Author: M.Karatas

Since its introduction to the US in 2018, TikTok has been fighting for its right to exist. First, the company struggled to convince the public that it wasn’t just for pre-teens making cringey memes; then it had to make the case that it wasn’t responsible for the platform’s rampant misinformation (or cultural appropriation … or pro-anorexia content … or potentially deadly trends … or general creepiness, etc). But mostly, and especially over the past three years, TikTok has been fighting against increased scrutiny from US lawmakers about its ties to the Chinese government via its China-based parent company, ByteDance. On…

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Amid growing concerns (and lawsuits) about social media’s impact on the mental health of children, TikTok announced on Wednesday that it’s setting a 60-minute time limit on screen time for users under 18 and adding some new parental controls. Those “limits,” however, are really more like suggestions. There are ways young users can continue to use the app even after the screen time limits have passed. The news comes amid a larger discussion about the harms of social media on younger people as well as an enormous amount of scrutiny on TikTok itself over its ties to China. And while…

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You may have never heard of it, but Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the legal backbone of the internet. The law was created almost 30 years ago to protect internet platforms from liability for many of the things third parties say or do on them. Decades later, it’s never been more controversial. People from both political parties and all three branches of government have threatened to reform or even repeal it. The debate centers around whether we should reconsider a law from the internet’s infancy that was meant to help struggling websites and internet-based companies grow. After…

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“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product” has long been a common refrain about the business of social media. The saying implies that you, the user, aren’t paying for apps like Instagram and Twitter because you’re giving away something else: your attention (and sometimes your content), which is sold to advertisers. But now, this free model of social media — subsidized by advertising — is under pressure. Social media companies can’t make as much money off their free users as they used to. A weaker advertising market, privacy restrictions imposed by Apple that make it harder…

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When Ugo moved to a new country last October, he got a new phone number. Ugo, who lives in Europe, where WhatsApp is very popular, didn’t immediately register his new phone number on the app, but was able to continue to use it as normal. It was only when he told WhatsApp that he had a new phone number that the trouble began. His profile photo changed to a picture of a young woman, and his phone was flooded with new messages from Italian-speaking strangers, including from group chats he was suddenly added to — one of which seemed to…

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If you were accustomed to a time when Twitter — while far from perfect — was a place where you could dependably digest a wide range of breaking news, politics, celebrity gossip, or personal musings, it’s time to accept a new reality. Twitter is becoming a degraded product. In the four months since Elon Musk took over the company, the app has experienced major glitches — such as when, last week, users around the world couldn’t post tweets, send messages, or follow new accounts for several hours. While Twitter, like other social media networks, has always had periodic outages, under…

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who has led the world’s largest video site for the last nine years, is stepping down from her role. She’ll be replaced by Neal Mohan, her longtime lieutenant. In a letter sent to YouTube’s employees, Wojcicki said she was leaving in order to “start a new chapter focused on my family, health and personal projects I’m passionate about.” During her tenure, YouTube became increasingly important to the business for Google, which bought the site in 2006, and Alphabet, the holding company that houses both of them: In 2022, YouTube generated $29.2 billion in ad sales —…

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It looks like the big bipartisan push against Big Tech in the new Congress will be about protecting kids. While antitrust and privacy efforts seem to be languishing for now, several child-focused online safety bills are being introduced this session. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has reportedly signaled that passing them is a priority for him. President Joe Biden recently said the same. And they just might pass, if this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about protecting children online is any indication. Witnesses testified about how children are harmed by online content and the platforms that help push it to…

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Meta had an abysmal 2022. The value of its stock fell by 65 percent year over year, it laid off 11,000 people, and employee morale has suffered. There are signs things are turning around, though: Earlier this month, the company reported stronger-than-expected Q4 earnings and saw its stock price jump by more than 20 percent in a single day. While almost every other major tech company is continuing to struggle and has also laid off thousands from their workforces, none has seen a stock market rebound anywhere close to Meta’s. That progress could be overstated and the company isn’t out…

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Kelsey can’t do her job without her medication. The resident physician in Wisconsin, who is in her early 30s, takes the generic version of a stimulant called Concerta to treat her narcolepsy as well as her attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Untreated, her ADHD makes it difficult to keep focus and do routine tasks, and the narcolepsy makes it impossible to stay awake. “If I sit down for any length of time, like to read a book or emails, I’ll pretty much fall asleep within five minutes or so,” Kelsey said. “Around noon, I get this heaviness, that feeling…

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