Owen Jones: Labour can’t be held responsible for the Brexit fiasco | Owen Jones

As Tuesday’s votes showed, Labour doesn’t have the numbers to prevail. The Tories are the sole authors of this pantomime

This week’s parliamentary votes on Brexit should mark the death of a delusion. This may seem an odd argument: parliament has just voted for an amendment demanding an alternative to the backstop, which has been repeatedly ruled out by the EU. Tory MPs voted for what they know is impossible. David Lidington, the prime minister’s number two, who three weeks ago denounced “fantasies about magical, alternative deals”, voted for what he knows is impossible. Theresa May, who has repeatedly declared that no alternative to her deal exists and then ludicrously whipped her MPs to vote against that deal, voted for what she knows is impossible. The DUP, which at least has the excuse of being stranded in the 17th century, voted for what it knows is impossible. The Tory party is subjecting the country to a pantomime, acting out a script it knows bears no relation to reality, and is prolonging Britain’s turmoil and our international humiliation, all for the sake of its own partisan interests.

Related: The Brexit nightmare is entirely the Tories’ fault. Don’t blame Labour | Alex Hern

Related: Only Labour can save Britain from this disastrous Brexit | Manuel Cortes

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John Naughton: WhatsApp is now fighting the scourge of viral disinformation. About time | John Naughton

The platform is belatedly trying to curb the kind of rumours that incited violence in India, Brazil and Pakistan

In the last two years, around two dozen people in India have been killed by lynch mobs inflamed by rumours on WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service owned by Facebook. WhatsApp has also been fingered for its role in other hateful or unsavoury episodes in Brazil and Pakistan. In each case, the accusation is essentially the same: disinformation and lies, often of an inflammatory kind, are effortlessly disseminated by WhatsApp and obviously believed by some of the recipients, who are thereby encouraged to do terrible things.

In terms of software architecture and interface design, WhatsApp is a lovely system, which is why it is a favourite of families, not to mention Westminster plotters, who are allegedly addicted to it. Its USP is that messages on the platform are encrypted end to end, which means that not even Facebook, the app’s owner, can read them. This is either a feature or a bug, depending on your point of view. If you’re a user, then it’s a feature because it guarantees that your deathless prose is impenetrable to snoopers; if you’re a spook or a cop, then it’s definitely a bug, because you can’t read the damned messages.

A large proportion of those who relay fake news turn out to have read only the headline

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