Summary of A Public Apology

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A Public Apology summary
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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Internet activist and blogger Ethan Zuckerman juxtaposes the Internet with the American political system to identify the ills common to both – design faults that seemed logical at the time of their creation but that are now invalid. With humor – and some colorful language – Zuckerman endeavors to demonstrate that today’s business as usual need not be tomorrow’s. getAbstract recommends his impassioned plea for society to question its existing assumptions.

About the Speaker

Ethan Zuckerman directs the Center for Civic Media at MIT. He co-founded Global Voices, a blogging platform.



In the mid-1990s, Ethan Zuckerman worked for an early social media business that hosted web pages. To earn revenue, the firm targeted advertising at its 18 million users. It didn’t want to place ads directly on users’ web pages, because it didn’t know what content they contained. So Zuckerman wrote some Java code that would open a new window containing an ad, essentially inventing the pop-up ad. Some 20 years later, he wrote an article for The Atlantic in which he took responsibility for his small role in shaping the Internet as a place where advertisers vie for users’ attention and where surveillance is the norm. As a result, he...

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