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Zuckerberg’s new privacy essay shows why Facebook needs to be broken up - MIT Technology Review
By narrowly construing privacy to be almost exclusively about end-to-end encryption that would prevent a would-be eavesdropper from intercepting communications, he manages to avoid having to think about Facebook’s weaknesses and missteps. Privacy is not just about keeping secrets. It’s also about how flows of information shape us as individuals and as a society. What we say to whom and why is a function of context. Social networks change that context, and in so doing they change the nature of privacy, in ways that are both good and bad.
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  communication  privacy  business  businessModels  advertising  encryption  secrecy  context  misinformation  attention  walledGarden  monopoly  control 
march 2019 by petej
How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump - MIT Technology Review
Rather, the problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts.
socialMedia  politics  activism  communication  ArabSpring  Egypt  TahrirSquare  Tunisia  Syria  Iran  Twitter  MubarakHosni  authoritarianism  power  control  ObamaBarack  targeting  technoUtopianism  bigData  misinformation  polarisation  NSA  security  Facebook  Google  monopolies  YouTube  algorithms  attention  insults  TrumpDonald  USA  Russia  trolling  interference  corruption  accountability  filterBubble  surveillance  platforms  personalData  inequality  precarity  insecurity  dctagged  dc:creator=TufekciZeynep  recommendations 
august 2018 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
"What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook."

"Here in the rich world, the focus is more on monetisation, and it’s in this area that I have to admit something which is probably already apparent. I am scared of Facebook. The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me. It goes back to that moment of its creation, Zuckerberg at his keyboard after a few drinks creating a website to compare people’s appearance, not for any real reason other than that he was able to do it. That’s the crucial thing about Facebook, the main thing which isn’t understood about its motivation: it does things because it can. Zuckerberg knows how to do something, and other people don’t, so he does it. Motivation of that type doesn’t work in the Hollywood version of life, so Aaron Sorkin had to give Zuck a motive to do with social aspiration and rejection. But that’s wrong, completely wrong. He isn’t motivated by that kind of garden-variety psychology. He does this because he can, and justifications about ‘connection’ and ‘community’ are ex post facto rationalisations. The drive is simpler and more basic. That’s why the impulse to growth has been so fundamental to the company, which is in many respects more like a virus than it is like a business. Grow and multiply and monetise. Why? There is no why. Because.

Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact in all kinds of worlds. These technologies are new and real and they are coming soon. Facebook is deeply interested in these trends. We don’t know where this is going, we don’t know what the social costs and consequences will be, we don’t know what will be the next area of life to be hollowed out, the next business model to be destroyed, the next company to go the way of Polaroid or the next business to go the way of journalism or the next set of tools and techniques to become available to the people who used Facebook to manipulate the elections of 2016. We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease."
Facebook  socialMedia  ZuckerbergMark  attention  business  psychology  ThielPeter  mimeticDesire  GiraudRene  filterBubble  identity  fakeNews  misinformation  Russia  TrumpDonald  advertising  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  businessModels  targeting  personalData  monetisation  tracking  Experian  creditCards  algorithms  auctions  Google  monopoly  duopoly  manipulation  emotion  happiness  mentalHealth  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
august 2017 by petej
LENIN'S TOMB: On Forgetting Yourself
The politics of forgetting oneself would be a form of ‘anti-identity’ politics. It would be a politics of resistance to trends which force one to spend too much time on the self (which, in fact, would include not just the monopolisation of one’s attention by social media, but far more saliently all the forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and other kinds of ascriptive oppression that necessitate exhaustive work to redefine the self). It would begin with deliberately cultivating solitude and forgetting. It would acknowledge that all labour spent on the self is potentially displacement activity, wasted energy. And that, with that effort conserved, some sort of great work could be done.
identity  digitalIdentity  socialMedia  commodification  consumerism  narcissism  attention  surveillance  Panopticon  forgetting  dctagged  dc:creator=SeymourRichard 
february 2017 by petej
Wizards of Like – The New Inquiry
"So Facebook is not responding to the demands of fickle users who don’t like Upworthy links. Instead Facebook is effectively producing fickle consumers (whose one-dimensional attention span is ever shallower) to drive harder bargains with those who want to sponsor News Feed posts and have them show up more prominently. By design, the algorithm exhausts us on successful content types and renders them boring, redundant, overexposed. The newsfeed algorithm destroys organic reach so that Facebook can sell reach in the form of sponsored posts.

The eradication of “substance, nuance, sadness, and anything that provoked thought“ from News Feed content is the prerequisite to make ads acceptable as content there. It is not an unfortunate unintended consequence; it is the premise that makes News Feed work as it is supposed to, as an ad conduit. The algorithm is there to make the News Feed into commercial broadcast television and to guarantee a suitably passive audience for it. Like TV has long done, they’re just giving the people what they want."
Facebook  algorithms  attention  FacebookLike  ranking  advertising  dctagged  dc:creator=HorningRob 
march 2016 by petej
Like This So I Know I'm Real | Hazlitt
"The Internet may be based around necessary indifference—to filter out content we don’t have the time or energy for, and even to throw up boundaries that prevent IRL from encroaching too much on web activity (an irony beyond belief, that one). But the basic, harsh truth of the Internet is that seeing and being seen remain the only ways to feel like you’re participating in the first place. We don’t exist because we will ourselves into being—we exist because others deign to notice. All we can do is try our best to strike a balance between saying what needs to be said and caring too much about what others will “like”—which is to say, whether they “like” (and like) us at all."
Facebook  FacebookLike  reactions  socialMedia  identity  digitalIdentity  performance  attention  emotion  indifference 
february 2016 by petej
Digital Devices and Learning to Grow Up | The Frailest Thing
"encouraging people to habitually render other human beings unworthy of their attention seems like a poor way to build a just and equitable society"
technology  children  communication  mobilePhones  games  rudeness  attention  parenting  age  Internet 
july 2015 by petej
Why the modern world is bad for your brain | Science | The Guardian
"This has created an implicit expectation that you should be able to reach someone when it is convenient for you, regardless of whether it is convenient for them"
attention  multitasking  health  productivity  communication  socialMedia  mobilePhones  email  SMS 
march 2015 by petej
Networks of Care & Vulnerability | the theoryblog
"Participation enrols us in a media machine that is always and already out of our control; an attention economy that increasingly takes complex identities and reduces them to sound bites and black & white alignments.

The costs are cumulative. And they need to be talked about, by those of us who talk about networks in education and in scholarship and in research. Because in open networks, a networked identity is the price of admission. The costs are what one pays to play. But they are paid at the identity level, and they are not evenly distributed by race, gender, class, orientation, or any other identity marker. And so with participation comes differential risks. This matters."
education  identity  digitalIdentity  socialMedia  attention  inequality  race  gender  risk  class 
november 2014 by petej
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