alphabet companies

Inside the Pricey War to Influence Your Instagram Feed
Instagram, YouTube—you name it. Influencers are being paid handsome sums to pitch you products in natural settings. That video you just watched? $50,000.

Maybe It’s Not YouTube’s Algorithm That Radicalizes People
In a new report, Penn State political scientists say that it’s not the recommendation engine, but the communities that form around right-wing content.

How Amazon, Apple, and Google Played the Tax-Break Game
Amazon conducted a very public beauty contest for mini-headquarters, while Apple and Google worked more quietly for planned expansions.

YouTube Has Kid Troubles Because Kids Are a Core Audience
Reports of how pedophiles use YouTube highlight how important kids have become to the site; 12 of the 20 most popular videos in April were aimed at kids.

data collection

You May Have Forgotten Foursquare, but It Didn’t Forget You  (scoop)
The once-hyped social media company, known for gamifying mobile check-ins, is still alive and well as an incomprehensibly vast data empire.

Airbnb and New York City Reach a Truce on Home-Sharing Data (scoop)
Airbnb agreed to turn over information on 17,000 residences, so city officials can look for signs of illegal short-term rentals.

Cities Examine Proper—and Improper—Uses of Facial Recognition
From New York City to Portland, Oregon, officials consider regulating how government and private businesses deploy the technology.

algorithmic manipulation

A Quiet War Rages Over Who Can Make Money Online
As social media companies and payment processors crack down on offensive speech, people and groups are using the tools to harass their enemies.

The Co-Opting of French Unrest to Spread Disinformation
In an echo of the US in 2016, accounts linked to Russia and right-wing conspiracy theorists are spreading misinformation on Twitter.

Tumblr’s Porn Ban Reveals Who Controls What We See Online
The visual microblogging service banned porn two weeks after Apple deleted its app from the App Store, amid a new federal sex trafficking law.