phillip.e.johnston + technology + facebook   5

Jaron Lanier interview on how social media ruins your life - YouTube
The problem is that behaviour [modification] techniques are often invisible to the person who is being manipulated. This has a long history. … It used to be that the only way to be subjected to continuous observation and modification was to either be in an experiment (you could be in the basement of a psychology building and have students tweaking you for their projects), or you could join a cult, or you could be in an abusive relationship; this has been done before. Often the people who are in these situations [of being observed, manipulated, and modified by social media] do not realise it’s happening to them. The whole point is that it’s sneaky. It’s a mechanical approach to manipulating people and because it’s so algorithmic it doesn't involve direct communication and people don’t get the cues to understand what’s happening to them.
JaronLanier  technology  socialmedia  Facebook  bigdata 
june 2018 by phillip.e.johnston
Even Amid Scandal, Facebook Is Unstoppable - The Atlantic
Despite personal reservations about Facebook’s interwoven privacy, data, and advertising practices, the vast majority of people find that they can’t (and don’t want to) quit. Facebook has rewired people’s lives, routing them through its servers, and to disentangle would require major sacrifice. And even if one could get free of the service, the social pathways that existed before Facebook have shriveled up, like the towns along the roads that preceded the interstate highway system. Just look at how the very meaning of the telephone call has changed as we’ve expanded the number of ways we talk with each other. A method of communication that was universally seen as a great way of exchanging information has been transformed into a rarity reserved for close friends, special occasions, emergencies, and debt collectors. ...

“Our discomfort grows commensurate with Facebook’s power, such that the more that Facebook is indispensable, the greater our discomfort, and yet the less that discomfort matters.”
Facebook  attention  technology  Zuckerberg  culture 
may 2018 by phillip.e.johnston
How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life - The New York Times
I’ve met dots that existed only to inform me of the existence of other dots, new dots, dots with almost no meaning at all; a dot on my Instagram app led me to another dot within it, which informed me that something had happened on Facebook: Someone I barely know had posted for the first time in a while. These dots are omnipresent, leading everywhere and ending nowhere. So maybe there’s something to be gained by connecting them. [...]

The dot is where ill-gotten attention is laundered into legitimate-seeming engagement.
technology  attention  socialmedia  Facebook 
february 2018 by phillip.e.johnston
How Facebook Is Killing Comedy - Splitsider
Facebook gets so much traffic that they started convincing publishers to post things on Facebook. For a long time, that was fine. People posted things on Facebook, then you would click those links and go to their websites. But then, gradually, Facebook started exerting more and more control of what was being seen, to the point that they, not our website, essentially became the main publishers of everyone’s content. Today, there’s no reason to go to a comedy website that has a video if that video is just right on Facebook. And that would be fine if Facebook compensated those companies for the ad revenue that was generated from those videos, but because Facebook does not pay publishers, there quickly became no money in making high-quality content for the internet.
technology  Facebook  Zuckerberg  advertising  bigdata 
february 2018 by phillip.e.johnston
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.
Facebook  attention  bigdata  Zuckerberg  technology  socialmedia 
february 2018 by phillip.e.johnston

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