The fundamental laws of Facebook

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Facebook asked for users’ email passwords, then “unintentionally uploaded” people’s contact lists without asking for separate permission, according to Business Insider. Stop trying to explain these violations one at a time. A pattern is increasingly obvious. To that end: here are the fundamental laws of Facebook, which will explain not just this violation but all … Continued

The plural company

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Is this wrong? “Samsung has released a new product. They worked really hard on it.” According to style books, it is ungrammatical. “Nouns that denote a unit take singular verbs and pronouns” says the AP stylebook. Let’s look a bunch of instances. In the groups of statements below, which seems right to you? 1a. Dell … Continued

Felicity Huffman shows how to apologize properly

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The actress Felicity Huffman just pleaded guilty to bribing college authorities to get her daughter into college Oliva Jade into USC. Then she apologized briefly and effectively. A true apology admits guilt and addresses the harm the apologizer caused to specific people. It isn’t “I’m sorry you were hurt,” it is “I’m sorry I hurt … Continued

Facebook: Too big to flail

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A decade ago, in the social media business book Groundswell, Charlene Li and I described online social technologies as an uncontrollable grass-roots movement. I had hoped social media would be a force for good. But now Facebook, along with its subsidiary Instagram, dominates that movement. It controls more of our collective attention – and gathers … Continued

My op-ed on Facebook for the Boston Globe

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Last week, the editors of the Boston Globe requested me to write an op-ed on Facebook and what needs to happen in the wake of its consistently poor behavior. Here’s a link to what they published, which will appear in Sunday’s “Ideas” section. (If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll have to provide your email address … Continued

Irony is dead at Trump for President, Inc.

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Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, sent a memo to TV producers regarding who they should put on TV. Imagine what would happen if we took this seriously? The text of Murtaugh’s memo to producers at networks like CNN is below. Memorandum To: Television Producers From: Tim Murtaugh Director of Communications, … Continued

Owning up to your Facebook codependency

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I’ve characterized Facebook as an addiction. I think I was wrong. After yesterday’s outage, now I think the correct way to describe our relationship with Facebook is as codependency. Codependency is “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition.” (Merriam-Webster). … Continued