petej + manipulation   81

'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | Technology | The Guardian
For example, the idea of “data ownership” is often championed as a solution. But what is the point of owning data that should not exist in the first place? All that does is further institutionalise and legitimate data capture. It’s like negotiating how many hours a day a seven-year-old should be allowed to work, rather than contesting the fundamental legitimacy of child labour. Data ownership also fails to reckon with the realities of behavioural surplus. Surveillance capitalists extract predictive value from the exclamation points in your post, not merely the content of what you write, or from how you walk and not merely where you walk. Users might get “ownership” of the data that they give to surveillance capitalists in the first place, but they will not get ownership of the surplus or the predictions gleaned from it – not without new legal concepts built on an understanding of these operations.
technology  businessModels  surveillance  surveillanceCapitalism  tracking  predictions  manipulation  personalisation  power  democracy  Facebook  Google  advertising  behaviour  control  dataProtection  ownership  GDPR  dctagged  dc:creator=ZuboffShoshana 
january 2019 by petej
Sad by design | Eurozine
Sadness expresses the growing gap between the self-image of a perceived social status and the actual precarious reality. The temporary dip, described here under the code name ‘sadness’, can best be understood as a mirror phenomenon of the self-promotion machine that constructs the links for us. The mental state is so pervasive, the merging of social media with the self so totalizing, that we see the sadness complex as a manifestation of an ‘anti-self’ stage that we slip into and then walk away from. The anti-climax called sadness travels with the smart phone, it’s everywhere.
socialMedia  mentalHealth  identity  emotion  sadness  melancholy  design  anxiety  compulsion  engagement  manipulation 
january 2019 by petej
The Bannon-Frum Munk Debate: What Really Happened - The Atlantic
The story ends, then, in a great irony. Integral to the liberal project, again in the broad sense of the word liberal, is confidence in the power of reason. Words and arguments can overbear ignorance and prejudice. Over the long term, words and arguments can even overcome oppression and violence. That’s why liberals in the broad sense are so uniquely horrified by official lying: How can reason prevail unless words connect to reality? How can we argue against people who will spread fictions, if serviceable to them, without a qualm?

Illiberals and anti-liberals, on the other hand, appreciate the dark energy of human irrationality—not merely as a fact of our nature to be negotiated, but as a potent political resource. People do not think; they feel. They do not believe what is true; they regard as true that which they wish to believe. A lie that affirms us will gain more credence than a truth that challenges us. That’s the foundational insight on which Trump built his business career. It’s the insight on which Trump’s supporters built first their campaign for president and now their presidency itself.
USA  politics  BannonStephen  populism  misinformation  manipulation  emotion  rationality  reason  liberalism  FrumDavid  debate 
november 2018 by petej
I am a data factory (and so are you) | ROUGH TYPE
The factory metaphor makes clear what the mining metaphor obscures: We work for the Facebooks and Googles of the world, and the work we do is increasingly indistinguishable from the lives we lead.
Facebook  socialMedia  work  labour  digitalLabour  control  manipulation  behaviour  personalData  ownership  nationalisation  surveillance  SiliconValley  dctagged  dc:creator=CarrNick 
august 2018 by petej
Designing Emotion: How Facebook Affordances Give Us The Blues - Cyborgology
“It’s how you use it” is wholly unsatisfying, philosophically misguided, and a total corporate cop-out that places disproportionate responsibility on individual users while ignoring the politics and power of design. It’s also a strangely projective conclusion to what began as a reflexive internal examination of technological effects.

If the trendy onslaught of new materialism has taught us anything, it’s that things are not just objects of use, but have meaningful shaping capacities. That objects are efficacious isn’t a new idea, nor is it niche. Within media studies, we can look to Marshall McLuhan who, 50-plus years ago, established quite succinctly that the medium is the message. From STS, we can look to Actor Network Theory (ANT), through which Bruno Latour clarified that while guns don’t kill people on their own, the technology of the gun is integral to violence.
Facebook  socialMedia  psychology  design  emotion  behaviour  algorithms  manipulation  affordances  private  public  dctagged  dc:creator=DavisJenny 
december 2017 by petej
Coders of the world, unite: can Silicon Valley workers curb the power of Big Tech? | News | The Guardian
The name Tech Workers Coalition contains two provocations. The first is to recognise that what engineers do is work. Many aspects of life in Silicon Valley, from casual dress codes to horizontal management structures, are designed to discourage white-collar employees from seeing themselves as workers. Tech campuses offer the conveniences, and atmosphere, of a privileged childhood: cafeterias and cleaning services and gym classes; candy dispensers and dinosaur sculptures and even indoor jungle gyms. These perks encourage employees to spend more and more of their time at work, or even to erase the boundaries between life and work altogether. They also encourage people to think of themselves as potential founders or venture capitalists investing in their futures, rather than workers performing tasks in order to draw a wage.

The second idea is that white-collar professionals are not the only tech workers. According to the advocacy group Silicon Valley Rising, for every engineer who gets hired, three to four more lower-wage jobs get created. Large tech campuses separate their white-collar workers from the blue-collar workers who cook and serve their food, clean their floors and stand guard outside their doors; the latter are usually brought in by independent contractors. But they are all part of the same industry.
SiliconValley  CalifornianIdeology  technoUtopianism  privatisation  politics  misinformation  platforms  fakeNews  manipulation  regulation  TrumpDonald  DemocraticParty  TheLeft  TechLeft  work  labour  TWC  developers  programming  CeglowskiMaciej  TechSolidarity 
november 2017 by petej
Facebook’s war on free will | Technology | The Guardian
The engineering mindset has little patience for the fetishisation of words and images, for the mystique of art, for moral complexity or emotional expression. It views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. That’s why Facebook has so few qualms about performing rampant experiments on its users. The whole effort is to make human beings predictable – to anticipate their behaviour, which makes them easier to manipulate. With this sort of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the contingency and mystery of human life, it’s easy to see how long-standing values begin to seem like an annoyance – why a concept such as privacy would carry so little weight in the engineer’s calculus, why the inefficiencies of publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptable.

Facebook would never put it this way, but algorithms are meant to erode free will, to relieve humans of the burden of choosing, to nudge them in the right direction. Algorithms fuel a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behaviour can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That’s always been a danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are the screws and rivets in the grand design.
Facebook  algorithms  artificialIntelligence  surveillance  control  nudge  ZuckerbergMark  hacking  openness  transparency  behaviour  identity  digitalIdentity  multiplicity  engineering  politics  USA  SiliconValley  manipulation  power  dctagged  dc:creator=FoerFranklin 
september 2017 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
I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | Gadget Lab | WIRED
"I’d added more than a thousand things to my Likes page—most of which were loathsome or at best banal. By liking everything, I turned Facebook into a place where there was nothing I liked. To be honest, I really didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I had done."
Facebook  like  experiment  manipulation  algorithms  bots  filtering  advertising  FacebookLike 
august 2014 by petej
Free to Choose A or B – The New Inquiry
"A/B testing, the method used in the mood-manipulation study, is a matter of slotting consumers into control groups without telling them and varying some key variables to see if it instigates sales or prompts some other profitable behavior. It is a way of harvesting users’ preferences as uncompensated market research. A/B testing enacts an obligation to choose by essentially choosing for you and tracking how you respond to your forced choice. It lays bare the phoniness of the rhetoric of consumer empowerment through customization — in the end companies like Facebook treat choice not as an expression of autonomy but as a product input that can be voluntary or forced, and the meaning of choice is not your pleasure but the company’s profit. If your preferences about Facebook’s interface compromise its profitability, you will be forced to make different choices and reap what “autonomy” you can from those.

That would seem to run against the neoliberal strategy of using subjects’ consciousness of “free” choice to control them. But as Laval and Dardot point out, “the expansion of evaluative technology as a disciplinary mode rests on the fact that the more individual calculators are supposed to be free to choose, the more they must be monitored and evaluated to obviate their fundamental opportunism and compel them to identify their interests with the organizations employing them.” Hopefully the revelation of the mood-manipulation study will remind everyone that Facebook employs its users in the guise of catering to them."
Facebook  socialMedia  manipulation  filtering  algorithms  communication  neoliberalism  choice  subjectivity  competition  power  control  unwagedLabour  unpaidLabour  digitalLabour  dctagged  dc:creator=HorningRob  research  experiment  unpaidWork 
july 2014 by petej
Facebook’s algorithm — why our assumptions are wrong, and our concerns are right // Culture Digitally
" does Facebook have an obligation to be fair-minded, or impartial, or representative, or exhaustive, in its selection of posts that address public concerns?
The answers to these questions, I believe, are not clear. And this goes well beyond one research study, it is a much broader question about Facebook’s responsibility. But the intense response to this research, on the part of press, academics, and Facebook users, should speak to them. Maybe we latch onto specific incidents like a research intervention, maybe we grab onto scary bogeymen like the NSA, maybe we get hooked on critical angles on the problem like the debate about “free labor,” maybe we lash out only when the opportunity is provided like when Facebook tries to use our posts as advertising. But together, I think these represent a deeper discomfort about an information environment where the content is ours but the selection is theirs."
Facebook  socialMedia  emotion  manipulation  filtering  algorithms  research  communication  trust  control  power  experiment 
july 2014 by petej
Facebook's Psychological Experiments Connected to Department of Defense Research on Civil Unrest | SCG News
"The U.S. government is militarizing social media through a combination of technology and social sciences, and Facebook is helping them"
Facebook  socialMedia  emotion  manipulation  control  research  military  Cornell  filtering  algorithms  experiment 
july 2014 by petej
the Empire strikes back - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"One last point from Yarkoni, and this one is the real doozy: “The mere fact that Facebook, Google, and Amazon run experiments intended to alter your emotional experience in a revenue-increasing way is not necessarily a bad thing if in the process of making more money off you, those companies also improve your quality of life.” Get that? In Yarkoni’s ethical cosmos, Facebook, Google, and Amazon — and presumably every other company you do business with, and for all I know the government (why not?) — can manipulate you all they want as long as they “improve your quality of life” according to their understanding, not yours, of what makes for improved quality of life."
Facebook  socialMedia  emotion  manipulation  ethics  business  power  control  consent  algorithms  bigData  filtering  research  experiment 
july 2014 by petej
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