it’s not clear that it can endure if its public sphere becomes completely polluted by falsehoods, misapprehensions, ignorance, prejudice, conspiracy theories and hatred.
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Nigel Farage on Loose Women showed the problem of our political bubbles | Iman Amrani 3 Feb 2017, 10:38am Nigel Farage on Loose Women showed the problem of our political bubbles | Iman Amrani
Watching the former Ukip leader on TV was a wake-up call to me. With divisions between groups widening, it’s essential we move out of our comfort zonesI don’t fit into the Loose Women demographic. I’m at work when it is on and when I’m not I select what I want to catch up with online, which is usually EastEnders or whatever I can find on Netflix. It’s one of the many shows which usually sits outside of my bubble. So if I hadn’t seen a link shared by a friend on Facebook to
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The fightback against Trump starts with Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech | Suzanne Moore 9 Jan 2017, 7:58am The fightback against Trump starts with Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech | Suzanne Moore
The thin-skinned president-elect craves approval. Now’s the time for some star power to challenge his egoThere is a Facebook group called
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Can Mark Zuckerberg Find Enlightenment? 5 Jan 2017, 7:04pm Can Mark Zuckerberg Find Enlightenment?
Facebook shareholders could benefit if the company’s CEO takes up Buddhism.
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Smartphones are stealing our time. This new year, I want to claim it back | Marcus Gilroy-Ware 29 Dec 2016, 7:30am Smartphones are stealing our time. This new year, I want to claim it back | Marcus Gilroy-Ware
Apps offer an enticing temporary escape, but my resolution for 2017 is to swap Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for facing real life head onI sit with a friend having some seasonal drinks. The second she gets up to go to the toilet, I catch myself reaching for my smartphone. But instead of taking it out and idly filling the two minutes she’s gone, I flip the switch on the side to silent and look around the room instead. I’m practising for 2017. On the face of it, smartphones might seem like hard things to hate. On average, smartphone owners use them for over
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Never mind Russia – it’s the internet’s culture of lies we should be tackling | Simon Jenkins 16 Dec 2016, 6:35am Never mind Russia – it’s the internet’s culture of lies we should be tackling | Simon Jenkins
With the digital air thick with mendacity, and cyber-conflict on the rise, it’s clear that the Google/Facebook duopoly badly needs some kind of external controlEveryone can lie. That is the agony and the ecstasy of the internet. It is guilt-free, open-season, licensed mendacity. You can forget the glory days when it was the empire of the weak, the kingdom of the free. It is like capitalism in the 19th century. It is raw, unfettered, unreliable power. We are right to fear it.
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With Trump and Uber, the driverless future could turn into a nightmare | John Harris 16 Dec 2016, 1:00am With Trump and Uber, the driverless future could turn into a nightmare | John Harris
The automation revolution is no longer a sci-fi dream – but millions of jobs may go, fuelling yet more alienation and dismayThe future is here – not in the shape of Facebook, Twitter and all the rest, but in a drastic change to one of civilisation’s basic requirements: getting humans from place to place. On Wednesday, Uber added a second American city to an experiment that will soon expand: having already
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Facebook an antidote to mainstream media | Letters 12 Dec 2016, 2:47pm Facebook an antidote to mainstream media | Letters
I read John Harris’s article (
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How to Beat the Scourge of Fake News 11 Dec 2016, 4:21pm How to Beat the Scourge of Fake News
Facebook and Google can’t do it alone. Better educating consumers is crucial.
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The worst of Brexit: cheese after dessert | Brief letters 9 Dec 2016, 2:09pm The worst of Brexit: cheese after dessert | Brief letters
Boris Johnson | Momentum | Cheap EU labour | Four-course confusion | Christmas presents | Pioneering Letchworth | Peter VaughanI am nearly 92, half-blind and not on Facebook, nor do I tweet or twitter and am not a member of the ruling class. But I want somehow to express my astonishment and delight that a senior politician (and a Tory at that!) should at last have spoken the truth about our relations with Saudi Arabia and other “puppeteers” of that region (
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A challenge to Facebook’s reach and power is long overdue | John Harris 8 Dec 2016, 2:44pm A challenge to Facebook’s reach and power is long overdue | John Harris
Mark Zuckerberg’s company feeds utopian delusions, but in reality it is just a billionaire’s media outlet grinding out a fortune“As I look around and I travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others.”
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The pedlars of fake news are corroding democracy | Andrew Smith 25 Nov 2016, 2:34pm The pedlars of fake news are corroding democracy | Andrew Smith
If most adults get their news from Facebook we need laws to make the social networks accountableThe most interesting question about 2016 is not why the Brexit result and Trump happened, but whether historians will regard both as incidental; whether this will go down as the year democracy revealed itself unworkable in the age of the internet – in which
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23 Nov 2016, 2:57pm Condemning ‘Fake News,’ but Running Fake-News Ads
Facebook and Google are under fire for spreading fake news, but given some of the ads it runs, The Times should take a good look at its own house.
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Don’t fall for the new hopelessness. We still have the power to bring change 23 Nov 2016, 1:49pm Don’t fall for the new hopelessness. We still have the power to bring change
The left’s response to Trump and Brexit feels like a surrender to the cycle of history. But nothing is a foregone conclusion A friend posts a picture of a baby. A beautiful baby. A child is brought into the world, this world, and I like it on Facebook because I like it in real life. If anything can be an unreservedly good thing it is a baby. But no ... someone else says to me, while airily discussing how terrible everything is: “I don’t know why anyone would have a child now.” As though any child was ever born of reason. I wonder at their mental state, but soon
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A moment of truth for Mark Zuckerberg | John Naughton 20 Nov 2016, 8:34am A moment of truth for Mark Zuckerberg | John Naughton
Fake news might be bad for democratic elections, but it’s big business for Facebook Well, the election is over; now we’re knee-deep in postmortems. Every mainstream publication and every corner of the blogosphere is full of autopsies. Many of these investigations have an anguished “How could this have happened?” tone. American students in a university department adjacent to mine have decorated the trees outside with hundreds of distraught but determinedly forward-looking messages. “Love WILL Conquer!” says one. “Knowledge not Ignorance,” says another. I don’t propose to add to this genre. If you want an informed, dispassionate analysis of the campaign that has given Trump the keys to the kingdom, look no further than
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19 Nov 2016, 2:30pm Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News
Hoaxes are not just bouncing around among conspiracy theorists; candidates and elected officials are sharing them, too.
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11 Nov 2016, 2:08pm Protect newspapers via a levy on digital giants like Google and Facebook | Letters
Digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook are not only amassing eye-watering profits and paying minimal tax in the UK, they are also bleeding the newspaper industry dry by sucking up advertising revenue. As national and local newspapers try to cut their way out of trouble by slashing editorial budgets and shedding staff, journalistic quality is becoming a casualty. Public interest journalism in particular has been hit the hardest as newspapers are lured into a clickbait culture which favours the sensational and the trivial. In the light of this, we propose a 1% levy on the operations of the largest digital intermediaries with the resulting funds redistributed to non-profit ventures with a mandate to produce original local or investigative news reporting. This kind of cross-subsidy is what sustained Channel 4 in its formative years. We believe that it is now time for policymakers to address the emergent gaps in the supply of diverse media and to secure the trusted and independent news system that our democracy so desperately needs. We are backing an amendment to the digital economy bill currently going through parliament and will continue to press for a news media that places the public interest above those of shareholder and vested interests.
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2 Nov 2016, 6:50am Social media has us under surveillance – and your phone is a Stasi agent | Jonathan Freedland
Big business is Big Brother: Admiral is the latest company to offer some customers discounts based on their behaviour – judged by their Facebook postsThink of it, to use the ingenious phrase coined by my colleague John Harris, as “
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1 Nov 2016, 5:00am What could Facebook target next? Our mental health data | Emily Reynolds
The idea of being categorised as mentally ill or mentally well simply because of the things we share online is unethical and potentially dangerousIt used to be that the eyes were considered the window to the soul. In 2016, you might have better luck checking someone’s social media. The tiny details we share about our lives have
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24 Oct 2016, 2:07pm Updated Facebook and Free Speech
They won’t censor Trump but might censor you.
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23 Oct 2016, 1:59am Victory over Isis will stream live on Facebook. But defeat won’t
The war in Iraq is being broadcast 24/7. But don’t think for a moment that the authorities have surrendered their control over the mediaSome 34 years ago, almost by accident, Britain’s ministry of defence solved the pesky problem that had laid the Pentagon low in Vietnam. What do you do about journalists running wild in your warzone? You put them on a long, slow boat to the other side of the world. You – ahem! – take control. And so, from Grenada to Panama to Iraq War One, journalists were locked in little boxes as far from the action as possible before (Iraq Two) being cautiously “embedded” with units they depended on to keep them safe. No freelance trips here. No unwanted questions asked. Control was still the theme of each and every fighting day.
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16 Oct 2016, 2:55pm The Guardian view on data sharing: the privacy of citizens is being eroded | Editorial
We are heading towards a form of Facebook government where the default settings on public privacy controls are tweaked with little debateLast week ministers began to take their first steps towards suspending the privacy rights of the nation’s citizens. With little fanfare the
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10 Oct 2016, 7:32am Internet trolls beware – these rules will separate the haters from the hapless | Archie Bland
There’s a fine balance between allowing free speech and having an unregulated web. The CPS’s prosecution guidelines seem a sensible step forwardThe usual anxiety about freedom of speech and social media runs like this: someone naive to the permenance and potential cruelty of a tweet or Facebook update posts an offensive message intended for a narrow audience of their friends or acquaintances. That message, maybe racist or misogynist or otherwise abusive, is shared more widely than its author imagined, and takes on a weight that was never intended. An overzealous police officer sees it and decides that they are obliged to do something, and the ill-advised action of a moment becomes inescapable. Even if no one has really been hurt, a life is left in ruins, and all of us become a little less free.
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23 Sep 2016, 6:33am Cure all diseases? The Chan Zuckerberg plan is brilliantly bold | Ian Sample
It’s easy to dismiss the initiative of the Facebook founder and his wife as hubris. But audacious, aspirational goals are precisely what are needed There is ambition and there is Silicon Valley ambition. For where else on a map could a pin be placed when asked to guess where billionaire philanthropists had declared their intention to
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19 Sep 2016, 3:09pm The Guardian view on technology’s ethical egotism: about profits not people | Editorial
Silicon Valley has created companies that ruthlessly exploit consumers and workers. It should not be emulatedSilicon Valley, with its roots in a counter-culture of dreamy cyber-gurus and anti-establishment hackers, has always thought itself different. As Steve Jobs put it, they are “the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in square holes”. Unlike Wall St, so the press releases said, they did no evil. For nations looking to replicate the success of the Valley, the question has long been asked: why don’t we have a Google, an Apple or a Facebook. It was asked again on BBC’s flagship Today programme this morning. The question is a good one. To
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18 Sep 2016, 2:28pm Don’t let WhatsApp nudge you into sharing your data with Facebook | John Naughton
The popular messaging app built its reputation on putting users first. Now its corporate owners are looking for payback at our expense When WhatsApp, the messaging app, launched in 2009, it struck me as one of the most interesting innovations I’d seen in ages – for two reasons. The first was that it seemed beautifully designed from the outset: it was clean, minimalist and efficient; and, secondly, it had a business model that did not depend on advertising. Instead, users got a year free, after which they paid a modest annual subscription.
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