twitter

YaleNews
”Amplification of moral outrage is a clear consequence of social media’s business model, which optimizes for user engagement,” Crockett said…She added, “Our data show that social media platforms do not merely reflect what is happening in society. Platforms create incentives that change how users react to political events over time.”
The "we are merely passive mirrors showing society as it is" argument is BS. I recommend that people switch to blogging which has next to zero engagement. This void encourages you to maintain existing levels of outrage. But seriously, a primary by-product of Facebook and Twitter are trolls.
The Atlantic
"Twitter is a parasite that burrows deep into your brain, training you to respond to the constant social feedback of likes and retweets. That takes only a week or two. Human psychology is pathetically simple to manipulate. Once you’re hooked, the parasite becomes your master, and it changes the way you think."
Sure Twitter took away their love of reading, but it gave them outrage and a sense of righteousness in return. Fair trade?
The Message Box
"Think strategically about how you want to allocate your attention. Many of the worst people on the Internet wake up every morning to hijack your attention. They want to use your outrage to build their brand and amass political power. Denying them the engagement they so desperately crave is how we fight back against the politics of 'owning the libs.'"
Trolling works. I appreciate the appeal here but I believe this approach takes the pressure off of platforms. Twitter and Facebook et al should be improving and enforcing their policies to stop disinformation. Sure, we can always do better as individuals, but the people who run large social media platforms have been mostly absent.
Wired
"The business choices of internet platforms have enabled an explosion not only of white supremacy but also of Covid denial and antivax extremism, which have variously undermined the nation’s pandemic response, nearly sabotaged the presidential election, and played a foundational role in the violence at the Capitol. A huge industry has evolved on the platform giants to raise money from and sell products to people in the thrall of extreme ideologies."
Also, their monopoly power means no meaningful alternatives can exist for businesses who want to advertise or people who want to socialize on platforms that act ethically.
Platformer
"Americans voted Trump out of office, but instead of accepting that result, he has sought to overturn it. By inciting the violent occupation of the US Capitol, Trump has given up any legitimate claim to power. In 14 days, barring catastrophe, he will be out of office. The only question is how much damage he will do in the meantime — and we know, based on long experience, that his Twitter and Facebook accounts will be among his primary weapons."
Taking away some ability to incite violence would be a good step.

Update (1/7): Facebook bans Trump for his remaining time in office right after congress confirmed the electoral college votes and the Georgia election determined Democrats would control Congress.

Update (1/9): Twitter permanently bans Trump. And all attempts to use related accounts.
Twitter Blog
"Though this adds some extra friction for those who simply want to Retweet, we hope it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a Tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people add their own thoughts, reactions and perspectives to the conversation."
This. But seriously, happy to see Twitter adding some friction to the system to slow misinformation. If friction helps the system during an election, why not all the time?
nytimes.com
Matt Haughey on social media trolls:
“Every bad thing at MetaFilter happened with someone who had been testing the rules for a year or two,” he said. “Those are the ones who tend to blossom into super-trolls over time. They’ll see what they can get away with, they’ll figure out what the limits are, and just stay a step inside. It can go on forever. And when you inevitably break and say, this is a bad idea, they freak out, and try to play the victim.”
Good for Twitter for starting to enforce their terms at this late hour. I can imagine a world where they enforced their terms all along and it makes me disappointed and angry.
getrevue.co
Best summary I’ve read of the Twitter activist investor threat.
"But business ain’t beanbag, and “good enough” clearly isn’t cutting it for Paul Singer. Unless something changes dramatically, it would appear that Jack Dorsey is in for the fight of his life."
After bending over backward to not enforce Twitter policy for politicians, this is the thanks Jack gets?
decrypt.co decrypt.co
My alternate headline for this: Twitter CEO makes the case that Mastodon has a superior architecture for social media; forms group to invent it. The Mastosphere has been chatting about this quite a bit with worries about embrace, extend, and extinguish. It wasn’t received well is what I’m trying to say. Mastodon BDFL Eugen was more diplomatic.
YouTube YouTube
image from YouTube
Take 25 minutes to watch this. He makes a fantastic, succinct argument for regulating social media to stop the reach of hate speech.
Gizmodo Gizmodo
image from Gizmodo
"I’d start with, at most, 10 news sites to subscribe to. This will give you a feel for how fast you want the feed to move. Too slow? Add more. To fast? Delete a few. I try to narrow things down even further: Instead of subscribing to the New York Times, which publishes dozens of items per day, I subscribe specifically to the Times’ tech section, which means I get a much more curated selection."
Seconded. And hey, I could have written this. This article has great advice for embracing the decentralized lifestyle. I personally use a self-hosted Tiny Tiny RSS with Reeder on iOS which costs about $8/month at AWS. Instead of limiting feeds, I subscribe liberally and put them in folders by subject. Then I browse by subject periodically instead of the full list of feeds and tune from there.
Gizmodo Gizmodo
image from Gizmodo
I never get tired of these stories where people change their digital habits. This piece by Kashmir Hill is an extreme example, but also a good illustration of how ubiquitous the major tech companies are. Understanding the often hidden architecture of our tech environment helps us make mindful decisions. A couple other posts in this genre I've enjoyed lately: Bye, Bye, Google by Bogdan Popa and Pulling the plug on Facebook by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.
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