Category Archives: Social media

An agreement with Elon Musk is worthless

Matt Levine writes: Elon Musk is the richest person in the world, and an active Twitter user. When he tweets, he gets a lot of spammy replies, many of which seem to be written by automated bots. He has complained about this a lot. Eventually he decided to do something about it. The thing that… Read More »

The impact of cheap speech on American democracy

Jeff Kosseff writes: In 1995, Eugene Volokh published a law review article in which he predicted that the rapidly growing internet would “dramatically reduce the costs of distributing speech” and that “the new media order that these technologies will bring will be much more democratic and diverse than the environment we see now.” The concept,… Read More »

Inside Elon Musk’s grand plans for Twitter

The New York Times reports: Elon Musk has never been accused of dreaming small. He has reinvented at least two industries with Tesla, his electronic vehicle company, and SpaceX, the rocket company — and now his ambitions are carrying over to his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, has presented… Read More »

Facebook deliberately caused havoc in Australia in pre-emptive strike against new law, whistleblowers say

The Wall Street Journal reports: Last year when Facebook blocked news in Australia in response to potential legislation making platforms pay publishers for content, it also took down the pages of Australian hospitals, emergency services and charities. It publicly called the resulting chaos “inadvertent.” Internally, the pre-emptive strike was hailed as a strategic masterstroke. Facebook… Read More »

How Facebook’s algorithms decide what you see in your news feed

Gizmodo reports: Several key [internal] documents [published by Gizmodo today] concern what Facebook calls “meaningful social interactions,” a term introduced by the company in Jan. 2018. This metric, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained at the time, was meant to help prioritize “personal connections’’ over an endless online dribble of viral news and videos. This “major… Read More »

Elon Musk is a problem masquerading as a solution

Anand Giridharadas writes: It is a perfect marriage for an age of plutocracy: Twitter with its serious problems and Elon Musk, the embodiment of those problems. What happens when the incarnation of a problem buys the right to decide what the problem is and how to fix it? Twitter has a disinformation problem — fake… Read More »

Elon Musk probably won’t buy Twitter

Lauren Silva Laughlin and Gina Chon write: There are good reasons for him to get cold feet. The biggest is Tesla. The electric-vehicle maker’s stock has fallen around a fifth since Musk first revealed his stake in Twitter, partly because Musk may sell shares to fund his new adventure. If Tesla’s stock bounces back –… Read More »

New EU law takes aim at social media’s harms

The New York Times reports: The European Union reached a deal on Saturday on landmark legislation that would force Facebook, YouTube and other internet services to combat misinformation, disclose how their services amplify divisive content and stop targeting online ads based on a person’s ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The law, called the Digital Services… Read More »

Twitter bans ‘misleading’ ads about climate change

The Verge reports: Twitter levied a new ban today on “misleading” advertisements “that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.” “We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis,” the company said in a blog post today. Its decisions about what’s… Read More »

Obama warns social media disinformation is hurting democracy

HuffPost reports: Former President Barack Obama said Thursday that disinformation on social media is hurting democracy, and that social media companies should be subject to regulation. “One of the biggest reasons for democracy’s weakening is the profound change that’s taken place in how we communicate and consume information,” Obama said in a speech at Stanford… Read More »