Facebook needs a Surgeon General’s warning

The social media giant has changed its Newsfeed product to emphasize meaningful interactions, but different experiences on Facebook won’t make its users any happier.

By Brad Berens

It’s hard to decide whether Facebook is more like beer, doughnuts or tobacco, but whichever comparison you prefer, there’s no doubt that Facebook is bad for you: recent research shows convincingly that as your Facebook use goes up your mental and physical health go down.

That’s what makes Facebook’s claims about recent changes to its Newsfeed product so infuriating: the company argues that when Facebook hurts people’s health and sense of well-being, it is not because of how much time they are spending on Facebook (a quantitative argument); instead, it is because they are not looking at the right things on Facebook (a qualitative argument).

The problem is not about what you use Facebook to do, it’s how much you use Facebook. . .(more)

Cybersecurity under Xi Jinping: a new model for broad control in China

The Chinese government under Xi Jinping has adopted technologies and legislative actions to monitor the internet, resulting in a powerful censorship system that has earned the name “Great Firewall of China.”

Hong Kong scholar Susanne Chan has created a comprehensive analysis of these changes, including a basic outline of media governance in China and reviews the ongoing attempts to recentralize media control since the 1990s.  More details about the research are  here.

Chan’s full analysis of cybersecurity under Xi Jinping, with extensive links to news coverage and other resources, is here.

Chan’s guide to media governance in China, with links to background articles on the governing agencies, departments, and offices, is here.

Web Insight: who watches sports at arenas?

Each week we examine a new issue to clarify how the world uses digital technology today — and how it will change tomorrow.

Our current topic comes from findings in the Center’s study of sports, media, and technology: of people who follow at least one sport in season, how many actually watch the sport in person?

Explore the current Web Insight topic here.

See all Web Insights from the Center

Center report explores the future of transportation

The Center has unveiled a first-of-its-kind study on the future of transportation — a project that explores the spectrum of American behavior and views about their cars, public transit, reasons to give up driving, new competitors in the automobile industry, distracted driving, and the arrival of self-driving cars.

“Most research covers the transportation revolution from an industry perspective, but our new study focuses on the actual behavior and attitudes of the U.S. population,” said Brad Berens, chief strategy officer for the center and project lead for the study.

Download the Future of Transportation Report here.

The 42-page Future of Transportation Study explores more than 100 issues involving behavior and views about cars, their alternatives, and emerging needs for technology,

Center for the Digital Future releases 15th annual report on the impact of digital technology in the U.S.

The 152-page “Surveying the Digital Future” includes findings on more than 160 issues, among them: the importance of the internet in political campaigns, government regulation and the internet, online buying and effects on retail shopping, personal freedom online, privacy and personal security, and negative attention (bullying and sexual harassment).

More about the report here.

Download the report here.

Eighth edition of World Internet Project Report published

The Center for the Digital Future has released the eighth edition of the World Internet Project International Report, the compilation of findings from the first global partnership of research institutions that surveys the behavior and views of users and non-users of digital technology worldwide.

More about the report here.

Download the report here.

The World Internet Project study, managed by the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, merges findings from 12 of the project’s partner countries:  Egypt, Greece,  Lebanon, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

The 106-page report includes 65 subject areas in eight broad categories.

Center director Jeff Cole explores "cutting the cord"

Center director Jeffrey Cole highlights the unbundling of content from cable providers, pricing models, and new consumer behavior at 2015 annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

View the video.