Unilever Threatens Boycott of Facebook and Google

I find this encouraging. I have curtailed my Facebook and Twitter interactions dramatically since the election, but I’m not naive, these services are not going away anytime soon. They are fun, keep you in touch with family and friends, can assist in a revolution, and let you interact with politicians, businesses and celebrities – but at the moment their dark side is pretty damn dark.

Unilever has threatened to boycott Facebook and Google if the tech giants fail to efficiently police extremist and illegal content.

“We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing,” Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever, said Monday.

In a speech delivered at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California, Weed said tech companies were to blame for creating a “swamp” in which fake news and criminal content were being circulated.

Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, said the tech space needed to review transparency measures and improve consumer trust in an era of illegal content.

The whole thing is worth a read.

 

Roger McNamee seems to be a controversial subject lately, but I saw an interview with him and that lead me to read this article at the Washington Post. 

 

I  don’t know if any of this will make a difference, but the more light shined on extremist groups and bots on these platforms, the less likely they’ll be able to continue to ignore them.

118 replies
  1. 1
    oatler. says:

    Saw this in The Guardian last week; unfortunately featuring a jar of Marmite photo.

    ReplyReply
  2. 2
    satby says:

    Good. Needs to be done.

    I’ve been sick since I got back. Fortunately, sitting and reading about the non-stop antics of the buffoon in chief keeps me diverted.

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    different-church-lady says:

    Just about the only thing I find encouraging nowadays is that the worm is finally turning regarding social media. In the early days of Twitter one could tell it was going to end up this way based on just the gushing of its fans. There was a creepiness to Facebook that was evident to anyone who had the smallest sense of discretion.

    Just in the past 24 hours there’s been you, a post at LGM, and (of all things) sports radio hosts all saying similar things. Social media is no good for us. It’s tobacco for the mind, and Twitter and Facebook are the cigarette companies.

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    zhena gogolia says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Russia has used social media to defeat us. Stalin’s and Khrushchev’s wildest dreams come true.

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    Rob in CT says:

    Unilever Bestfoods as the good guy… what a world!

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    different-church-lady says:

    Roger McNamee’s article:

    The same tools that make Facebook so addictive for users and so effective for advertisers are dangerous in the hands of bad actors.

    He’s missing the point: Facebook itself is a bad actor. They are deliberately engineering the product for addiction.

    ReplyReply
  7. 7
    different-church-lady says:

    @zhena gogolia: The thing all mid-20th century dystopian novelists missed was that we would all volunteer to build the Ministry of Information ourselves.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    DanF says:

    Yeah, well, we ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s getting easier and easier to put fake words into politicians mouths with video. Soon we’ll seamlessly be able to show a politician shooting the bird to a kid in a wheelchair and telling him to push his useless ass down a flight of stairs and it will be convincing. I’m trying to get the ball rolling on a way to sign each frame of digital video tied to NNTP servers so that even a small delay in recording keeps the video from being certified as authenticate real-time video.

    Right now we can put silly shit on your head in SnapChat, won’t be long before we add a sinister look in your eyes and malevolence on your brow.

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    raven says:

    Bitching about social media on social media is rich!

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @DanF:

    won’t be long before we add a sinister look in your eyes and malevolence on your brow.

    Has been true for quite some time. This book (subtitled “Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era”) has been on my shelf for 25 years.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    different-church-lady says:

    @raven: Is this social media?

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    raven says:

    @different-church-lady: Of course it is.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    cain says:

    The fact that right wing have used social media as the way to propagate their hate is shameful. Facebook should take full responsibility. I’ve actually stick to twitter and G+. G+ doesn’t have as much trolls because amazingly they didn’t release the API to their network and so it is difficult to propagate bot stuff there. It sucks for a community manager like me but I can see the advantages of it.

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @raven: I thought it was anti-social media.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    opiejeanne says:

    OT: I am cracking up because the giant pileated woodpeckers have decided it’s spring and one is drumming on our roof. It’s so loud it scared the cat. Thing sounds like a mini-jackhammer.

    (“led” is the past tense of “to lead”. The word that sounds like the past tense but is spelled “lead” is the metal)

    ReplyReply
  16. 16

    What are we going to do with Facebook? Break up its monopoly? Nationalize it? Social media is deeply weird.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    Dolcemolokoplus says:

    @zhena gogolia: Not quite seeing the connection. Soviet Union isn’t Russia; Stalin was from Georgia; Khrushchev was Ukrainian.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @cain:

    I’ve actually stick to twitter

    That’s really funny. Twitter, which is the easiest place in the world to run bots; which does no verification whatsoever; which almost never bans anyone for hate speech. Good choice.

    ReplyReply
  19. 19
    Dmas0n says:

    So instead of having to filter out the garbage for ourselves we get our information filtered by advertisers exactly how it’s done in print and on television. Sounds like a great idea to me!

    ReplyReply
  20. 20
    eric says:

    wake me when facebook is worse than the NYT ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and FOX. The patina of legitimacy on those institutions makes them far far more dangerous. Facebook and Twitter can go on Hillary email rants, but if the discerning professionals at those institutions do their jobs, then social media is just another one of the challenges of modernity and not some hyper-scourge to be feared.

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  21. 21
    qdat says:

    I’ve been wondering when one of the social media companies get sued for fraud. They base their advertising rates on followers or engagement, yet those numbers can be inflated or suspect due to bots and the like. If bots are a known phenomena and the social media companies don’t have active programs that identify Russian bots or whatnot, aren’t they knowingly participating in fraud? Maybe I’m just naive but, at the very least, if you’re paying to advertise, you should be somewhat assured you’re reaching who you’re told you’re reaching.

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  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    In a speech delivered at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California, Weed said tech companies were to blame for creating a “swamp” in which fake news and criminal content were being circulated.

    Isn’t Fox News, the king of right wing propaganda, a broadcast TV outfit? And I remember when TeeVee was described as a “vast wasteland.”

    I understand that Unilever wants to make the Internets safe for advertising their products, but this is not the same thing as the moral high ground.

    I ain’t gonna pretend for a nanosecond that huge swatches of the Internets are not a cesspool, or play libertarian games of “free speech uber alles.”

    But I am suspicious of people who want to clean up the Internets, and what mechanisms they propose to do it.

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:

    What are we going to do with Facebook? Break up its monopoly? Nationalize it? Social media is deeply weird.

    Remember MySpace? It crumbled and disappeared almost overnight. The one truth about computer-related world is the last thing you want is to be acknowledged to be The Giant. Because when this happens, your doom is often just around the corner.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought Unilever’s complaint was that their advertising was showing up beside content that is/was hateful/offensive/disgusting etc. They used an example of seeing their ad next to something from ISIS.
    I am not sure that Unilever’s goal is for FB, Google, and YouTube [among others] to get rid of the bad actors, but to ensure that the ads they paid for are never associated with them.

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    trollhattan says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled:
    If anything they face a generational cliff, my kid nor any of her friends use it, preferring short-lived Snapchat. Improvement? Beats me, just know I’m never getting an account either.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25

    Wired has an interesting insider history of the last two years at Facebook that’s worth reading. The comments are a cesspool of anti-Facebook antisemitism for some reason.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of manipulators.

    ReplyReply
  27. 27
    The Moar You Know says:

    Won’t happen but damn I wish it would. If they’re going to do this as anything more than a gesture, it needs to be “most companies in America”, not just the one.

    Here’s the thing: the advertisers are funding all of this, fundamentally. So they can stop it, if they want.

    Also, were I FB or Google, I’d be living in terror of the day that their advertisers find out most the “clicks” are fraudulent, and they’ve literally been taking all their ad money for the last 20 years and setting it on fire.

    I’ve been wondering when one of the social media companies get sued for fraud. They base their advertising rates on followers or engagement, yet those numbers can be inflated or suspect due to bots and the like. If bots are a known phenomena and the social media companies don’t have active programs that identify Russian bots or whatnot, aren’t they knowingly participating in fraud? Maybe I’m just naive but, at the very least, if you’re paying to advertise, you should be somewhat assured you’re reaching who you’re told you’re reaching.

    @qdat: This is what I’m talking about. Advertisers are being defrauded.

    ReplyReply
  28. 28
    trollhattan says:

    @NorthLeft12:
    That’s my take as well. “How are those Klan hoods so white and fresh? Could it be the Persil?”

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    Steeplejack says:

    @opiejeanne:

    I have noticed an increase in led not being used where it should. I don’t have any real evidence, but I have been attributing it to people using speech-to-text on their phones and tablets to draft their text.

    Same with rein/​reign, although with that there is a lot more dumb-assery of people just not knowing which word to use. I did some experiments on my (Android) phone and tablet and found that if the context didn’t strongly suggest rain the speech-to-text would go for reign instead of rein, which strikes me as a dumb choice. In a rein/​reign situation you can go with rein 90% of the time and be correct. It’s surprising how often people go the other way. But, as I said, maybe it’s the speech-to-text gizmo taking the reins (so to speak).

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    TaMara (HFG) says:

    @opiejeanne: Maybe you should ask John for keys so you can go and fix all the typos in posts we do for you.

    ReplyReply
  31. 31

    @raven: @different-church-lady: blogs are not social media.

    ETA not this one at least, it’s a publishing platform with a comment section. Daily Kos could be considered social media.

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    The Moar You Know says:

    If anything they face a generational cliff, my kid nor any of her friends use it, preferring short-lived Snapchat.

    @trollhattan: The neighbor kids have FB accounts. To keep in touch with their parents, swear to God. That’s all they use them for. That will eventually kill FB if nothing else will.

    ReplyReply
  33. 33

    @cain: google plus doesn’t have many trolls because nobody uses it but you.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    The Moar You Know says:

    blogs are not social media.

    @Major Major Major Major: comment sections are. I ran a blog for over a decade, and the first and biggest decision was to run a comments section or no. I went with “yes”.

    I disabled it one day later and never turned it back on.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    different-church-lady says:

    The furious energy of this big bang emanated, in large part, from a brilliant and simple insight. Humans are social animals. But the internet is a cesspool. That scares people away from identifying themselves and putting personal details online. Solve that problem—make people feel safe to post—and they will share obsessively. Make the resulting database of privately shared information and personal connections available to advertisers, and that platform will become one of the most important media technologies of the early 21st century.

    In other words: low-level evil.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    @different-church-lady:

    The same tools that make Facebook so addictive for users and so effective for advertisers are dangerous in the hands of bad actors.

    He’s missing the point: Facebook itself is a bad actor. They are deliberately engineering the product for addiction.

    FaceBook needs to do much better addiction engineering. From Recode.

    Facebook lost around 2.8 million U.S. users under 25 last year. 2018 won’t be much better.

    Facebook is losing young users even quicker than expected, according to new estimates by eMarketer.

    The digital measurement firm predicted last year that Facebook would see a 3.4 percent drop in 12- to 17-year-old users in the U.S. in 2017, the first time it had predicted a drop in usage for any age group on Facebook.

    The reality: The number of U.S. Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic declined by 9.9 percent in 2017, eMarketer found, or about 1.4 million total users. That’s almost three times the decline expected. There were roughly 12.1 million U.S. Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic by the end of the year.

    There are likely multiple reasons for the decline. Facebook has been losing its “cool” factor for years, and young people have more options than ever for staying in touch with friends and family.

    The tech world is weird, and suicidal in one key aspect. They love to chase after young people for that “cool factor,” and despise older people and people who use computers for work, instead of arts and gaming. Often the young people don’t have any money except that given to them by their parents. This is a lot of spending power, but it is not independent income. And young people often love free shit.

    So, these companies chase people who are extremely fickle, may not be reliable consumers when they become adults, but who are incredibly demanding and who expect to be catered to even if the tech companies can’t earn a dime off them.

    It’s a crazy way to run a business.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    opiejeanne says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I’m sorry. I was trying to be helpful. Led/lead is an error I’m seeing a lot of recently and I thought you might have had a blind spot on that one word.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    PJ says:

    @zhena gogolia: the last election brought home that enough people will gladly cripple or destroy their country and communities if it will make them feel better about themselves, particularly vs. those so-and-so’s who aren’t sufficiently like them. This has always been an underlying problem with democracy, but social media makes it much easier to exploit.

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    Barbara says:

    @Brachiator: ISTM that social media is a bit like popular music, that is, highly generational.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    opiejeanne says:

    @Steeplejack: That’s interesting. I sometimes use Siri to dictate text but then I see the mistakes it makes so I feel compelled to go back and fix them.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41

    @The Moar You Know: comment sections can be, but in the original context of raven’s quote, using a blog post to complain about social media is not really using social media to complain about social media.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My personal definition: comment sections do not count as social media. It’s social media when “comments” are the only content. It’s social media when there is no higher publishing or writing (or other content) intent.

    It’s social media when the structure is decentralized — at BJ there are front pagers. We are guests in Cole’s house. Some people have keys, others get to wander in and out, but most of us don’t get to arrange the furniture. We come to comment on what the hosts have to say, not to be peers.

    And most certainly, not to be the raw material of Cole’s riches.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    geg6 says:

    So…sitting in the hospital, waiting for my John’s shoulder surgery to be completed. Not a happy camper. I’m not very patient and I hate hospitals. In our ten years together, I’ve had to sit through two carpal tunnel surgeries, a double knee replacement and his right shoulder. Today, it’s his left. Told him this morning no more elective surgery for a while. Tired of this stuff and I need some procedures myself. So it’s my turn next and nothing for him until I have at least one of my own problems handled. And I plan to procrastinate as long as possible on that.😈

    ReplyReply
  44. 44

    @different-church-lady: this is why I used daily Kos as an example of a blog that is social media.

    ETA the occasional “looks like we need a fresh thread. Open thread!” post here might fit the bill, but they aren’t the point of the site itself. This blog is not a social network.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @geg6: Waiting sucks. Wishing you (and him) the best.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Even DKos has front pagers. I guess you could say DKos is both a blog and a social media platform, but it is perhaps more accurate to say it’s a blog and blogging platform, and has a few social media bells and whistles on the side.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Thing is, for some advertisers, it works. I’ve spent $500 on dress and casual shoes this month, just for me, sent to online retailers that I’d have never known about had I not seen them in Facebook.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    PJ says:

    @different-church-lady: Benjamen Walker (of Theory of Everything) once ran a satirical “true story” about how Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook not from the Winklevoss twins, but from his freshman roommate, who was a former East German and son of a Stasi agent, who felt guilty about all the spying and ruination of lives his family had caused, and just wanted to create a means for people to voluntarily and gladly give up all the private information about their lives, so that the state wouldn’t have to resort to violence and extortion to get it.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49

    @different-church-lady: I mostly agree but I was trying to think of an example that might be familiar to people here that I would be willing, for the sake of compromise, to call a blog/social media site.

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    different-church-lady says:

    This notion that Facebook is an open, neutral platform is almost like a religious tenet inside the company. When new recruits come in, they are treated to an orientation lecture by Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer, who tells them Facebook is an entirely new communications platform for the 21st century, as the telephone was for the 20th. (snip)

    And so, because of the company’s self-image, as well as its fear of regulation, Facebook tried never to favor one kind of news content over another. But neutrality is a choice in itself. For instance, Facebook decided to present every piece of content that appeared on News Feed—whether it was your dog pictures or a news story—in roughly the same way. This meant that all news stories looked roughly the same as each other, too, whether they were investigations in The Washington Post, gossip in the New York Post, or flat-out lies in the Denver Guardian, an entirely bogus newspaper. Facebook argued that this democratized information.

    We want all information to flow through our gates, yet we refuse to be gatekeepers. What could go wrong?

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    geg6 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Thanks. The good news is that this surgery won’t take nearly as long as the double knee replacement. I’ll be home before dark, at least.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    Dems are ‘winning elections in places where they shouldn’t be’
    02/14/18 08:40 AM—UPDATED 02/14/18 11:51 AM
    By Steve Benen

    State Senate special elections don’t generally receive national attention, but yesterday’s race in Florida did. And as the Washington Post reported, it’s Democrats who are celebrating the results.

    Democrats continued a streak of special election wins with a victory along the Gulf Coast of Florida on Tuesday, the 36th red-to-blue switch in a state legislative race since the 2016 election.

    Democrat Margaret Good triumphed by seven points in the Sarasota-based 72nd District, defeating Republican candidate James Buchanan in an area that backed Donald Trump for president in 2016 by more than four points.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    neldob says:

    I use neither Fb nor Twitter, the dark arts. Unilever is helping focus the public interest, thanks to them. Is there a better solution than yet another public interest off loaded to corporations? Maybe it’s time to boycott Fb & the Twit for a day or two now and then to get their attention.

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @Barbara:

    ISTM that social media is a bit like popular music, that is, highly generational.

    Yep. And being an early adopter does not mean that you will keep using it.

    My niece and nephew went to a school system that provided all students with computers. They used it in high school. Moved on to something else when they got to college. They grew up in a household where there were always computers. They are like appliances. You use them and turn them off when not needed.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    Did Trump make up major GM manufacturing news?
    02/14/18 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Donald Trump hosted a discussion on trade at the White House yesterday and decided to break some news about a development that seemed pretty important.

    “I do want to tell you, we just got this notice: General Motors in Korea announces the first step in necessary restructuring. They’re going to – GM Korea company announced today that it will cease production and close its Gunsan plant in May of 2018, and they’re going to move back to Detroit.

    “You don’t hear these things, except for the fact that Trump became president. Believe me, you wouldn’t be hearing that. So they’re moving back from Korea to Detroit…. General Motors is coming back into Detroit. That is a really significant statement.”

    Well, maybe, though there’s reason for some skepticism about whether the “really significant statement” is true.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    opiejeanne says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I really am sorry that I upset you and I really was trying to be helpful, which is why I put the comment in parentheses, as a “psst, maybe you didn’t know”. Everyone has a word or two that they need help with. I can’t spell occasion at all and if not for autocorrect it would be misspelled here.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    PJ says:

    @Major Major Major Major: but the comments are a kind of social media. This is why the occasional right wing “Right To Rise” or Putinphile “Bob in Portland” bothers to post here. There also seems to be an occasional bot or two that is less identifiable as a human being behind the post.

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    rikyrah says:

    ICYMI:

    LarryO said last night that there are upwards of
    FORTY
    FORTY
    FORTY
    FORTY

    People working in the WHITE HOUSE..

    that DO NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED SECURITY CLEARANCE FOR THEIR JOB!!

    Think about that.
    People who cannot get the approval of the FBI for the job..and they are STILL employed at the White House

    This is the reason why the Porter story isn’t going away.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59

    @PJ: anything online where you can fill out a form to post content is going to have assholes, bots, and trolls; that doesn’t make every web form social media.

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    @rikyrah: But none of them are named Hillary, so it’s okay.

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    opiejeanne says:

    @rikyrah: Trump wouldn’t lie to us, would he? Just make shit up? Nah, that can’t be a thing.

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Fair Economist says:

    @Brachiator:

    Remember MySpace? It crumbled and disappeared almost overnight. The one truth about computer-related world is the last thing you want is to be acknowledged to be The Giant.

    MySpace disappeared not because it was big, but because a competitor came along that was better at manipulating the marks customers. MySpace pages were very idiosyncratic, and for the most part not designed to pull you in or to other pages.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    PJ says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I think it does, to that extent, because institutions (commercial or political) are trying to manipulate readers into thinking there is a genuine social (i.e. with an individual) interaction going on, rather than mere advertising.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64

    @PJ: so everything with a comment section is social media now? What about the comment section on FCC proposals, or a change.org petition—social media now, by your definition.

    ETA wouldn’t that apply to anything with public signatures at this point? We know they all have fraudulent signatures designed to give the illusion of support, or just people putting down fake names.

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    Kay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    The youths are fickle, though, and they turn on things.

    My son and his friends made this big to-do over playing board games the other day, in a way that made me know that it has some contrarian social cachet.

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    Amir Khalid says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    it needs to be “most companies in America”, not just the one.

    Unilever’s not an American corporation. It’s British/Netherlands, with headquarters in London and Rotterdam.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    raven says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Who cares if you compromise? You are wrong and that’s that.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68
    Fair Economist says:

    @different-church-lady: I think the distinction between comments and social media is more that in social media each post is supposed to draw you to other posts, in the reply feeds or in the poster’s feed. Comments don’t do that. They are attached to a post you’ve probably already read and mostly refer to comments on the same post you’ve also already read. So social media is designed to be addictive in a way comments aren’t.

    Comments aren’t too different from a discussion at a gathering – something normal in human existence since forever. The structure of a social media web is entirely new – there’s never been something like that humans could participate in. It’s like being in 100 linked discussions simultaneously.

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kay: My twenty year old nephew, who has always been very outdoorsy, told me the other day he had plans to spend the evening playing the Cones of Mordor or something. It all sounds like next-generation D&D to me. ETA: It was very out of character, and he said it like it was something everybody knows about and does, so I take it’s popular with the yoots

    ReplyReply
  70. 70

    @raven: well, one of us is actually a longtime web developer and has a masters of information science. I’m more likely to be right.

    ReplyReply
  71. 71
    PJ says:

    @opiejeanne: I am always very puzzled when people who publish things on the internet get upset when they are corrected about grammatical or spelling errors. It’s as if it’s a personal insult to point this out. I have some friends who are print editors, and they report that writers who have previously only written for the web tend to get angry and hurt when they are being edited, because the notion that their first draft might need to be corrected or otherwise improved is deeply offensive to them.

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  72. 72
    raven says:

    @Major Major Major Major: whooo hoooooo,, and you have no idea what I do and what my credentials are do you?

    eta and my major, snarky point is that it’s all bullshit and you can make it what you want depending on YOUR definition.

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  73. 73
    different-church-lady says:

    @Fair Economist:

    It’s like being in 100 linked discussions simultaneously.

    I’ve long worried that our information world has been taken over by youngsters with ADD hopped up on 5 Hour Energy — moment-to-moment stimulation might be thrilling for some, but upholding democracy requires an attention span that actually spans.

    ReplyReply
  74. 74
    PJ says:

    @Major Major Major Major: the fact that I have wasted at least 45 minutes here reading and responding to comments is an indication to me that this is indeed an example of the addictive social media being discussed in these here comments.

    ReplyReply
  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    @raven: If you both fax me your credenzas, I can lay down retributi… uh, a judgement.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    different-church-lady says:

    @PJ: FUCKIN’ VENN DIAGRAMS, HOW DO THEY WORK?

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  77. 77
    Kay says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    They do that in reverse, too. What they know that literally everyone in the world knew before them. My son plays the guitar and he narrates for my benefit, I think. “Johnny Cash”, he’ll say. FYI.

    Yeah, INFANT, I’m familiar with that SONG :)

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  78. 78

    @PJ: again, blogs can be social media, and are increasingly used that way, but it is inaccurate to say that a blog, in the abstract, is always social media.

    @raven: you could say that about all language, sure.

    Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have to work on making a website, which as we have clarified in discussions with the various stakeholders, has a feedback/comment function but is not social media.

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  79. 79
    Fair Economist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Boardgames have improved unbelievably over the past 20 years, and they keep improving. The latest innovation is indeed a replacement of sorts for RPG games – “persistent” games where the game changes each time based on the outcome of previous games. They can be like an RPG where you don’t need a gamesmaster to spend 12 hours a week planning out the adventures. Others are like an extremely deep strategy game but kind of like a well-plotted series where you can just enjoy one game, drop in occasionally, or play every time obsessively.

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  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Remember MySpace? It crumbled and disappeared almost overnight. The one truth about computer-related world is the last thing you want is to be acknowledged to be The Giant.

    MySpace disappeared not because it was big, but because a competitor came along that was better at manipulating the marks customers. MySpace pages were very idiosyncratic, and for the most part not designed to pull you in or to other pages.

    There was a time when everybody had to have a MySpace page. Individuals and businesses. Even some celebrities.

    From 2005 until early 2008, Myspace was the most visited social networking site in the world, attracting 75.9 million unique visitors a month at its 2008 peak.

    Disappeared in a heartbeat. Fun Infographic on its rise and fall here. Love that Rupert Murdoch paid $580 million for it in 2005.

    In the tech world, being big is not correlated at all with longevity or even influence. A Blackberry phone used to be so necessary it was referred to as Cr@ckberry. Not even an antique now.

    Nokia at its peak in 2007 controlled 41 percent of the mobile phone market. Gone (though the 150 year old company still has other business units).

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  81. 81
    raven says:

    @Major Major Major Major: and I am saying it

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  82. 82
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kay: makes me happy that Johnny Cash lives on!

    I’m not a huge fan of Bono when he’s not singing, but he said something about Cash singing with the voice of mountains and ancient oak trees. I always liked that

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  83. 83

    @raven: then there’s little point arguing about it if you’re going to ignore general usage.

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  84. 84
    Fair Economist says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I’ve long worried that our information world has been taken over by youngsters with ADD hopped up on 5 Hour Energy

    That’s exactly what is happening. Most people aren’t good at being self-aware. When you’re in this blizzard of activities there is so much going on *nobody* can keep up with what they are doing (the ultimate basis for the “how did I spend all day looking a cat pics” experience). This makes us all extremely vulnerable to manipulation by Big Data, which *can* keep up with all you’re doing. Facebook is all about exploiting this imbalance.

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  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @geg6:

    I’m not very patient and I hate hospitals.

    What you did there, it was seen.

    Best wishes to a successful procedure and quick discharge from the joint, er, hospital!

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  86. 86
    raven says:

    @Major Major Major Major: so stop arguing

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  87. 87
    Chip Daniels says:

    Its also important to remember that the way social media is weaponized, is to use our own human weaknesses for rumor, scandal, and group outrage against us.

    And even if the internet were to vanish tomorrow, these things would still be with us. It didn’t take Twitter to exist, for black men to be lynched at the slightest rumor.

    Its good, I think, for us to remember what we like about liberalism, the broad acceptance and respect for all people.

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  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @rikyrah:

    FORTY

    People working in the WHITE HOUSE..

    that DO NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED SECURITY CLEARANCE FOR THEIR JOB!!

    Think about that.
    People who cannot get the approval of the FBI for the job..and they are STILL employed at the White House

    This is the reason why the Porter story isn’t going away.

    And yet (can’t help it) Hillary Clinton and her emails threatened national security. And some Republican shit heads still want to “investigate” her over her arrogant disregard for security.

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  89. 89
    opiejeanne says:

    @Kay: Just like the resurgence of swing dancing was said to be started by Goth kids, rebelling against their parents’ dreadful musical taste.

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  90. 90
    PJ says:

    @Chip Daniels: a functioning liberal society also requires its members to think and reflect and not simply react reflexively — to ask ourselves, is this what we really want? Is this the way we want to live? Our current mass media, with the now-less-than-24-hour news cycle, and particularly social media, are organized to discourage that kind of reflection, which both makes it easier to manipulate the masses and to empower our meaner and stupider impulses (but oh how the burn of that outrage feels good as it goes down!)

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  91. 91
    opiejeanne says:

    @PJ: I think to some it feels like an accusation of a moral failing.
    I edited a small monthly newsletter for a garden club. It ran about 5 or 6 pages most months, with show announcements, cautionary tales about the use of insecticide (true horrors!), meeting dates and times and speakers. There were articles written by members about some facet of their hobby and most were what you’d expect. I rarely cleaned them up except for typos and most had no spelling errors other than that, and I left them alone otherwise so the other members would recognize their “voice” in the articles. These were mostly elderly women (omg, my age now!). One member had her daughter write an article for me which was very interesting, and when I edited it slightly for redundancy it set off an atomic explosion with the mom because HER daughter wrote for the local newspaper. The kid didn’t have a byline yet because she was right out of college and really wasn’t that good yet.
    I handed her the red-pencilled copy of her daughter’s entry and she thanked me after she calmed down enough to read it.

    Horror story: We had an old guy in his 80s who lived out in the high desert with his mail-order bride and her mother. He was trying to grow roses and had this notion that every bug on the planet was targeting his garden, so he told me he mixed up everything in his shed, put it in his sprayer and started spraying. When the wind came up because it was afternoon, he ended up spraying himself. He showed me his “sunburn” reaction and I told him he needed to see a doctor ASAP but he just waved me off. Meanwhile, his roses all blackened and died for no reason.

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  92. 92
    different-church-lady says:

    Its also important to remember that the way social media is weaponized, is to use our own human weaknesses for rumor, scandal, and group outrage against us.

    Additionally, it’s important to remember that Facebook itself wields that same weapon (for different ends) just as much as the Russians.

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  93. 93
    opiejeanne says:

    @different-church-lady: I started on Fb at my youngest child’s urging when she was leaving on a world tour with a Disney show. It worked everywhere except China. She had a friend from her childhood who was there at the same time with the Sesame Street tour who used Facebook by purchasing some work-around program, but Katie said she was too chicken to do that. So I heard a little about my kid from the friend that month because the promoters had booked them on nearly identical tours. The Sesame Street tickets were cheaper so they siphoned off a lot of the Disney audience.

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  94. 94
    opiejeanne says:

    @different-church-lady: I meant to add, I can hardly stand to visit Facebook since before the election. It was brutal.

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  95. 95
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Brachiator: A couple bands I was in at the time (around the turn of the century) had MySpace pages. I spent more time than I care to remember now trying to manipulate where our songs were on individual charts!

    I also had a Blackberry for a couple months back in 2010 till I broke the screen on the damn thing tossing it into my gig bag. After that, I was careful to get both insurance and phone covers, but I didn’t get another Blackberry. The Pavlovian reaction I had developed to hearing that little “ping” for my emails freaked me out to the point where I consciously sought out much dumber (and on the verge of technologically obsolete) phones.

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  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dolcemolokoplus:

    Okay, I need to scroll down the rest of the thread to see how the professor of Russian literature answers your asinine mansplaining about history she knows better than you do.

    I should probably go make some popcorn first.

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  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    A couple bands I was in at the time (around the turn of the century) had MySpace pages. I spent more time than I care to remember now trying to manipulate where our songs were on individual charts!

    I seem to recall something about MySpace being very popular with musicians in its early and peak days. Was it very helpful to your bands?

    I also had a Blackberry for a couple months back in 2010 till I broke the screen on the damn thing tossing it into my gig bag.

    My sister was much more tech adept with phones than I was. She had an employer-provided Blackberry that she could also use for personal purposes and loved the heck out of that device. I know she had it long enough to go through a few update models.

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  98. 98
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Brachiator: The MySpace thing? Not really, in terms of getting people actually out to our gigs. It may have prompted a couple of CD sales – and it did introduce us to some cool and highly obscure bands from around the world that we would never have heard of otherwise. So, yay-ish?

    @Mnemosyne: Save the popcorn. I don’t think she even bothered to respond with as much as a “yeah, no shit, Sherlock.”

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  99. 99
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: Seems like everybody is doing the smart thing and ignoring Mr Big History Brain.

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  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    @Gin & Tonic:

    Ah, well. I was hoping it would be the B-J equivalent of the random guy in a movie line trying to explain “Deadpool” to the woman who’d written the actual comic book. Sad!

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  101. 101
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Technically, you are correct. But it is MY social network, aside from a tiny handful of friends, whom I love dearly. But the jackals are a close second!

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  102. 102
    eemom says:

    Apologies if it’s been linked already, but this article in Wired is an extremely informative, solidly researched account of Facebook’s debacle since the 2016 election. Long read but worth it.

    The “FB sucks, FB sucks, braaaawk” among us might learn something if they take a look. #jussayinzall

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  103. 103
    Kirk says:

    @eric: The alarm clock is ringing.

    Set aside the ‘if the professionals do their jobs issue, social media is significantly more powerful due to human nature.

    For most people, when what you’re told by authorities differs from what you’re told by friends and family, the latter wins. And social media tries very hard to make messages from your circles conflate to messages from friends and family.

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  104. 104
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I forgot about this thread and went to do some work. I just now saw this comment — I think it’s probably for the best!

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  105. 105
    different-church-lady says:

    @eemom: I just finished reading the entirety. I learned a lot of things that confirmed my enmity towards FB. You seem to believe I was going to draw different conclusions?

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  106. 106
    J R in WV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    professor of Russian literature

    HolySmokes we’ve got a perfessor of Russian Literature?? Who is that? I got a milion questions!

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  107. 107
  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I was hoping it would be the B-J equivalent of the random guy in a movie line trying to explain “Deadpool” to the woman who’d written the actual comic book.

    What? A woman wrote the Deadpool comic? I did not know that.

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  109. 109
    eemom says:

    professor of Russian literature

    What ever happened to commenter Gogol’s Wife?

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  110. 110
    LAO says:

    This seems like an appropriate thread for this:

    The Intercept has obtained DMs from a private Twitter group with @WikiLeaks and its most loyal supporters. It includes:- A desire for GOP to win the 2016 election- Trolling- Anti-semitism- Rampant misogyny, sexist attacks on feminists- Transphobiahttps://t.co/pYtZqRvVOG— Micah Lee (@micahflee) February 14, 2018

    I can’t even!

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  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @eemom: She is around pretty regularly as zhena gogolia

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  112. 112
    J R in WV says:

    @eemom:

    I read the first couple of chapters, then Wired wanted me to subscribe… nope. What I learned was that my reasons for despising FaceBook are justified. I already knew their developers were deliberately working to make the app addictive, using sophisticated psych research.

    Turning their system into a floodgate of “news” aka propaganda with no controls at the same time they made it addictive, just nope. I rarely see something only on FB that I wish I could read, but I also can’t read Dutch or Swedish, so I miss all that too.

    Actually, Twitter is better to me, since I can see stuff there without joining up. Facebook thinks their signin page will make me sign up. Nope. Never!

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  113. 113
    eemom says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Thanks! Didn’t know she changed her nym.

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  114. 114
    eemom says:

    @J R in WV:
    @different-church-lady:

    Oh well. I actually thought the article got across that the thing really IS more or less human-driven, and does care about its impact on the world. It just fucked up, as human-based things do.

    I’ll say, yet again, that it’s been invaluable to me personally in connecting and re-connecting on a daily basis with people I care about who otherwise would have been lost to me forever. I find that, as the kids say, huge.

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  115. 115
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @eemom: I guess at some point there was an issue with the apostrophe in the nym. The new one means the same thing, just in transliterated Russian.

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  116. 116
    Doug Gardner says:

    @opiejeanne: Thank you for parenthetically pointing out something that has annoyed me greatly over the last few years. The number of people who get this wrong is astonishing, and I am fairly sure it’s a recent epidemic. Now, can we also work on “sank” instead of “sunk” as past tense of “to sink”?

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  117. 117
    TerryC says:

    @PJ: “I am always very puzzled when people who publish things on the internet get upset when they are corrected about grammatical or spelling errors. It’s as if it’s a personal insult to point this out. I have some friends who are print editors, and they report that writers who have previously only written for the web tend to get angry and hurt when they are being edited, because the notion that their first draft might need to be corrected or otherwise improved is deeply offensive to them.”

    I can’t find it now, but one study a couple of years ago purported to show that many people find well spelled, grammatically correct, and well punctuated tweets to be offensive.

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  118. 118
    Origuy says:

    I use Facebook to promote my club’s events. I create an event posting, but unless we actually kick in some money, it only gets shown to the people already following the club. For $23, I can have the posting “boosted” and shown to people in California with certain interests. This can get it shown to 1500 people, get about 20-50 people actually clicking on it; if two people attend who wouldn’t otherwise, the ad has paid for itself.
    I wonder what Unilever’s Facebook budget is? They are probably paying for the sponsored ads on the right side of the page. I rarely click on those, I wonder if anyone does.
    One big complaint that people have is that the list of keywords that applies to events is very small and can’t be customized. I cannot, for example, list orienteering as a keyword. If you “boost” (pay for) an event posting, you get a bigger choice, but it’s still limited.

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