Tag Archives: facebook

What changed in 2017 — and what we can expect in 2018 (maybe)

Because he sends me an email every December, Nic Newmanhas a tag all of his own on this blog. So as this year’s email lands in my inbox here’s my annual reply around what I’ve noticed in the last 12 months — along with some inevitably doomed predictions of what might happen in the next year…

Surprising in 2017: horizontal storytelling and Facebook disappointments

The rapid spread of horizontal storytelling (‘tap to advance’) struck me particularly this year. 2017 saw it become the default for new launches, from Facebook’s new ‘Messenger Day‘ feature and Medium’s Series, to Instagram‘s Carousel feature and WhatsApp‘s Status feature, while the BBC news app’s videos of the day feature used the same approach too. Continue reading

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Got a new laptop? Here’s how to maintain your privacy from the start

When you get a new laptop – with no cookies on it! – it’s a great opportunity to start afresh and protect your privacy online by default. As I recently got a new laptop here’s what I did as I set it up…

Start from scratch – no importing of settings/applications

Many laptop setup wizards offer the option to import applications, documents or other elements from your existing laptop. I didn’t do this, partly because I didn’t want to bloat my new laptop with anything that wasn’t necessary (and if you use cloud storage then you can download from there anyway), but largely because I wanted to check the settings of each application as I went – this is much easier to do if you’re installing them.

Browsers – install them all

I use at least four different browsers: Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. (You might also want to install Tor for particular use cases, although I’m not going to cover it here).

It’s useful to have different browsers partly because they offer different functionality, but also because it allows you to separate different activities. For example: Continue reading

AllSides’s John Gable: from the Dark Ages of the internet to bursting bubbles

all-sides-bias-rating

AllSides uses a bias rating system

As part of a series of articles on the innovators tackling the filter bubble phenomenon, Andrew Brightwell interviews John Gable, founder and CEO of AllSides, a website that has devised its own way to present alternative perspectives on American news.

When a man who helped build the first successful web browser says there’s something wrong with the Internet, it probably pays to listen.

“The internet is broken.”

John Gable’s diagnosis has authority: he has more than 30 years in the tech business, including stints at Microsoft, AOL and as a product manager for Netscape Navigator.

Now he is founder and CEO of AllSides Inc, a news website with a distinct mission. Visit AllSides.com and it offers the news you’d expect on any US politics site, except that its lead stories include a choice of articles: one from the left, centre and right.

 “The headlines are so radically different that even reading [them together] tells you more about that topic than reading one story all the way through.”

Continue reading

Filter burst: Read Across The Aisle

Nick Lum

In a new series of interviews, Andrew Brightwell talks to the innovators fighting the polarising force of social media filter bubbles. First up, Read Across The Aisle – an app that monitors the political bias of your reading habits.

“This was a problem created by apps, so it’s natural that it might be solvable by apps.”

Nick Lum is describing his latest venture, Read Across The Aisle, a smartphone app that he hopes will offer its users a way out of their politically partisan echo chambers.

Currently, on KickStarter, Read Across The Aisle promises to do for your politics what Fitbit has done for your health.

By colour-coding the political slant of the news sites you read, it will indicate the potential bias you’re getting from your news. Continue reading

Someone asked me about 2016 and 2017. This is what I said

Crystal ball image by Christian R. Hamacher

Crystal ball image by Christian R. Hamacher

Every year Nic Newman asks a bunch of people for their reflections on the last 12 months and their anticipations for the year ahead. Here’s what I’ve said this year — as always, to be taken with significant doses of salt. 

What surprised you most in 2016?

Perhaps the sheer number of significant developments (compare the posts for 2015 and 2014). It was the year when bots went mainstream very quickly, and platforms took further significant steps towards becoming regulated as publishers.

It was a year of renewed innovation in audio. 2016 saw the launch of a number of new audio apps, including Anchor, Pundit, Clyp and Bumpers.fm, as various companies attempted to be the ‘Facebook of audio’. The only problem: Facebook wants to be the Facebook of audio too: at the end of the year they introduced live audio. Continue reading

7 platforms who became publishers in 2016

We've got work to do

In 2016 Tumblr got angry

If there was always a suspicion that it would happen eventually, this year it was confirmed: in 2016 platforms from Facebook to Snapchat, Twitter to Tumblr, all took significant steps towards becoming fully blown publishers. Here are 7 things that happened this year that swung it. Continue reading