The U.S. government and Facebook are negotiating a record, multibillion-dollar fine for the company’s privacy lapses

Are you still relying on Facebook to filter your news for you? Zuckerberg will probably apologize — yet again — and then keep on Zucking. The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook are negotiating over a multi-billion dollar fine that would settle the agency’s investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices, according to two people familiar with the probe. The fine would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on…

Journalism Isn’t Dying. It’s Returning to Its Roots.

An important reminder that “objective” journalism is a recent innovation. In the past, even a small town would have a liberal paper and a conservative paper. If you wanted to be truly informed, you’d subscribe to both. Out-of-town publishing chains with more interest in profits and less investment in the communities started buying up both local papers, and meeting both the liberal and conservatives audiences with a single just-the-facts news…

Student: “Just wanted to let you know that your class has benefited me outside of just literature studies and thank you.”

In my online class on literary dystopia, I am asking students to post one-minute podcasts to share with each other, so the class doesn’t feel so lonely. About half of the students chose to do audio recordings, and half chose videos. While this isn’t a media production course, I am still giving tips on eye contact, lighting, and vocal delivery. A student just sent me this note, which I’m reproducing with…

Twitter and the “Two Minutes Hate”

Another of the many, many reflections on the big story of the weekend. In 1984, George Orwell famously described a totalitarian political order in which people were kept as docile subjects in part by a daily ritual called “Two Minutes Hate” in which the population directs all of its pent up fury at “Goldstein,” a possibly fictional enemy of the state. Thanks to Twitter, we now know that the same dynamic…

Facebook Announces $300 Million Project, Allegedly to Support Local Journalism

Once upon a time, local newspapers could depend upon a steady stream of local classified ads — people advertising looking to hire a handyman, or to sell their old sofa or used car. The income from local ads in locally-owned newspapers would go back to the communities, in the form of the paychecks for the reporters and other employees of the paper. Now, that income is being swept out of…