Is India the frontline in big techs assault on democracy? | John Harris

Encrypted messaging polarises voters and prevents public scrutiny, says Guardian columnist John Harris In 10 days time, two political dramas will reach their denouement, thanks to the votes of a combined total of about 1.3 billion people. At the heart of both will be a mess of questions about democracy in the online age, and how or even if we can act to preserve it. Elections to the European parliament will begin on 23 May, and offer an illuminating test of the rightwing populism that has swept across the continent. In the UK, they will mark the decisive arrival of Nigel Farages Brexit party, whose serving notice of a politics brimming with bile and rage, masterminded by people with plenty …

Nick Clegg rejects Facebook break-up calls backed by Kamala Harris

California Democrat favours action against social media giant but former deputy PM says new employer a great American success Facebook head of global affairs Nick Clegg has rejected calls for the social media giant to be broken up, an idea gaining currency among contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, with Kamala Harris seemingly its latest convert. Earlier this week, Facebook has led such calls on the campaign trail. Clegg, 52, was deputy prime minister to David Cameron between 2010 and 2015. He spoke to CNNs Reliable Sources on Sunday. Hughes, he said, had quite rightly highlighted complex issues affecting Facebook, such as data use, privacy and election interference. But, he said, chopping a great American success story into bits is …

Facebook to use AI to stop telling users to say hi to dead friends

Algorithmic features have sent suggestions to wish happy birthday to those whove died Facebook has promised to use artificial intelligence to stop suggesting users invite their dead friends to parties. The sites freshly emotionally intelligent AI is part of a rash of changes to how Facebook handles memorialised accounts pages whose owner has been reported deceased, but that are kept on the social network in their memory. Memorialisation of accounts allows for treasured images, videos and posts to be kept online, as well as providing a focal point for grieving friends and relatives to share memories. But the feature has caused its fair share of pain: since the account is kept on the social network and treated similarly to any …

Fox News’ viewer-in-chief complains about the network’s Bernie Sanders town hall

New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here. Bret Baier’s response The Fox anchor tweeted: “Thanks for watching Mr. President — we’d love to have you on a town hall soon — or even an interview on @SpecialReport —it’s been awhile. We cover all sides.” As Politico Playbook noted, Baier has been seeking an interview with Trump for years… The president’s interviews on Fox are “almost always with friendly commentators like Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro.” Trump’s criticism continued on Tuesday night: He claimed that “many Trump fans & signs” were outside the town hall, and there were “big complaints about not being let in …

Squaring up: how Insta-fashion is changing the way we shop

Instagram has become the window display for a new generation of savvy shoppers and its changing the way we consume style, for good and bad. Leah Harper meets some of the pioneers at the forefront of Insta-fashion Weve all bought them at some time or another: the perfect pair of shoes. Stylish, comfortable the kind you wear with everything until they fall apart, and you have to start scouring the internet for a replacement. But recently you might have noticed that the way you find a replacement has changed. Not long after you begin your search, a pair of similar shoes appears, as a sponsored post, on your Instagram feed. Theyre there one day, and then the next. Youll likely …

Hundreds of millions of Facebook records exposed on public servers report

Material discovered on Amazon cloud servers in latest example of Facebook letting third parties extract user data More than 540m Facebook records were left exposed on public internet servers, cybersecurity researchers said on Wednesday, in just the latest security black eye for the company. Researchers for the firm UpGuard discovered two separate sets of Facebook user data on public Amazon cloud servers, the company detailed in a Bloomberg, which first reported the leak, contacted Facebook. The smaller dataset was taken offline during UpGuards investigation. The data exposure is not the result of a breach of Facebooks systems. Rather, it is another example, akin to the privacy-focused platform are hampered by its own past practices and what UpGuard researchers called the …

Mark Zuckerbergs Facebook mission statement hides his real aim | Emily Bell

Social media founders proclaim their idealism, like modern day messiahs. Yet all they want is global market domination It is hard to remember that there was a blissful time, not so long ago, when company chief executives were anonymous creatures who rarely communicated with the outside world and, when they did, it was through the unengaging medium of a corporate press release. As with many other perfectly good practices, such as working an eight-hour day and going outside for lunch, Silicon Valley has put an end to this. Company statements are often personal homilies and meditations on themselves, their businesses and the world they are imperceptibly improving. Every public statement must contain an epiphany; every earnings announcement, a TED talk. …

Come back, experts. Without you public debate is just a shouting match | Owl Fisher

It is time to stop pretending that all opinions are equal, says the writer, film-maker and campaigner Owl Fisher Waking up to the news is becoming ever more painful. Not just because a lot of whats happening in the world is depressing and anxiety inducing Brexit, climate change, the far right, measles outbreaks, homelessness but also because of the way debates are often framed: two competing sides, fighting for the win, any evidence merely an afterthought. Contributors are presented as experts when, more often than not, theyre just another person with an opinion. We absorb their hot take on the days events often without questioning what lies behind them. Anyone with an opinion is invited on to TV or radio, …

Is it ever too late to reply to an email? | Oliver Burkeman

Social expectations about digital etiquette have never been more in flux. The solution? Avoid worrying about it altogether You know youve reached a crisis point in your email backlog when youre obliged as I was recently to confront the following conundrum of electronic etiquette: is it ruder to reply to an email after three months than not to reply at all? On one hand, obviously, given since 1969. Three months is, lets be clear, far too long to delay a reply. But I suspect were entering a phase in emails history when social expectations about such matters have never been more in flux. As the burden of digital communication keeps increasing, digital minimalism is entering the mainstream. (I recommend a …

Facebook criticised after women complain of inaction over abuse

Amnesty says social media firm must do more to support users who report harassment Human rights campaigners have called for action after a survey revealed that more than half of the reports that women lodge about harassment on Facebook are met with no action from the social media company. The Survation poll, commissioned by the feminist campaign group Level Up, found that 29% of the 1,000 women who took part had been harassed on Facebook. A spokesperson for Amnesty International UK said the extremely worrying findings were indicative of a new frontier of human rights abuses which are often unaddressed: Time and time again we hear social media companies making pledges that they will do better, but their efforts have …

‘Time for the Chinese miracle’: Beijing’s new English language propaganda push

Campaign including confusing rap song and stilted video explainer coincides with the annual Two Sessions political conference Chinese state media Two Sessions, which began this week. Among the more intelligible lines is this: Monkey King to the West, legendary dragon to the sky, yall know its time for Chinese miracle. It goes on: Weve got Two Sessions, weve got Two Sessions for the fragrance were blessing, to the world we show our affection. Play Video 4:32 a Xinhua video, two women uncomfortably answer questions as they are quizzed on fun facts about the Two Sessions. In another video by Xinhua titled, Chinese democracy in the eyes of an American, a reporter for Xinhua says: It is widely acknowledged that a …

Arizona town apologises to preteen reporter after threat to arrest her

Hilde Lysiak was chasing down story in Patagonia, Arizona, when police officer stopper her and threatened to put her in juvey An Arizona town has apologized to a 12-year-old budding news reporter after a police officer threatened to arrest her for chasing a story. stopped by town marshal Joseph Patterson, who threatened to put her in juvenile jail. At a town council meeting on Wednesday night, Patagonias mayor story about it on her site. Patterson stopped her and asked for ID, and Lysiak told him she was a reporter. I dont want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff, the marshal said, according to Lysiaks Orange Street News account. Im going to have you arrested and …