Internet

Media and Content

The easy availability of information on the Internet may lead to the commoditization of content. However, if content is free or low cost, it may be difficult for those who produce it (like journalists) to earn a living. Economists and other scholars examine this tension and suggest various solutions.

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Quotes

One Year After Zuckerberg’s Testimony About Violent Content on Facebook, Has Anything Changed?

This article discusses how difficult it is to put a stop to violent online content such as the live-streaming of New Zealand’s mosque shootings. University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron is quoted.


Danielle Citron
Source: MarketWatch
March 20, 2019

Tech Companies Scramble to Remove New Zealand Shooting Video

Facebook and YouTube were designed to share pictures of babies, puppies and other wholesome things, "but they were expanded at such a scale and built with no safeguards such that they were easy to hijack by the worst elements of humanity." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: SF Gate
March 16, 2019

What Mark Zuckerberg’s New Vision Could Really Mean for Privacy and Propaganda

"When you look at the ways that WhatsApp has been abused and hijacked in India and Brazil, it’s clear that it’s a powerful engine for spreading dangerous propaganda. It’s also clear that there’s not much Facebook can do about that, because all the messages are encrypted. Facebook can’t measure the problem or filter for the problem." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: Fast Company
March 11, 2019

Dear Mr Zuckerberg: the Problem Isn't the Internet, It's Facebook

"By turning the focus away from Facebook to "the internet" you try to fool us into conflating the two. The fact is that the structure and function of Facebook is antithetic to the ideology of the internet. The internet is open, configurable, distributed, and based on open code. Facebook is nothing of the sort." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: The Guardian
February 4, 2019

Violating Our Privacy Is in Facebook's DNA

"These two principles – that Facebook is benevolent and that privacy is quaint and inefficient – drive everything Facebook does. They go a long way to explain why Facebook continued to give precious user data to a set of “trusted” partners years after the company claimed it had ended such a program." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: The Guardian
December 20, 2018

Social Media Advertising Can Boost Fake News — Or Beat It

"The actions of platforms such as Facebook in regulating advertising do seem to have had an effect on the volume of fake news. However, our paper also emphasizes that in just focusing on ads and fake news, we are missing the bigger picture, which is the organic spread of misinformation by users themselves." — Catherine Tucker, Professor of Marketing, MIT


Catherine Tucker
Source: MIT’s Ideas Made to Matter
December 19, 2018

Tech Is Like Sex: Abstinence Isn’t the Answer

"Social media — far from being the seductive Trojan horse — is a release valve, allowing youth to reclaim meaningful sociality as a tool for managing the pressures and limitations around them." — danah boyd, Founder of Data & Society and Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research


danah boyd
Source: Psychology Today
November 16, 2018

You Thought Fake News Was Bad? Deep Fakes Are Where Truth Goes to Die

"I’m starting to see how a well-timed deep fake could very well disrupt the democratic process." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Danielle Citron
Source: The Guardian
November 12, 2018

Facebook’s Failure to End ‘Public by Default’

"Right now, users have little choice in the public exposure of their profile pictures. Every single one of them is set to “public” by default. Even if you try to limit your current profile picture visibility using Facebook’s privacy settings for the individual photo, it will still be public." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law, Northeastern University and Evan Selinger, Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology


Evan Selinger
Source: Medium
November 7, 2018

The blueprint for a 3-D-printed gun was uploaded in book form to Amazon as a free speech exercise. Amazon removed it.

"What this case shows is that digital technologies are asking questions of constitutional law that don’t have clear answers. This is just another illustration of the fact that digital technologies don’t just destabilize or disrupt industries, they destabilize and disrupt settled legal expectations, and they require us to think carefully about how we apply the law to technology." — Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis


Neil Richards
Source: The Washington Post
August 23, 2018
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TAP Blog

New Study by Erik Brynjolfsson Measures the Value of Digital Goods, Such as Facebook and YouTube

A new study by MIT economic professor Erik Brynjolfsson and his colleagues Avinash Collis and Felix Eggers puts a dollar value on all those free digital goods people use, and builds the case that online activity can and should become part of GDP someday.

TAP Staff Blogger

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Featured Article

Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

Measures the degree of ideological segregation in the market for online news and compares this to other news sources.

By: Jesse Shapiro, Matthew Gentzkow