Social media is nothing like drugs, despite all the horror stories

Nothing like Instagram. cliplab.pro/Shutterstock Letting your child use social media is like giving them cocaine, alcohol and cigarettes – all at once, or so we’re told. If you have been following recent press reports about the effects of social media on young people, you may well believe this. But there is no scientific evidence to […]

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Stormzy 1: The Sun 0 — Three Reasons Why #GE2017 Was the Real Social Media Election

After its initial appearance as a cynical but safe device by Teresa May to ratchet up the Conservative majority, the UK general election of 2017 turned out to be one of the most exciting and unexpected of all time. One of the many things for which it will be remembered is as the first election […]

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Latest Report by UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Freedom of Expression is a Landmark Document

“The digital access industry is in the business of digital expression (…). Since privately owned networks are indispensable to the contemporary exercise of freedom of expression, their operators also assume critical social and public functions. The industry’s decisions (…) can directly impact freedom of expression and related human rights in both beneficial and detrimental ways.” [Report […]

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Our knowledge of how automated agents interact is rather poor (and that could be a problem)

Recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of bots online — including search engine Web crawlers, online customer service chat bots, social media spambots, and content-editing bots in online collaborative communities like Wikipedia. (Bots are important contributors to Wikipedia, completing about 15% of all Wikipedia edits in 2014 overally, and more than […]

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Could Voting Advice Applications force politicians to keep their manifesto promises?

In many countries, Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have become an almost indispensable part of the electoral process, playing an important role in the campaigning activities of parties and candidates, an essential element of media coverage of the elections, and being widely used by citizens. A number of studies have shown that VAA use has an […]

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Social media and the battle for perceptions of the U.S.–Mexico border

The US-Mexican border region is home to approximately 12 million people, and is the most-crossed international border in the world. Unlike the current physical border, the image people hold of “the border” is not firmly established, and can be modified. One way is via narratives (or stories), which are a powerful tool for gaining support […]

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Using Open Government Data to predict sense of local community

Community-based approaches are widely employed in programmes that monitor and promote socioeconomic development. And building the “capacity” of a community — i.e. the ability of people to act individually or collectively to benefit the community — is key to these approaches. The various definitions of community capacity all agree that it comprises a number of […]

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Should adverts for social casino games be covered by gambling regulations?

Social casino gaming, which simulates gambling games on a social platform such as Facebook, is a nascent but rapidly growing industry — social casino game revenues grew 97 percent between 2012 and 2013, with a USD$3.5 billion market size by the end of 2015. Unlike gambling played for real money, social casino games generally have […]

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