My Christmas showed me how much smartphones have become our masters

Wandering around any town centre these days is to step into a zombie movie; hollow men and women shuffling along, heads bowed, occasionally knocking into lamp posts or passing dogs. The clue is in their hands.

Around the world, entire cities are being redesigned to protect smartphone users from traffic: flashing lights installed at the edge of German pavements and even, in Beijing, separate pedestrian lanes. To reduce the number of deaths caused by ‘twalking’ (texting while walking), a team at Columbia University has created headphones to warn the listener of imminent collisions. The real danger isn’t incoming traffic, but the deadening effect on our brains. These “Labour-saving devices”, designed…

Why is Twitter failing its foreign-language users so abysmally?

“We are committed to creating a culture of trust, safety, and respect”, claims Twitter on its website. Are these rules universal? Apparently so: “We have one set of rules for the hundreds of millions of people who use Twitter and the hundreds of millions of Tweets sent every day.”

Now consider these tweets: “I swear to Allah my blood boils when I see Jews now. I feel like chopping them up, frying them and eating them but I can’t because of a number of reasons,” followed by, “I want to blow myself up along with the whole lot, my friend, but I can’t, so…” These were both tweeted in Bengali, my native language, by the same account on November 2. Over a month later, the tweets are still up. When…

These Brexit Party leavers are joining a formidable pro-Boris coalition

The cold fury from Nigel Farage and his allies shows how hurt Brexit Party chiefs are by some of their best known MEPs breaking away to declare support for Boris Johnson.

The Brexit Party leader is eager to dismiss John Longworth, Lucy Harris, Annunziata Rees-Mogg and Lance Forman, pointedly bringing up their Tory links in conversation with Andrew Neil in a bid to dismiss them as sell-outs. But that smacks of sour grapes, as these Brexiteers have been the darlings of past Brexit Party rallies. 

Indeed, Ms Rees-Mogg was unveiled as the first star signing at the launch of the party’s European Election campaign back in April, with chairman Richard Tice lavishing praise on her "incredibly brave,…

In these last twenty seconds of the Marxist dream, the Left has lost its mind

A former leader of the Conservative party, Iain Duncan Smith, posts pictures of his vandalised constituency office online. This provokes an avalanche of vicious abuse and threats of violence against him and his family.

The tidal wave of messages, arriving so fast that they seem suspiciously mechanised, ranges from the malicious to the bizarrely unhinged. It features the death threats that have become part of the standard currency of social media and which necessitate police intervention. This is now so commonplace that it has become a boring story.

These attacks are specific in their political targeting even when they are hysterically incoherent: Tories are mass murderers. They deserve to be…