The Internet makes sins public

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The Internet is always public, sometimes forever, sometimes prowled by pirates — and sometimes a serious threat to privacy:

For example, 

Ashley Madison, you see, is a website claiming 37 million users worldwide that exists to facilitate marital infidelity. According to slightly breathless — and, although I may have been imagining it, also rather worried — coverage across the global press, the site has been bust open by some hackers who are about to release the details of everybody on it. And, on the assumption that those 37 million people actually exist, and aren’t mainly robots, duplicates or outright lies for marketing purposes, I’d say that… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 24 JULY 2015

Twitter is losing influence?

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We’ll see. Twitter isn’t just frivolous; it is often spiteful. It can make or ruin careers unjustly. Promote the worst influences far more easily than better ones. Or just spread hoaxes quickly.

Spreading hoaxes has even become a research area:

Some rumors are set in motion on purpose just to see what will happen. Take Washington Post sports reporter Mike Wise for example. Wise was suspended after he posted a false news story about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He claimed it was a social experiment to see how quickly a false rumor could spread throughout Twitter but it ended in a one-month suspension from his… click here to read whole article and make comments



Will robots really take over? That depends.

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Welcome to Japan's Weird Hotel. Image: AP / Daily Mail


Hitchcock's Bates Motel film is scary? The i-[can’t]care-bot is scary too. And it's real. Get this:

Inside the Japanese hotel where the front desk is staffed by ROBOTS and guests scan their faces to enter rooms” (?) [A menacing-looking dinosaur, a female humanoid with blinking lashes, and a small android greet guests.

 Hi, welcome to Japan minus the Japanese.  Welcome to the world of no teenagers.

Its’s great if you wanted to be in Japan with no contact with actual Japanese.

A billionaire has warned that it could trigger social unrest elsewhere: 

How is society going to… click here to read whole article and make comments



Math profs devastate social media “popularity”

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Image: Spectrum Media

We sometimes feel no one likes us. Other times (possibly fewer), that everyone does.

There is a mathematical explanation for why the internet plays into our illusions. A recent article in MIT Technology Review offers to deconstruct the illusions.

First, we may not have as many internet “friends” as others do. But, as Kristina Lerman and colleagues at the University of Southern California point out, “on average your friends will have more friends than you do”:

This comes about because the distribution of friends on social networks follows a power law. So while most people will have a small number of friends, a few individuals… click here to read whole article and make comments



Netflix and Amazon want our kids

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Real bad. We may need to want them more.

Further to why screen addiction matters to children, we should be aware of how much billionaire companies have invested in captivating them.

Consider this, for example, from California Sunday:

“You don’t know where you are or when you are with this show, so it’s timeless,” he says. “I love that quality.” Siegel, who’s 14, speaks without a trace of slang; dressed in the episode’s magical blazer, with his thick hair parted on the side, he, too, seems timeless. Gortimer is one of a slate of original children’s shows being produced for Amazon Instant Video, which, along with other streaming services, is dumping money into content… click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 12 JULY 2015

Why screen addiction matters to children

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I am glad I put off writing this article. Just this morning and quite by accident, I talked to a friend who is concerned about a five-year-old child she knows of who suffers from screen addiction.

All and any TV, 24/7.

Seemingly, no one who lives at the same address as the child knows where the OFF button is, or even where the plug is. Might be stuff to know.

I delayed writing because one doesn’t wish to sound like some old lady wittering about what “young folks” are doing these days.

But, no. Their differences from me are not the point here. Living on TV is like living on ice cream sundaes! One can’t raise a child… click here to read whole article and make comments



Fake news is coming to your town

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And mine. Big time. And we are talking genuine fakes here.

Remember Russia’s troll farm?:

The perpetrators didn’t just doctor screenshots from CNN; they also created fully functional clones of the websites of Louisiana TV stations and newspapers. The YouTube video of the man watching TV had been tailor-made for the project. A Wikipedia page was even created for the Columbian Chemicals disaster, which cited the fake YouTube video. As the virtual assault unfolded, it was complemented by text messages to actual residents in St. Mary Parish. It must have taken a team of programmers and content producers to pull off.

In the real world, as opposed to the virtual world, there had been no explosion at Columbian Chemicals. The fake news, noted above, flopped so… click here to read whole article and make comments



Mobile phones: Accessible banking for developing Africa?

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Africa Green Media


Further to fellow MercatorNet blogger Jotham Muriu Njoroge’s “African nations rank high on ease of doing business 2015,” it appears that some international players have noticed.

But first, to recap Njoroge: 

Countries from Sub Saharan Africa were amongst those that ranked high on the various lists and indexes in “Doing Business 2015”. Mauritius, for instance, was first on the “Ease of doing Business Index” and in the 230 business reforms recorded worldwide, over half came from African countries, mainly dealing with the reduction of complexity and costs in starting a business. A quarter of the global reforms concerning the strengthening of legal institutions also come from Africa. Five of… click here to read whole article and make comments



Millennials feel buyers’ remorse over social media?

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Because they think it is just not safe any more?

Maybe it isn't: 

New York, NY - June 23, 2015 - Could a generation born and bred on social media and synonymous with "selfie culture" be on the verge of a social shutdown? A new USA Network study found that more than half (55%) of young people say that if they could start fresh, they wouldn't join social media at all and 75% say they are somewhat likely (29%), likely (23%) or highly likely (23%) to deactivate their social media accounts if major digital security breaches continue.

And, Generation Y - the most digitally minded generation to date - is going retro, turning to paper files and storage boxes to lock down their data. Brown… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 29 JUNE 2015

Disney World joins attractions banning selfie sticks

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Disney has banned selfie sticks (cameras mounted on poles to enable cell or tablet self-portraits at events and attractions), starting this week. Dozens of museums and sporting events worldwide have already banned the sticks.

As Nick Mediati notes at PC World, 

For Disney, the ban is all about visitor safety. Disney World’s Kim Prunty tells the Sentinel that “selfie-sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast.”

Ineed, the Orlando Sentinel reports,

Several incidents preceded the change, but officials have been discussing the rules for some time, Disney said. This week at Disney California Adventure park, a roller coaster was halted after a passenger… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Connecting is MercatorNet's blog about social media and the virtual self. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your tips and suggestions. Post comments. We want to make it as lively as possible. The editor is Denyse O'Leary, a Canadian journalist. 

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