Bowing to pressure, Google says it will pay publishers for news
For the better part of a decade, publishers have been begging (or threatening) Google, seeking compensation for the news they provide on its platform. And for all of those years, Google has adamantly refused—until now. On Thursday, Google announced that, later this year, it will introduce a new product focused on “high quality” news and, […]
Are digital giants like Facebook destructive by design?
The most benign view of Google, Facebook, and Amazon is that any social or political disruption and turmoil these behemoths have caused is a side-effect of the beneficial services they provide, and any over-sized market power they have is the result of good old-fashioned hard work or an accident of economics and technology. But what […]
Trump vs social media
Donald Trump’s preferred platform is social media. But he has managed to pick fights, and divide, even there. Twitter recently added a warning label to two of his tweets, with a link to a fact-check of the information he posted, and then blocked a third tweet with a message about violent content. Within days, Trump […]
Twitter fact-checks Trump, but will it do any good?
When Twitter said earlier this month that it was making some changes to “limit the spread of potentially harmful or misleading content” by adding warning labels to tweets, one of the most obvious questions was whether the company would apply the labels to Trump’s various misinformed tweets. On Tuesday, we got the answer, when labels […]
Should Google and Facebook be forced to pay for content?
In a recent column for the New York Times, media writer Ben Smith wrote about how regulators in Australia and France are moving to force digital platforms like Google and Facebook to pay media companies directly for the content they carry from publishers, in the wake of new copyright rules set by the European Union […]
How did the digital giants get so big, and what should we do about it?
In recent years a handful of giant digital platforms, including Google, Amazon, and Facebook, have grown in dominance. Each one has a market value of half a trillion dollars or more, and almost total control over some of the key levers in the digital economy: Search, online advertising, retail sales, and social networking. That has […]
Twitter plans misinfo labels, but are they a good idea?
As part of its effort to deal with the spread of misinformation on its platform, Twitter is experimenting with adding colored labels that would appear directly beneath any inaccurate statements posted by politicians and other public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features sent recently to NBC. The labels would contain fact-checks either […]
Why Twitter and Facebook treat Bloomberg differently
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 used to be the high-water mark (or low-water mark, depending on your perspective) for the aggressive use of social networks in targeting voters. This time around, it’s another billionaire—Mike Bloomberg—who is testing the limits of what is permitted on various platforms, and so far they seem to be treating […]
Britain to give regulator power over social media
Convincing digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube to remove offensive content is a tricky business in the US, thanks to the First Amendment and laws like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In Britain, however, there are a lot fewer restrictions on what the government can do when it comes to regulating the behavior […]
Facebook lays out the rules for its new Supreme Court for content
Until recently, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected any suggestion that his company was a media entity, despite the fact that the platform’s all-powerful News Feed algorithm chooses what to show users based on a series of unknown editorial criteria, and that tens of millions of posts, photos, and other pieces of content are […]
Government funding for journalism: necessary evil or just evil?
As advertising revenue continues to decline, virtually every publisher in North America has had to seek other sources of funding. Some have turned to venture capital, while others are experimenting with nonprofit status, crowdfunding, and even selling shares to readers. Now there’s another option: government funding. The state of New Jersey has agreed to give […]
Who is right about political ads, Twitter or Facebook?
As the 2020 federal election draws closer, the issue of online political advertising is becoming more important, and the differences in how the platforms are approaching it more obvious. Twitter has chosen to ban political advertising, but questions remain about how it plans to define that term, and whether banning ads will do more harm […]
The YouTube ‘radicalization engine’ debate continues
For many people, YouTube is a place to kill time by watching sailing videos, or to pick up tips on how to train their dog, or change a car headlight. But the Google-owned video service also has a darker side, according to a number of news articles, including one from the New York Times last […]
The dilemma that is Times columnist Bret Stephens
The holiday season and the arrival of a new year are often cause for reflection and soul-searching. Many critics have made it abundantly clear that they would like the senior management of the New York Times to consider why the newspaper allows op-ed columnist Bret Stephens to write the things he does. As most people […]
Impeachment vote makes history, but right-wing circus continues
Everyone keeps on saying how historic it is to have an impeachment vote against a sitting US president. There’s no question it fits the technical definition, since it has only happened twice before, and Trump’s impeachment will undoubtedly go down in history. And yet, the vote in the House on Wednesday—much like everything else that […]