A man check his Facebook on his smart phone. Nicolas Asfouri / AFP
A man check his Facebook on his smart phone. Nicolas Asfouri / AFP

Has social media taken over the web?



Social media is about much more than posting an update to Facebook or a photo on Instagram. The architecture of the internet, which we all rely on in one form or another, includes social media algorithms embedded into its very fabric.

Even if you are a light user of Twitter or Facebook, those corporations are able to track your online behaviour through the proliferation of the like and tweet buttons. In less than a decade, this pervasive infrastructure has been created, but it is largely misunderstood or even discussed.

So why talk about it now? Several celebrities, including the British comedian Jennifer Saunders, have questioned obsessive social media usage. Saunders expressed worry that it was creating harmful stereotypes for young women. She also questioned the rise of online celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and the hold they appeared to have over the attitudes of young people.

She has a point. It is understandable that some want a break from the unnecessary and sometimes harmful noise of social media. Such platforms have proliferated in part because they appeal to our harmful desire for instant gratification and vanity. But you can delete your accounts or suspend them to stop actively engaging online. Even if you don’t have an issue with these platforms, having a break is a healthy practice. But this is only half the story.

Even if we don’t actively engage with Facebook, Twitter, Google or Apple, they continue to engage with us. These companies have built their business models on collecting data about how we behave on the internet and then translating that information into targeted advertising. Advances in artificial intelligence will only hone their ability to collect additional information about our lives.

The truly remarkable aspect of this avoidable reality is that we allowed the internet to be created in a manner that privileges the interests of private companies over users. In this process, there was little debate and far less oversight about protecting the rights of users and making the internet less aggressive and noisy. By all means listen to the warnings and take a break from these platforms to collect your thoughts, but keep in mind who has the ultimate control over your content and behaviour on the web.

The Genius of Their Age

Author: S Frederick Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 290
Available: January 24

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SE (second generation)

Display: 40mm, 324 x 394; 44mm, 368 x 448; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 2nd-gen heart rate sensor, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: Water resistant up to 50m

Battery: 269mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium; midnight, silver, starlight

In the box: Watch SE, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh999 (40mm) / 1,119 (44mm)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,600rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,500-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.9L/100km
Price: From Dh119,900
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: PlanRadar
Started: 2013
Co-founders: Ibrahim Imam, Sander van de Rijdt, Constantin Köck, Clemens Hammerl, Domagoj Dolinsek
Based: Vienna, Austria
Sector: Construction and real estate
Current number of staff: 400+
Investment stage: Series B
Investors: Headline, Berliner Volksbank Ventures, aws Gründerfonds, Cavalry Ventures, Proptech1, Russmedia, GR Capital

List of alleged parties

 

May 12, 2020: PM and his wife Carrie attend 'work meeting' with at least 17 staff 

May 20, 2020: They attend 'bring your own booze party'

Nov 27, 2020: PM gives speech at leaving party for his staff 

Dec 10, 2020: Staff party held by then-education secretary Gavin Williamson 

Dec 13, 2020: PM and his wife throw a party

Dec 14, 2020: London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey holds staff event at Conservative Party headquarters 

Dec 15, 2020: PM takes part in a staff quiz 

Dec 18, 2020: Downing Street Christmas party 

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

Mia Man’s tips for fermentation

- Start with a simple recipe such as yogurt or sauerkraut

- Keep your hands and kitchen tools clean. Sanitize knives, cutting boards, tongs and storage jars with boiling water before you start.

- Mold is bad: the colour pink is a sign of mold. If yogurt turns pink as it ferments, you need to discard it and start again. For kraut, if you remove the top leaves and see any sign of mold, you should discard the batch.

- Always use clean, closed, airtight lids and containers such as mason jars when fermenting yogurt and kraut. Keep the lid closed to prevent insects and contaminants from getting in.

 

The stats

Ship name: MSC Bellissima

Ship class: Meraviglia Class

Delivery date: February 27, 2019

Gross tonnage: 171,598 GT

Passenger capacity: 5,686

Crew members: 1,536

Number of cabins: 2,217

Length: 315.3 metres

Maximum speed: 22.7 knots (42kph)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

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