Top-down power: Hierarchies thrive on the internet

The internet was built to resist an Orwellian future. Now it's being weaponized.

  • Research shows hierarchical groups are more likely to use the internet as a platform.
  • This might be counterintuitive, as the original rise of the internet coincided with events like the toppling of top-down structures.
  • Despite the strong belief that the internet is horizontal, these hierarchical systems achieve high levels of online participation.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Scientists’ brains are wired to see differently

Scientists are expert observers. Because of this, they can help us develop a keener view of the world — the cosmos.

  • There are many people who have discomfort engaging with a scientific perspective of the world — for some, for instance, it conflicts with what they were taught during their religious upbringings.
  • We can all gain a greater view of life — the cosmos — by getting to know scientists, especially when we're at an impasse in our lives.
  • Scientists' view of the world retains a "distance" to it — it's observational, fact-driven. This helps with finding consistent principles in nature.
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Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Whether you're a conservative or a liberal, you have most likely come across a political hashtag in an article, a tweet or a personal story shared on Facebook.

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Billions of fake accounts: Who's messaging you on Facebook?

The social media company's recent transparency report claimed that it had taken down a staggering number of fake accounts — but it's unlikely they're catching them all.

Image source: Shutterstock
  • Facebook's recent transparency report revealed that it took down 5.4 billion accounts in 2019 thus far, a huge jump from 2018's 3.3 billion removals.
  • Facebook claims that this jump in take-downs is due to improved methods for identifying fake accounts, but it has to be assumed that some are still slipping through the cracks.
  • What are the primary activities of these fake accounts?
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‘The Anti-Facebook’: Wikipedia co-founder launches ad-free social media platform

WT:Social promises never to sell your data or run advertisements.

  • The social media platform features a Facebook-style newsfeed, but content is prioritized by recency instead of engagement.
  • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said he was inspired to create WT:Social because advertising had allowed "low-quality" content to dominate Facebook and Twitter.
  • Facebook and Twitter have recently adopted opposing strategies in how to handle political advertising.
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