Apr 30, 2019

Joi Ito on the "dark period" of the Web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joi Ito, the director of MIT's media lab, is one of the world's most prominent experts on the internet. He is featured in today's Masters of Scale podcast and talked to Axios about the less-open, "dark period" of the internet that is unfolding around the world.

The big picture: Democratic and authoritarian nations, while their style and language differ, are both recoiling at hate groups, terrorists, pedophiles and others. Frightened by violence and political turmoil, they are creating "a balkanized and not-so-open internet everywhere."

  • A primary dynamic is the U.S.-Chinese tension over power in the decades ahead:
"I think that for now, it’s possible that we’re headed into something that looks like a different version of the Cold War — but I think there is a chance to avoid that and I hope we figure out how to do that."

Why it matters: Experts are increasingly worried — and warning — about the dangers social media can pose to healthy societies.

  • For example: as Axios has reported, Sri Lanka blocked Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and other social platforms after coordinated terrorist attacks on Catholic churches killed at least 290 people.

Go deeper: Hear the episode where Ito says more about the birth of online communities and the open vs. closed internet.

Editor's note: Details of this podcast available exclusively to Axios readers first through a partnership with Masters of Scale.

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Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi ahead of Trump's visit

Rival protesters over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, India, on Monday. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for calm Tuesday as deadly clashes erupted in the city's northeast between supporters and opponents of India's controversial new citizenship law.

Why it matters: Per the BBC, a police officer and six civilians "died in the capital's deadliest day" since last year's passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which allows religious minorities but excludes Muslims from nearby countries to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted for their religion — hours before President Trump and members of the U.S. first family were due to visit the city as part of their visit to India.

Go deeper: India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive

South Carolina paper The State backs Buttigieg for Democratic primary

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Pete Buttigieg speaks at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Carolina newspaper The State endorsed former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday night for the state's Democratic primary.

Why it matters: It's a welcome boost for Buttigieg ahead of Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the state's primary on Saturday.

White House requests $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus as U.S. cases rise

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to 53.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,699 people and infected more than 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health