Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review

Mathew Ingram

Columbia Journalism Review

Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent articles by Mathew:

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

Legislation aimed at stopping deepfakes is a bad idea

The latest disinformation buzzword on everyone’s lips is “deepfake,” a term used to refer to videos that have been manipulated using computer imaging. (The word is a combination of “deep learning” and “fake.”) Using relatively inexpensive software, almost anyone can create a video whose subject appears to say or do something they never said or […] → Read More

The first Democratic debate: Too many candidates, too little time

There were plenty of issues with the first round of Democratic debates. NBC had live-streaming lag issues and a hot mic problem involving two of the debate moderators meant they could be heard talking after they left the stage, a gaffe that repeatedly interrupted Chuck Todd when he was trying to ask Elizabeth Warren a question […] → Read More

Facebook’s cryptocurrency has something for everyone to hate

Every once in a while, a company comes along that becomes a lightning rod for criticism from almost all directions, whether justifiably or not. At one point, this awkward mantle was held by IBM, and for a time Microsoft also played the role, but there’s no question who holds that title today: Facebook. The globe-spanning […] → Read More

If readers pay for your news, you’re one of the lucky ones

Every year, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which is based at Oxford University in the UK, comes out with its Digital News Report, a survey of global trends and attitudes towards online news. Depending on your position in the media industry, it can be either good news or bad news. According to […] → Read More

NYT promotes questionable study on Google and the media

A New York Times story published on Sunday contains an eye-opening allegation: Google “made $4.7 billion from the news industry in 2018,” according to a new report. The lede of the story quotes the figure again, with all of the zeroes, and mentions that this number is “more than the combined ticket sales of the […] → Read More

YouTube is all over the map when it comes to offensive content

Facebook executives must be breathing a huge sigh of relief. The giant social network has been in the news for weeks, facing a legion of critics for its inaction on misinformation and harassment. This week, the spotlight has been trained on YouTube, instead. The Google-owned video-sharing site started the week off on the wrong foot […] → Read More

Should The Daily Beast have exposed the man behind ‘drunk Pelosi’ video?

A modified video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that started circulating recently—with the vocal track slowed down to make her appear drunk—raised a number of questions, including why YouTube removed it but Facebook did not. (Instead, Facebook down-ranked the clip in its News Feed and added a link to more reporting on the topic.) Another […] → Read More

Canada hits Zuckerberg with summons for failing to appear

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared before Congress in the past, to talk about the giant social network’s role in misinformation and election-meddling, but the number of times he has appeared before a government committee is vastly outweighed by the number of times he has declined to do so. The Facebook co-founder continued that streak […] → Read More

New report says tech platforms ‘blackmailed’ EU policy experts

In January 2018, alarmed by the spread of misinformation around Britain’s “Brexit” referendum and the aftermath of Russian trolling on Facebook during the 2016 US election, the European Union convened a “high-level” working group filled with experts from media and academia—as well as representatives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter—to look at the scope of the […] → Read More

Media can help fight misinformation, says Harvard’s Joan Donovan

Thanks to globe-spanning social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, misinformation (any wrong information) and disinformation (intentional misinformation like propaganda) have never been able to spread so rapidly or so far, powered by algorithms and automated filters. But misinformation expert Joan Donovan, who runs the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard’s… → Read More