Facebook Hatred

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This will help.</sarcasm>

The announcement came as the tech executive expressed concerns about how Facebook could be used to manipulate the election in a public post. Zuckerberg said he was “worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”

Zuckerberg warned Facebook employees and users that the upcoming election would not be “business as usual,” since more voters than ever before are projected be voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic and ballots will continue to be counted well after election night likely delaying final results.
 
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Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.
 
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Does Excel allow for that many columns?

How about a text file, instead?
 

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Facebook has suspended the accounts of several environmental organizations less than a week after launching an initiative it said would counter a tide of misinformation over climate science on the platform.

Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend. Activists say hundreds of other individual accounts linked to indigenous, climate and social justice groups were also suspended for an alleged “intellectual property rights violation”.

The suspended people and groups were all involved in a Facebook event from May last year that targeted KKR & Co, a US investment firm that is backing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 670km-long gas development being built in northern British Columbia, Canada.
 

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I just saw The Social Dilemma on Netflix. At this point, I'm way too cynical to take that stuff at face value. The film is clearly an ad for Facebook. Everything from the back to school special tropes to the misleading graphs is sleazy to me, even though I like some of the people in it (I love Lanier, even if I think his concept of data dignity is misguided).

They start out with "who is responsible?," which is a question that is repeatedly asked but nobody ever answers, even though it would not be difficult for these insiders to point at somebody, even if they aren't totally 100% responsible, they could give us a lead, but they don't. Then these guys don't even mention telemetry on our operating systems or other apps we run. You can watch that entire film and not know a thing about telemetry on Windows or Android or whatever Canonical cooked up for Linux. None of these people seem like they put wireshark on a computer or phone and looked at what's happening. Nobody said a thing about the home security systems or municipal cameras, or Alexas that evesdrop. Nobody is even giving any examples of how granular the data is. That's because they want to keep everything very safe in this film. They aren't actually trying to change anything about how us consumers use social networks.

Then they get to the real heart of the matter... They claim that they can manipulate us. We're all facebook zombies now. Specifically facebook zombies, by the way. A few other platforms were mentioned in passing, but I don't think they discussed any other platform the way they talked up facebook.

So lets say you're a campaign strategist and you watch this, because you're some old well connected, yet out of touch boomer who has to interface with ad tech people. As soon as the film is over you're gonna get on the phone and tell them to increase your presence on facebook, immediately, before the cut off for political ads hits, and come up with contingencies to bypass the political ad cut offs. Facebook is POWER, and you want it now!

That's the point of this film... to manipulate ad buyers, not ad consumers. I think ad consumers probably become more loyal to facebook after they quit and come back than if they never quit. Resistance presupposes power and all that.

The Social Dilemma is a part of a larger problem of ad buyer manipulation. Nobody ever seems to want to talk about that end of the equation for some reason.

I learned about this a couple of years ago, while researching for a friend. I have a friend who has been an aspiring YouTube/Twitch celebrity for years. A lot of you probably know somebody like this. He's always on there, trying to build an audience, and he's got a lot of heart, but you know... it's probably not going to happen. A couple of years ago, I thought I'd surprise him on his birthday by secretly buying some exposure for him. Maybe make some banner ads or video ads or something, spend like $50 on ad placements, and then he wakes up to 100k views on his birthday type thing. How hard can it be?

So I researched. Ad tech is trickier and weirder than I thought it would be. At the time, facebook was kicking ass with click through and conversion rates, compared to google and bing. Big data is stupid when it's too big. It's easier to predict behavior on one web site than it is to predict behavior on the entire internet. Like, on VVO, I can pretty much predict that when I see certain faces in my notifications, it's a bag of dicks react (love you guys). I could probably just eyeball an ad to predict if it would be relevant to people's interests here. Outside of VVO? I have no idea, that problem is too big. So facebook has big data, but it's a smaller, and more manageable big data than the big big data that google is working with.

Anyway, the ad tech forums I was lurking on while studying all this stuff were wild. Every other post was a horror story about an asshole account executive at Google giving them shit for pulling back on Google ads. A lot of ad tech people are contractors, so they have multiple clients. When the ad tech specialist would shut them down, they would keep calling like bill collectors. Eventually, it was common for the Google ad executives to phone an ad tech guy's client to convince them to keep buying google ads, when other venues, like facebook, or twitter ads would fit their strategy better. These account executives at Google would destroy people's campaigns just to make a few more bucks in commission.

I never ended up surprising my friend with traffic, and that's probably for the best, but from that experience, I learned to watch for these social networking companies trying to manipulate ad buyers. The Social Dilemma looks like a prime example of that.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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So lets say you're a campaign strategist and you watch this, because you're some old well connected, yet out of touch boomer who has to interface with ad tech people. As soon as the film is over you're gonna get on the phone and tell them to increase your presence on facebook, immediately, before the cut off for political ads hits, and come up with contingencies to bypass the political ad cut offs. Facebook is POWER, and you want it now!
From your summary, I rather doubt that any campaign strategist will be wasting time on that movie, and neither, I think, will anyone who's been keeping up on the Cambridge Analytica saga over the last few years.


Cambridge Analytica was 2015, and Brexit was really a proof of concept for their work (under a different name) for the US elections the following year, so heaven knows where they are at now with their digital machinations.
 
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bubblesort

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From your summary, I rather doubt that any campaign strategist will be wasting time on that movie, and neither, I think, will anyone who's been keeping up on the Cambridge Analytica saga over the last few years.


Cambridge Analytica was 2015, and Brexit was really a proof of concept for their work (under a different name) for the US elections the following year, so heaven knows where they are at now with their digital machinations.
I'm familiar with that situation, and I think CA's threat is way overblown. The conversion rates in 2015 were garbage. It's hard to imagine a bit of illicit data moving the needle on the conversion rates enough to matter. If it was that powerful, Facebook would be selling it, not suing over it. Even today, social media ads are garbage for anything involving swaying large percentages of the population to vote in an election. You can do better investing in grass roots campaigning, IMHO. Both the Hillary campaign and the remainers seem to have completely forgotten how to canvass. Well, I'm not in the UK, so what I know of the remainers is second hand, but I know Hillary couldn't canvas. I don't think we have had a serious democratic party grass roots push in America since Obama in 2008.

I'm not saying that digital marketing is not important. You still need to be there, just like you still need to be on TV and radio. If you want old people, you have to run email lists, as well. Old people love chain emails. What I don't like is that digital seems to be eating resources from more productive forms of campaigning, even as we spend more money on campaigns.
 

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Speaking to Congress today, the former Facebook manager first tasked with making the company make money did not mince words about his role. He told lawmakers that the company "took a page from Big Tobacco's playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset" and arguing that his former employer has been hugely detrimental to society.

Tim Kendall, who served as director of monetization for Facebook from 2006 through 2010, spoke to Congress today as part of a House Commerce subcommittee hearing examining how social media platforms contribute to the mainstreaming of extremist and radicalizing content.

"The social media services that I and others have built over the past 15 years have served to tear people apart with alarming speed and intensity," Kendall said in his opening testimony (PDF). "At the very least, we have eroded our collective understanding—at worst, I fear we are pushing ourselves to the brink of a civil war."
 

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The problem is, we need to take down the real villain - Facebook

[Okay, its no more the root issue than anything else, but the fact that they seem to actively be aiding and abetting evil makes them a good lynchpin]
 
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When researchers at the Network Contagion Research Institute began mapping the spread of anti-government “boogaloo” rhetoric on the platform in early 2020, the co-founder Joel Finkelstein said, Facebook began offering up advertisements for purchases relevant to their interest in a coming civil war.
“It started sending us ads for the boogaloo. Buy a boogaloo bag. Get a boogaloo AK-47 inscription on your gun,” Finkelstein said. “That was shocking.”
“We realized the algorithms of Facebook have never met an apocalyptic, militant cult set on killing cops that they didn’t like, and couldn’t merchandise.”
 
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