New Internationalist


I’d never argue for the of social media; after all, it’s been with us for thousands of years. Before posting on Facebook walls we were scribbling on the walls of ancient Rome; well before that, we made our mark on the walls of caves. We use each technology to extend ourselves into larger and larger social groups and that’s a perfectly healthy impulse – it’s social grooming writ large. However, just as our primal desires for sugar and fat were hijacked by fast-food corporations in the 20th century, our desire for social grooming was hijacked by tech corporations in the 21st. And, just as we’d never imagine that McDonald’s has had a positive effect on global waistlines, we cannot now pretend that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make our social lives

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The topic is vast, the aspects covered in this issue limited, but there are many ways to take action on democracy: • Education, political and media literacy • Fact-checking and challenging untruths • Digital access, rights and regulation • Privacy, s