Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent articles by Mathew:

Is Facebook quitting the news business?

In March 2019, the company now known as Meta announced the Facebook Journalism Project, a plan to spend $300 million over three years “supporting local journalists and newsrooms with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future, and helping local news organizations build sustainable business models.” At an event in Denver that same month, called the […] → Read More

Journalists want to re-create Twitter on Mastodon. Mastodon is not into it.

Ever since Elon Musk completed his $45 billion takeover of Twitter last month, there has been a steady stream of users, including a number of journalists, signing up for Mastodon, an open-source alternative. No one controls Mastodon—or rather, everyone controls their own version of it. There are thousands of servers running the software, and each […] → Read More

The Wire pledges transparency as it reviews its Meta coverage

Last week, The Wire, an independent news outlet based in India, reported that Amit Malviya, the social media manager for India’s ruling BJP party, was able to remove images posted by Instagram users without having to go through the platform’s normal moderation channels. As evidence, The Wire published an internal Instagram report that appeared to […] → Read More

Section 230 heads to the Supreme Court

For the past several years, critics across the political spectrum have argued that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 gives social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube too much protection from legal liability for the content they host. Conservative critics argue, despite a lack of evidence, that Section 230 allows […] → Read More

Elon Musk, Twitter, and questions of diligence

In July, Twitter sued Elon Musk for his failure to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the company, a process he formally initiated in April. Musk subsequently filed a countersuit in which he alleged that Twitter was not telling the truth about some aspects of its business, including the number of fake and automated accounts […] → Read More

The road to a possible TikTok-Congress deal

In June, BuzzFeed News published an investigative report based on leaked audio from more than eighty internal meetings at TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app. In the report, labeled “The TikTok Tapes,” Emily Baker-White of BuzzFeed wrote that the recordings—along with fourteen statements from nine TikTok employees—revealed that China-based employees of the company “repeatedly… → Read More

The social-media platforms, the “Big Lie,” and the coming elections

In August, Twitter, Google, TikTok, and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, released statements about how they intended to handle election-related misinformation on their platforms in advance. For the most part, it seemed they weren’t planning to change much. Now, with the November 8 midterms drawing closer, Change the Terms, a coalition of about 60 […] → Read More

Platform moderation, speech, and the courts

In May, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down most of the provisions of a social media law, enacted by the state of Florida in 2021, that would have made it an offense for any social media company to “deplatform” the account of “any political candidate or journalistic enterprise,” punishable by […] → Read More

Peiter Zatko, the Twitter whistleblower, goes to Washington

On August 23, the Washington Post and CNN published stories about alleged security failures at Twitter, based on a whistleblower complaint written by Peiter Zatko, the company’s former head of security, who was fired by the company in January. Among Zatko’s more serious allegations were that Twitter executives, including Parag Agrawal, its CEO, deliberately misled […] → Read More

Cloudflare, Kiwi Farms, and the challenges of deplatforming

In August, local police arrived at Clara Sorrenti’s apartment in London, Ontario, with a search warrant, which they used to confiscate her computer, her cellphone, and some other possessions. Sorrenti, who is transgender and is a popular streamer on Amazon’s Twitch network, says she was held by police for 11 hours and questioned about a […] → Read More

Competition, preservation, and the news-platform dynamic

Last week, a bipartisan group of legislators led by Amy Klobuchar, the Democratic senator from Minnesota, introduced a revised version of a bill they say will allow news outlets to bargain for “fair terms from gatekeeper platforms that regularly access news content without paying for its value.” The bill, called the Journalism Competition and Preservation […] → Read More

Whistleblower’s allegations could mean trouble for Twitter

On Tuesday morning, the Washington Post and CNN simultaneously published stories alleging that senior executives at Twitter—including Parag Agrawal, its CEO of Twitter—had deliberately misled federal regulators about how secure the company’s operations were, and gave foreign agents access to “sensitive user data.” The allegations came from Peiter Zatko, the former head of security at […] → Read More

Concerns over TikTok user data persist

In July of 2020, TikTok, the popular video-sharing service, was deep in talks to sell itself to Microsoft, or possibly Oracle, after the Trump administration suggested that TikTok’s Chinese ownership represented a national security threat. The president was said to be considering an executive order banning the app; ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company, reportedly considered […] → Read More

Facebook, abortion, and the future of data privacy

This week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was widely criticized for providing police in Norfolk, Nebraska, with private messages between a mother and her 17-year-old daughter in Nebraska, in which they discussed ending the girl’s pregnancy. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, police in Nebraska received an anonymous tip in April that the girl […] → Read More

Facebook, Kenya, and the threat of political violence

Two weeks ago, Mercy Ndegwa—a director of public policy at Meta, the parent company of Facebook—described in a blog post the various steps the company was taking in order to “help ensure a safe and secure general election in Kenya” on August 9, against concerns of election-related violence. Ndegwa wrote that Meta had been preparing […] → Read More

Will Facebook changes leave news media out in the cold?

Last week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced a major change to its flagship social-media platform. Instead of a user’s “news feed” being composed primarily of content from friends and other accounts a user has chosen to follow, the main feed on a user’s Facebook page will be an algorithmically-filtered collection of content from […] → Read More

The Twitter and Elon Musk saga continues

On May 13, a month to the day after Elon Musk filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying he intended to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, Musk announced that the deal was on hold, “pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” At the time, […] → Read More

Twitter sues India’s government over its control of online speech

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Twitter had filed a lawsuit against the government of India in the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore, challenging a recent decree that ordered Twitter to take down content and block a number of accounts. Twitter initially obeyed the order, then filed the suit; a source told the […] → Read More

Have the dangers of social media been overstated?

On April 11, The Atlantic published an essay by Jonathan Haidt titled “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid.” In the piece, Haidt—a social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business and the co-author of a book called The Coddling of the American Mind—argued that social media […] → Read More

The courts, the platforms, and regulating speech

On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court issued an order blocking a Texas law that would prevent large social-media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from removing content, except in extreme cases. (Such exceptions include content involving the sexual exploitation of children, criminal activity, or threats of violence.) The order was triggered by an emergency […] → Read More