BBC Bashir Saga Feeds Trust Deficit
If public trust is a currency, the BBC will be dipping into its savings for some time to come.
In an age of increasing media diversification (aka splintering), the BBC is still one of the world’s leading news organisations. Its commitment to placing news gatherers in all the right places and attempting to provide a balance of views - internationally if not domestically - is highly regarded.
The controversy surrounding former BBC journalist Martin Bashir, however, creates a new set of problems that will damage public trust - and not only trust in the BBC.
This comes at a time when widely trusted broadcasters are scarce on the ground. Some earlier contenders have dropped away, having fallen under the spell of ultra-left or -right ideologies and lost their sense of the middle ground.
When Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana was broadcast in November 1995, the BBC was lauded for producing a global exclusive. I
21 May 2021 |
TechnoKings Rule. But At What Cost?
“Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them,” wrote George R.R. Martin. This is as true of crowns claimed in the worlds of BigTech and new media as it is in traditional monarchies. Tesla recently added the title “TechnoKing” to its list of official titles for its flamboyant founder, Elon Musk. The electric car-maker didn’t share its reasons for doing so, nor did it say what it means by the term. Knowing the often mischievous Musk, the whole thing may be a stunt, designed only to get people chattering. If that’s true, it worked on me! Whatever the motive, this coronation allows us to look again at the impact BigTech has on our lives and societies. This will be an increasingly important question as we gradually emerge from our Covid cocoon, where we’ve come to rely on technology more than ever. In less threatening times, we’ve accepted new applications of technology wit
25 March 2021 |
2021: Tech Innovation Boom!
“An optimist,” wrote Bill Vaughan, “stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Whichever of those camps you identify with, you’ll probably agree that 2020 is leaving us with few things to cheer. Dig a little deeper, though, and you may find that this year of pestilence and turbulence has set us up for a burst of innovation going forward. Consider the arena of technology. In the 1960s, it took four years of concentrated research and development to create a vaccine against the mumps, a serious viral infection. Yet we have seen two entirely new anti-Covid vaccines engineered, tested at scale, manufactured and approved in less than a year. As I write, the Pfizer and Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines are being distributed across the UK. They will potentially change the lives of millions of people worldwide. Meanwhile, scores of therapies have been tested, which mi
31 December 2020 |
Covid-19 Shouldn't Kill Cash!
The Great Pandemic of 2020. It has left millions of people worldwide living at least part of their lives in isolation.
Of all the pandemic’s long-term economic outcomes, the worst might be the complete eradication of cash.
Cash hasn’t been very useful during the Covid-19 season. Under the shadow of lockdowns, many stores and restaurants have become delivery-only services. Cashless payments have become not just convenient but indispensable.
Even if we could use cash just now, most of us are nervous about handling paper notes and coins.
Of course, we were moving incrementally toward a digitally-driven economy well before Covid-19. In 2016, only 34% of payments in the UK were made in cash. In Finland, cash is already considered outdated. In 2018, Sweden’s central bank announc
19 November 2020 |
The Hot Response Culture (Why Reason & Compassion Should Prevail)
Your smartphone has seven million times the memory and 100,000 times the processing power of the guidance computer onboard Apollo 11. Have you wondered what we’re collectively doing with all that power? Are we spreading more heat than light, or finding constructive solutions?
These are important questions, given the range of hugely significant challenges - and opportunities - we face. And especially so in the age of COVID-19, where we rely so heavily on digital communications to maintain friendships, stay informed and explore schools of opinion.
On present evidence, it seems many of us believe that the best reaction is an over-heated one, whatever the debate at hand. Calm and carefully reasoned deliberation appears to have been devalued, in deference to what I’m going to call a “hot response culture” (HRC).
This is most obvious in the world of social media, where hyper-emotional responses often appear to reign supreme, es
25 August 2020 |
COVID-19 Emergency: An Opportunity
“The life unexamined is not worth living,” said Socrates.
The effects of COVID-19, or future variants thereof, are not be treated lightly.
The virus is set to impact many lives and must be fought and overcome. However, paralysing panic will not generate the solutions we need.
Sometimes, in the face of great challenges, we lose our individual and collective capacity for perspective. We start to see relatively trivial aspects of the problem as huge and very important things as insignificant.
In the face of this particular virus, rushing to stock up on toilet roll achieves little - apart, perhaps, from making us feel like we’re doing something.
A behavioural scientist suggested this week that we buy toilet rolls because they come in large packages, which are prominently displayed in supermarkets. Buying them, he said, makes us feel that we’re purchasing something at least mildly impo
13 March 2020 |
Safer Internet Day For Children!
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." So said Nelson Mandela.
Today is Safer Internet Day. It provides us with an important opportunity to reflect on the importance of adequate protections when it comes to the internet engagement of children.
The internet has, on a society-wide level, proven a great boon in many ways. Yet, according to one of the leading children’s charities in Britain, a rising number of pre-teens are being exposed to the less seemly side of the internet.
The NSPCC this month estimated that 25,300 child abuse image and sexual grooming offences were recorded by police in the past nine months.
Using police crime data, the charity estimates that one online abuse offence is recorded every 16 minutes in England and Wales. There can be
11 February 2020 |
The Tyranny of Digital Shopper Anxiety
Most of us know that the internet can be hugely distracting, but do we think about how much it plays on our emotions and anxieties - particularly at Christmas?
If you believe the news reports and marketing hype, the pre-Christmas season is one of dark Fridays and web-manic Mondays.
Until recently, Black Friday was to bricks-and-mortar stores what Cyber-Monday, is to their online counterparts. (Nowadays, more people do their shopping online across both days.)
Projections last week suggested that shoppers across the UK would spend £5.6 billion on sales related to both.
The good news is that going into the Christmas sales season, fewer Brits said they intended to engage with these sales-fests than did so last year. In 2018, 62 per cent of adults said they planned to do so; this year the figure was down to 42 per cent.
The change may be linked in part to the imminent general election. Still, the numbers of people invol
01 December 2019 |
Give Yourself the Gift of Social Media Down-Time!
Christmas, it is often said, is a time for giving. Perhaps the greatest gift we can offer those we love is the gift of our attention. Our best gift to ourselves may be simply time for mental reflection and emotional renewal.
Both may require a deliberate decision to spend less time in the world of social media.
A University of Pennsylvania study in 2018 revealed not just a correlation but a causative impact between social media use and lower levels of mental health. This applied especially in areas such as anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation and suicidal tendencies.
The report was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
The researchers found that people who limited their social media use - including Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat - to a total of just 30 minutes per day, reported feeling significantly better after three weeks, that people who did not.
They felt noticeably less anxious
19 November 2019 |
Understanding the Greta Effect
In August 2018, a teenager from Stockholm decided it was time for action on climate change.
She had very little to use as leverage in support of her cause, so she went on strike. She refused to attend school, setting up a one-person demonstration outside the Swedish Parliament.
Since that time, Greta Thunberg has found herself at the apex of an international movement. Her recent speech to the United Nations inspired some who watched it and saddened others.
Her calls for climate action have proven provocative but effective in terms of increasing public awareness. Whether they will, in the end, provide more heat than light only time will tell.
Many people struggle to understand the Greta effect. Some, while admiring Ms Thunberg’s vision and tenacity, are concerned for her health, especially since her quest became a media phenomenon.
To some degree, I share that concern. Greta’s story is front-page mater
30 September 2019 |
Supreme Court: Serving or Subverting Democracy?
Has the British Supreme Court today served democracy or subverted it?
A good many Brits may be asking just that question, following today’s ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent recommendation to the Queen, that Parliament should be recessed, was illegal.
The recess process, known as proroguing, takes place in the lead up to a Queen’s speech, in which the head of state outlays her government's major policies for the new parliamentary season.
In summing up the unanimous decision of the twelve justices, Lady Hale reiterated the Court’s commitment to stay out of party politics. She did, however, add that the circumstances of this prorogation are ‘unlikely’ ever to occur again.
With due respect to her ladyship and her eminent fellow judges, I think this is misguided. This type of situation, where courts are involved in questions about proroguing, will almost certainly recur, simply becau
24 September 2019 |
The Queen and "The King of the World"
"You may not be Moses, young man, but go tell Pharoah to let my people go."
I wonder if that is the unreported caption for the photograph of Boris Johnson bowing to her Majesty the Queen, as she appointed him her fourteenth Prime Minister on Wednesday.
As a boy, Boris Johnson told his sister that he would like, one day, to be "king of the world".
He hasn't quite achieved that lofty position, but being the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is no small consolation prize.
I voted Remain in 2016, but with huge reservations about what I thought the rather large elephant in the room: Brussel's cultural commitment to "ever closer [political] union."
Those reservations have, I think, been proven well-founded in the days since the vote, as leaders such as France's President Macron are pushing for a European army and mo
24 July 2019 |
Face App: Recipe for ID Theft
In recent days, my Instagram and Twitter feeds have been inundated with photos of people I know, who suddenly look much older than I remember them.
These friends have brought into the Face App craze.
Face App applies the computing power of artificial intelligence to recreate human facial features in a way that adds (or subtracts) years of natural ageing. The results are either remarkable or, in some cases, creepy.
Here’s the thing, though. To use the app you must upload a current image of yourself to the Face App servers. As with some other photo-sharing services, that brings risks to privacy and personal security of which most users are unaware.
Face App, however, takes these risks to a higher level.
18 July 2019 |
Facebook's Libra Requires Too Much Trust
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” So said Ernest Hemingway.
The question is, how much trust should we invest, for how long, before we decide we’d do better to invest our trust elsewhere?
Facebook has just announced plans to launch a new blockchain-based digital currency networked called Libra.
Facebook will be asking many of its users to invest their trust in its ability to provide a stable alternative to traditional currencies - and one which guarantees privacy and security.
Reactions to Facebook’s announcement have been mixed. Financial regulators in regions like the EU are watchful. As things currently stand, networks like Libra would diminish the power of governments over the regulation of currencies.
Predictably, many banks are also unimpressed. Blockchain currencies promote user-driven online ledgers and P2P exchanges, cutting out some of t
19 June 2019 |
Privacy is the Future? Not on Trains
“The future is privacy,” is the new mantra of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO. Not long ago it was: “Privacy is dead”. Which is it?
This is an important choice and not one reserved for BigTech titans alone. It is a choice we each must make, especially in the way we engage with public authorities and companies that seem intent on fudging the line between service, security and privacy.
Transport for London (TfL), the UK capital’s transit authority, has announced that it is about to start collecting data from users’ wifi as they move around the underground rail system.
The data collection, which will start on July 8, will purportedly be used to offer sturdier details on how people move around the Tube system and within stations. This, says the authority, will help with its long-term planning and will enable it to provide more effective updates for travellers.
The data collected will, at this stage an
23 May 2019 |
Julian Assange: Anarchist or Activist?
It was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? After a long publicity hiatus, brought on by his self-imposed exile inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange has found his way back into the headlines.
Whistleblowing has been growing in influence since the 1970s. Yet over the past decade or more, Mr Assange and the Wikileaks organisation he founded, have turned whistleblowing into something akin to a career choice for some young adults.
Wikileaks became famous - or infamous, depending on your worldview - for providing an unprecedented platform for people who wanted to leak sensitive secrets. Their work was glamorised by the publicity Wikileaks generated.
Some commentators argue that Julian Assange and his colleagues are champions of free speech. Others see them as defenders of press freedom. Still others claim that the Wikileaks crew are making a stand in support of the true culture of the internet
11 April 2019 |
Christchurch and Social Media Censorship
Last week marked the thirtieth anniversary of the launch of the public internet, in the form of the world wide web.
This is, of course, the mechanism through which most of us engage the internet. Marking the event, the web’s creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, spoke about the dangers of an internet that’s now driven more by corporate interests than by individual users.
He called for a re-think of our values and ethics when it comes to the web and the internet in general.
The timeliness of his statements was highlighted by the slow reaction of certain sites to the attack on worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Fifty people died in the attack and the alleged perpetrator live-streamed his shooting spree on social media. Reportedly, both the video and the killer’s so-called “manifesto” - an attempt to justify his crimes - remained online for a while after the attacks.
Facebook claims to have s
18 March 2019 |
Should An ISIS Bride Become Stateless?
ISIS bride and mother Shamima Begum, now aged 19, has been stripped of her British citizenship by the Home Office.
Her parents, British citizens born in Bangladesh, are considering a legal appeal.
To form a reasoned view on this troubling case, there are at least three issues we must be considered. Emotion will form part of any human opinion, but it should not rule over reason.
This could prove to be an important test case for years to come - and not just for the UK.
The first question to be answered is this: how many of this young woman’s decisions during her time in Syria were made with an adult awareness and perspective? Was she willing - and free - to flee ISIS territory at any time during her stay? Would she have done so, with her child, if she could?
Ms Begum left the UK, of her own volition, at age 15, in defiance of her parents.
She might well have known that she was headed into a war zone. She may have been aware
20 February 2019 |
Ten Years on Twitter - Here's What I've Learned
Is today is a day for celebration, reflection or recrimination - or all three? I’m not sure. It’s the tenth anniversary of my first tweet.
My first humble contribution to the Twittersphere was sent at 1:43pm on February 13, 2009.
I was already an early adopter of YouTube. The new medium, allowing me to wax lyrical in less than 140 characters, seemed like both a unique opportunity to share ideas and a healthy exercise in economical writing. I’d been producing 30- and 60-second radio spots for years, so how hard could that be?
Here I am, 37,500 tweets later and I’ve learned a few things about Twitter and about social media generally.
1. Twitter doesn’t love me.
As far as I’m aware, I don’t suffer from paranoid delusions. I’m not a conspiracy theorists, placing myself at the centre of the conspiracy. However, I’m well aware that the primary purpose of Twitter, at
13 February 2019 |
Should Social Media Be Banned?
A recent story in British newspapers linked the suicide of a 14-year-old boy to social media use. In 2017, a 12-year-old girl in Miami streamed her suicide live on Facebook.
These and similarly tragic tales have boosted an already fervent debate on the links between social media engagement and mental health.
At 2030Plus, we’ve been reviewing for some years the links between cognitive function and internet involvement. Other, larger research organisations have done likewise. There is little doubt that a growing reliance on digital technology has changed the way our brains work.
Governments are under pressure to act. Last year, the Australian government opened an investigation into Facebook, the largest and, for many, the most troubling of the new media giants.
The company released, without authorisation, data from 300,000 Australian user accounts to the now defunct Cambridge Analytica. Worldwide, Facebook
29 January 2019 |
Bitcoin Turns 10. Is Cashless Next?
Happy Bit-day! You may not have noticed, but this week, Bitcoin celebrated its tenth birthday.
On January 3, 2009, the initial block in the blockchain - that's crypto-speak for a distributed computer ledger - was "mined" by Satoshi Nakamoto and cryptocurrency was born in the form of Bitcoin.
The enigmatic Satoshi is either an individual or a group. Whichever is the case, he/she/they melded cryptography and computer science to create the world's first totally digital currency.
What an eventful first decade Bitcoin has endured - or enjoyed, depending on your perspective.
Cryptocash platforms of almost every kind have seen wild surges and drops in value since they first came to public attention.
Bitcoin is recognised by the US Senate but is not tied to any hard currency, such as the dollar or the gold standard. This arguably made investment in Bitcoin something of a faith-quest for many of its first-generation users.
03 January 2019 |
Brexit - We Have A Deal But What Does It Mean?
“We cannot make good news out of bad practice.” So wrote famed American newsman Edward R. Murrow.
Another way of saying this is, of course: we cannot make bad practice into good news. This is especially true when it comes to something as historically significant as Brexit.
As a social commentator and futurist who is regularly engaged with the media, I consider myself - I hope not arrogantly - to be a relatively astute follower of the news.
Yet I, like many relatively informed British citizens, struggle to identify the key features of the 580-page Brexit deal document which will soon be put to the vote in the House of Commons.
Our media and press feature a lot of headlines about the political to-and-fro between London and Brussels and about the internal struggles within Parliament.
Most, however, give relatively little space to an accessible explanation of what the deal actually means in practical terms.
26 November 2018 |
Brexit and the Future of British Democracy
Hardly any issue divides Brits today as does Brexit. In the face of EU push-backs and domestic political infighting, the potential impacts of a suggested second vote, on Britain’s democracy, are often overlooked.
Some advocates of a second vote want to replay the 2016 referendum. They want, they say, to help Britain avoid an historic mistake.
Others claim that a second vote should be about the public ratifying the government's final deal with Brussels. But even in that camp there are many who hope for just one final outcome: the complete reversal of the 2016 vote.
I voted Remain - with, I must say, some strong reservations about the EU's push for "ever closer union". I am proud of my dual British-Australian citizenship and, having lived in northern Europe for a decade before moving to the UK, I’ve seen many of the benefits of EU citizenship.
However, I’ve also watched
21 September 2018 |
Depression Among Church Leaders - A Problem For Us All
In the US early this week, news media carried the story of a young church minister in California who committed suicide. His wife, though aware that he suffered from depression and anxiety, was in no way prepared for this outcome.
"Never in a million years would I have imagined this would be the end of his story," said Kayla Stoecklein of her beloved husband, Andrew. He left behind three young children. His death has inspired many other pastors to write online about their struggles with mental health.
Until now, little has been said or written about the issue of church leadership and depression. Yet there is no reason to believe or expect that religious leaders should not be impacted by an issue which, according to the World Health Organisation, now affects 300 million people worldwide.
In the UK, ther
28 August 2018 |
The Future of Smartphones
“While you are destroying your mind watching the worthless, brain-rotting drivel on TV, we on the Internet are exchanging, freely and openly, the most uninhibited, intimate and, yes, shocking details about our "CONFIG.SYS" settings."
So said Dave Barry, the celebrated American satirist - who worked, it has to be said, on paper.
Much has changed with the internet since those early, creaky days. Back then, the public internet was powered by a few hamsters on wheels somewhere in what later became Silicon Valley.
Today, the internet, aka the Cloud, is an almost indispensable part of our lives - for better or worse.
Ofcom, the UK’s government-appointed media oversight group, published a report today on the changing media habits of this nation. It paints a fascinating portrait of the internet’s burgeoning power to change habits and lifestyles.
The study probably holds little comfort for telephone service provi
02 August 2018 |
Children Need Attention Not Addiction
Children need attention, not addiction.
According to news reports, UK prescriptions for "smart drugs" such as the stimulant Ritalin have doubled in a decade.
Some parents apparently use them to "medicate" children's behaviour.
According to the head of Ofsted, the organisation charged with inspecting schools, the fact that such drugs are applied by a growing number of parents feels like “a very big warning signal”.
Ritalin is methylphenidate and is often prescribed for children diagnosed with ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
As its name suggests, this disorder often seems to leave children unable to control their behaviour. Its major symptoms include inattentiveness and impulsiveness.
Children with ADHD - most are diagnosed between the ages of six and 12 years - find it difficult to concentrate for any length of time. Some also have problems with sleep.
26 June 2018 |
Why Has The World Become So Strange?
We live in very strange, we might even say chaotic, times.
Politics has grown more than a little odd (that is, more so than usual). Liberals dismiss conservatism as empty “populism”, while conservatives talk about fighting “culture wars” with presumably zero-sum outcomes.
Meanwhile, digital technology seems to breed curious behaviour, especially in the ways we speak to and about one other and engage each other’s ideas.
Families, the bedrock of stable civilizations, seem to take on peculiar forms, to the point where one prominent English judge recently - wrongly, I believe - declared the nuclear family as good as dead.
For some, assigning gender identities is no longer the province of nature; gender is considered a lifestyle option, a matter of personal choice.
In all this tolerance is preached as perhaps the ultimate virtue, often by people who don’t seem to understand that tolerance, by definition,
18 June 2018 |
It's A Marriage Not Just A Carnival
“There’s a higher form of happiness in commitment; I’m counting on it.” So said British actress Claire Forlani.
I’m not sure, but perhaps she was thinking of marriage at the time. Regardless, the statement is a great reflection of what a wedding is about.
Preparations for the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were followed closely around much of the globe. Its every detail was scruitinised and interpreted.
Estimates regarding the TV coverage of the wedding itself have varied. If Prince William’s wedding is any guide, as many as two billion people may have tuned in to watch his brother tie the knot.
Here in Britain, royal weddings have long represented an opportunity for a collective coming together around shared values. In uncertain times, they provide important reminders of a long and proud history of hope and solidarity.
In its last year before Brex
19 May 2018 |
Millennials Keep Their Virginity Longer
“No Sex Please, We’re Only 26”, said today’s online headline from one of Britain's leading newspapers.
A new study has revealed that British Millennials are less sexually active, at least by their mid-20s, than were the generations immediately preceding them.
The study has tracked 16,000 young people since 1989-90, when they were aged 14. The most recent results were collated from questionnaire data collected in 2016.
The Next Steps project is overseen by the Institute of Education, part of University College London. It was first instituted by the Department for Education.
In these results, one in eight 26 year-olds said they had never had sex. If those who refused to answer the survey had not had sex, the final figure could be one in six. This compares with one in 20 for the two previous generational cohorts.
Looking for reasons behind the findings, the researchers have pointed first to a culture of hypersexual
06 May 2018 |
We Still Need Holy Days
Like Christmas, the Easter season seems to become ever more commercialised.
For some time, important cultural symbols and historical events seem to have become steadily more commodified. Holidays have been stripped of their importance as holy days.
This is no new phenomenon, as sales of seasonal music tracks like "White Christmas" will attest.
Arguably, though, it reached new levels when our culture began to turn people into marketed commodities.
From the middle of the twentieth century, celebrities regularly endorsed brands via the electronic media and press. Later, though, celebrities actually became brands. In the 1980s, Madonna was not primarily the name of a music artist; it was (and is) a brand.
The power of personal branding allows record companies to sell - sometimes by the truckload - albums by artists such as Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson long after their demise.
However, in the wak
02 April 2018 |
Social Media Lies Travel Faster Than Truth
In news just in, there is now something more we can add to the growing list of antisocial facts relating to social media.
A new study published conducted at MIT and published in Science has found that the truth takes six times longer than fake news to be seen by 1,500 people on Twitter.
A lie is apparently also 70 percent more likely to be shared via social media in the first place.
The authors of the study, which looked at 126,000 messages spreading false stories on Twitter, suggest that fake stories on social media are “diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth”.
It is quite rare, they claim, for true stories to be seen by more than 1,000 people. Meanwhile, the one percent most popular false news are routinely reaching between 1,000 and 100,000 v
09 March 2018 |
Speeches Are An Important Part of Brexit
"Political language," wrote George Orwell, "is designed to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
Though many of us will relate to Orwell's sentiment, we hope that on most big ticket issues politicians will eventually break with the rhetoric to get something done.
Sometimes, however, when deadlines real or imagined approach, we can underestimate the role of political rhetoric, missing altogether its function in floating potentially contentious ideas.
In the UK, caught up as we are in the twists and turns of the Brexit process, too many of us are looking for politicos who might give us the "happy ever after" speech.
In recent weeks, speech after voluminous political speech has left many people aching for a much more definitive statement about our national end-game.
This is understandable. After all, top-tier politicians are supposed to set a lead for the future, not merely
06 March 2018 |
Socialism Not The Answer Students Need
Marxist thought is apparently enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity on Britain's university campuses, as an emerging generation realises that it may face worse economic prospects then its parents.
A poll released last month revealed that twice as many young people regard big business as a danger than are fearful of communism.
Meanwhile, Marxist groups are using the bicentenary of the philosopher's birth and the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 student protests to promote militancy.
One leader of a university Marxist society said recently that, 'Despite the monstrosity of the Stalinist regime, we can see the power and strength of a planned economy.'
The question is not whether there is planning behind an economy, but who does the planning?
Arguably, history reveals that, in practice if not in theory, communism
05 February 2018 |
Should Social Media Carry Health Warnings?
The social media juggernaut Facebook has reportedly acknowledged, albeit perhaps reluctantly, that engagement with its platform may potentially affect cognition or emotional wellbeing.
Faced with mounting international research revealing harmful side-effects, including addiction and depression, some social media groups have arguably acted as tobacco companies once did when they were confronted with claims about addiction and cancer. They have shrugged off the criticism with the notion that the evidence is inconclusive.
Now, in Facebook's case, a former executive has robustly touted the dangers. The company has offered a novel response. It says that while there is potential for unhealthy effects, the answer is yet more engagement online.
To overcome any potential negative effects, it suggests, one must spend even more time engaging on its platform, particularly with good friends, exchanging positive messages.&n
19 December 2017 |
Sexual Misconduct, Non-Apologies & Trial by Social Media
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals,” wrote the Irish novelist Laurence Sterne. “Respect for others guides our manners”
Newspapers in the UK carried the story this week of the apparent suicide of a Labour party staffer. He had been accused of sexual misconduct.
It is just two weeks since the suicide of a cabinet secretary within the Welsh government. He had also been linked to claims of sexual misconduct.
Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister's deputy has been accused of keeping pornography on his computer. He strenuously denies the accusation.
Allegations of sexual assault or misconduct involving politicians, movie producers and celebrities have featured prominently in news stories at home and abroad for weeks.
The discussion of sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is one that is long overdue. It is not a debate that should be restricted to the mis
28 November 2017 |