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  • News & article

    Twitter struggling to engineer healthy conversation

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 05/03/2018

    » Facebook's self-regulatory contortions in the wake of fake news and trolling scandals have gone on, with little visible effect, for months. Now Twitter founder and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has announced his company is going to try a different tack -- but Mr Dorsey's approach is arguably even more far-fetched than his Facebook peer Mark Zuckerberg's: It's an attempt to view Twitter's social mess as an engineering problem.

  • News & article

    Putin struggles to keep wars separate

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 16/02/2018

    » Late on Feb 7 and early on Feb 8, US forces in Syria likely killed the greatest number of Russians since the end of the Cold War -- more than 200 soldiers. There will, however, be no international repercussions, nor will any of the Russians get posthumous medals like Roman Filipov, the fighter pilot who was shot down over Syria earlier this year and resisted capture until he was forced to blow himself up with a hand grenade.

  • News & article

    Facebook's new mission looks well nigh impossible

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 17/01/2018

    » If Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is sincere in a recent post about gradually taking the media element out of "social media", he's striking a powerful blow for tech self-regulation, as well as preparing to pay a heavy price for the evolution of his vision. But getting the genie back into the bottle may be too difficult even for Mr Zuckerberg, and, in any case, his creation's problems go far beyond his proposed fix.

  • News & article

    Welcome to the year of censored social media

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 04/01/2018

    » This year, don't count on the social networks to provide its core service: an uncensored platform for every imaginable view. The censorship has already begun, and it'll only get heavier.

  • News & article

    Outrage is no tool to bring change

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 29/11/2017

    » Tony Hovater, the Ohio man whose profile in The New York Times caused much indignation last weekend, would have been in jail or at least under close police surveillance if he lived in Germany. In the US, Mr Hovater is free to keep posting swastika-filled pictures on Facebook -- but the writer and editors who published a piece about him that was bleakly neutral in tone face ferocious anger for "normalising" the Nazi sympathiser.

  • News & article

    Facebook too big a platform to allow fake users

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 10/08/2017

    » There's something in common between the amazing story of "Nicole Mincey", the pseudonymous Twitter user with 146,000 followers who was retweeted by US President Donald Trump and then disappeared overnight along with a few other online personae, and a recent prank by a Berliner frustrated with his inability to get Twitter to remove hate speech. The common element is the obvious solution to both problems, which rarely surfaces in discussions of trolling, fake news and cyberbullying.

  • News & article

    EU rubber boat ban won't halt tide

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 20/07/2017

    » If it looks as though Europe is clutching at straws to stop hundreds, sometimes thousands, of migrants from crossing the Mediterranean into Italy every day, that's exactly what's happening. On Monday, the European Union's (EU) foreign ministers approved restrictions on the supply of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya.

  • News & article

    Happy nations don't only focus on economic growth

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 22/03/2017

    » The Socialist candidate for the French presidency, Benoit Hamon, says he doesn't believe in the "myth" and "quasi-religion" of growth -- it's part of the "consumerist, productivist and materialist model" of development, he argues.

  • News & article

    Facebook can't have it both ways

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 24/03/2017

    » Nearly everyone has criticism for German Justice Minister Heiko Maas's proposal to impose fines on social networks and their workers for failure to delete hateful content. Internet freedom advocates hate it for imposing censorship. The European Union is concerned for the same reason and the German union of judges and prosecutors criticise it for not going far enough because the posters of hate-speech themselves escape punishment.

  • News & article

    Keep your children well away from connected toys

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 02/03/2017

    » How dangerous is a teddy bear or a doll? In the Internet of Things era, it's not an idle question but one for parents and regulators to ponder seriously.

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