July 23, 2019

In March 2018, the New York Times revealed that Facebook had allowed Cambridge Analytica to gather personal information from more than 50 million users without their knowledge. Soon after the newspaper published its findings, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began its own investigation of the social media giant. After about a year of inquiry, last week the government agency imposed a $5 billion fine on Facebook, the largest penalty ever issued by the FTC.

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January 25, 2019

Since launching in 2016, the group video chat app Houseparty has attracted a dedicated userbase of young people looking to talk with their friends wherever they please. “Houseparty is basically the third place for Generation Z and young millennials,” said co-founder Sima Sistani. “What they’re doing there is hanging out in the way we used to in the backyard, the basement, or in my case — the Waffle House.” And unlike many other Silicon Valley startups, Houseparty doesn’t plan to Continue reading

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September 27, 2018

With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook appears to be succeeding in its mission to “bring the world closer together.” But as anyone who has spent time casually scrolling through their news feed knows, not everything posted on the social network is positive and unifying. Along with heated political arguments and unflattering pictures of friends, users can also post violent or offensive content that is far too extreme to be allowed on the site. Fortunately, users can report Continue reading

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August 24, 2018

By now it’s no secret that big tech companies routinely collect tons of data about their users’ online habits. And as Facebook’s recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica showed, sometimes they sell that information to outside parties without first telling users about it. As a result, people must always be careful about sharing too much information online. According to a new study conducted by a Vanderbilt University professor, however, even the most cautious users probably can’t escape the all-seeing power of Continue reading

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March 23, 2018

In the aftermath of Facebook’s data sharing scandal, critics of the company are calling on lawmakers to discuss ways that the social network could be regulated. To these concerned citizens, Facebook has grown too large to be trusted with so much of the public’s information. The video below looks at how America’s tech giants became so big and the ways that regulators could possibly target these companies in the future.

Questions:

  1. Do you think big tech companies like Facebook, Continue reading
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March 22, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the hyperscale data centers that Facebook relies on to handle its userbase of more than 2 billion accounts. With so much information swirling around these enormous structures, it’s easy to assume that any data you provide to the social network will fade away in an ever-increasing crowd. But not only can Facebook access much of the data it collects, the company also routinely shares this information with scholars and researchers. Users consent Continue reading

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March 9, 2018

With a userbase of more than 2 billion people, Facebook drives an astonishing amount of Internet traffic every day. So how exactly does the social network manage to succeed without collapsing under the weight of all that data? Like other tech giants, Facebook depends on enormous data centers packed with computer servers to keep the constant stream of information flowing. In fact, these “hyperscale” structures are just as important to the tech industry as factories or mines are to manufacturers. Continue reading

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January 16, 2018

For Facebook’s more than 2 billion users, the News Feed serves as a gateway to what’s going on in their world. People can spend hours scrolling through the photos and videos that pop into their feeds from friends and media companies they follow. In fact, for years Facebook ensured that content posted by brands received prominent placement in the News Feeds of its users. At one point the company even developed a partnership program that allowed media firms to take Continue reading

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April 25, 2017

chinese-companiesFor years tech giants like Facebook and Google have tried to set up shop in China only to see their efforts blocked by the country’s restrictive government. In place of these global brands, domestic companies like the search engine Baidu and the social network Weibo have flourished among China’s enormous Internet community. And in an ironic twist, this growing tech sector owes much of its success to the structure and culture of Silicon Valley’s biggest names.

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January 24, 2017

QuinnDombrowskiIn the years since the economic crisis of 2008, wealth inequality has been an increasingly alarming problem both for scholars and regular people. Last year, the development charity Oxfam estimated that 62 billionaires owned just as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the globe. This month, however, the agency had worse news: a group of just eight men are worth a combined $426 billion, equivalent to the wealth held by 3.6 billion people.

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