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Source: Opinion Today

Many of the things that keep our democracy healthy don’t appear in the Constitution or any federal law. President Obama made this point Monday when talking about an orderly transition from one presidency to the next:
“It’s not something that the Constitution explicitly requires but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis.”
The last few words of that sentence were the ones that caught my attention, and I started thinking about them again after reading an Op-Ed by Zeynep Tufekci.
Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor, makes the case that Facebook is in denial about its role in spreading misinformation. During the presidential campaign, Facebook helped spread falsehoods — the Pope endorsed Trump! — to millions of people. Those falsehoods appeared in fake news articles, and Facebook did nothing to inform their users that the material in them was simply made up.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has said it’s “pretty crazy” to believe that fake news influences people in any significant way, but Tufekci persuasively lays out evidence to the contrary. Multiple studies have shown — and common sense backs up — that Facebook influences opinions and behavior.
“These are not easy problems to solve, but there is a lot Facebook could do,” Tufekci wrote. “When the company decided it wanted to reduce spam, it established a policy that limited its spread.” The step that Facebook announced Monday— refusing to display advertisements in fake stories — isn’t sufficient.
The media is in the midst of a historical transition right now. Some old news sources are shrinking or disappearing, and others — many of which rely on Facebook — are rising. There is nothing wrong with this change. Our country has survived the fading of news powerhouses, like the Saturday Evening Post, Life magazine and live radio broadcasts, before.
But whatever forms the new information sources take, they do need to provide “reason and facts,” neither of which is partisan. A healthy democracy depends on it. As Thomas Jefferson said, the people need “full information of their affairs.” Zuckerberg, by believing that Facebook is staying neutral, has in fact made a damaging choice.
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Geoff Dembicki on generational war and climate change.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist.  NY Times

 

After the Protests – NYTimes.com

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After the Protests – NYTimes.com.

“LAST Wednesday, more than 100,000 people showed up in Istanbul for a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration. No formal organization made the call…Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. And whether these take place in Turkey, Egypt or Ukraine, pundits often speculate that the days of a ruling party or government, or at least its unpopular policies, must be numbered. Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does.”

The pros and cons of ‘sharenting’ | Life and style | The Guardian

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The pros and cons of ‘sharenting’ | Life and style | The Guardian.

 

Are sharents – parents who blog, tweet and post pictures about all aspects of their children’s lives – doing their children harm by crossing the boundaries between public and private life? 

 

They have been dubbed “sharents” – the mums and dads who blog, tweet and post pictures from their children‘s lives – often simultaneously. Mostly aged 35 and upwards, they were early adopters of social media who quickly became comfortable sharing their thoughts with strangers. Now, as they enter parenthood, it seems natural to take everyone along with them, every step of the way.

 

But how will this parental sharing affect children as they grow up?

 

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