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Internet Studies/Information/Communication

Internet Studies/Information/Communication

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Creating Infrastructures for a Public Right to Hear

In Networked Press Freedom, Mike Ananny offers a new way to think about freedom of the press in a time when media systems are in fundamental flux. Ananny challenges the idea that press freedom comes only from heroic, lone journalists who speak truth to power.

Public Conversations and Participatory Media

Internet memes—digital snippets that can make a joke, make a point, or make a connection—are now a lingua franca of online life. They are collectively created, circulated, and transformed by countless users across vast networks. Most of us have seen the cat playing the piano, Kanye interrupting, Kanye interrupting the cat playing the piano. In The World Made Meme, Ryan Milner argues that memes, and the memetic process, are shaping public conversation. It’s hard to imagine a major pop cultural or political moment that doesn’t generate a constellation of memetic texts.

Social Media and the Accounting of Everyday Life

Social critiques argue that social media have made us narcissistic, that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are all vehicles for me-promotion. In The Qualified Self, Lee Humphreys offers a different view. She shows that sharing the mundane details of our lives—what we ate for lunch, where we went on vacation, who dropped in for a visit—didn’t begin with mobile devices and social media. People have used media to catalog and share their lives for several centuries.

Personal Property in the Digital Economy

If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don’t own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation—as Amazon deleted Orwell’s 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984.

Cyberbullying Policies of Social Media Companies

High-profile cyberbullying cases often trigger exaggerated public concern about children’s use of social media. Large companies like Facebook respond by pointing to their existing anti-bullying mechanisms or coordinate with nongovernmental organizations to organize anti-cyberbullying efforts. Do these attempts at self-regulation work? In this book, Tijana Milosevic examines the effectiveness of efforts by social media companies—including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram—to rein in cyberbullying by young users.

Copyright Law and Subjectivity

In current debates over copyright law, the author, the user, and the pirate are almost always invoked. Some in the creative industries call for more legal protection for authors; activists and academics promote user rights and user-generated content; and online pirates openly challenge the strict enforcement of copyright law. In this book, James Meese offers a new way to think about these three central subjects of copyright law, proposing a relational framework that encompasses all three.

Ongoing cyberattacks, hacks, data breaches, and privacy concerns demonstrate vividly the inadequacy of existing methods of cybersecurity and the need to develop new and better ones. This book brings together experts from across MIT to explore recent advances in cybersecurity from management, technical, and sociological perspectives.

Data Science and the Unintended Consequences of Communication

Social life is full of paradoxes. Our intentional actions often trigger outcomes that we did not intend or even envision. How do we explain those unintended effects and what can we do to regulate them? In Decoding the Social World, Sandra González-Bailón explains how data science and digital traces help us solve the puzzle of unintended consequences—offering the solution to a social paradox that has intrigued thinkers for centuries.

The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data

Key to understanding and addressing climate change is continuous and precise monitoring of environmental conditions. Satellites play an important role in collecting climate data, offering comprehensive global coverage that can’t be matched by in situ observation. And yet, as Mariel Borowitz shows in this book, much satellite data is not freely available but restricted; this remains true despite the data-sharing advocacy of international organizations and a global open data movement.

The Manufacture of Religious Offense and Its Threat to Democracy

In the United States, elements of the religious right fuel fears of an existential Islamic threat, spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric into mainstream politics. In Indonesia, Muslim absolutists urge suppression of churches and minority sects, fostering a climate of rising intolerance. In India, Narendra Modi’s radical supporters instigate communal riots and academic censorship in pursuit of their Hindu nationalist vision. Outbreaks of religious intolerance are usually assumed to be visceral and spontaneous.

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