Tougher Internet filtering policies are being applied throughout Southeast Asia. The Gambia House of Representatives has enacted a new law banning criticism of government officials online. Russia has been pushing new legislation that allows copyright holders to ask courts to block access not only to allegedly pirated content, but also to hyperlinks to such content.
Social media companies and researchers use map-based visualizations to link virtual information with the physical world, surfacing patterns of human behavior that dazzle and educate. As cheap data storage abounds and visualization tools proliferate, maps offer a window into how humans live, in addition to guidance on how to get around.
Since it started as a platform designed for cell phone use in 2006, Twitter has become more than just a microblogging service on the Internet. It is a platform for peer-to-peer education and a potential gold mine for citizen sensing, which engages citizens as sensors in generating geo-referenced information. The vast number of tweets and other user-generated bits of content online has prompted new approaches to data analysis.
There’s much debate on the ability of Facebook to effect social change, but a handful of campaigns by the social networking site over the past several years have demonstrated just how powerful social media might be in prompting real-life actions.
As people share more about their thoughts and actions on social media and as algorithms grow more sophisticated, law enforcement’s ability to mine such information for clues into how to prevent crimes raises concerns of profiling and questions of oversight.
In the context of civil war, tech-savvy and socially engaged Syrian citizens are resisting the state in creative ways. Eye-catching posters began to show up on Syrian streets around the time the uprising began in March 2011. In May 2011, citizens launched the “I am with Syria” Facebook page.
New research into the Twittersphere reveals that users connect with people nearby and far away at almost equal rates. People also share local and faraway news at almost equal rates. This study, the first to examine tweets based on geography, illustrates that social media helps people transcend the boundaries of distance that have typically hindered communication.
Several of the biggest social networking sites have recently come under fire for being too complicit with government requests for user information, failing to protect activists and dissent online, and enforcing arbitrary posting prohibitions for their users. This article presents the best alternative social networks currently in active development that hope to innovate the way people connect and share information online.