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Media critic and educator Neil Postman’s 1985 book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ warned of the dangers when all media is entertainment, especially when people lack critical media literacy skills. (Shutterstock)

The urgent need for media literacy in an age of annihilation

Students -- and indeed all of us -- must learn to ask questions about what stories are told, and the implications of what stories are not being told.
Facebook looks different - but we’re still waiting for clarification on how they’re going to handle user data into the future. Julien de Rosa / AAP

Facebook is now cleaner, faster and group-focused, but still all about your data

Facebook is built on harvesting platform data about its users, crunching that to predict behaviours and allegiances and then selling this package to advertisers. That hasn't changed yet.
Companies use data to make a portrait of their users. ImageFlow/shutterstock.com

Big tech surveillance could damage democracy

Big tech companies compete over who can gather the most intelligence on their users. Countries like Russia and China turn this information against their citizens.
Facebook’s Mia Garlick says, ‘we’re frequently seeing politicians use the Facebook Live tool to augment a press conference or to directly speak to voters about the issues of importance of the day.’ AAP/MICK TSIKAS

Media Files: Facebook’s Mia Garlick on #Ausvotes2019 and how Australian MPs use social media

Facebook’s Mia Garlick on how Australian politicians are using social media. The Conversation44,8 MB (download)
Today's Media Files podcast examines the role of social media in election campaigns, including the spread of 'fake news' and foreign political interference.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with his wife Jenny Morrison, used a campaign rally at the Breakers Country Club in Wambarel to speak about online safety on May 5 2019. Mick Tsikas /AAP

Coalition plans to improve online safety don’t address the root cause of harms: the big tech business model

It's easy to legislate for new offences and more incarceration. It's harder – and more expensive – to ensure the community is safer in the long term. This involves addressing causes, not effects.
Senators during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s hearing on the social media influence in the 2016 U.S. elections in Washington November 2017. The graphic shows conflict at a rally that was created and promoted by fake Facebook accounts run by Russian trolls. Shawn Thew/EPA

Friday essay: networked hatred - new technology and the rise of the right

In the face of digital disruption that threatens the very fabric of democratic culture we must refashion Enlightenment oppositions for new times.
Political advertising has moved away from traditional media and is now more prevalent on platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. AAP/ALP/Liberal Party/GetUp!/Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Facebook videos, targeted texts and Clive Palmer memes: how digital advertising is shaping this election campaign

The major parties are focusing on social media like never before to get their messaging out – and finding more creative ways to do it.
Claims of ‘fake news’ and misinformation campaigns have already arisen in the federal election campaign, a problem the political parties and tech companies are ill-equipped to address. Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA

‘Fake news’ is already spreading online in the election campaign – it’s up to us to stop it

New regulations have been rolled out to counter the spread of misinformation during the campaign, but these steps will largely be ineffective in the fast-moving social media sphere

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