This story's importance grows as the Web increasingly mirrors "real life." Society seems to be in an interesting transition time, and some important freedoms could be lost as it struggles to understand the user-driven Web. For example, in an effort to reduce risk or prevent harm, people (including parents) sometimes blame Web sites (e.g., social-networking sites) more than the relationships represented in them, for online harassment; so those sites, perhaps to stave off lawsuits, play "a governmental role" and sweepingly "wipe out content that's controversial but otherwise legal," to quote the Associated Press. Users whose legitimate or legal content that gets deleted try to appeal those corporate decisions, but companies' legal advisers are usually the decisionmakers and "no" often the answer. That "governmental role that companies play online is taking on greater importance as their services – from online hangouts to virtual repositories of photos and video – become more central to public discourse around the world," the AP continues. The questions are: whether decisions by corporate legal departments reacting to public fears and ignorance will jeopardize some freedoms we cherish, how to ease those fears and misunderstandings, and where the burden of easing them should rest.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- New Facebook policy targets guns, other regulated items
- Google’s new learning tool that learns
- The flap over Talking Angela the chatbot app
- About the worldwide ‘selfie’ phenomenon
- How technology will improve the well-being of young adults
- Calling our children narcissists on ‘a sociopathic scale’: Really!?
- Nothing complicated about this: Read ‘It’s Complicated’!
- Teens’ own (wise) perspectives on life with social media
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Adults spend 11 hour a day using electronic media
- Smartphones that promise user privacy
- Author danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’
- Security experts at RSA decry government hacking
- In defense of Internet safety education
- ‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game
- Confessions of a binge viewer
- People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems