Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: I discovered the real problem with social media. The hard way.

  1. #1

    I discovered the real problem with social media. The hard way.

    I recently discovered the real problem with social media - particularly Facebook. I found this out the hard way. It's not what you think.

    There are innumerable security concerns already being reported. We all take it for granted that there will be data collection and the resulting leaks. Sometimes those leaks will go to hackers who are trying to engage in activities like identity theft. But we know that even though there are identity thieves, there are mechanisms in place to stop them, and there are mechanisms for redressing the problems they cause.

    They aren't the real problem.

    There are innumerable people waving flags of government surveillance, 1984, panopticon. The whole gamut, from the people who don't think Facebook should be de-platforming valid political candidates, all the way up to concerns about facial recognition data being harvested by police organizations. But many people, like me, typed on, content with a few ideas in pocket: first, that no police state has lasted very long, second, that if a police state is coming there's no way to stop it apart from using the platforms themselves to talk about it, and third, if it's going to happen, it's going to happen... there's a sort of fatalism to it.

    So that, too, isn't the real problem.

    The real problem is that, ultimately, Facebook and similar sites are intentionally facilitating the extreme polarization and meltdown we're witnessing today. I know this because I am in the process, personally, of experiencing it in microcosm.

    Flashback to about 1999. I have been thinking a lot recently about an event that happened in my father-in-law's house. I was working on his desktop computer, probably doing something like defragmenting, removing toolbars, cleaning the registry, or any of the other traditional first-steps one does when in control of a boomer's computer. To that end, I had to disable Norton AntiPerformance, which was his solution for securing his computer.

    And within 60 seconds after I disabled it, I got treated to a pop-up ad, not a browser ad but some sort of adware pop-up - depicting a man pulling a string of tangerine-sized ben-wa balls out of another man's anus.

    Now I need to divulge that my father-in-law is a clean man. You will not find anything on him. He has had top secret clearances in the Defense Department. There is no way he was responsible for that ad-pushing application being installed, at least not knowingly. And whatever its multitude of faults, the Norton software actually was keeping it at bay.

    Those of us who grew up with or spent our young adult lives with web 1.0 were conditioned, from the very beginning, to the idea that the screen is incessantly going to try to show you things you don't want to see, and that you need to take pretty consistent action to stop it. But this was always impersonal. The people writing useless toolbars and adware programs were faceless scammers somewhere overseas, and it was easy to pigeonhole them and vilify them. And, frankly, they deserved it.

    But think on this for a minute. If you are at all "good at computers", you have had to do this periodically. You've had to suffer complaints from your parents about "it's not working anymore", turn it on (because they shut it off, they always shut it off when there's a problem), wait 18 minutes for it to boot, and then spend three hours removing programs, defragmenting, running CCleaner, and making drive space, before you even get to analyzing what the complaint actually is. Most of that stuff gets installed through complacency. Through not vigilantly saying "No, I don't want that". And between those people and you, the repairman, there is a whole spectrum of what people semi-voluntarily allow on their computers.

    It's also important here to note that I am one of those people who is not content to simply leave this situation as-is. If I have a computer that repeatedly gets into that situation, and I know that Mac OSX and Linux just don't have those problems, then I'm jumping ship. I banned Windows from my personal computers 16 years ago.... and as a consequence, I completely stopped PC gaming. I loved PC gaming, but when the choice was between having the games and having a low-maintenance computer, I made the leap.

    At that same time, during web 1.0, a lot of us, like me, spent a lot of time on forums. And we got completely accustomed to seeing things like people replying with "The plural is 'fora', you grammatical $#@!wit." If that's all you see, you get an immediate impression of the person typing it which is hard to shake. But on fora, we had a couple things going on which we have completely lost on Facebook.

    For one thing, forums are all moderated. They have to be, because a forum that isn't moderated turns into a hardcore porn ad space within a month. I've watched that happen. What happens on your computer, with people with ill intent trying to take it over, happens on forums, too. And with the moderation comes rules of behavior, and with that comes pressure to conform to a standard.

    It doesn't always work strictly - for instance, the moderators may know both the person posting the word "forums", and the person posting the nasty response. They may all be regulars and old friends for many years, and they may feel like they are in (as much as I hate to use this phrase) a "safe space" for those involved, where the reply may be coming from a friend who is not-so-goodnaturedly ribbing another friend in return for previous grammar corrections. As another example, the reply may be nasty because it is retaliation for a previous nastiness, and moderators may be letting it go for some reason, or ignorant that it's happening. But largely, moderators are there judging what is going on and curbing behavior the group has agreed is unacceptable. They are all people, and so the forum takes on a personality.

    For another thing, and this is an important distinction, forums always involve linear discussions. There may be a sub-thread feature involved, but a lot of us using fora generally consider sub-threads a bad feature. In a regular, linear discussion, one always starts at the top, and starts reading the discussion in chronological order. And it's understood that if the discussion needs to fracture, the moderators may fracture it involuntarily, or the users may create another thread which references the old one. So if nastiness does show up, it's contextualized to the reader. It's not happening in a vacuum.

    The last feature I'd mention about forums is that while not perfect, there is still a sense of history. The people there know each other. There are people reading this on this forum where I'm typing this and thinking "Oh hey, I haven't seen him around, I like his stuff", and others thinking "Oh that's that douche who thinks X about Y". And even though none of us have actually met, we still "know" each other. Moreover, and more importantly, the thing that differentiates forums from Facebook is that on forums there is an immediate accessibility of everything that has been typed there in the past.

    Enter Facebook.

    I have never liked Facebook. It has nothing to do with the data collection, privacy concerns, or anything anyone is writing about it. The primary thing I have never liked about Facebook is that it is not a forum, and those last two points (linear discussion and history) were never features.

    The thing I have had to learn the hard way recently about Facebook, that I already knew but didn't process, is this:
    Everyone sees everything, and there is no way to stop it from your end.

    Some of you are calling me monumentally stupid for not fully processing that. And I own that: I was stupid. But for those who don't know, or don't know why that is the primary problem, I am attempting to help get the word out.

    Facebook is pretty well known for regularly upsetting the cart on privacy and view settings. There was a time, I think about two years ago, where I suddenly started seeing posts in my feed that start with "Joe blogs likes this post" and it turned out that the post was about someone I never met having cancer. And Facebook, unbelievably, gave me the option of replying to someone's personal post about their dad dying.

    I thought to myself, wow, what a monumental invasion of privacy... and then I immediately went into my default mode for when the screen shows me something I don't want. I started to figure out how not to see this sort of thing. And I found a config somewhere that said something like "Only see likes and comments on friend's posts", which I haven't been able to find again, presumably because Facebook tossed the cart again.

    And then I forgot it happened and went about my business.

    The thing I didn't process is that the vast majority of Facebook users fall somewhere lower on the spectrum I mentioned. A lot of them are the type of people whose computers I have to clean. But a lot MORE of them are people who simply don't default to "get this unwanted content off my screen".

    So there is already a percentage of Facebook users who don't even think to try to filter their feeds. They simply assume "this is what the computer wants", and go with it. And there is another percentage of users who don't even know it's possible. I'm not going to get into the state of search engines these days (it is pretty much worse today than it was 20 years ago) but if you search on "stop seeing friends likes on facebook" or any similar phrase, you're going to find out that there are basically three options: unfriend, unfollow, or deal with it. Unfollowing is a popular option that comes up, but if there are multiple external tutorials about how to unfollow someone, that indicates Facebook is certainly not making it easy to figure out how to do it.

    However, there is probably a much larger percentage of users who do some filtering and know how to do it... but every time they do, they ask themselves "Do I really want to do this? I mean I love Kathy but I don't want to see this stuff about the keto diet she's always replying to, and if I unfollow her then I won't get updates on her kittens." And because Facebook has no sense of history - and you need to see those kittens the moment they come out or the pics are effectively gone from Facebook forever - the feed stays followed.

    There is no feature in Facebook to otherwise prevent seeing friends' comments and likes on random pages. If you want to see some grade-A invective, do some research on "How to prevent my friends from seeing my comments and likes in their feeds". It's not possible, and a lot of people are pretty fuming pissed about it. (Plus one, as of four days ago.) You literally cannot like or comment on something without the potential for people you are friends with getting it served up on their feed.

    It's an easy decision for me, and it goes the same as it did for getting rid of Windows: if there is a greater benefit to dumping it, even though I'm losing something significant, then dumped it must be. But I am finding out just how small a minority I belong to there. But in order for filtering to work, everyone on Facebook has to do it. And they're not.

    So, recall the hypothetical conversation earlier, and how there is a lot of potential context to the statement "The plural is 'fora', you grammatical $#@!wit". Now remove all that context, and phrase it as
    "Joey Bloggs replied to a comment on CNN: 'Yeah, that's what I expect from a MAGA retard.'"

    Still possible to explain context, right? It's CNN. It's huge. It's relevant to everyone. It's polarizing. The comments sections are completely unmanageable by traditional moderation, so it's basically thunderdome.

    And whatever you like or comment on is pushed to your grandmother's feed every day. All your friends who don't unfollow you are getting a constant stream of this sort of thing. Facebook might also be pushing the 17-paragraph, well-thought-out response to a Fox News article, but you already knew nobody's reading that. They're getting the one-liners, the "toxicity", fed to them. It goes by in blips, day after day, for all the time you've been on Facebook. That's what people see, without much context at all. They're not seeing the discussions because as we already pointed out, it's just not meant for that. They're getting inundated with your worst behavior, even if it only represents a fraction of what you're doing on the internet. And if you don't use Facebook for much beyond reading news stories shared by political activists, it gets distilled even further.

    So I am a Facebook troll. That is how I came to be a Facebook troll.

    I say troll because they're not seeing what is going on in closed groups I'm a member of. They're not seeing what I'm doing on other sites. They're not seeing how political discourse goes with me where there isn't a preexisting breakdown. They're getting distilled negativity.

    I say "am" despite the fact that immediately upon learning this, and I mean immediately, I modified my behavior and started scrubbing. But scrubbing takes time... a LOT of time. In addition to showing everything you do to everyone you know with no control by you, Facebook also very much doesn't want you to delete it.

    But even after I delete the history, I will continue to be a Facebook troll, in some minds, forever.

    This has very real ramifications. People I know for real have been conditioned over a period of years to see me as nothing more than a Facebook troll. It can't be addressed by the traditional response of "Hey, first day on the internet, I guess". It has gone way beyond that.

    I know this because there was an incident three months ago where very dear friends of mine mishandled me and my family... and I literally could not get them to process what I was writing (on Facebook) in protest. They had been conditioned to simply disregard anything I was saying. And when I started to get through to them that there was even a problem, the response I got was "I would have thought you would be more thick-skinned", followed by some further conversations that pretty much spelled out I would be expected simply to get over it. I simply had no idea I was "the Facebook Troll" to them, at least on Facebook. And working in this complete ignorance of my status as Facebook Troll, and seething on this for months, the only option I could think of to try to get them to listen was to hurt them.

    The response I got to this was not immediate. But it was drastic. I still only fully found out about the "Facebook Troll" status obliquely, buried in an effort to hurt me back.

    And since then, other words have entered the discussion. "Therapy". "Mental state". And even "radicalized".

    And with that last one, it occurred to me that this is also how polarization happens. It doesn't happen because people have opinions. It doesn't happen because people express those opinions.

    It happens because if you regularly do anything political online, and particularly if that's the bulk of what you do on a particular site, people you know are fed a constant stream of "This friend of yours stands against what you believe in". And if you're also already a "troll", then whatever you're standing for has also been de-legitimized by virtue of the fact there is probably going to be little attempt to process what you're actually saying. There is an us vs. them mentality being fostered simply by the effort to tune out things that your social network platforms refuse to allow you easily to tune out.

    It looks like I have permanently lost some good friends this way.

    And it looks like the police state is going to win.
    Last edited by fisharmor; 08-16-2019 at 09:45 AM.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.



  2. Remove this section of ads by registering.
  3. #2

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Been saying it for years now.

    $#@! a bunch of FedBook.

    All that "social media" $#@! is cancer.
    Believe me, it's not an account that has my real name on it... but I hoped to show, even that doesn't protect you.

    However, I'm not sure, in today's climate, how to discuss libertarianism otherwise.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  5. #4
    Social media is and has always been an extension of the mainstream media. I remember first seeing Ron Paul on myspace in 2007 on a video debate and they took it off i remember thinking to myself who was that guy saying all this stuff i agree with. I remember having hope for politics but didnt see who he was and then he disappeared. Then in 2011 i actually saw his platform and name on reddit only for them to use facebook and online shills completely drown out the political discussions and narrative that Ron Paul was even running. They used disinformation and social media to assasinate his character and say he doesnt have a chance at winning even though that was just a fake news narrative people gave up because people believe a lie if its repeated enough.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Been saying it for years now.

    $#@! a bunch of FedBook.

    All that "social media" $#@! is cancer.
    Hell, I even outright forbid my family from putting my kids photos up there. I told them If I found that they did upload a single one of his pics, they would never get another one again. it has worked.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    Believe me, it's not an account that has my real name on it... but I hoped to show, even that doesn't protect you.

    However, I'm not sure, in today's climate, how to discuss libertarianism otherwise.
    How did people know it was you? Do you friend people you know IRL and let them know?
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    How did people know it was you? Do you friend people you know IRL and let them know?
    Yeah, there are plenty of pseudoaccounts that are known to be someone else. Eg some guy named Brian Kowalski creates a FB account for Joe Smith and tells his friends and family that's who he is.

    It's quite commonplace.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  9. #8
    I quit Facebook, but went back to it out of sheer boredom and some way to interract with people while I'm on the road truck driving. I hate this job lol.


    However, I did not refriend any relatives. Just a few work acquaintences or friends. People I generally have the same interests with, though I still try to not touch on politics or religion.

    I felt that having my family / relatives and friends / co-workers in the same social space was a weird awkward mess. The experience is better now.



  10. Remove this section of ads by registering.
  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    Yeah, there are plenty of pseudoaccounts that are known to be someone else. Eg some guy named Brian Kowalski creates a FB account for Joe Smith and tells his friends and family that's who he is.

    It's quite commonplace.
    Yeah, I know someone who does that. And like you, he trolls. It does cause some problems. One of his cousins had a new boyfriend, and took offense at a post. Boyfriend said he would punch him if he ever saw him in person, not knowing that it was his girlfriend’s cousin. They ended up at the same birthday party the next weekend.

    Internet tough guy never said a thing.

    If a person wants to troll on a Facebook, I’d recommend keeping it anonymous and not friending people you know IRL.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    Yeah, there are plenty of pseudoaccounts that are known to be someone else. Eg some guy named Brian Kowalski creates a FB account for Joe Smith and tells his friends and family that's who he is.

    It's quite commonplace.
    I've seen a lot of people talk about have a "work" facebook so they can communicate with their coworkers because its something most people have.

  13. #11

  14. #12

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Been saying it for years now.

    $#@! a bunch of FedBook.

    All that "social media" $#@! is cancer.
    I knew this about Computers/Internet before I bought my first..

    I accepted the challenge,, so to speak,, to put my own spin on the "me" already available online.

    but then I like dive bars too.
    Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.
    Ron Paul 2004

    Registered Ron Paul supporter # 2202
    It's all about Freedom

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    Yeah, I know someone who does that. And like you, he trolls. It does cause some problems. One of his cousins had a new boyfriend, and took offense at a post. Boyfriend said he would punch him if he ever saw him in person, not knowing that it was his girlfriend’s cousin
    Yeah my "trolling" was stuff like going to the Chesepeake, VA police department page after this happened, finding their photo post that says "Welcome to our new recruits this year!" and me replying with "Congrats on the new recruits! They look totally ready to get started shooting handcuffed girls!"

    Turns out that sort of thing doesn't go over well with some.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  17. #15
    Right and Wrong is Subjective. Every time I hear idiots say "I do nothing wrong", then we can say "there was nothing wrong with being a Jew in 1941 Germany." The difference between Right and Wrong is gonna get a LOT of people killed, and thats gonna happen when the Police State goes full scale. In the coming years and decades, you will find that being "Wrong" is merely a matter of being accused of not being with the current political party, and that is all it takes for millions to die, brutally. So why take the chance of letting Fedbook and every other $#@!ing asshat entrepreneur who thinks collecting and selling the data they collect on you to anyone that offers them money without any consequence and let them know you are not with the current political status quo and end yourself up as a statistic in a footnote in history by being one of the many dead bodies filling the unmarked graves? Is that worth it for you to like some celebrity that doesnt give two $#@!s about you?

    Have your conversations face to face, not face to Fed.
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintain an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    Belief, Money, and Violence are the three ways all people are controlled

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Our central bank is not privately owned.

  18. #16
    I don't use social media they don't want to hear what I want to say anyway.



  19. Remove this section of ads by registering.


Similar Threads

  1. SocialMention - Real-time social media search and analysis:
    By tangent4ronpaul in forum Science & Technology
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-13-2013, 09:35 PM
  2. Replies: 14
    Last Post: 05-06-2013, 03:54 AM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-02-2012, 12:42 AM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-08-2008, 11:01 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •