New York Times: Why People Are So Awful Online

New York Times: Why People Are So Awful Online. “Increasingly, I’ve felt that online engagement is fueled by the hopelessness many people feel when we consider the state of the world and the challenges we deal with in our day-to-day lives. Online spaces offer the hopeful fiction of a tangible cause and effect — an injustice answered by an immediate consequence. On Twitter, we can wield a small measure of power, avenge wrongs, punish villains, exalt the pure of heart. In our quest for this simulacrum of justice, however, we have lost all sense of proportion and scale.”

The Verge: The Day the Good Internet Died

The Verge: The Day the Good Internet Died. “Logging on feels like participating in the setup to a Yogi Berra 2.0 ‘terrible food, and such small portions!’–style joke—except that the punch line is about, like, public health statistics instead of prime rib. In the past week alone, the president of the United States and Facebook, each citing the tech company’s handling of pandemic info, have bickered publicly about, oh, just Facebook’s ratio of murderousness to societal benefit. (In other news, there’s a new Space Jam movie out with a villain who is an evil computer named ‘Al-G Rhythm.’)”

HuffPost: Female Twitch Streamers Spend Their Lives Online. Predators Are Watching.

HuffPost: Female Twitch Streamers Spend Their Lives Online. Predators Are Watching.. “There’s no social media platform where women are safe from sexual harassment. Mobs of misogynist trolls have chased countless women and girls off of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and lesser known sites. But when it comes to streaming on Twitch, women are exceptionally vulnerable to this kind of abuse, which has become normalized as an intrinsic part of their experience both on- and off-platform, regardless of the nature of their content.”

YourStory: Top tech blogger Amit Agarwal on building a global content business for over 15 years

YourStory: Top tech blogger Amit Agarwal on building a global content business for over 15 years. “Amit Agarwal has developed projects with the likes of Airbus, LinkedIn, Disney, and even the US embassy. In a conversation with YourStory, the professional tech blogger shares his success secrets, building a global content business from Bharat, and more.”

MIT Sloan: Social media is broken. A new report offers 25 ways to fix it

MIT Sloan: Social media is broken. A new report offers 25 ways to fix it. “Researchers, policymakers, and users have identified several key issues with the social media ecosystem. These include vast power held by a few corporations, which hurts innovation and competition; the spread of false news and debates about the limits of free speech; how social media threatens privacy, election integrity, and democracy; and platform oversight and transparency.”

The Atlantic: The Internet Is Rotting

The Atlantic: The Internet Is Rotting. “This absence of central control, or even easy central monitoring, has long been celebrated as an instrument of grassroots democracy and freedom. It’s not trivial to censor a network as organic and decentralized as the internet. But more recently, these features have been understood to facilitate vectors for individual harassment and societal destabilization, with no easy gating points through which to remove or label malicious work not under the umbrellas of the major social-media platforms, or to quickly identify their sources. While both assessments have power to them, they each gloss over a key feature of the distributed web and internet: Their designs naturally create gaps of responsibility for maintaining valuable content that others rely on.”

New York Times: The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think

New York Times: The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think. “From 2010 to 2018, the data workloads hosted by the cloud data centers increased 2,600 percent and energy consumption increased 500 percent. But energy consumption for all data centers rose less than 10 percent. What happened, the authors explain, was mainly a huge shift of workloads to the bigger, more efficient cloud data centers — and away from traditional computer centers, largely owned and run by non-tech companies.”

The Register: Syria and Sudan turn off the internet to suppress … cheating by kids sitting exams

The Register: Syria and Sudan turn off the internet to suppress … cheating by kids sitting exams. “Access Now reports as a part of its #KeepItOn campaign that there were 115 internet shutdowns in 2019, 60 in 2020 and 50 between January and May of 2021. Of those so far in 2021, 24 affected a whole country or region, 11 took in more than one city or area, and 13 cut off only one city, county or village.”

Discover Magazine: How To Spot Pseudoscience Online And IRL

Discover Magazine: How To Spot Pseudoscience Online And IRL. “Imagine a universe rife with cosmic catastrophes: Jupiter ejecting a comet into space that would later become the planet Venus. The comet whizzing past Earth and changing its rotation. The resulting chaos on Earth causing natural disasters of biblical proportions — literally — like the parting of the Red Sea. In the mid-1900s, Immanuel Velikovsky, a psychiatrist and author, claimed that he could prove these radical ideas. Velikovsky laid out his case in Worlds in Collision, a 1950 bestseller. But the book wasn’t billed as creative fiction or a fanciful hypothesis based on anecdotal accounts of the past; rather, Velikovsky presented these interplanetary theories, and others, as factual.” A lot of articles with this kind of headline are ten paragraphs of bromide. This is a deep dive with a lot of history. Recommended.

Discover: Meet The Activist Archivists Saving The Internet From The Digital Dustbin

Discover: Meet The Activist Archivists Saving The Internet From The Digital Dustbin. “Websites die constantly. The sheer size of the internet makes it feel like a permanent fixture, but individual pages only live an estimated 90 days before they change or vanish. At the same time, every single page has potential historical value. Maybe a future scholar will want to read a local news article that disappeared when the paper redesigned its website, or a political candidate is purging troublesome old statements. Perhaps someone will just want to revisit a video that made them laugh decades ago. That anything (and everything) might someday prove valuable is why extensive internet archiving efforts exist.”

Gizmodo: 100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It

Gizmodo: 100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It. “What does a spot on this list mean? It certainly doesn’t mean ‘best.’ A number of sites on this list are cesspools now and always have been. We’re not even sure the internet was a good idea — we’ll need another few decades before we come to any conclusions. In this case, we set out to rank the websites — not apps (like Instagram), not services (like PayPal) — that influenced the very nature of the internet, changed the world, stole ideas better than anyone, pioneered a genre, or were just really important to us.”

Techdirt: Canadian Government Wants To Regulate Social Media Like Broadcast

Techdirt: Canadian Government Wants To Regulate Social Media Like Broadcast. “Canada has a long history of requiring broadcasters to support and air Canadian content, setting percentages of airtime that must be dedicated to it. While this is controversial and of questionable efficacy, it is at least coherent with regards to television and radio broadcasting over public airwaves — but Bill C-10 would bring streaming services and many other websites under the same regulatory regime, which also includes even more concerning powers to regulate political speech.” Anybody remember the kerfuffle over Canada regulating zines back in the 1990s? Just me? Okay.

National Security Archive: A Diplomatic Domain? The Evolution of Diplomacy in Cyberspace

National Security Archive: A Diplomatic Domain? The Evolution of Diplomacy in Cyberspace. “The recent passage of the ‘Cyber Diplomacy Act of 2021’ by the House of Representatives suggests U.S. lawmakers are eager to expand the U.S.’s toolbox for addressing cyber threats to explicitly include diplomacy, according to a compilation of policy records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. Introduced on the heels of the SolarWinds breach, the bill would establish a new ‘Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy.’”

TNW: 60% of the world is online — 10 big takeaways on the state of the internet in 2021

TNW: 60% of the world is online — 10 big takeaways on the state of the internet in 2021. “The new Digital 2021 April Global Statshot Report – published in partnership between Hootsuite and We Are Social – reveals that more than 6 in 10 people on Earth now use the internet. Internet users have grown by more than 330 million over the past year, reaching a total of more than 4.7 billion at the start of April 2021.”