The New York Times - metered paywall - 27 Jan 2018
This is a long (reads in 15-20 min) and fascinating piece of investigative journalism into the global marketplace for social media fraud. As a business, some companies specialize in selling fake followers (and likes and retweets) to celebrities, politicians and influencers. This booming economy of online influence reaches into virtually any industry where a mass audience can be monetized, and as the article shows, fake accounts deployed by governments, criminals and entrepreneurs now infest social media networks. According to some people, nearly 15% of active Twitter’s users are automated accounts designed to simulate real people.
Published in Weekly selection 2 February 2018
The New York Times Magazine - metered paywall - 21 Jan 2018
This is a longish (reads in about 15-20 min), but must-read article in which the author states that the current mania for crypto-currency could wind up building something much more important than wealth. The real promise of these new technologies may lie not in displacing our currencies, but in replacing much of what we now think of as the internet. If the blockchain evangelists succeed, they may challenge the hegemony of the tech giants far more effectively than any antitrust regulation. They may even offer an alternative to the winner-take-all model of capitalism.
Published in Weekly selection 19 January 2018
Quartz - 8 Jan 2018
Two big investors who own around $2 billion in Apple shares just asked the company to consider how technology affects children’s wellbeing. In their letter, they state that the average American teenager gets her first smartphone at age 10 and spends almost 5 hours a day on it, excluding texting and talking. More than half report feeling addicted to their devices. This letter may mark a turning point: it also takes a dig at social media companies, and it is the first time that money enters the tech backlash arena (reads in 4-6 min).
Published in Weekly selection 12 January 2018