Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent articles by Mathew:

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

Facebook’s new data-sharing plans raise old concerns

On Monday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said that it plans to share more data about political ad targeting on its platform with social scientists and other researchers, as part of what the company calls its Open Research and Transparency project. According to CNN, Meta will provide “detailed targeting information for social issue, electoral […] → Read More

Musk’s Twitter bid, and the “bot” complication

Elon Musk’s bid to acquire Twitter for $44 billion is only a month old, but it has already had more twists and turns than any Coney Island roller coaster. After Musk filed notice of his offer with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 13, Twitter’s board of directors implemented a “poison pill” defense, which […] → Read More

Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and Twitter’s unknowable future

On April 13, Elon Musk formally filed a bid with the Securities and Exchange Commission to acquire Twitter for $43 billion. Since then, Twitter users and media analysts alike have speculated about his motivation for the acquisition and his plans for the company. For the most part, Musk has spoken in general terms about his […] → Read More

Facebook, AI, and a less friendly news feed

Last week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, reported its quarterly financial results, noting that while the number of Facebook users increased during the first months of this year, the company’s revenues grew at the slowest rate since Facebook went public a decade ago. This news came on the heels of a February earnings report […] → Read More

Twitter plus China could equal pressure for Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s plan to acquire Twitter for $44 billion has raised concerns among numerous Twitter users, who have expressed fears that his remarks promoting unrestrained freedom of speech may enable right-wing trolls to engage in harassment with impunity, and that his promise to “authenticate all humans” will end anonymity on the platform. Others have raised […] → Read More

Elon Musk puts his money where his mouth is

On April 4, Elon Musk filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that he had acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter. (“Oh hi lol,” he tweeted.) What followed was a somewhat bewildering series of announcements. Musk’s initial filing implied that he likely wouldn’t be an activist investor or push to join […] → Read More

New editor at the Times faces the same old questions

On Tuesday morning, A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, announced that Joseph Kahn would succeed Dean Baquet as the paper’s next executive editor in June. Kahn, 57, is a former international and managing editor of the paper, and also a Pulitzer Prize-winning former China correspondent. A profile in New York magazine describes Kahn […] → Read More

War in Ukraine is the latest platform moderation challenge

On March 10, a Reuters headline announced that Facebook would temporarily change its content rules to allow users to post calls for the death of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, as well as “calls for violence against Russians.” (Reuters later modified its headline to specify”invading Russians.”) Such posts would normally qualify as what Meta calls “T1 […] → Read More

BuzzFeed and the demands of being public

On Tuesday, Mark Schoofs, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, told staff that he and two other senior editors—Tom Namako, deputy editor-in-chief, and Ariel Kaminer, the executive editor of the investigations unit—are leaving the company, and the news division is being downsized, with voluntary buyouts offered to staffers on the site’s investigations, science, politics, and inequality […] → Read More

Of Substack, apps, and strategy

Substack, a hosting and publishing platform for email newsletters, took what seemed like an innocuous step last week: it launched a standalone smartphone app. Not surprising, perhaps, since almost every content startup has an app. But Substack’s app is a little different, since the company isn’t offering a service directly to users, but instead is […] → Read More

Of Substack, apps, and strategy

Substack, a hosting and publishing platform for email newsletters, took what seemed like an innocuous step last week: it launched a standalone smartphone app. Not surprising, perhaps, since almost every content startup has an app. But Substack’s app is a little different, since the company isn’t offering a service directly to users, but instead is […] → Read More

Russia’s diminishing information access

Since the invasion of Ukraine began two weeks ago, Russia has become more and more cut off from the rest of the world in a number of important ways, including access to international media and the global internet. In some cases, Russia itself has been severing those ties, as it did recently when it banned […] → Read More

Ukraine, viral media, and the scale of war

If there’s one thing Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and TikTok are good at, it’s making content go viral. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began late last month, is no exception to that rule: each day since has brought new images, videos, and memes that circulate widely, some of which become their day’s trending topic. […] → Read More

Ukraine, Russia, hacking, and misinformation

As soldiers and civilians in Ukraine continue to resist an invasion by Russian troops, a very different kind of war is being fought on a separate front: the internet. Within hours of Russian troops attacking cities and government facilities in Ukraine, hackers—including some who claimed to be affiliated with the underground group known as Anonymous—went […] → Read More

Trump’s long-delayed social network off to a rocky start

Most of the leading social networks—including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—banned Donald Trump from their platforms after last year’s January 6 attack on the US Capitol, reasoning that he had used his social accounts to amplify anti-democratic conspiracy theories that encouraged the attack and to cheer on the right-wing groups that planned it. In March, a […] → Read More

A resurrected bill troubles digital rights advocates and journalists

In 2020, members of Congress introduced the EARN IT Act—an abbreviation for the full name, which was the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act. The act proposed a national commission for developing best practices for the elimination of child sex-abuse material (CSAM). It also stated that any online platforms hosting such material […] → Read More

Meta looks less invincible these days

In recent years, criticism of “Big Tech” has grown from an undercurrent of dissatisfaction into a full-fledged crusade by Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and other critics to blunt the power of the quasi-monopolies that control consumer technology. In that time, Facebook—which recently changed its name to Meta—has been at or near the top of […] → Read More

Of platforms, publishers, and responsibility

Last week, criticism of Spotify for hosting the Joe Rogan Experience—a popular podcast that has on multiple occasions aired misinformation about COVID-19, among other things—accelerated after music legend Neil Young chose to remove all of his work from the streaming service. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines—potentially causing death […] → Read More