What in the world: Facebook's cloudy future and 'mobocracy' in Ukraine
A review of the best commentary on and around the world...
Facebook is celebrating its 10th birthday today, prompting all sorts of reflections on the fate of the reigning king of social media. Is it poised for a fall?
A few weeks ago, a pair of Princeton researchers released a paper contending that Facebook would lose 80% of its users by 2015-17. Several employees of Facebook responded by using a similar methodology (they claim) to show that Princeton would lose all of its students by 2012. Touche.
Salon's technology reporter, Andrew Leonard, writes that Facebook does have a fatal flaw, however: people don't like it. They only use it because that's where their friends and family are. If that changes, he contends that Facebook will see its market share decline as fast as did another highly disliked company that acted arrogantly - Microsoft.
But BBC technology reporter Jane Wakefield takes a look at all the predictions of Facebook's mortality and concludes that the company is here to stay.
"Whether we like it or not, Facebook has become the digital novel of people's lives," she writes. "And for many, it remains essential reading."
(Facebook 'poking', however, is almost definitely dying out.)
Treating homosexuality as a curse - While a great deal of attention has been paid to Russia's law against pro-gay "propaganda", in 75 countries same-sex relations themselves are criminalised. The New York Times' Frank Bruni writes: "Gays, it turns out, are handy scapegoats, distracting people from the grave problems that really hold them back."
How to avoid the next Sochi - There's an increasing drumbeat of "pre-mortem" columns on why the Winter Olympics in Sochi are/will be a failure. The latest to join the chorus is Bloomberg View's Jonathan Mahler, who writes that the rife-with-corruption bidding/selection process, followed by reckless, wasteful spending, is to blame. Instead of having new host sites every two years, he argues, the Winter and Summer events should have permanent locations.
Taliban waging a new public relations campaign - The Taliban in Pakistan is no longer taking credit for bombings in Pakistan, writes journalist Huma Yusuf. While they are still likely responsible for the blasts, he says, by not claiming responsibility they are "dampening the public's enthusiasm for a sustained push against terrorist groups".
Will 'mobocracy' triumph? - Syndicated columnist Patrick Buchanan writes that the West seems to be encouraging a coup in Ukraine against a democratically elected government simply because that government prefers Russia over the West. He writes: "If, as a result of street mobs paralyzing a capital, a democratically elected Ukrainian government falls, we could not only have an enraged and revanchist Russia on our hands, but a second Cold War."
Is killing dolphins worse than slaughtering cattle for beef? - A worldwide debate rages over whether the killing of dolphins for their meat is ethical, writes Angelica Maria Cuevas Guarnizo in El Espectador (translated by WorldCrunch). Some argue that raising animals for food is more acceptable than killing wild animals, particularly at-risk ones, she notes. While she says she is not yet a vegetarian, she concludes that humans and animals are too similar for us not to have misgivings with eating any kind of meat.
Aung San Suu Kyi paying a high price for leadership - Myanmar's transition to democracy is presenting personal and political challenges for former dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, writes Ratih Hardjono in the Jakarta Post. "With the greatest respect to Suu Kyi and her years of struggle for the people of Myanmar, she needs to change gears from being just a symbol and a lone fighter to widening her support base through educating the young and those at the grassroots level on democracy," she argues.
Three decades of failure - "For the Democratic hawks, Afghanistan was going to be the good war, but [US President Barack] Obama has learned, as did then-President Jimmy Carter more than 30 years ago, that the Afghans are not to be toyed with," writes syndicated columnist Robert Scheer. Both Republicans and Democrats, he continues, have "unleashed a never-ending cycle of violence providing invaluable propaganda for the al-Qaeda elements we claimed to be eradicating".
BBC Monitoring's quote of the day
Secretary of State John Kerry threatens a boycott of Israel: "Once again, on Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to extort Israeli concessions to the PLO by threatening us with a Western economic boycott. Kerry is obsessed with Israel's economic success. Last May he told us that we're too rich to surrender our land. Now he's saying we'll be poor if we don't do so. The anti-Semitic undertones of Kerry's constant chatter about Jews having too much money are obvious. But beyond their inherent bigotry, Kerry's statements serve to legitimise the radical Left's economic war against the Jewish state." - Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post.
One more thing…
Philip Seymour Hoffman was 'the greatest character actor of our time' - Writer/director/producer Richard Curtis offers a touching tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman's body of work, saying he was great even in trite, effects-driven Hollywood projects like the disaster movie Twister. When he was best, however, was when he played the villain. "He should have won 10" Oscars, he says.
Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.