Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Past articles by Mathew:

Glitches, trolls, and declining revenue take center stage in the Twitter soap opera

Social media is known for producing drama. In Twitter’s case, that’s been true as much behind the scenes as on the platform of late. On Monday, the service was hit by the latest in a series of glitches; this one made it impossible for users to post images, and also triggered a popup error about […] → Read More

Q&A: Anup Kaphle on Rest of World, three years in

When it comes to technology coverage, many media outlets spend the bulk of their time paying attention to what happens in the United States, with occasional articles about what’s happening in the rest of the world. For the news startup Rest of World, covering how technology is affecting those non-US countries is the point. The […] → Read More

One year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where does the ‘cyberwar’ stand?

After Russian troops invaded Ukraine a little over a year ago, the latter country set out to reinforce a second front in the war—a digital one. As I reported for CJR at the time, the Ukrainian government posted appeals in online hacker forums, asking for volunteers to protect Ukrainian infrastructure and conduct digital missions against […] → Read More

Concerns about TikTok balloon again in Congress

For more than a billion users around the world, TikTok is just a mobile video-sharing app that they scroll through to watch people dancing and cats falling off of furniture (or cats dancing and people falling off of furniture). For the US Congress, however, TikTok is a political football that has yet to be spiked. […] → Read More

Is AI software a partner for journalism, or a disaster?

In November, OpenAI, a company that develops artificial-intelligence software, released ChatGPT, a program that allows users to ask conversational-style questions and receive essay-style answers. It soon became clear that, unlike with some earlier chat-software programs, this one could, in a matter of seconds, generate content that was both readable and reasonably intelligent. Unsurprisingly,… → Read More

Facebook tries to have it both ways on Trump

On January 7, 2021, the day after rioters stormed the Capitol, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—which was not then, but is now, known as Meta—suspended Donald Trump’s accounts on those platforms, because, the company said, there was a risk that he would encourage further violence. Meta suspended Trump’s accounts indefinitely, but, as I […] → Read More

A BBC documentary highlights growing social media censorship in India

Last weekend, the Indian government ordered YouTube to remove clips from a BBC documentary. It sent a similar order to Twitter, telling that platform to remove any tweets that featured links to those clips and pointing to more than fifty specific posts that had done so. The documentary, called India: The Modi Question, covers, in […] → Read More

A new study reignites the debate over Twitter, bots, and 2016

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election saw the emergence of a virtual cottage industry—or perhaps even a real, full-size industry—bent on distributing blame for his win. Social media was one of its primary targets. The argument—in congressional hearings and academic treatises alike, not to mention on social media—was that “fake news” spread by […] → Read More

Is Twitter dying? And what would that mean for journalism?

Former Twitter employees finally get severance offers after months of waiting, only to find them unsatisfactory. Twitter helps drive political mayhem in Brazil. Elon Musk says that Twitter will soon allow users to post tweets that are four thousand characters in length. It may be a new year, but Musk’s ownership of the platform continues […] → Read More

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