[Discussion] The Inconceivable Power of Trolls in Social Media

This is a follow-on to the nearly two year old topic "Trouble at the Kool-Aid Point." The intention is to provide a place to discuss the unreasonable power social media trolls have over women and minorities, with a primary focus on video games (though other examples are certainly welcome).

OG_slinger wrote:

That's because engagement equals more ad revenue while "user safety" equals extra costs.

Sort of equals more ad revenue. The perverse thing about the current state of startups is that a lot of them aren't trying to optimize to make money, they're optimizing for proxies for making money which may or may not correspond to actual future revenue. Advertisers like engagement because they can measure how much people watched their ads--which is, again, a proxy for how many sales came from the ad.

If you don't have revenue, you tell investors about engagement because you can measure that and it's a big number that goes up. But it's not a given that you can turn that into money. Twitter spent 11 years with sky-high engagement before they managed to have their first profitable quarter. Many companies collapse without that.

One big recent example of wrong-headed metric-chasing is the "pivot to video" where a lot of news and media sites stopped writing articles and started making videos, because Facebook stats said videos had higher engagement and higher ad revenue. Only it turns out that Facebook had screwed up the metrics because the average view-time didn't count the people who just scrolled by the videos and media companies lost big-time.

I'm somewhat upset how much of our culture we've sold off to startups in exchange for bad metrics and content that most people don't want.

Gremlin wrote:

I'm somewhat upset how much of our culture we've sold off to startups in exchange for bad metrics and content that most people don't want.

A 17-Year-Old Girl Was Murdered. How Did Photos of Her Death Go Viral?

A 17-year-old Instagram celebrity was brutally murdered allegedly by an obsessed male friend who then posted images of the slaying on Instagram, gaming website Discord, and 4chan, prompting an outpouring of shock and horror on social media.

The victim, Bianca Devins, is a 17-year-old so-called “egirl” who lived in Utica, NY, and had a small following on Instagram under the name @escty. Devins also frequently posted on the discussion forum 4chan. Utica Police confirmed Devins’ death.

According to a statement sent to Rolling Stone from the Devins family, Bianca was “a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.” The statement also notes that Devins had just graduated from high school and was looking forward to attending a local community college in the fall. “She is now looking down on us, as she joins her cat, Belle, in heaven,” the statement reads. “Bianca’s smile brightened our lives. She will always be remembered as our Princess.”

This s yet another story of incredibly disturbing, offensive content lying around on Instagram for ages while the company responds in earnest only after media interest.