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Facebook Is ‘Operating in the Shadows,’ Whistleblower Tells Congress

France 24

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit back Tuesday at claims the social media giant fuels division, harms children and needs to be regulated, saying the claim the company puts profits over safety is "just not true." "The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical," Zuckerberg wrote in a note to Facebook employees that he then posted on his account, hours after a whistleblower testified before U.S. lawmakers.

The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Limits of Virtual Social Life

Romin W. Tafarodi

What is missing from these virtual farewells that makes them seem so unfair and distressing? Those who study digital media and communications talk a lot about the reduced “social presence” that characterizes virtual connections. That certainly applies here. But what does the reduction consist of in this case? What would have made the difference? Two channels of social intercourse seem especially important: touch and the opportunity to read the eyes of the other.

The Crisis of Social Media: The Rise of Surveillance and Election Manipulation

Adrian Shahbaz and Allie Funk

In addition to facilitating the dissemination of propaganda and disinformation during election periods, social media platforms have enabled the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data on entire populations. Sophisticated mass surveillance that was once feasible only for the world’s leading intelligence agencies is now affordable for a much broader range of states. Freedom House research indicates that more repressive governments are acquiring social media surveillance tools that employ artificial intelligence to identify perceived threats and silence undesirable expression.

The Rise and Fall of the Sassy Brand on Social Media

Angelo Franco

For approximately four years now, big food brands have enjoyed an almost ubiquitous presence on social media. This is not the run-of-the-mill postings of seasonal promotions and retweets of pictures of syrupy pancakes; rather, food and food chain brands have begun to base their online presence on relatable content and pop culture riffs, using direct interaction with social media users to spread dank memes and savage clapbacks. 

Yes, Limiting Social Media Can Improve Your Health

Rae Ann Varona

Discussions on the link between social media use and mental health are nothing new, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania for the first time conducted a study based on experimental data that connects the causal relationship between social media use and mental well-being. What they found was that simply limiting social media use could be beneficial when it comes to better mental health, specifically when it comes to depression and loneliness. 

How Social Media Abet the Political Right

Neal Gabler

But in some respects, this may be among the least of the political impacts of social media. Above and beyond Trump’s tweets and his circumvention of traditional media, there is a much more profound but much subtler effect that plays upon certain psychological and social proclivities in America today and that is changing politics generally and has already changed our political leadership. And while this is by no means Trump-specific, it has a very strong affinity for the right wing. 

Love, Deceit, and Catfishing: The Perils of Social Media

Angelo Franco

Even though the film Catfish will never actually be profitable because of two separate lawsuits, the movie became a sleeper hit of sorts, and it has quickly become a “cult classic” in the generation of networking and social media. It spawned a successful TV show currently producing its sixth season on MTV and it gave rise to the term “catfish,” which was originally defined as someone who creates an identity online on a social platform as someone other than themselves. 

Is Half an Internet Better Than No Internet at All?

Sandip Roy

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Facebook in Palo Alto and hugged Mark Zuckerberg at a townhall, he went up several notches in cool. The image of the two men hugging was splashed all over Indian media. But there’s no such thing as a Free Hug. Instead there’s Free Basics. Facebook has blanketed newspapers and billboards in India drumming up support for Free Basics. The ad budget, says one news report, is about one third of all its India revenue.

Personal Accountability in the Age of Social Media

Michael Odenthal

This is an age of unparalleled transparency. With the steady grind of an always-hungry-for-content 24-hour news cycle, and the unprecedented window into individuals’ personal lives provided by social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram, so much of what people do or think is documented that, for those who embrace these modes of communication, it would seem nearly impossible for anyone to disown a statement or action expressed through one of these public forums. 

Move Over, Facebook: Welcome to the World of Anonymous Apps

Veronica Mendez

The last year has seen the emergence and popularity of anonymous social networks and apps such as Secret, Whisper and Anomo that promised users anonymity and a diminished digital trace. These anonymous networks seem to be a cultural reaction to the oversaturation of social media and the invasions of privacy on behalf of the corporations and the government. As people become more and more aware of just how permanent and sellable the digital footprint really is, there is a new consciousness growing within the online self. 

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