Organisations that deploy Facebook’s ubiquitous “Like” button on their websites risk falling foul of the General Data Protection Regulation following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice.
Dystopian fiction – from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange to Russell T Davies’s spectacular recent BBC1 series Years and Years – is usually intended to take elements of the present and then imagine a future in which they have become inescapable, so as to warn us of what might already be in our midst.
But the 21st century is challenging this technique in one bracing sense: the way the world now seems to race beyond the wildest aspects of our collective imagination before we have even started to think about what might come next. Consider last week’s news about Facebook, and the fact that three years of corporate disgrace – and rising noise from legislators about bringing the tech giant to heel – have yet to slow its terrifying quest to insinuate its workings into every area of our lives. Now, in a move that could have been taken from a futuristic novel, it wants to create nothing less than a new global currency.
Many of us have become so accustomed to social media that it is hard to remember when it was not intrinsic to our lives, though in reality it has not existed in a meaningful sense for more than 20 years. Over the last decade, the amount of time spent on social media and in front of screens has slowly yet steadily increased, arousing the interest of many health professionals trying to understand its impact on human health. A new study, which is being hailed as the most trustworthy scientific assessment of social media’s effects, suggests that quitting Facebook is unequivocally positive for one’s mental health.
Mark Zuckerberg’s argument in the article he published in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, “The facts about Facebook”, is that people do not trust Facebook because they don’t understand it and the nature of its activities.
The article’s subtitle, “We need your information for operations and security, but you control whether we use it for advertising”, could not be less true:
Two of the impeachable offenses of which President Donald Trump has been accused — colluding with Russian political interference and working with Michael Cohen to violate campaign finance laws — would directly imply that he was elected as a result of fraud. And according to law professor Michael Glennon of Tufts University, this means that if Trump does get impeached for these alleged high crimes, Vice President Mike Pence must go down as well.