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Columns

Twitter initially laughed off the hashtag and now it’s a truly global internet phenomenon

Just over 11 years ago a small word entered our global internet lexicon and is now a part of our cultural firmament: the hashtag. It was first used on August 23 2007 by Chris Messina, who – appropriately – tweeted: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As […]

A month after Apple, Amazon has also passed the magical $1tn valuation figure

Just a month after Apple became the first company to pass the magical US$1tn threshold, Amazon has done the same. Amazon isn’t called the “everything store” for nothing. From its humble origins as an online bookseller, it has morphed into an ecommerce giant and the largest provider of cloud computing. […]

No wonder the telecoms ministry is in disarray, its ministers are among most corrupted by Gupta state capture regime

Perhaps because he seemed like such a breath of fresh air, it seemed like Roy Padayachie was the communications minister South Africa had been waiting for. After the train wreck that was Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the wayward TV format that Siphiwe Nyanda tried to introduce, long-serving deputy minister Padayachie seemed […]

Conspiracy theories, falsehoods have no place in freedom of speech debates. Social networks need to find their backbones

A very interesting debate about free speech is unfolding over the banning by Facebook, Apple and YouTube – but controversially not Twitter – of notorious right-wing internet troll Alex Jones and his Infowars conspiracy channels. Jones is a divisive figure, loved by a large clique of right-wingers who believe what […]

In just nine years Huawei has overtaken Apple and has eyes on Samsung’s number one spot

Most people only know Chinese telecoms giant Huawei because of its smartphones, which this month overtook Apple to take the number two spot both globally and locally. They deserve it. Huawei only started making Android smartphones in 2009 and now make superb devices with luxurious materials, excellent quality screens and […]

Apple defined the mobile internet age, was always on track to be first $1tn company

It was inevitable that Apple would become the most valuable listed company ever by being the first company to reach the magical $1tn figure. It is Apple – with is stylish minimalist design and must-have gadgets – that has come to define this mobile internet age we live in and […]

Having lost $120bn in a day, Facebook has been torn down to earth for its tardy privacy policies

Facebook’s critics would have experienced a fair amount of schadenfreude last week when it lost a fifth of its value when weaker-than-expected results wiped 24% off its share price, the eye-watering amount of $120bn. It’s now the largest one-day sell-off in history, but also the biggest sign to date that […]

Facebook defending the indefensible in dealing with Holocaust and school-shooting liars

What was the most damning tech news last week? That Google’s Android was fined $5bn for anticompetitive behaviour with Android? That Donald Trump continued to obfuscate around the Russian meddling in US elections? Or that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the rights of Holocaust denialists? Perhaps because I’m Jewish and […]

Thai cave rescue’s dramatic conclusion last week reminded us that the world is a good place

Last week’s extraordinary rescue of 12 teenager soccer players and their coach from monsoon-flooded caves in Thailand will be one of the defining stories of this generation. It has all the hallmarks of great literature: an ill-fated adventure into a cave before sudden floods trap the boys, a chance discovery […]

What started as a prank: a story of manipulation and the most viewed video on Vice

After writing numerous TripAdvisor reviews himself, Oobah Butler wondered what it would take to get a restaurant to be number one in London. So he took photographs of his small rented cottage in a suburb called Dulwich – including some made up food shots using pool chemicals and his foot […]

Photographers like Sam Nzima and David Goldblatt were great chroniclers of our history

My favourite thing that the great photographer David Goldblatt said was in answer to why he didn’t shoot colour film during the dark days of racial repression: “During those years colour seemed too sweet a medium to express the anger, disgust and fear that apartheid inspired.” Last Monday, news broke […]

The resignation of Intel’s chief over a moral infraction is an astounding act of ethics

A quite remarkable thing happened in the tech world last week, that would be even more astounding if it occurred to South African politicians and business people to do the same. Brian Krzanich, the chief executive of Intel, resigned last week after the semiconductor chip maker’s board found he “had […]

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