And then…Stuff happened. Mark Zuckerberg got worried about losing users and decided we were all going to live as legless low-polygon cartoons in a metaverse that no one wanted to use, not even the Facebook employees who built it. Twitter got bought out by a low-attention-span, overconfident billionaire who started pulling out Jenga blocks to see whether the system would fall over, and when it did, we all got crushed by the falling blocks.
Great piece by Cory Doctorow on the “MySpacing of Facebook and Beboizing of Twitter”.
Facebook has come under increasing fire in recent days for its effect on young users and its efforts to create products for them. Inside the company, teams of employees have for years been laying plans to attract preteens that go beyond what is publicly known, spurred by fear that Facebook could lose a new generation of users critical to its future.
Internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the company formed a team to study preteens, set a three-year goal to create more products for them and commissioned strategy papers about the long-term business opportunities presented by these potential users. In one presentation, it contemplated whether there might be a way to engage children during play dates.
The more I learn about this company, the happier I am to have divorced from them. It is a never ending nightmare.
The company’s own research reveals that Instagram harms teens, that it can’t control anti-vax misinformation, and that there is a secret double standard for VIPs. In short, the problem with Facebook is Facebook
I shared updates about my cancer treatments with my friends on Facebook and it helped to get encouragement. But something else also happened on my timeline: Facebook’s advertising algorithms began targeting me for cancer ads from scammers selling phony treatments. These companies promised that I could cure my cancer “naturally without toxic chemotherapy or surgery” using vitamin IV therapy that allegedly had “the same mechanism as chemotherapy.” … I reported the ads to Facebook in the hope the platform would remove them (it didn’t). I also wrote about it, joining the legion of voices raising the alarm about mis- and disinformation on social media.
A year later, not much has changed on Facebook. While the mega-corporation has made promises to try to contain false news about COVID, it remains a massive problem on the platform, along with fake news on cancer. Although the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) identified 12 health disinformation “superspreader” accounts on Facebook in March, 59 per cent of the content still had not been removed by July.
12 disinformation superspreaders. Twelve!
It’s very grim situation. Facebook helps scammers sell phony treatments that will eventually lead to dead people. If you ever wondered why anybody would not want to be vaccinated, you found the money trail leading to the source of disinformation.
Collecting data and selling ads does not build community, and it turns out that bringing people closer together, at least in the way Facebook does it, makes it easier for them to hurt one another. Facebook wouldn’t be so successful if people didn’t love using it, sharing family photographs, joining groups, reading curated news, and even running small businesses. But studies have consistently shown that the more time people spend on Facebook the worse their mental health becomes.