If Then

Why Facebook and “Meaningful Interactions” Don’t Mix

A media studies professor argues that the social network’s design makes serious discussions impossible.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about the Senate’s stand on net neutrality and why Congress is set to renew a major piece of internet government mass surveillance legislation. The hosts are joined by Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at University of Virginia, to talk about Facebook’s big news feed changes and what they might mean for the way we read the news and talk to one another online. And on Don’t Close My Tabs: Google’s gorilla problem and “authentic” Instagram ads.

Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: What Happens if Someone Yells “Fire” in a VR Theater

Slate: Senate Democrats Are Forcing a Vote to Save Net Neutrality but It’s Political Theater

Slate: Why Less News on Facebook Is Good News for Everyone

Don’t Close My Tabs:

The Verge: Google “Fixed” Its Racist Algorithm by Removing Gorillas From Its Image-Labeling Tech

The Atlantic: The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.