Is Facebook the enemy of truth and civic unity?

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Those on the left who worry that Facebook and Twitter have been a breeding ground for climate-deniers and Tea Party fanatics should remember that #occupywallstreet and #blacklivesmatter both began as hashtags on Twitter.

The same holds true in the Presidential race. Historically, the most striking thing about the campaign so far is not Trump’s ascension, but the fact that a self-proclaimed socialist is running a close race with heir apparent Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders has three times as many Twitter followers as Republican establishment candidate Jeb Bush, despite the hundred million dollars Bush has raised for his campaign. Sanders, much more than Trump, is a pure-bred social media phenomenon. Trump has obviously used Twitter effectively, but his name recognition derives from network television and his real estate empire.

But until that time, I think we shouldn’t be too worried by the noise of the new public sphere. There are more dividers with a soapbox thanks to social networks, but so far it is the uniters that are actually getting things done. The price of politics in the social media age is that the crazies get a place on the playing field. The test is whether they win.

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From relationships to revolutions: seven ways Facebook has changed the world

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On Monday [August 24], one in seven people on Earth used Facebook – 1 billion people, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg. In a decade, the social network has transformed people’s relationships, privacy, their businesses, the news media, helped topple regimes and even changed the meaning of everyday words.

…These are just some of the ways his company changed everything – for better or worse.

Facebook has changed the definition of “friend”

“To friend” is now a verb. And unlike real life when the ending of a friendship can be deeply traumatic, it is easy to “de-friend”, a word invented to describe ditching a casual acquaintance when they are no longer enhancing your Facebook newsfeed.

Although the meaning of the words “share” and “like” are essentially the same, Facebook has brought an entirely new weight to the terms.

High school and university reunions have become redundant – you already know whose career is going well, whether the perfect pair have split and you’ve seen endless pictures of your schoolmates’ babies. You won’t be surprised by an ex in the street with a new girlfriend or boyfriend: you already know they’re dating someone else from the romantic selfies.

But unlike in real life, Facebook has no hierarchy of friendships. A classmate from one project at university who you haven’t seen in 15 years, a friend-of-a-friend from a stag do, or a colleague you’ve never actually spoken to in person – they are all Facebook friends in the same way as your closest mate, or your spouse, or your mum.

We care less about privacy

Political parties who focus on Facebook win

Facebook has been the tool to organise revolutions

Facebook makes news, breaks news, and decides what is news

Is it the Beginning of the End for Online Comments?

The Daily Dot recently became the latest news website to get rid of user comments

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Vibrant online communities? Or cesspools of abuse? Have comments had their day?

The debate about comment sections on news sites is often as divisive as the comments themselves. Recently outlets such as The Verge and The Daily Dot have closed their comments sections because they’ve become too hard to manage. And they’re far from alone.

That’s the downside. But it’s also worth remembering that many news organisations – including the BBC – have used comments sections to make real connections with audiences, find stories, and turn what was once a one-way street into a multi-headed conversation.

In our experience, our community hasn’t evolved in our comments. It’s evolved in our social media accounts. To have comments, you have to be very active, and if you’re not incredibly active, what ends up happening is a mob can shout down all the other people on your site. In an environment that isn’t heavily curated it becomes about silencing voices and not about opening up voices.

Americans Don’t Live in Information Cocoons

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In this polarized age, have citizens retreated into information cocoons of like-minded media sources?

A new Pew Research Center report found that the outlets people name as their main sources of information about news and politics are strongly correlated with their political views. Almost half of all respondents that Pew classified as consistent conservatives named Fox News as their primary news source, while consistent liberals were disproportionately likely to name National Public Radio (13 percent), MSNBC (12 percent) and The New York Times (10 percent). These results are in line with studies suggesting that people tend to select news and information that is consistent with their political preferences in controlled settings.

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism

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The social media company is increasingly becoming to the news business what Amazon is to book publishing — a behemoth that provides access to hundreds of millions of consumers and wields enormous power. About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.

Though other services, like Twitter and Google News, can also exert a large influence, Facebook is at the forefront of a fundamental change in how people consume journalism. Most readers now come to it not through the print editions of newspapers and magazines or their home pages online, but through social media and search engines driven by an algorithm, a mathematical formula that predicts what users might want to read.

How the Smartphone Ushered In a Golden Age of Journalism

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Like Twitter, mobile has long been underestimated: People assume that because the screen is small, the content should be too. That’s turning out to be both simplistic and wrong. No one should expect the imminent disappearance of the listicle, a story form at least as old as the Ten Commandments. But based on what’s happening already, we have good reason to expect that listicles and their ilk will share the screen with great writing, investigative journalism, and deep-media storytelling. Mobile actually enables those efforts as it puts us face-to-face with the endlessly onrushing stream of events that journalists exist to capture—a stream you can now dip into at will, even as you hold it in your hand on the subway.