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November-December 2016

In today’s internet age, who does the news belong to?

On Facebook's algorithmically powered stories—and what it means for Canadian media

Tyler Hellard@poploser

Earlier this year, Facebook got in trouble for “curating” trending news articles that seemed to betray an ideological bias—their editorial team was accused of pushing a left-wing agenda by people who would have preferred to see them push a right-wing agenda. Facebook’s solution was simple: get rid of the human element. But a few hours after flipping […] More »
November-December 2014

Terms of service

Tyler Hellard@poploser

Are we too apathetic when it comes to social media user experiments? A few months ago, Facebook got into trouble for experimenting with some of their users. In the name of “science,” the company decided to start tweaking people’s newsfeeds with an excess of either positive or negative status updates from friends. The study showed […] More »

FTW Friday: Facebook now lets users choose from 50 gender options

Simon Treanor

On Thursday, a somewhat well-known social media site called Facebook (perhaps you’ve heard of it?), announced an unexpected, but heartening update to its options and settings menu. In a move that has been praised by many LGBTQ and human rights groups, Facebook now allows its users to choose from over 50 different options to set […] More »

WTF Wednesday: Science reduced to Facebook personality tests

Catherine McIntyre

The National Academy of Science just published a study that shows what your Facebook ‘Likes’ reveal about your behaviours and personal life. The study released March 11 explains: “We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: […] More »
January-February 2012

Online freedom will depend on deeper forms of web literacy

Navneet Alang

Recently, Google ruined my life. I may be exaggerating slightly, given that all they did was redesign and tweak Google Reader, one of their many services that I use daily and for which I pay nothing. But Reader, an admittedly niche product that lets you read articles from many websites in one place, has become […] More »
September-October 2011

Interview: Nieman fellow David Skok on Canadian journalism’s digital future

Paul McLaughlinWebsite@paulmcl

David Skok, the managing editor of GlobalNews.ca, checked into Harvard University in September to begin a one-year Nieman Fellowship. The 33-year-old is the first Canadian digital journalist to receive the prestigious award. He’ll be studying “how to sustain Canadian journalism’s distinct presence in a world of stateless news organizations.” He spoke with This two weeks […] More »

After Vancouver’s riots, how to tame social media mob justice

Navneet AlangWebsite@navalang

After the sheer surprise of Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots had dissipated, Canadian commentators tried to figure out what it all meant. Most beat their usual political drums—months later we’re blaming the pinko anarchists, capitalist pigs, and beer companies for making their products so darn tasty and portable. But this being 2011, many who broke windows […] More »

Canadian editors call This Magazine Small Magazine of the Year — again!

Graham F. Scott

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors held their annual Editors’ Choice Awards last night in Toronto, and for the second year in a row, This was named “Magazine of the Year” in the small circulation category. Many, many people work very hard to make This happen, so it would be impossible to thank by name […] More »
May-June 2011

This45: Mason Wright on Susanna Haas Lyons

Mason WrightWebsite

They’re called social media for a reason, but for activists like Susanna Haas Lyons, tools such as Facebook and Twitter have much more to offer than funny cat videos and photos of your baby niece. “People spend an average of 14 minutes a day on Facebook,” says Vancouver-based Haas Lyons, a 33-year-old public engagement consultant […] More »
March-April 2011

On the internet, you’re not a citizen—you’re a consumer

Graham F. Scott@navalang

The United States’ decision to invade Afghanistan soon after 9/11 was misguided for many reasons, but one was purely practical: Al Qaeda is a stateless, decentralized network scattered across the globe. The spectral, international scope of the problem was no secret—so why wage a conventional war on one country? It was as if an outmoded […] More »

Twitter didn't cause the Egyptian revolution—bread did

dylan c. robertson

Media determinists of all stripes have hailed the role of Twitter, Facebook and other social media in prompting the recent pan-Arab revolts. Though it could be argued that these revolts were bound to happen eventually, the catalyst isn’t likely social media — it’s food. One of the main causes of the French Revolution was a combination […] More »