Tag Archives: Social
In the summer of 2007, soon after a college intern convinced me to join Facebook, I remember thinking, “This is going to change everything. This is going to change the world.”
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and other social networks, blogs, and interactive online media have undoubtedly impacted billions of people over the past 12 years. Social media has helped topple dictatorships and given a voice to many millions of people previously unheard. It has reunited families, reconnected old friends, and rekindled romances. It has created opportunities for a massive number of small business owners, authors, and entrepreneurs. My wife and I are two of those people.
But there has also been a dark side to the last 12 years of social media: Cyber-bullying, negative headlines, data and security breaches, Russian interference in elections, impact on mental health,–the list of harmful elements of social media, sadly, goes on and on.
Whether you log on and see someone complaining about something small, like how boring a tv show was last night, or something big, like how toxic our current political environment is, it’s impossible to use social media these days without constant exposure to negativity.
Forty-one percent of Generation Z social media users recently said that social media makes them feel sad, anxious, or depressed. A 2017 study found that the more time 18-22-year-olds spent on social media per day, “the greater the association with anxiety symptoms.” Disinformation Twitter accounts continue to publish more than a million tweets per day. The majority of teens have come across racist or sexist hate speech on social media. Nearly 43% of teens have been bullied online, and 41% of all Americans have experienced online harassment. The data is all startling, but we don’t need the data to know how we feel when we log in and check our feeds.
What then can we do to combat the negativity? Could we all quit social media? No, in 2019, social media is an unavoidable part of our lives, for better or for worse. We could put the responsibility in the hands of the social media companies themselves, but they haven’t exactly proven trustworthy lately. So really, the only thing we can do is to change our individual behavior. And it starts with small acts of kindness that will have a ripple effect.
Here’s one idea: #BeLikeableDay, a global movement which asks people and organizations to pledge to take one minute out of the day on February 26th to commit to an act of kindness on social media. Compliment a friend on their outfit on Instagram, share gratitude for a neighbor on Facebook, or leave an unsolicited recommendation for a colleague on LinkedIn. Re-tweet a charitable cause on Twitter, or simply say something nice on the social network of your choice.
Together, one person and one act of kindness at a time, we can start to make social media a more positive place to spend our time, first, on February 26th, and then, maybe eventually, every day. And here’s the good news: Online acts of kindness don’t just change the world of social media for the better, they change you for the better.
A recent study by Yale and UCLA researchers suggest that performing small, kind gestures diffuses stress and improves mental health. In a Berkeley study, participants reported greater feelings of calmness and increased self-esteem after helping others. Committing acts of kindness even lowers your blood pressure: According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, author of The 5 Side Effects of Kindness, acts of kindness release the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of nitric oxide, which in turn reduces your blood pressure. Yes, there is science to being nice online!
So, instead of complaining about all of the negativity and toxicity of social media, and making it even more negative, how about choosing positivity on social media, on #BeLikeableDay and every day? You might improve your mood. You might even change the world.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general will meet this month to discuss concerns that social media platforms are “intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas,” the department said on Wednesday.
Its statement did not name Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), whose executives testified in Congress on Wednesday, but the firms have been harshly criticized by President Donald Trump and some of his fellow Republicans for what they see as an effort to repress conservative voices.
The companies deny any such bias.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions convened the meeting, set for Sept. 25, “to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said.
It was not known which state attorneys general would attend. Representatives for the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut and Iowa said that they had not been contacted.
Shares of social media companies slipped on Wednesday as the executives met skeptical lawmakers, with Twitter off 6.1 percent and Facebook around 2.3 percent lower in late afternoon trading. Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL.O) sank about 1 percent.
In the morning, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on efforts to counteract foreign efforts to influence U.S. elections and political discourse.
The Senate panel has been examining reported Russian efforts to influence U.S. public opinion throughout Trump’s presidency, after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin had sought to boost his chances of winning the White House in 2016.
Sandberg and Dorsey said the companies had stepped up efforts to fight such influence operations, but lawmakers said there was far more to be done and suggested Congress might have to take legislative action.
“Clearly, this problem is not going away. I’m not even sure it’s trending in the right direction,” said Senator Richard Burr, the committee’s Republican chairman.
Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s top Democrat said, “I’m skeptical that, ultimately, you’ll be able to truly address this challenge on your own. Congress is going to have to take action here.”
Legislation addressing the use of social media for political disinformation could resemble a bill passed earlier this year – and signed into law by Trump – that made it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media companies, advertisers and others who failed to keep exploitative material off their sites.
Committee members also criticized Google for refusing to send top executives to testify at the Senate hearing, with just weeks before the Nov. 6 congressional elections.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the company might have skipped the hearing because it was “arrogant.”
Dorsey then testified at a House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee hearing focused on the bias issue.
Representative Greg Walden, the committee’s Republican chairman, said Twitter had made “mistakes” that, he said, minimized Republicans’ presence on the social media site, a practice conservatives have labeled “shadow banning.”
“Multiple members of Congress and the chairwoman of the Republican Party have seen their Twitter presences temporarily minimized in recent months, due to what you have claimed was a mistake in the algorithm,” he said.
Dorsey denied any deliberate attempt to target conservatives, or promote liberals, during more than four hours of questioning.
“Recently we failed our intended impartiality. Our algorithms were unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts, including some members of Congress, from our search auto-complete and latest results. We fixed it,” he said.
Ahead of Wednesday’s hearings, Trump, without offering evidence, accused social media companies of interfering in the November elections, telling the Daily Caller conservative website that social media firms are “super liberal.”
Trump was quoted as saying in the interview on Tuesday that “I think they already have” interfered.
Democratic House committee members accused Republicans of calling the hearing for political reasons, noting that Trump had featured accusations of bias in fundraising letters. The mid-terms will decide whether Republicans will keep their majorities in the House and Senate.
“Over the past weeks, President Trump and many Republicans have peddled conspiracy theories about Twitter and other social media platforms to whip up their base and fundraise,” said Representative Frank Pallone, the committee’s top Democrat.
Wednesday’s hearings were attended by conspiracy theorists known as Trump supporters, who have dealt with bans on social media.
The conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was temporarily suspended from Twitter, sat in the front row of the Senate hearing, and interrupted Rubio.
The House hearing was interrupted by Laura Loomer, a conspiracy theorist who has been banned from major social media sites. She shouted that Dorsey was lying, accusing him of banning conservatives and saying Twitter was going to help Democrats “steal” the November elections.
Loomer was removed from the room as Republican Representative Billy Long used the droning cadence of his former career as an auctioneer to drown her out.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bangalore; Editing by Susan Thomas and Grant McCool
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc said Wednesday it has declined an invitation to testify at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing Thursday on filtering practices by social media companies, a company spokesman said.
The company said that even though it will not appear, it looks “forward to a continuing dialogue with members of the committee about Facebook’s strong commitment to being a platform for all voices and ideas.”
Alphabet Inc and Twitter Inc have also been invited to testify at the House Judiciary Committee hearing, but have not said whether they will appear. Some Republicans have criticized social media companies for censoring some conservative viewpoints, a charge the firms have denied.
Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis
LONDON (Reuters) – Social media companies should face prosecution for failing to remove racist and extremist material from their websites, according to a report by an influential committee.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s ethics watchdog recommends introducing laws to shift the liability for illegal content onto social media firms and calls for them to do more to take down intimidatory content.
Social media companies currently do not have liability for the content on their sites, even when it is illegal, the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life said.
The recommendations form part of the conclusions of an inquiry into intimidation experienced by parliamentary candidates in an election campaign this year.
“The widespread use of social media has been the most significant factor accelerating and enabling intimidatory behavior in recent years,” the report said.
“The committee is deeply concerned about the limited engagement of the social media companies in tackling these issues.”
While the report said intimidation in public life is an old problem, the scale and intensity of intimidation is now posing a threat to Britain’s democracy.
The report found that women, ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political candidates are disproportionately likely to be the targets of intimidation.
The committee heard how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and anti-Semitic abuse is putting off some candidates from standing for public office.
Platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are criticized for failing to remove abusive material posted online even after they were notified.
The committee said it was “surprised and concerned” Google, Facebook and Twitter do not collect data on the material they take down.
“The companies’ failure to collect this data seems extraordinary given that they thrive on data collection,” the report said. “It would appear to demonstrate that they do not prioritize addressing this issue of online intimidation.”
Twitter said in a statement it has announced several updates to its platform aimed at cutting down on abusive content and it is taking action on 10 times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year.
YouTube declined to comment, while Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Many politicians have become more vocal about the abuse they face after Labour’s Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two young children, was shot and repeatedly stabbed a week before Britain’s Brexit referendum last year.
Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison
The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to expand the files it collects on immigrants, as well as some citizens, by including more online data—most notably search results and social media information—about each individual.
The plan, which would cover data like Facebook posts or Google results, is set out in the Federal Register, where the government publishes forthcoming regulations. A final version is set to go into effect on Oct. 18.
The plan, reported by BuzzFeed, is notable partly because it permits the government to amass information not only about recent immigrants, but also on green card holders and naturalized Americans as well.
The proposal to collect social media data is set out in a part of the draft regulation that describes expanding the content of so-called “Alien Files,” which serve as detailed profiles of individual immigrants, and are used by everyone from border agents to judges. Here is the relevant portion:
The Department of Homeland Security, therefore, is updating the [file process] to … (5) expand the categories of records to include the following: country of nationality; country of residence; the USCIS Online Account Number; social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results
The proposal follows new rules by the Trump Administration that require visitors from certain countries to disclose their social media handles, and allow border agents to view their list of phone contacts.
Those earlier measures alarmed civil rights advocates who questioned whether they would do much to improve security, and worried other countries would introduce similar screening of Americans. In response to the latest effort to collect social media data, the American Civil Liberties Union warned of a “chilling effect.”
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“This Privacy Act notice makes clear that the government intends to retain the social media information of people who have immigrated to this country, singling out a huge group of people to maintain files on what they say. This would undoubtedly have a chilling effect on the free speech that’s expressed every day on social media,” the group said in a statement.
The new rules are currently subject to a comment period until Oct. 18 but, if they go into effect as planned, they will add yet more data to “Alien Files” that can already contain information such as fingerprints, travel histories, and health, and education records.
Such repositories provide powerful intelligence-gathering tools, but brings potential privacy risks such as government surveillance or cyber-attacks.
Actually make that AWS, Google and Microsoft—three companies that get cloud computing. Cisco? Not nearly as much. Cisco, in this instance, is an …
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(PRWeb May 20, 2017)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14353741.htm
Everyone—from children to adults, new hires to CEOs—engages in and consumes social media on a daily basis. Whether you’re an active user or …
If you or your kids are avid gamers, here’s some good news: All that strategising may have a beneficial impact on school results. Whether regular Facebook use is a drag on one’s English test scores — that’s another question.
A study conducted by Alberto Posso, a professor at Australia’s RMIT University, found that teenagers who played online video games regularly were often able to improve their school scores.
Students who were daily social media users, however, tended to under perform in maths, reading and science. “The results suggest that a student who uses online social networks on a daily basis will also obtain a grade in math that is 20 points lower than a student who never uses this type of social media,” Posso said in the report. Read more…