Articles on Social media

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In the mid-1990s, body modification enthusiasts – a long-ostracized subculture – created an online community that incorporated blogs, dating and wikis. philippe leroyer/flickr

How Facebook – the Wal-Mart of the internet – dismantled online subcultures

Even though Facebook claims to be a global community, its rise has come at the expense of online subcultures for marginalized people, from body modification enthusiasts to drag queens.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg argues his social network can support more civic engagement. Ben Margot/AP Photo

Can Silicon Valley’s autocrats save democracy?

While Facebook's Zuckerberg suggested as much recently, companies run like autocracies cannot fulfill technology's promise of reinvigorating the democratic process.
Protesters post a hashtag to social media together to make it trend as they denounce policies of President Donald Trump at the Not My President’s Day Rally in Los Angeles, California February 20, 2017. David McNew/Reuters

Can social media, loud and inclusive, fix world politics?

Can social media create opportunities to identify and challenge government pitfalls and problematic policies?
Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr (with the yellow t-shirt) in front of a statue of Paul Kruger at Church Square in Pretoria. Alon Skuy/The Times

Donald Trump, white victimhood and the South African far-right

The idea of white victimhood played an important part in Donald Trump's rise. The South African brand of white supremacy has made a tangible contribution to this narrative of victimhood.

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