paper trail

Twitter suspends checkmark verification; Jaron Lanier on the future of social media

Jaron Lanier

The Washington Post is launching a new feature to offer new perspectives to its readers. Counterpoint will search opinion articles and link to counterarguments based on what a user is reading at that time. Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said the tool will not only expose readers to different viewpoints, but also to more Post content. “If you come to read a great column by Charles Krauthammer, would you be interested in a counter argument by Ruth Marcus?” he mused. “If a link to Greg Sargent brought you to our site, would you stick around if you knew that Michael Gerson had written a really smart piece on the same topic, but from a different perspective?”

After giving a verified Twitter checkmark to Jason Kessler, the founder of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally—a move that many felt ran counter to CEO Jack Dorsey’s commitment to removing “hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence” from the platform—the company has suspended its verification system pending a review.

Kevin Roose explores the increasing influence of YouTube’s conservative pundits.

The New York Times talks to Jaron Lanier about social media, obscure flutes, and his new book, The Dawn of the New Everything. Lanier is skeptical that Facebook and other social media giants were unaware of their platforms’ potential to spread fake news, and worries that advances in virtual reality technology could make the problem worse. “Hopefully, in this period, when we’re dealing with this really crude and early stuff like Facebook feeds, Instagram, Snapchat, we’ll be able to get the politics straight and find a path for people to have dignity and autonomy before the hard-core stuff comes,” he says. “Unless we all kill ourselves through this other stuff, which is a possibility, too.”

Tonight at New York University, Masha Gessen and Siri Hustvedt discuss the politics of language.