In explaining your personal Facebook feed, Nick Clegg forgets about everyone else

“Although Facebook’s critics often talk about sensational content dominating News Feed… many of the most popular posts on News Feed are lighthearted. They’re feel-good stories. We want to show people that the overwhelming majority of the posts people see on News Feed are about pets, babies, vacations, and similar. Not incendiary topics,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs last week, as they discussed his recent of Facebook’s algorithm, and its role in social and political polarization,. …


What happens when everything starts accelerating?

“The Suez accident, which is holding up an estimated $9.6bn of goods a day…has drawn attention to the inherent fragility of tightly stretched global supply chains at the very moment when they are already being buffeted by a pandemic and in an era when the philosophical underpinnings of global trade are being challenged.”

This is how the Financial Times the stakes as the massive Ever Green cargo ship remained lodged across the Suez Canal. It’s freedom, thanks to the diligent work of a tugboats and what appeared to be a comically small excavator — the subject of a


Guess what? You don’t have to offer your opinion.

Suddenly, I cannot escape .

These digital things — works of art, sports clips, tweets — that, to prove their authenticity, are linked to the blockchain, feel as though they are everywhere. Endlessly discussed on Twitter. Espoused on Tik Tok as a new way to make easy money. Cramming the digital news pages. They are increasingly difficult to ignore, particularly when they’re being sold for of dollars. …


We feel guilty about celebrity culture, but are we doing anything to change it?

image via Harpo Productions

“That’s a loaded piece of toast,” Meghan Markle noted during her interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday, referring to the UK tabloid that accused her of perpetuating environmental destruction by eating her “beloved” avocados. It was just one example Winfrey cited of the UK tabloids vilifying Markle for doing the same things for which they had earlier praised Kate Middleton: holding her baby bump too much; not spending Christmas with the Queen; choosing scented candles for her wedding ceremony; etc. .

The point by that stage of the conversation was already clear: the UK tabloid…


Tech platforms were supposed to create order. So why is everything chaotic?

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Our modern web platforms operate on a shared governing theory that technology can create order from chaos. Google’s is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Before Facebook’s IPO, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg that, beyond its goal to “make the world more open and connected,” it sought to make people’s lives better and easier by giving them the power to organize their relationships, whether personal, economic, or political. …


Why nobody has any new ideas anymore

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Five days after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise in a chat room, the New York Times that Facebook is considering launching its own Clubhouse-style service. The two events are not necessarily connected — sources told the Times that Zuckerberg “has been interested in audio communication forms” — but the coincidence of the two is symbolic of both the way Facebook endlessly imitates its fiercest competition, folding copycat services into its own apps (Instagram’s Reels closely resembles Tik Tok videos), and how the tech sphere more broadly seems stuck in a imaginative rut.

The second might…


It’s tough having no control in a walled internet garden

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On Wednesday, Facebook its long-threatened nuclear option in its ongoing spat with Australian lawmakers over a pending law that would see it pay news outlets when users interact with their content on its platform, and pulled the plug on Australian media Facebook pages and links.

By Thursday afternoon, one estimate by (using Chartbeat data) suggested that Facebook-driven Australian visits to news sites was down 10%, and international visits down 20%. Meanwhile, “Chartbeat’s analysis showed… Australian users remained on Facebook and didn’t switch to other social platforms amid the publisher blackout to get their news fix,” Business Insider…


Can you report on surveillance tools without using surveillance tools?

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Can you report on invasive surveillance without being invasively surveillant? Wrestling with this at The New York Times, Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson seemed to decide: sort of. Warzel and Thompson a leaked data file that “included about 100,000 location pings for thousands of smartphones” to trace the movements of thousands of people near the Capitol on January 6. The data traced “around 130 devices inside the Capitol exactly when Trump supporters were storming the building.”

The data itself is the kind smartphone apps silently collect all the time, and which is commonly used for advertising and customer…


A society dictated by platform logic will breed inhumanity

image via flickr

Here’s a new version of a story we’ve heard before:

An August 2020 internal presentation at Facebook revealed that the platforms Groups “tied to mercenary and hyperpartisan entities” were using the platform’s tools “to build large audiences,” the Wall Street Journal last week. “Many of the most successful Groups were under the control of administrators that tolerated or actively cultivated hate speech, harassment and graphic calls for violence,” the presentation reportedly showed. …


The GameStop stock play finds accountability in a system that has none

Photo by Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images

For the past few days GameStop, the beleaguered retailer that’s seen its share price skyrocket under the influence of a Reddit mob attempting the , has dominated the text group I have with a handful of high school friends. Not usually a crew for deep-dives into finance, we’re suddenly following every twist of the saga. I suspect we’re not alone. …

Colin Horgan

writer.

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