Is the Internet Being Ruined?

It’s a remarkable ecosystem that allows each of us to exercise control over our lives. But how much control do we truly have? How many of our decisions are really being made by Google and Facebook and Apple? And, perhaps most importantly: is the Internet’s true potential being squandered?

Who Runs the Internet? A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of our episode called "Who Runs the Internet?" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

Does virtual mayhem -- from online ranting to videogame violence -- help reduce mayhem in the real world? Though Steve Levitt says there is no solid data on this.

Who Runs the Internet? A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest podcast is called "Who Runs the Internet?" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

It begins with Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talking about whether virtual mayhem -- from online ranting to videogame violence -- may help reduce mayhem in the real world. There is no solid data on this, Levitt says, but he hypothesizes: 

LEVITT: Maybe the biggest effect of all of having these violent video games is that they’re super fun for people to play, especially adolescent boys, maybe even adolescent boys who are prone to real violence. And so if you can make video games fun enough, then kids will stop doing everything else. They’ll stop watching TV, they’ll stop doing homework, and they’ll stop going out and creating mayhem on the street. 

This episode then moves on to a bigger question about the Internet itself: who runs it? As Dubner asks: "Who’s in charge of the gazillions of conversations and transactions and character assassinations that happen online every day?"

Freakonomics Radio: Is Twitter a Two-Way Street?

Freakonomics has more than 270,000 followers on Twitter. And we love every one of you. No, really! But we don't follow anyone back. (When we first signed up with Twitter, some very smart media consultants said that reciprocity was the name of the game; but we didn't want to get involved in some massive online tit-for-tat.) So, does that make us twerks?