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internet

3 ways Facebook and other social media companies could clean up their acts – if they wanted to

Facebook is in crisis mode, but the company can take major steps to fix itself – and the global community it says it wants to promote. Facebook founder, CEO and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg need not wait for governments to impose regulations. If he and other industry leaders wanted to, they could make meaningful changes fairly quickly. It wouldn’t be painless, but Facebook in particular is...[Read More]

How new media platforms have become powerful across Africa

Online platforms have become an important site for political and social engagement. On the one hand they have been praised for their progressive characteristics. This is because they offer great organising potential, enhance political accountability and disrupt old media practices that tend to exclude less powerful voices from important social and political discussions. On the other hand, they hav...[Read More]

The web really isn’t worldwide – every country has different access

What the internet looks like to users in the U.S. can be quite different from the online experience of people in other countries. Some of those variations are due to government censorship of online services, which is a significant threat to internet freedom worldwide. But private companies – many based in the U.S. – are also building obstacles to users from around the world who want to freely expl...[Read More]

WhatsApp skewed Brazilian election, proving social media’s danger to democracy

Misinformation via social media played a troubling role in boosting far-right Congressman Jair Bolsonaro to into the Brazilian presidency. Bolsonaro did not win 55 percent of votes thanks to misinformation alone. A powerful desire for political change in Brazil after a yearslong corruption scandal and a court decision compelling the jailed front-runner Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to withdraw from th...[Read More]

Bill and Hillary Clinton give stark assessment of the internet and its problems

Although the internet has enabled an “amazing advance” for humanity, it has “real problems” with social networks, the addictive nature of smart devices and the loss of our personal privacy, says Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was an unusual scene: a former US president and former first lady, the two most powerful elected officials in America some might say, sitting on a stage...[Read More]

How research is helping to reduce prejudice between people online

The internet often gets a bad rap, and for good reason. Social media use can contribute to poorer mental health in teens. It can also be used to manipulate users’ emotions, and to disseminate misinformation and click bait to sway public opinion. The internet is also home to countless online communities that have been founded on hatred towards social diversity. These online hate groups often incite...[Read More]

Apple CEO precipitously warns that “data industrial complex” needs to be resisted

Perhaps because it was Apple CEO Tim Cook sounding the alarm, his admonishments that our personal data “is being weaponized against us with military efficiency” are all the more real. Cook, the long-time Apple insider who took over from Steve Jobs, shares his predecessor’s stance on privacy, which is a rare difference in the world of tech firms who make money from their users. Fa...[Read More]

30 years ago, the world’s first cyberattack set the stage for modern cybersecurity challenges

Back in November 1988, Robert Tappan Morris, son of the famous cryptographer Robert Morris Sr., was a 20-something graduate student at Cornell who wanted to know how bigthe internet was – that is, how many devices were connected to it. So he wrote a program that would travel from computer to computer and ask each machine to send a signal back to a control server, which would keep count. The progra...[Read More]

Illuminating the ‘dark web’

In the wake of recent violent events in the U.S., many people are expressing concern about the tone and content of online communications, including talk of the “dark web.” Despite the sinister-sounding phrase, there is not just one “dark web.” The term is actually fairly technical in origin, and is often used to describe some of the lesser-known corners of the internet. As I discuss in my new book...[Read More]

BeeMe is a ‘reality augmented game’ that will let the internet control a person for a few hours

Now here’s something that isn’t ripped from a Black Mirror episode at all: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will soon be conducting an experiment of sorts, a “reality augmented game” that will see the internet in control of a single person. But not in a creepy way (we dearly hope). BeeMe is a game helmed by Niccolò Pescetelli of MIT’s Media Lab and will see a...[Read More]

As digital threats grow, will cyber insurance take off?

Cyberattacks cost the world more than natural disasters – US$3 trillion in 2015, a price that may climb to $6 trillion annually by 2021 if present trends continue. But most people – and even most businesses – don’t have insurance to protect themselves against this rising threat. Insurance against all kinds of risks – disease, disaster, legal liability and more – is extremely common. In the U.S., c...[Read More]

Is 4.0 the demise of childhood? Your child in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

No-one who has been observing society since the turn of the millennium, and in particular over the last decade, can doubt that we are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is raging all around us at breath-taking pace, and it is changing the way we live, teach, learn and work. And no-one is going to be more affected by it than our children. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is tak...[Read More]

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