Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent:
  • Columbia Journalism Review
Past:
  • Revue
  • Fortune
  • Digital Content Next
  • Nieman Lab
  • Entrepreneur
  • GigaOM
  • paidContent

Recent articles by Mathew:

Leaked files from alt-right host raise some hard questions

Recently, a group of unnamed hackers claiming association with the hacker collective known as Anonymous released more than 180 gigabytes of data from Epik, a web-hosting company whose clients included a number of alt-right groups and services, including right-wing Twitter alternatives Gab and Parler, as well as pro-gun and pro-Trump sites. “This dataset is all […] → Read More

Facebook goes on the offensive against critical reporting

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, and facing widespread criticism that it had helped to destabilize the process by enabling Russian trolls and spreading disinformation, Facebook seemed to strike an apologetic tone. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, occasionally seemed defensive in his subsequent testimony before Congress, but the general sense was […] → Read More

Journal series reveals concerns, inaction at Facebook

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, said that the company was rolling out a significant change to the algorithm that governs its News Feed, in an attempt to encourage more users to interact with content posted by their friends and family, rather than content from “businesses, brands, and media”—including news publishers. […] → Read More

How a story about ivermectin and hospital beds went wrong

Last week, KFOR, a local news outlet in Oklahoma, published a story that contained some terrifying information: so many people in the state were hospitalized due to overdoses of ivermectin—a drug originally designed for horses, which some anti-vaccine sources have promoted (incorrectly) as a defense against COVID-19—that there was no room in intensive-care units for […] → Read More

Facebook plans to show users even less political news

In February, Facebook announced an experiment to test how much political news users wanted in their news feeds. It removed some content for a small group of users in the US, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia, and then surveyed those users for their reactions. According to an update published on Tuesday, the company saw “positive results”, […] → Read More

Facebook “transparency report” turns out to be anything but

Last week, Facebook released a report detailing some of the most popular content shared on the site in the second quarter of this year. The report is a first for the social network. Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, described the content review as part of “a long journey” to be “by far the […] → Read More

Apple’s plan to scan images on users’ phones sparks backlash

Earlier this month, Apple announced a series of steps it is taking to help keep children safe online. One of those new additions is a feature for its Siri line of intelligent assistants that will automatically suggest a help-line number if someone asks for child-exploitation material, and another is a new feature that scans images […] → Read More

Facebook’s excuses for shutting down research ring hollow

Last week, Facebook shut down the personal accounts of several researchers affiliated with New York University. It said that their work—including a browser extension called Ad Observer, which allows users to share the ads that they are shown in their Facebook news feeds—violated the social network’s privacy policies. The company said that while it wants […] → Read More

Facebook shuts down research, blames user privacy rules

Last October, Facebook warned a group of social scientists from New York University that their research—known as the Ad Observatory, part of the Cybersecurity for Democracy Project—was in breach of the social network’s terms of service. It said the group used software to “scrape” information from Facebook without the consent of users. The company said […] → Read More

Section 230 critics are forgetting about the First Amendment

It is a recurring theme in political circles that giant digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube engage in bad behavior—distributing disinformation, allowing hate speech, removing conservative opinions, and so on—in part because they are protected from legal liability by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says they aren’t responsible for content […] → Read More

Facebook’s disinformation problem is harder than it looks

That Facebook can distribute dangerous amounts of misinformation around the world in the blink of an eye is not a new problem. But the attention stepped up when President Joe Biden told reporters during a White House scrum that Facebook was “killing people” by spreading disinformation, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, and in particular […] → Read More

New details on the friction Trump caused inside Facebook

Donald Trump’s election in 2016 created a lot of turmoil for Facebook—including accusations of improper data stewardship involving Cambridge Analytica, and a number of awkward appearances before Congressional committees, where founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about the social network’s role in spreading disinformation related to everything from the 2016 election to the… → Read More

Facebook launches Bulletin, its Substack challenger

Three months ago, Facebook announced that it would offer a new platform for writers and journalists to publish subscription newsletters—a platform very similar to that already offered by Substack, the venture capital-funded startup that has helped make subscription email newsletters a hot topic in journalistic circles over the past year. Last week, Facebook officially launched […] → Read More

Why this newsletter took an unexpected break, plus links of possible interest

When the Going Gets Weird... - If you follow this newsletter at all, you may have noticed that there hasn't been a new issue for a while. That's because my mothe → Read More

Andreessen Horowitz’s new media entity is an op-ed page

At the beginning of the year, an otherwise innocuous job ad—for an executive editor to oversee a site about technology — got more than its fair share of attention. Why? Because the entity that posted the ad wasn’t a traditional media company. The opening was for a job at Andreessen Horowitz, an influential venture capital […] → Read More

The challenges of global content moderation

The difficulty of moderating the ocean of content that gets posted on social networks by billions of users every day was obvious even before former President Donald Trump’s trolling forced Facebook and other platforms to block his accounts earlier this year. Differentiating genuine harassment or abuse from friendly banter, identifying harmful images and videos from […] → Read More

Donald Trump shuts down his blog

After Donald Trump was banned from both Facebook and Twitter following the January 6 Capitol insurrection for his role in spreading disinformation about the election, the former president’s team of advisors started talking about a “new social platform” he would soon be launching, which they said would provide a direct conduit for his views and […] → Read More

Facebook and the dilemma of coordinated inauthentic behavior

Yesterday, Facebook released a “threat report” on what it calls “influence operations” on its platform. The company defined influence operations as “coordinated efforts to manipulate or corrupt public debate for a strategic goal”—an apparent reference to the kinds of activity that Americans heard about during the 2016 election, from entities such as the Russian “troll […] → Read More

Apple and the limits of its user-privacy commitment

Apple has long trumpeted its unshakeable commitment to user privacy, and touts its business model—which doesn’t rely on advertising, as its competitors’ models do—as a badge of honor. The company seems to see itself as a lone protector, the only one that is concerned more about a user’s welfare than the value of their data. […] → Read More

Social networks accused of censoring Palestinian content

The decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine has flared up in recent weeks, following the forced eviction of Palestinians who live in Jerusalem on land claimed by Israel and attacks on Muslims near the Al-Aqsa mosque toward the end of the holy month of Ramadan. As Palestinians and their supporters have shared images and posts […] → Read More