FIR 204: Won’t you Join Us in our Clubhouse?

How safe is Clubhouse? asks Wired magazine in the latest critical look at the social audio service that appeared in April 2020 – less than a year ago. It’s attracting huge attention globally. Alongside the hype and hyperbole that have been hallmarks of the perceived attractiveness and exclusivity of the invitation-only iOS app that passed ten million users in February – a five-fold growth since recording two million in January – there’s increasing scrutiny of how the app works and…

SDF 44: Facebook and the robber barons are at it again

Last week Facebook announced that it had decided to up the ante in its fracas with the Australian government and ban mainstream media news on its platform. The move meant that all Facebook users – not just Australians – would not be able to share or view news on Australian news Pages on Facebook. This move by Facebook was in response to the Australian government introducing a new law that would force Big Tech to pay media companies a fee…

Civilising Wikipedia

Last month, Wikipedia celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the founding of its English-language website, an online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. Today, Wikipedia has more than 55 million articles available in over 300 languages, in addition to the original English. It says that 1.7 billion unique visitors come to its websites every month. For many people, it’s the first stop on the Internet when you want the answer to “What is…?”, “Who is…?”, “Where is…?”, “When is/was…?”, etc. ‘Edited…

The Internet and a brighter future

Most people would agree that what we have experienced over the past 12 months has changed – in a lasting manner – the ways in which we share information and communicate with each other, whether for business or for pleasure. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated far-reaching change in ways that no one could accurately have predicted in 2019. Communications technology and the Internet are central to all of this and are at the heart of discussion I had in…

Tim Berners-Lee’s plan to save the Internet: give us back control of our data

Releasing his creation for free 30 years ago, the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, famously declared: “this is for everyone”. Today, his invention is used by billions – but it also hosts the authoritarian crackdowns of antidemocratic governments, and supports the infrastructure of the most wealthy and powerful companies on Earth. Now, in an effort to return the internet to the golden age that existed before its current incarnation as Web 2.0 – characterised by invasive data…

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