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Ten years of social media have left us all worse off – Financial Times

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The last decade has had plenty of landmark moments — but one big change crept up on us slowly: our experiences in the liminal space of social media. Somewhere between Silicon Valley and our vibrating pockets, between our closest friends and some faceless trolls, our privacy, politics, economy and above all our attention were reshaped by Facebook and its outriders.

Social media existed before 2010, but not as we now know it. Few of us had smartphones in 2009. Facebook’s active user base has grown sevenfold over the past 10 years, and there simply aren’t enough people for that to happen again. Instagram and WhatsApp were both launched about a decade ago, and swiftly absorbed into the mother of all social networks. As for Twitter, let me simply note that Donald Trump only started tweeting in earnest in 2011.

What effect has all this had? It’s plausible to argue that social media enabled major events such as the Arab spring and the election of Mr Trump, although of course there is never a single explanation for such things. There have been some telling little moments, however — such as when the UK Conservative party press office took the low-rent Orwellian step of posing as an independent fact-checking organisation on Twitter. (No doubt they would describe that incident differently, while adding that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.)

I should not exaggerate. This isn’t 1984. Partisan news sources were popular long before we self-selected into online echo chambers. Propaganda is not new. And there are benefits from social media: it gives a platform to all sorts of people who deserve to be heard.

But it is hard to make the case that social media has led to a more thoughtful, rigorous or compassionate discourse about politics. Amid the bullying, the misogyny, and the endless outrage, it’s hard to tell the bots and the people apart, largely because so many humans have lowered themselves to the level of the bots.

What about the economics? Network effects mean that social media platforms tend to spiral towards monopoly. You want to be where your friends are. It might be hard for a new search engine to displace Google, but if I am tempted by an alternative, I don’t need to persuade my friends and family to move too.

An obvious antitrust measure would be to force Facebook to divest WhatsApp and Instagram, two services that could and should be its competitors. A more radical approach is to require social networks to improve their interoperability and data portability — effectively allowing other services to piggyback, or users to flit among services.

If I switch email providers or phone companies I can bring my phone number and contact database with me, or automatically forward messages sent to my old email address. It’s possible to imagine social media working more like that in future, although it would require substantial effort both technologically and legislatively.

Yet none of this solves perhaps the most basic problem. Ten years ago all we had to worry about was email overload. Now we carry around powerful and highly distracting devices. They observe our behaviour, buzz insistently to get attention, and leverage our desire to fit in, communicate and reciprocate. We did not consciously sign up for this, and each of us needs to think carefully about what we really want from social media.

Last Christmas I vowed to spend less time on my smartphone. It worked — until a couple of months ago, when I started using Twitter much more. Why? I had something to sell. That seems wretchedly appropriate.

Still, another decade is starting. I cannot break Facebook up by myself, but I can plan to do something more constructive with the time and energy I often spend on social media. I hope I am not the only one.

tim.harford@ft.com

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Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface – CityNews Toronto

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  1. Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface  CityNews Toronto
  2. Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced  CTV News Toronto
  3. Toronto politician accused of homophobic social media posts resigns from city council  blogTO
  4. Toronto’s newest councillor resigns hours after she was appointed  Global News
  5. View Full coverage on Google News



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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.

-30-

Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492
kristadalton@gov.nl.ca

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
lynnrobinson@gov.nl.ca

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto

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A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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