Let us be grateful for small mercies. Thank you Twitter for banning political advertising. Given that such advertising is by its nature biased, tendentious and hard to check, Twitter is behaving as a good publisher should. Politicians may make full use of its outlet. That is democracy. But as the organisation’s chief, Jack Dorsey, points out, with social media awash in “micro-targeting, deepfakes, manipulated videos and misinformation”, those who control it should keep it as clean as possible. Money may not buy truth, but it should not drown fairness.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify before the the House Financial Services Committee about Libra, Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency plan. At least, Libra was theoretically his reason for being in Washington, DC. Once he was in the hot seat, however, lawmakers pinned him down with questions about basically everything, making clear just how much ire the ostensible social network now draws at the highest level.
What is the First Amendment for? I ask my students this every year. Every year, several people quickly respond that the First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to speak without restriction. True, I say, but what is it for?
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.
The EU’s highest court has decided that website owners can be held liable for data collection when using the so-called “social sharing” widgets.
Steve Wozniak said that “most people” should find a way to get off Facebook. Speaking to TMZ at Reagan National Airport in D.C. he raised a number of privacy concerns.
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.