Captain, the Fake News Detectors are Offline!

Slate has a good article about William “Captain Kirk” Shatner’s involvement with a Twitter incident that involved Autism Speaks, the alleged connection between vaccines and autism, and the ready availability of easily Googled but unreliable “information.” Shatner is a celebrity, which means that he has outsized influence. That he would use his platform to lend credibility to such sites, spreading them to 2.5 million followers, could have terrible consequences. Shatner…

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…

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…

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A professor examines why her students seem to act so helpless (essay)

This essay on college students acting helpless (Chronicle of Higher Education) struck a few chords. I put a lot of time into writing my course policies and assignment instructions. The students who want to know how they can earn a 99 instead of a 95 invariably ask really good questions that arise from their close scrutiny of those documents; on the other end of the spectrum, however, I do get a fair share…