Twitter is bringing back Election Labels to identify 2020 US election candidates

With just less than a year until U.S. Election Day, Twitter is bringing back its Election Labels, which provide information about political candidates — including which office they’re running for and their state and district number. The labels will also have a small ballot box icon to accompany this information. The feature was first launched during the 2018 U.S. midterms, where the labels were seen 100 million times per day by Twitter users in the week before Election Day. In addition, 13% of U.S. election-related conversations on Twitter included a tweet with an Election Label, the company says. Now the labels are making a return ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. The labels will appear on accounts of candidates who …

Facebook says government demands for user data are at a record high

Facebook’s latest transparency report is out. The social media giant said the number of government demands for user data increased by 16% to 128,617 demands during the first half of this year compared to the second half of last year. That’s the highest number of government demands it has received in any reporting period since it published its first transparency report in 2013. The U.S. government led the way with the most number of requests — 50,741 demands for user data resulting in some account or user data given to authorities in 88% of cases. Facebook said two-thirds of all the U.S. government’s requests came with a gag order, preventing the company from telling the user about the request for …

Twitters political ads ban is a distraction from the real problem with platforms

Sometimes it feels as if Internet platforms are turning everything upside down, from politics to publishing, culture to commerce, and of course swapping truth for lies. This week’s bizarro reversal was the vista of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a tech CEO famed for being entirely behind the moral curve of understanding what his product is platforming (i.e. nazis), providing an impromptu ‘tweet storm’ in political speech ethics. Actually he was schooling Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — another techbro renowned for his special disconnect with the real world, despite running a massive free propaganda empire with vast power to influence other people’s lives — in taking a stand for the good of democracy and society. So not exactly a full reverse then. In …

Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up

Several decades into the age of digital media, the ability to leave one’s childhood and adolescent years behind is now imperiled. Although exact numbers are hard to come by, it is evident that a majority of young people with access to mobile phones take and circulate selfies on a daily basis. There is also growing evidence that selfies are not simply a tween and teen obses­sion. Toddlers enjoy taking selfies, too, and whether intentionally or unintentionally, have even managed to put their images into circula­tion. What is the cost of this excessive documentation? More spe­cifically, what does it mean to come of age in an era when images of childhood and adolescence, and even the social networks formed during this …