Social media is polarizing. While it’s done a lot of good for society, bringing people together, it’s also responsible for fomenting a lot of anger and distrust. From conspiracy theories to tools for radicalization, and the hostility that some users experience, social media services are responsible for amplifying anger, hatred, and racism.
A lot of the effects of social media depend on how we use these services. The problem with social media is that it thrives on “engagement,” and anger and fear or powerful ways of getting people to engage (like posts, comment on them, share them, etc.). The more engagement on social media, the more views, and the more ad revenue the companies make.
Many people are deciding to change the way they use social media: either curtail their usage, or stop using some social media services entirely.
- The most hated gaming brand in Canada is Game Freak
- The most hated fast food brand in Canada is Orange Julius
- The most hated big tech brand in Canada is Facebook 👏🏻
- Lego is the second most hated brand in the USA. Uber is the first. (I would have guessed the Trump brand, but then I’m Canadian.)
The 400 richest Americans added $4.5tn to their wealth last year, a 40% rise, even as the pandemic shuttered large parts of the US, according to Forbes magazine’s latest tally of the country’s richest people.
The Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, retained top spot for a fourth consecutive year with a net worth of $201bn, followed by Elon Musk of Tesla and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, with net worths of $190.5bn and $134.5bn respectively.
The ranks of the super rich were swollen by 44 newcomers, the highest number since 2007, among them Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that Facebook is “morally bankrupt” and in need of regulation and independent oversight. Haugen said, “There is nobody currently holding Zuckerberg accountable but himself.”
Frances Haugen is Smart. Forthright. Trustworthy. A Powerful combination.
MIT Technology Review » The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why.
Mother Jones » The Facebook Whistleblower Doesn’t Have the Solution
- Haugen was an insider, making her a powerful critic
- Research shows Facebook coveted young users, despite health concerns
- Democrats and Republicans actually are united on regulating Facebook
- Haugen says Facebook broke the law
GZERO Media » Is Facebook like a car or a cigarette?
The private and personal information of over 1.5 billion Facebook users is being sold on a popular hacking-related forum, potentially enabling cybercriminals and unscrupulous advertisers to target Internet users globally.
This constitutes the biggest and most significant Facebook data dump to date.
It is seemingly unrelated to an earlier 2021 Facebook data dump, where 500 million users were affected.
- Data scrapers are selling sensitive personal data on 1.5 billion Facebook users.
- Data contains users’: name, email, phone number, location, gender, and user ID.
- Data appears to be authentic.
- Personal data obtained through web scraping.
- Data can be utilized for phishing and account takeover attacks.
- Sold data claimed to be new from 2021.
Facebook services across America, Europe, and Asia are being disrupted this morning, causing users of Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger, and its sister services Instagram and WhatsApp to throw up error messages when attempting to access any of the sites and services on any OS. The issue could be related to DNS, as none of the domains are returning an IP. The outage is also affecting services that offer a Facebook login, such as Pokemon Go.
Did Facebook pull the plug?
Facebook went down because of all the things you said about it
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) October 4, 2021
I fail to see the problem. https://t.co/1EFej6oaAH
— Alice Radley (@alice_radley) October 4, 2021
Facebook’s servers: “Okey dokey!”
— Paul Bradley Carr (@paulbradleycarr) October 4, 2021
Haugen stated that some of Facebook’s own research found that “angry content” is more likely to receive engagement, something that content producers and political parties are aware of.
“One of the most shocking pieces of information that I brought out of Facebook that I think is essential to this disclosure is political parties have been quoted, in Facebook’s own research, saying, we know you changed how you pick out the content that goes in the home feed,” said Haugen. “And now if we don’t publish angry, hateful, polarizing, divisive content, crickets. We don’t get anything. And we don’t like this. We know our constituents don’t like this. But if we don’t do these stories, we don’t get distributed. And so it used to be that we did very little of it, and now we have to do a lot of it, because we have jobs to do. And if we don’t get traffic and engagement, we’ll lose our jobs.”
Canadian media outlets have also discovered this path to profits.
American-owned Postmedia (National Post, Financial Post, Toronto Sun, et al) and many of other Canadian media outlets prioritize growth, engagement, and profit over everything else (democracy, facts, real news, …). When they realized that polarizing and angering content drives engagement more than anything else, they pushed more of it.
Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen should be celebrated for helping to expose the truth about Facebook.
Widely referred to as a “Facebook whistleblower” responsible for leaking documents behind a Wall Street Journal series, Haugen spoke publicly about her complaint to federal authorities, disclosing her identity for the first time in an interview airing Sunday night on “60 Minutes.”
“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen said in the interview.
A veteran of tech companies including Pinterest, Yelp and Google, Haugen, 37, left Facebook in May after developing serious reservations about the company’s policies, particularly surrounding the events of Jan. 6. Before the 2020 election, Haugen said, Facebook implemented measures to prevent the spread of misinformation, but the company decided to dissolve many of these protections after the election. She said she stopped trusting that her employer was willing to limit growth to improve public safety.
“As soon as the election was over, they turned them back off, or they changed the settings back to what they were before to prioritize growth over safety,” she said. “And that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me.”