social media

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Dragons’ hoards.

Our discourse around privacy needs to expand to address foundational questions about the role of automation: To what extent is living in a surveillance-saturated world compatible with pluralism and democracy? What are the consequences of raising a generation of children whose every action feeds into a corporate database? What does it mean to be manipulated from an early age by machine learning algorithms that adaptively learn to shape our behavior?

That is not the conversation Facebook or Google want us to have. Their totalizing vision is of a world with no ambient privacy and strong data protections, dominated by the few companies that can manage to hoard information at a planetary scale. They correctly see the new round of privacy laws as a weapon to deploy against smaller rivals, further consolidating their control over the algorithmic panopticon.

Maciej Cegłowski on agendas.

2019-07-11T09:56:01+10:0019th November, 2019|Tags: privacy, social media, tech|

Community standards.

On the unbearable straight male gaze of commercial social media.

This is from Michael Stokes, a commercial photographer, regarding how his male nudes (we’re talking, like, sports magazine cover nude) and images of same-sex intimacy (e.g. kissing) are treated as inherently “against community standards” when compared to similar images featuring women or opposite-sex couples. There are, obviously, lots of photos illustrating the supposedly “problematic” content, which it feels oddly hypocritical to warn for, given the circumstances. But, like. Content warning if you’re somewhere someone’s going to get super upset about like, ripped dudes with only their junk covered, or shiny Kardashian bums or something.1

More seriously, there are also examples of homophobic comments and harassment Stokes has received, so content warning for that as well. Also, you… might wanna stop reading before the last paragraph, which includes a pretty hot take of the impact of outsourcing content moderation which, uh… yeah.

Tl;dr, corporate social media platforms still suck.

  1. Like Facebook, apparently… []
2019-06-04T07:34:15+10:0015th October, 2019|Tags: culture, quiltbag, social media|

StaaS

By merging all updates from all the accounts you followed into a single continuous surface and having that serve as the default screen, Facebook News Feed simultaneously increased the efficiency of distribution of new posts and pitted all such posts against each other in what was effectively a single giant attention arena, complete with live updating scoreboards on each post. It was as if the panopticon inverted itself overnight, as if a giant spotlight turned on and suddenly all of us performing on Facebook for approval realized we were all in the same auditorium, on one large, connected infinite stage, singing karaoke to the same audience at the same time.

It’s difficult to overstate what a momentous sea change it was for hundreds of millions, and eventually billions, of humans who had grown up competing for status in small tribes, to suddenly be dropped into a talent show competing against EVERY PERSON THEY HAD EVER MET.

Eugene Wei on performance.

Quite long (so set aside some time), but really interesting look at the emerging status-as-a-service business, a.k.a. social media.

Also: Watching TikTok videos makes me feel Extremely Old™.

2019-04-30T09:24:36+10:009th October, 2019|Tags: culture, social media|

The culture flood.

My frustration was for these overlooked artists, but also for the artists being overlooked now, the ones with interesting new ideas (if not necessarily revolutionary ones) that can inch the discourse forward in some way. We choose virality instead — repackaged, reshaped, shareable versions of what has come before — and equate it to quality because of its resonance. Which is itself resonant because the irony of the web is that even though everyone can have a voice, the ones that we project are projected over and over and over again. This isn’t quality, or real diversity; it’s familiarity. We model ourselves on fandom, where there is no sense of proportionality — there is everything, there is nothing, and there is little else — and the space between now and the future, the space in which critics used to sit, increasingly ceases to exist.

We need a mass realization that pulls us out of this flooding culture. That is: the acknowledgment by powerful organizations that we do in fact engage more with original stories — it’s a fact, look it up — that lasting conversations do not come out of Twitter trends, and that diversity means diversity — more that is different, not more of the same differences.

Soraya Roberts on drowning.

Another one of those long-quote-go-read-the-whole-piece articles.

2019-04-29T08:10:16+10:002nd October, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture, social media|

More speech than others.

In a study by George Washington University comparing white nationalists and ISIS social media usage, Twitter’s freedom of speech was not granted to ISIS. Twitter suspended 1,100 accounts related to ISIS whereas it suspended only seven accounts related to Nazis, white nationalism, and white supremacy, despite the accounts having more than seven times the followers, and tweeting 25 times more than the ISIS accounts. Twitter here made a moral judgment that the fewer, less active, and less influential ISIS accounts were somehow not welcome on their platform, whereas the prolific and burgeoning Nazi and white supremacy accounts were.

So, Twitter has shown that it won’t protect free speech at all costs or for all users. We can only conclude that Twitter is either intentionally protecting white supremacy or simply doesn’t think it’s very dangerous. Regardless of which it is (I think I know), the outcome does not change the fact that white supremacy is running rampant on its platforms and many others.

Tatiana Mac asks whose peaches?

On a charitable reading, it’s possible Twitter experiences more direct legal pressure (e.g. from law enforcement and/or intelligence agencies) to shut-down certain types of extremist content than others, which is a manifestation of shitty trends within the broader sociopolitical spectrum but also, on the flip side, not exactly exonerating…

2019-04-29T12:06:53+10:0018th September, 2019|Tags: culture, social media, twitter|

Reblogging.

What these compilers do is pull my words, and my face and put them onto a webpage that I have no control over. @Threadreaderapp puts ads on my content, then offers paid premium services to remove ads from my content, or allow you to save to PDF or get a notification or newsletter when I tweet content, and send you a link to their website, displaying my content, which has been pulled from my feed, without my permission.

These compiled threads often get turned into articles by other websites. Also using ads. Also sometimes using paid writers. So a website pays someone else to copy/paste my words onto their site and make money off my work. Again without my knowledge or permission.

Erynn Brook on reposting.

See also: why I stopped liking or reblogging those posts on one social media platform that are just decontextualized screenshots of someone’s post on another social media platform. And not just because they made up a fairly large chunk of the content shared by the Russian troll farms exposed by Tumblr…

2019-04-29T12:06:48+10:0029th August, 2019|Tags: social media|

New deprogramming.

I’m really… not sure what I feel about this story of an ex-Mormon using targeted Facebook ads to try and subtly de-convert other church members. I mean, on the one hand I always vaguely approve of all religious de-conversion but, on the other hand—and more strongly—I super-duper disapprove of targeted advertising, especially targeted advertising that’s being used covertly by individuals against their immediate friends and family. Which is… yeah. Welcome to our brave new dystopian future, I guess!

2019-02-20T10:35:38+11:0017th August, 2019|Tags: advertising, facebook, privacy, social media|