Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent articles by Mathew:

On Facebook, disinformation, and existential threats

Last week, The Verge published transcripts of two hours of audio leaked from a town hall with Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. His comments included a reference to Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose plans to break up the company Zuckerberg called “an existential threat.” Some wondered: Would Facebook try to put its thumb on the […] → Read More

Some lessons from the MIT Media Lab controversy

When the news first broke that the MIT Media Lab had a close relationship with deceased billionaire and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, some saw it as a momentary lapse in judgment, and there was widespread support for Media Lab director Joi Ito. But then New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow reported that the Epstein relationship was […] → Read More

What happens when Facebook confronts an existential threat?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t do a lot of off-the-cuff speaking. His public appearances–whether before Congress or at a launch event—tend to be carefully scripted and rehearsed. A cardboard cutout would seem animated by comparison. All of which helps explain some of the excitement surrounding a Verge report this week, consisting of two hours of […] → Read More

Google plays hardball with European news publishers

While the US obsessed on Wednesday over what technically constitutes impeachment for a sitting American president, European news publishers were focused on something quite different: namely, a decision by Google to play hardball with French media companies when it comes to linking to their content in its search results. As of Wednesday, unless a French […] → Read More

What we’ve learned from our week of climate coverage

Today marks the beginning of a global climate strike and Monday will bring the UN Climate Action Summit, so we’re dedicating this installment of our newsletter to media coverage of climate, and whether it’s getting any better. This spring, CJR and The Nation co-founded Covering Climate Now, an unprecedented journalistic collaboration aimed at strengthening news […] → Read More

The Facebook Supreme Court will see you now

A year and a half ago, Mark Zuckerberg floated what seemed like a crazy idea. In an interview with Ezra Klein of Vox Media, the Facebook CEO said he was thinking about creating a kind of Supreme Court for the social network—an independent body that would adjudicate some of the hard decisions about what kinds […] → Read More

Source hacking: How trolls manipulate the media

Most people are probably familiar by now with the idea that there are “trolls” on the Internet. That is thanks in part to scandals like GamerGate and the rise of Donald Trump, the Troll-in-Chief. Many trolls have an agenda of some kind—as the infamous Russian Internet Research Agency, accused of seeking to sway the 2016 […] → Read More

What YouTube doesn’t say when it announces the removal of offensive videos

Google would really like everyone to know that its video sharing service, YouTube, is cracking down on offensive content. To that end, the company put on a full-court press this week, announcing that between April and June it had removed more than 100,000 videos and 17,000 channels for violating its hate speech rules, which is […] → Read More

Facebook and Twitter profit from Chinese propaganda

Last week, both Facebook and Twitter removed accounts and pages they said were part of a propaganda effort tied to the Chinese government, aimed at spreading disinformation about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. According to Facebook, Twitter was the first to detect the campaign, and it then alerted its social-networking counterpart about “inauthentic behavior” […] → Read More

Facebook tries to rewrite the past by hiring journalists again

Journalists who cover Facebook get used to a sense of deja vu. The social networking behemoth often tends to revisit things it has tried to do once—or even multiple times—in the past. The company says that’s because it is committed to “iterating” (as tech founders like to call it), which means trying the same thing […] → Read More

Could WordPress + Tumblr create an alternative to Facebook?

When Verizon announced earlier this week that it was selling Tumblr, the blogging platform Yahoo acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion, most of the attention focused on the price: according to Axios, the communications conglomerate sold Tumblr for just $3 million (Vox says closer to $2 million). In other words, Yahoo vaporized about 99 percent […] → Read More

Casey Newton on dismantling the platforms and taking Facebook’s cash

Most technology journalists were too credulous in the early days of the social web, Verge senior editor Casey Newton said in a recent interview with CJR. Coverage of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube tended to focus on benefits rather than the potential for harassment, abuse, and disinformation. “Yeah, I think we were naive,” Newton told me […] → Read More

The myth of social media anti-conservative bias refuses to die

Despite an almost total lack of evidence to support the theory, alt-right groups and mainstream conservatives alike—including the ones that currently occupy the White House—continue to promote the idea that Facebook, Twitter and Google are somehow biased against them. It’s a conspiracy theory that has cropped up since at least 2016, and has led to […] → Read More

Unplugging 8chan, an outlet for mass murderers

Over the weekend, another mass shooting took place with a link to 8chan, an online community that serves as a breeding ground for hate speech. The gunman, who killed 20 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, posted on 8chan’s message boards with a manifesto about the rampage, as had the killer in the […] → Read More

Facebook’s fact-checking program falls short

In December of 2016, after receiving a firestorm of criticism about online disinformation during the presidential election, Facebook announced its Third Party Fact-Checking project. Independent organizations would debunk false news stories, and Facebook would make the findings obvious to users, down-ranking the relevant post in its News Feed. Now the project includes 50 partner organizations… → Read More

Facebook is both killing and funding local journalism

On Wednesday, Facebook announced the first round of grant recipients for what it is calling its Facebook Journalism Project Community Network. The 23 media outlets who will receive the money—between $5,000 and $25,000 per newsroom—were chosen by Facebook’s partner: the Lenfest Institute, a non-profit entity set up by former cable magnate Gerry Lenfest in part […] → Read More

Journalists have to walk a fine line, says disinformation expert Whitney Phillips

One of the most challenging problems of the digital information age is how to report on disinformation without pouring gasoline on the fire in the process. While working with the New York-based group Data & Society, media analyst Whitney Phillips (now an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University) wrote a comprehensive report on this […] → Read More

Getting to the bottom of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

It was one of the first prominent “fake news” conspiracy theories to metastasize from Internet rumor all the way to the White House: In the summer of 2016, stories began to circulate in various online forums that Seth Rich, a fairly low-level Democratic National Committee staffer who died in July of that year, wasn’t the […] → Read More

Facebook and the private group problem

Anyone who has been paying attention over the past year is probably well aware that Facebook has a problem with misinformation. But a number of recent events have highlighted an issue that could be even more problematic for the company and its users: namely, harassment and various forms of abusive conduct in private groups. In […] → Read More


A tech giant’s culpability to the international community → Read More