Three challenges for the web, according to its inventor

A letter, published a few weeks ago, in which the inventor of the World Wide Web discusses personal security, fake news, and political transparency. Today marks 28 years since I submitted my original proposal for the world wide web. I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has…

How Facebook – the Wal-Mart of the internet – dismantled online subcultures

Facebook wants you to spend more time on Facebook, so why should they promote links pointing to content that exists outside of Facebook? Facebook’s approach to content control means that communities that use Facebook have to play by Facebook’s rules. Users have limited ability to communicate with Facebook’s administrators when there’s a problem, as we’ve seen when drag queens demanded changes to the “real name” policy, when nursing mothers rejected censorship…

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Making a case for a singular ‘they’

  I am definitely on team revise-to-avoid-using-“they”-as-a-singular-pronoun, but the 2017 edition of the AP Stylebook (the industry standard writing guide for journalists) acknowledges the limited use of “they” as a singular pronoun. As always, the goal is clarity, not rigid adherence to a rule. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is…

California Political Cyberfraud Abatement Act Pulled by Author

California’s Ed Chau withdrew his proposed legislation that would have criminalized the willing sharing of “a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote” on any issue or candidate. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation objected to the bill: “You can’t fight fake news with a bad law.”) The bill would also make it unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on a Web site, or…