WeeklyTech #136

How false notions of moral autonomy scrambled American parenting

Meta’s new safety tools for Instagram rolled out earlier this month, and they’ll become available in the Family Center for other apps, including Facebook, and the popular Oculus virtual reality headsets later this year. Parents of younger users — in theory, this means teenagers over 13, which is Meta’s minimum user age, but in practice it includes younger kids, too — will be able to monitor and limit their children’s content choices and app time.

That might seem like unqualified good news given the known dangers of unfettered access to technology, especially for teens, and recent years’ widespreadbipartisan calls for more regulation of children’s tech use. But parental controls are more divisive than you might think, as many argue they’re less about protection than control.

Image credit: The Week – Illustrated | iStock

The Rundown

Can Elon Musk save social media? – Brooke Medina | WORLD

Responding to what consumers want, or might want, is one of the most essential responsibilities of any business owner, and with news breaking that Musk is now Twitter’s largest shareholder (possessing a 9.2 percent stake in the company), a new era in mainstream social media might be on the horizon. Twitter shares surged at the announcement of Musk’s intentions.

Twitter to add ‘unmention’ option, allowing users to remove themselves from conversations – Minyvonne Burke | NBC News

The social media giant announced Thursday that it was experimenting with an “unmentioning” option, writing in a tweet that it will be a way for users to “protect your peace.”

This is not a drill: Twitter is testing an edit button – Sarah Roach | Protocol

Twitter announced Tuesday that it actually is working on an edit button, days after tweeting about it seemingly in jest. In fact, the company said it has been looking into the feature since last year and will begin testing with Twitter Blue members “in the coming months.”

What Happened to Truth Social? Free Speech Online Sounded So Easy. – Daniel Lyons | AEI

The real story here is this: Anyone who purports to have a private platform that enshrines unconditional free speech is a false prophet. This story usually ends with the operators of said platform discovering that content moderation is both hard and, to some degree, necessary.

Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee – David French | The Atlantic

What is an “act of intolerance”? How does one define provocative speech? The speech code did not say. A robust marketplace of ideas simply cannot exist if my free-speech rights end the instant another person feels offended by my words.

Something Happened By Us: A Demonology – Alan Jacobs | The New Atlantis

Just as it is commonplace to say that people who declare “That’s not who I am” are evading responsibility, it is also commonplace to say that what Luke called “demonic possession” we now more correctly call “madness.” But what if Mackay’s account of madness is deficient and Dostoevsky has the firmer grip on what happens to us in such circumstances?

A Bookstore Revival Channels Nostalgia for Big Box Chains – Alexandra Lange | Bloomberg

Plenty of Millennials who grew up with a Waldenbooks, a Crown or a Borders have the same nostalgia for those chains that they feel for the malls that once contained them. At the same time, Gen Z is taking to TikTok to talk about books — driving billions of views as well as sales for authors’ backlists — and staging those videos at Barnes & Noble.