Disinformation Campaigns

John Gruber: I really feel as a culture we are barely coming to grips with the power of YouTube, Facebook, and to some degree, Twitter, as means of spreading mass-market disinformation. The pre-internet era of TV, print, and radio was far from a panacea. But it just wasn’t feasible in those days for a disinformation campaign — whether from crackpots who believe the nonsense, corporate industry groups, or foreign governments — to get in front of the eyes of millions of people....

January 17, 2020 · 3 min

On living without social media

Well, mostly. I’ve been mostly without Twitter for a couple of months now. I haven’t had a Facebook account for much longer than that. I stopped Instagramming when Facebook bought them. I’ve deleted the Twitter apps from my devices, and now if I want to check in I have to use the browser. Not having notifications or easy launching of a stream adds a bit of friction. I also have 2-factor authentication enabled, and logout after checking in, so dropping into twitter is deliberately kind of a pain in the ass....

February 17, 2018 · 2 min

Birdcage liners - Joel on Software

Algorithms, tuned not to help readers but to help advertisers. Intermittent reinforcement tuned to maximize engagement/addiction. This is some scary shit, but it’s the web in 2018. We can do better. But whereas Twitter sort of stumbled upon addictiveness through the weird 140-character limit, Facebook mixed a new, super-potent active ingredient into their feed called Machine Learning. They basically said, “look, we are not going to show everybody every post,” and they used the new Midas-style power of machine learning and set it in the direction of getting people even more hyper-addicted to the feed....

January 15, 2018 · 2 min

Adam Croom - A brief pause from social media

For an undetermined amount of time, I'm going to be taking a break from most social media activity. Call it whatever you want: rest, recovery, therapy, need for a change of scenery, election fatique, information overload, a distraction. They are all correct. Source: A brief pause from social media. – Adam Croom Yup. I'm right there with you, Adam. I deactivated my Twitter and Facebook accounts about 10 days ago. Not sure if I'll let them evaporate at the end of the 30-day cooling-off period, but I sure feel less frustrated with the world since dropping out....

October 18, 2016 · 1 min

rambling thoughts on blogging and silos

Alec Couros posted a quick throwaway on Facebook (I'd link to it, but Facebook doesn't work that way) It got a lot of likes, and then the comment thread kind of exploded. I posted several comments and replies, and realized that was a silly way to post that particular discussion because it's exactly the kind of thing we are talking about as killing blogging and personal publishing. I've pulled my comments together below....

August 17, 2016 · 2 min

desocialmediafacating

I've been frustrated by how much time I burn away fidgeting with social media. Lately, it's been essentially a form of self-regulation or soothing as it feels like civilization is melting down. Trump stumbles to pronounce a 5-letter acronym fed to him on a teleprompter? Ugh. To Twitter! etc. The world isn't melting down. I need to snap out of the pattern of just pissing away time on social media. So, I've deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone and iPad....

July 25, 2016 · 1 min

comments on facebook

These comments were started in response to a friend, who was taking a stand against Facebook and their take-it-or-leave-it end user license agreement (EULA). They're not the most profound comments, nor the most well-crafted, but I think they need to exist (also) outside of Facebook's corporate walled garden. Ironically, after I posted the first comment, the Facebook iPad app prompted me to take a survey about how (un)comfortable I was with the state of Facebook, with specific questions asking about the algorithmic feed....

July 5, 2016 · 3 min

Why Facebook (kinda) won

Mike Caulfield has a good post about how Facebook and siloed social media got traction in ways the blogosphere circa 2005-2008 never maintained. He has a good point about the user experience - people aren't going to go look at 10, 100, 1000 different websites with different graphic designers, publishing models, and navigation structures. That's where the simplified UX of Facebook comes in. A single stream, pulling stuff from everyone a person cares about....

December 30, 2015 · 3 min

PrivacyFix

I just tried out the new PrivacyFix extension, which checks your privacy settings and also estimates how much Facebook and Google make off me each year. Turns out, my privacy settings are pretty decent already. And, it looks like Google makes less than a dollar per year off me. Facebook makes nothing. The guy that wrote the article on Ars Technica clocks in at $700 per year going to Google, through advertising etc....

October 9, 2012 · 1 min

on facebook's blanket license

Facebook recently revised the terms of service for their website. They have a right to do so. I have a right not to like the new terms. Here's the snippet that put the last nail in the Facebook-as-content-application coffin for me: Licenses You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof....

February 17, 2009 · 5 min