Internet Use/New Technologies

26 September 2018

Instagram has a drug problem. Its algorithms make it worse. Washington Post

Instagram is known for its celebrity posts and photos of enviable vacations. But it has also become a sizable open marketplace for advertising illegal drugs. The company has pledged a crackdown in recent weeks, but it is struggling to keep pace with its own algorithms and systems, which serve up an array of personalized drug-related content aimed directly at people who show an interest in buying substances illicitly.

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24 September 2018

Average Briton spends 26 days a year watching on-demand TV The Guardian

UK adults spend an average of 12 hours a week watching on-demand TV, around eight times longer than they spend exercising, a survey has found.

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23 September 2018

E.U. justice commissioner quits Facebook, describing her experience as 'channel of dirt' Washington Post

The European Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality shut down her Facebook account, describing her experience on the social network as a “channel of dirt.”

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Smart Policies for Harnessing AI OECD

The global reach of AI requires a global approach. The OECD is engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on AI with its member countries and beyond, representatives of business, the technical community, labour and civil society and other international organisations. A key outcome of these discussions is the creation of an OECD expert group on artificial intelligence.

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19 September 2018

Almost half of UK internet users 'harmed' online BBC News

Almost half of internet users in the UK have suffered "harm" online, suggests research.

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18 September 2018

Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable? The Guardian

For a growing number of users and mental health experts, the positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem, with its relentless emphasis on promoting ‘perfect’ lifestyles. Should everyone just stop scrolling?

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Sweden to End Twitter Experiment Letting Ordinary People Be Nation's Voice New York Times

It was a radical experiment in free speech, even for Sweden: Give ordinary and not-so-ordinary people the chance to be, more or less, the official voice of a nation. After seven years of Twitter posts on topics as varied as manga comics, ugly sweaters and the dangers of prescription drugs, Sweden is calling it quits.

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16 September 2018

Facebook's Crackdown on Misinformation Might Actually Be Working Slate

Facebook’s efforts to reduce misinformation in its news feed since the 2016 election have opened the company to all manner of criticism, including allegations of political bias from both left and right. But a new study from researchers at Stanford University, New York University, and Microsoft Research suggests they might actually be working—at least, to some extent.

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14 September 2018

Facebook ramps up effort to combat fake images, video Washington Post

Facebook said Thursday it would expand its efforts to scan photos and videos uploaded to the social network for evidence that they've been manipulated, as lawmakers sound new alarms that foreign adversaries might try to spread misinformation through fake visual content.

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09 September 2018

What's the biggest influence on the way we think? (Googling it won't help) The Observer

This is a month of anniversaries, of which two in particular stand out. One is that it’s 10 years since the seismic shock of the banking crisis – one of the consequences of which is the ongoing unravelling of the (neo)liberal democracy so beloved of western ruling elites. The other is that it’s 20 years since Google arrived on the scene.

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Twitter's Flawed Solution to Political Polarization New York Times

On social media, encountering opposing views can make people become even more wedded to their own.

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Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence: 'We're going towards a more divided society' The Guardian

The technology could vastly improve lives, the economist says – but only if the tech titans that control it are properly regulated. ‘What we have now is totally inadequate’

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Racism and anti-Semitism surged in corners of the Web after Trump's election, analysis shows Washington Post

Racist and anti-Semitic content has surged on shadowy social media platforms — spiking around President Trump’s Inauguration Day and the “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville — spreading hate speech and extremist views to mainstream audiences, according to an analysis published this week.

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As Germans Seek News, YouTube Delivers Far-Right Tirades New York Times

A researcher found the platform’s recommendation system had steered viewers to fringe and conspiracy videos on a neo-Nazi demonstration in Chemnitz.

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Marking 20(ish) years of Google Google

It’s September 1998. Aerosmith is wailing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” at the top of the Billboard Top 100. “TRL” debuts on MTV, just in time for the release of “Baby One More Time.” Buffy Summers is staking vampires in platform sandals. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are trying to out-bash each other for the home run record. “The Avengers” has just bombed at box offices. And sometime this month, Google is born.

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Browser Extensions: Are They Worth the Risk? Krebs On Security

Popular file-sharing site is warning users that cybercriminals hacked its browser extension for Google Chrome so that usernames and passwords submitted through the browser were copied and forwarded to a rogue server in Ukraine.

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How social-media platforms dispense justice: Their armies of content moderators are expanding The Economist

Every other Tuesday at Facebook, and every Friday at YouTube, executives convene to debate the latest problems with hate speech, misinformation and other disturbing content on their platforms, and decide what should be removed or left alone. In San Bruno, Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s boss, personally oversees the exercise. In Menlo Park, lower-level execs run Facebook’s “Content Standards Forum”.

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06 September 2018

Google researchers say the tech industry has contributed to an 'attention crisis' Washington Post

Google released a new paper written by its own user experience researchers that delves into the reasons that we can't put down our phones, and starts to explore what companies can do about it. It also calls on the technology industry to reexamine the way it ties engagement to success — noting that capturing people's attention is not necessarily the best way to measure whether they're satisfied with a product.

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05 September 2018

Alex Jones Said Bans Would Strengthen Him. He Was Wrong. New York Times

After Silicon Valley internet giants mostly barred Alex Jones from their services last month, traffic to his Infowars website and app soared on the blaze of publicity — and the notorious conspiracy theorist declared victory.

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26 August 2018

Call for action to end children's 'battery-hen existence' in summer holidays The Observer

Urgent action is needed to stop children leading a “battery hen existence” during the summer holidays that is damaging their mental health, contributing to violence and ensuring they return to school in worse health than when they left, the children’s commissioner for England has warned.

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24 August 2018

Survey: Teens cutting back on mobile screen, social media time Marketing Land

According to a new survey from Pew Research Center, teens are cutting back on mobile phone and social media usage. Parents, not so much. The study finds that those between 13 and 17 are consciously trying to reduce their screen time.

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Google deletes accounts with ties to Iran on YouTube and other sites Washington Post

Google announced Thursday that it deleted 58 accounts with ties to Iran on its video platform YouTube and its other sites, the latest sign that foreign agents from around the world increasingly seek to spread disinformation on a broad array of popular websites.

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23 August 2018

Kids are glued to their screens - but parents are in no position to criticize The Guardian

Parents lament their teenagers’ noses being constantly buried in their phones, but they might want to take stock of their own screen habits, according to a new report.

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Digital wealth: How to have the final say about your online assets when you die Australian Financial Review

"Digital wealth" constitutes a far greater proportion of our estates than many realise, with our personal and business lives becoming increasingly digitalised and online.

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Europe Worries as Facebook Fights Manipulation New York Times

The picture was just like many of the other Facebook posts criticizing Britain’s decision to leave the European Union: a fake commemorative stamp showing a person preparing to shoot himself in the foot.

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