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

Should Washington Begin Regulating Facebook? Some Lawmakers Say Yes.

"You’d be able to know much more quickly who’s buying the ads on your feed and the information they’re using to profile you. There’s no regulation that forces that in the U.S. Europe sees privacy as much more about human dignity, while here there is this broad sense that companies themselves have all these rights." — Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Frank Pasquale
Source: NBC News
November 23, 2017

Facebook Says It’s Policing Fake Accounts. But They’re Still Easy to Spot.

"These platforms are oriented to maximize user growth and retention. That means not throwing up even tiny hurdles along the sign-up runway, and not closing accounts without significant cause. I suspect they figure there are enough accounts that are the subject of complaints to review without looking for more to assess." — Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard University


Jonathan Zittrain
Source: The New York Times
November 3, 2017

Russians Used Facebook the Way Other Advertisers Do: By Tapping into Its Data-Mining Machine

"Facebook is designed to amplify messages that are extreme and emotional and that's exactly what's happened. Facebook is designed to allow people to send messages to a lot of people for very little money and that's exactly what's happened. Combine the two and it's a perfect propaganda machine for anyone who wants to distract or disrupt a democratic republic." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: USA Today
November 1, 2017

Facebook and Google’s enormous profits may buoy Wall Street. But it’s a different story in Washington.

"Facebook, in particular, has invented among the most powerful attention-seizing and human manipulation tools ever invented." — Tim Wu, Professor of Law, Columbia University


Tim Wu
Source: The Washington Post
November 1, 2017

How to Fix Facebook? We Asked 9 Experts

Along with Google and Twitter, Facebook has been blamed for helping Russian agents influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, critics claim Facebook’s central role in modern communication has undermined the news business, split Americans into partisan echo chambers and “hijacked” our minds with a product designed to keep us addicted to the social network. Columbia law professor Tim Wu is one of nine experts asked to propose the steps they would take to improve Facebook.


Tim Wu
Source: The New York Times
October 31, 2017

Facebook Scrubbed Potentially Damning Russia Data Before Researchers Could Analyze It Further

"For transparency’s sake and for our broader interest in our democracy, people should know the extent to which they have been played by the Russians and how a hostile state actor has interfered with, manipulated, and generally hacked our political process." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Danielle Citron
Source: Business Insider
October 12, 2017

How Russian Content Ended Up on Pinterest

"...Pinterest isn’t known for political (or even news-y) content. So I can’t help but wonder who is aiming to influence crafty people and homemakers. Or perhaps the goal is simply to pollute the entire information and social media landscape." — danah boyd, Founder, Data & Society


danah boyd
Source: The Washington Post
October 11, 2017

When Facebook and Google Are ‘Weaponized,’ the Victim Is Reality

"No amount of ‘fixing’ Facebook or Google will address the underlying factors shaping the culture and information wars in which America is currently enmeshed." — danah boyd, Founder, Data & Society


danah boyd
Source: The Washington Post
October 4, 2017

Russians Took a Page from Corporate America by Using Facebook Tool to ID and Influence Voters

"There’s been some thought that the Internet was a goose laying golden eggs, but now there’s a sense that all the eggs are not golden." — Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard University


Jonathan Zittrain
Source: The Washington Post
October 2, 2017

Facebook Can't Hide Behind Algorithms

"The algorithms are working exactly as they were designed to work. Facebook’s algorithms created these categories of anti-Semitic terms. It’s a sign of how absurd a human-free system can be, and how dangerous a human-free system can be." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: BBC News
September 22, 2017
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TAP Blog

Recap of the USDOJ’s Section 230 Roundtable

Professor Eric Goldman provides an overview of recent policy discussions about the future of Section 230.

Eric Goldman

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Featured Article

The Impact of Targeting Technology on Advertising Markets and Media Competition

This paper presents a formal analysis of advertising when the Internet allows targeting of advertisements.

By: Susan Athey, Joshua Gans