Category Archives: Internet

Amazon is the apex predator of our platform era

Cory Doctorow writes: The Federal Trade Commission’s chair, Lina Khan, has brought her long-awaited, audacious case against Amazon, signaling the Biden administration’s determination to restore an approach to competition law that has been in decline since the Carter administration. This will doubtless draw fresh criticism about her supposed overreach. But Amazon is precisely the kind… Read More »

James Block helped take down crypto exchange, FTX, in his spare time

Charlie Warzel writes: The world of cryptocurrency is rich with eccentric characters and anonymous Twitter personalities. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the early figures who called attention to the problems with Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, is a 30-year-old Michigan psychiatrist who investigates financial crimes as a hobby. James Block,… Read More »

How Google’s ad business funds disinformation around the world

By Craig Silverman, Ruth Talbot, Jeff Kao and Anna Klühspies Google is funneling revenue to some of the web’s most prolific purveyors of false information in Europe, Latin America and Africa, a ProPublica investigation has found. The company has publicly committed to fighting disinformation around the world, but a ProPublica analysis, the first ever conducted… Read More »

After Ukraine, Biden administration turns to Musk’s satellite internet for Iran

CNN reports: The White House has engaged in talks with Elon Musk about the possibility of setting up SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink inside Iran, multiple officials familiar with the discussions told CNN. The conversations, which have not been previously reported, come as the Biden administration searches for ways to support the Iranian protest movement… Read More »

How a single Texas ruling could change the web forever

Charlie Warzel writes: Occasionally, something happens that is so blatantly and obviously misguided that trying to explain it rationally makes you sound ridiculous. Such is the case with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’s recent ruling in NetChoice v. Paxton. Earlier this month, the court upheld a preposterous Texas law stating that online platforms with… Read More »

Google Search is not what it used to be

Charlie Warzel writes: A few weeks ago my house had a septic-tank emergency, which is as awful as it sounds. As unspeakable things began to burble up from my shower drain, I did what any smartphone-dependent person would: I frantically Googled something along the lines of poop coming from shower drain bad what to do.… Read More »

The content that fills discontent with nothing

Kyle Chayka writes: In the beginning, there was the egg. In January of 2019, an Instagram account called @world_record_egg posted a stock photo of a plain brown chicken egg and launched a campaign to get the photo more likes than any online image had before. The record holder at the time was an Instagram shot… Read More »

How you’re still being tracked on the internet

The New York Times reports: The internet industry shuddered last year when Apple introduced privacy measures for the iPhone that threatened to upend online tracking and cripple digital advertising. Google pledged similar privacy actions. But in less than a year, another type of internet tracking has started taking over. And it is having the unintended… Read More »

The staggering ecological impacts of computation and the Cloud

Steven Gonzalez Monserrate writes: Screens brighten with the flow of words. Perhaps they are emails, hastily scrawled on smart devices, or emoji-laden messages exchanged between friends or families. On this same river of the digital, millions flock to binge their favorite television programming, to stream pornography, or enter the sprawling worlds of massively multiplayer online… Read More »

People mistake the internet’s knowledge for their own

John Timmer writes: Many of us make jokes about how we’ve outsourced part of our brain to electronic devices. But based on a new paper by the University of Texas at Austin’s Adrian Ward, this is just a variation on something that has been happening throughout human history. No person could ever learn everything they… Read More »

Millions of people rely on Facebook to get online. The outage left them stranded

MIT Technology Review reports: One of the last messages that Vaiva Bezhan sent on Facebook Messenger on Monday afternoon, Central European Time, was a bit of a cliffhanger—and incredibly time sensitive. The Lithuanian photojournalist is co-organizer of the Afghan Support Group, one of many volunteer initiatives trying by any means possible to help evacuate vulnerable… Read More »