Vague hand-wringing on cancel culture from J.K. Rowling and friends

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Is it time to back away from “cancel culture,” which calls for demonizing the voices of those whom others deem to be transgressors? This is an important question. Now 150 writers and other figures have published a letter addressing it in Harper’s — and done a terrible job of it. Analyzing the Harper’s letter The … Continued

Facebook pollutes discourse. Nick Clegg bloviating can’t change that.

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Facebook’s advertisers are bolting — check out the activity on the #StopHateForProfit hashtag. The company’s VP of Communications, Nick Clegg, says Facebook is doing a good job stopping hate and doesn’t profit from it. Is his defense believable? I wrote about this on Monday and published an op-ed in the Boston Globe about it today. … Continued

Why Zuckerberg reversed course: it wasn’t just the boycotts

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Boycotts rarely work. But in the face of advertiser boycotts, Facebook just did a U-turn on its policy on labelling or blocking presidential posts. The cause and effect here is a lot more complex than it appears. As recently as the beginning of June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the right decision on presidential posts, … Continued

How to check whether you’re looking at a fake tweet

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If you see a screen capture of a tweet, you should immediately suspect its legitimacy. Here’s how to check if it’s fake or real. This is a real problem. A friend of mine, for example, posted this capture of a purported Trump tweet on her Facebook page (I added the orange “Fake” to the screen … Continued

As you read news, be hyper-aware of passive voice headlines

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The New York Times tweeted this over the weekend: At this moment in time, there are hidden stories in the choices that headline writers write. An active voice headline tells who did what. Two of these headlines are passive. A passive voice headline tells what happened, but hides the who. Minneapolis: A photographer was shot … Continued

A sober analysis of Trump’s executive order regarding social media

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President Trump signed an executive order yesterday that would change the government’s stance on social networks. Let’s look at the portions that make sense, and the portions that are unhinged raving. I’ll start with this. Social networks need regulation. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are spreading disinformation and dividing America. Now that Twitter has added content … Continued