Dept of Media & Comms

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    How internet companies are tackling online harm on their platforms

How internet companies are tackling online harm on their platforms

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary the internet revolution has lost its way. From democratising and emancipatory beginnings, the information superhighway has become a hotbed of crime, harm and offence, powered by designed addition and fake news. Unparalleled connectivity, automation and efficiency, have left people around the world scrambling to adapt to technology’s disruptive impact on everyday life and institutions of business and […]

Preventing online harm

A new Online Harms White Paper, published jointly by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport and the Home Office, calls for a new system of regulation for tech companies with the goal of preventing online harm. In brief, the paper (which outlines government proposals for consultation in advance of passing new legislation) calls for an independent […]

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    Our digital selves and the straitjacket that data extraction imposes on us

Our digital selves and the straitjacket that data extraction imposes on us

How many social media profiles do you have? Do you feel that you express yourself accurately through these profiles? Do they reflect who you are? And who are you in the first place? Are you always the same? Do you present yourself the same way at different times and on different social media?

Profile making has become ubiquitous in digital […]

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    How to tackle the spread of misinformation and the problems it causes

How to tackle the spread of misinformation and the problems it causes

When we began the consultation process for the LSE Truth, Trust and Technology Commission, it was curious to observe how the widespread perception of “a problem” quickly dispersed, on closer examination, into many problems. Each of these problems was of a very different kind – and not all of them turned out to be so very new, despite the sense […]

The complex task of improving media literacy

Last time I wrote about media literacy, I was glad to observe that, as the media increasingly mediate everything in society, there is growing emphasis on the importance of ensuring that people have the media literacy not only to engage with the media but to engage with society through the media. But I was also frustrated at some of the superficial hand-waving from policy makers […]

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    How do children judge what’s appropriate to share online, and with whom?

How do children judge what’s appropriate to share online, and with whom?

How can social media platforms respect the “best interests of the child” if they don’t know which user is a child? How can they meet the needs of children of different ages if the law imposes “bright line” rules – 13+ (COPPA), 16+ (GDPR)? Yet how can society not extend hard-won child rights-respecting policy and practice from offline to online? And why […]

Notes on the public debate about digital responsibility

Policymakers and the Silicon Valley giants are engaged in a battle over freedom and regulation. The UK’s Internet Commission is catalysing a new, positive cycle of organisational accountability, transparency and multi-stakeholder dialogue. The dialogue on digital responsibility brings policymakers, academics and activists together with online firms to make progress on digital responsibility and accountability.

One of the first meetings in this […]

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    2018 is a crucial year for the platform-publisher relationship

2018 is a crucial year for the platform-publisher relationship

Is 2018 the year when the publisher/platform relationship is turned on its head? Is this the moment when policy-makers change the balance of power between the tech giants and the content creators?

Recent years have been tough on publishers as the social networks and search companies have grown up from transformative teens to dominating adults. Once mighty media brands have […]

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    Britain could be excluded from EU decision-making bodies during the Brexit transition

Britain could be excluded from EU decision-making bodies during the Brexit transition

There is one aspect of Britain’s proposed transition out of the European Union that risks being overlooked. Britain – its government, businesses and individuals such as academics, NGOs and researchers – could be excluded from EU decision-making bodies, agencies and expert groups from 29 March 2019 during the transition period. As others have already said, Britain risks becoming a rule-taker, […]

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    Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

‘Disruption’ is one of the buzzwords that defines our economy at the moment. While much of the focus has been on entrepreneurial start-ups – soliciting early funding for the next ‘the Airbnb of…’ – taking a look at how more established businesses are responding to the technological revolution is just as interesting. Aviation is one such sector that is […]

The regulatory future of algorithms

Automated decisions systems are becoming more and more common. Algorithms are used by banks, employers, schools, police and social care agencies. They might help to run institutions more efficiently, but if badly designed they have the potential to bring about significant harm such as discrimination or social marginalisation. Currently, there are expectations that the EU’s data protection reform (the General Data […]

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    A complex web of factors influence children’s commercial media literacy

A complex web of factors influence children’s commercial media literacy

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects children’s personal data online through various measures, many still being debated. But since being approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, it has emerged that the GDPR was formulated without consulting children or their representatives, including parents, or any evidence about children’s understanding of the commercial uses of personal data online.

Crucially, the GDPR assumes that, until they are 16 (unless member […]

Women who quit their careers: a group rarely investigated

Diversity and gender equality programmes are now a well-established feature of leading employers’ human resources strategies. Supporting women to remain in the workplace and achieve senior leadership positions is regarded increasingly as not just ‘right’ but also profitable – there is a business case for creating and maintaining a diverse workforce.
However, the focus in these discussions and strategies is […]

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    Ethics will be as central as economics to the future of the news industry

Ethics will be as central as economics to the future of the news industry

I do not know of any industry that has been through such an existential crisis as journalism has in the last decade or so. I spent over 20 years working in news and current affairs before joining the LSE nine years ago where my research has been largely about how the news media tries to discover a new business […]