Under fire, but not without options.
AP Photo/Francois Mori
Without much delay, Facebook and Twitter could make significant changes to limit political manipulation and propaganda. Will they? And will users ask it of the social media giants?
Days before their Oct. 28 presidential election, Brazilians protested news that supporters of right-wing front-runner Jair Bolsonaro had used WhatsApp to spread false information about his opponents.
Facebook retired its 'Move fast and break things' slogan – perhaps because, as new research from Brazil confirms, democracy is among the things left broken by online misinformation and fake news.
When online information causes fear, it can spark hatred and violence.
Hysterical narratives promoting fear among some Americans may be more effective at sparking violence than hate speech is. Social media companies are expected to guard against both.
Should you have trusted this man with so much of your personal data?
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Scholars and skeptics warned about Facebook long before its founder was even born. Technology companies keep asking for more and more data and proving they can't be trusted.
As Americans go to the polls, the voting process and the information environment are still not secure.
AP Photo/David Goldman
Protecting democracy requires more than just technical solutions. It includes education, critical thinking and members of society working together to agree on problems and find solutions.
Working together, people and technology companies can make a lot of progress.
Amazon, Facebook and Google have lofty goals for their effects on global society. But people around the world are still waiting for the positive results. Here's what the tech giants could do.
Adding bots into an online discussion can definitely affect the views of real people.
Measuring Twitter bots' effects on the opinions of real people can yield surprising results about what makes them influential.
Online hate still rages, often in plain sight.
Twitter and Facebook have said they will take steps to fight hate and abuse on their sites, but they have not yet adequately addressed the problem.
The U.S. and Australia can boost each other’s security.
The U.S. is not the only country worried about foreign influence over its elections. Australia is concerned too, and taking steps Americans could learn from.
Do you want to be friends with this person?
Almost every online deception, fraud and scam – even propaganda and misinformation campaigns – begins with a fake social media profile. How do fakers get real people to agree to be friends?
A scene from Doug Engelbart’s groundbreaking 1968 computer demo.
Doug Engelbart Institute
A 90-minute presentation in 1968 showed off the earliest desktop computer system. In the process it introduced the idea that technology could make individuals better – if government funded research.
Civic groups like the Boy Scouts are likely under attack by Russian agents – and likely don’t know it.
Russia is trying to create social tension in the US to boost its own strength on the world stage. That includes targeting society itself.
Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
Effective political campaigns use three main online strategies; research identifies which of them is most effective.
They may look similar, but online trolls act differently.
Some behaviors might help tell propaganda-spewing trolls apart from regular internet users, but the main protection is for people to think more critically about online information.
Hey Google: How’s your news?
Google News does not differentiate search results according to users' politics – but it does favor mainstream news sites, which are seen as leaning left, and doesn't clearly disclose how its algorithms work.
Facebook wants to improve trust.
Facebook users may be flagging news as fake just because they disagree with it.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify on Capitol Hill.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
The strengths of social media are also its weaknesses. Facebook must acknowledge that it has transformed from a startup company into a powerful social force.
The social network is stopping researchers accessing its data – with significant consequences.
What causes a media business to bar the door?
While they may talk about 'free speech,' businesses make decisions about their content based on a very different set of principles.
How much do these Mumbai commuters trust what they’re seeing online?
Three trends suggest people in less developed nations – who are coming online in greater numbers – use and trust the internet very differently those in more developed economies.