[News] The Internet Was a Mistake

A thread for updates on the various ways the internet is destroying everything and the undying hellsites of social media. Let's all laugh at the abyss.

I know I'm old, because I have become Team "Smartphones in school should only be able to make emergency calls and that's it"

End the Phone-Based Childhood Now

(The Atlantic paywall)

Something went suddenly and horribly wrong for adolescents in the early 2010s. By now you’ve likely seen the statistics: Rates of depression and anxiety in the United States—fairly stable in the 2000s—rose by more than 50 percent in many studies from 2010 to 2019. The suicide rate rose 48 percent for adolescents ages 10 to 19. For girls ages 10 to 14, it rose 131 percent.

The problem was not limited to the U.S.: Similar patterns emerged around the same time in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the Nordic countries, and beyond. By a variety of measures and in a variety of countries, the members of Generation Z (born in and after 1996) are suffering from anxiety, depression, self-harm, and related disorders at levels higher than any other generation for which we have data.

That’s definitely one of those “blame the symptom” sort of things. The perverse incentives of capitalism reward companies for targeting kids and pushing harmful content at them because it’s the cheapest way of driving engagement, but god forbid some shareholder sitting on an ivory toilet not make the most money possible on his investment.

ruhk wrote:

That’s definitely one of those “blame the symptom” sort of things. The perverse incentives of capitalism reward companies for targeting kids and pushing harmful content at them because it’s the cheapest way of driving engagement, but god forbid some shareholder sitting on an ivory toilet not make the most money possible on his investment.

This.

Also the way that we have engineered our substitutes for actual communities has left a social vacuum that digital companies have gladly filled.

The loss of third places, too.

The identity of Neo-Nazi comic creator "Stonetoss" has been revealed as Hans Kristian Graebener of Texas.

Elon Musk immediately went on the offensive and has been suspending any account that shares that information. Because protecting Nazis is Musk's #1 priority.

But Musk took some time out of his busy censorship schedule to follow notorious serial-doxxer Andy Ngo, the guy who pals around with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

Also, apparently what radicalized Stonetoss was insecurity over his weird penis.

A person on Twitter made a very good point RE: Stonetoss

Any mention of his real name will pretty much get you instabanned now, which means that Twitter is entirely capable of stopping the "░M░Y░ ░P░U░S░S░Y░ ░I░N░ ░B░I░O░" bots, but they choose not to to help inflate their numbers.

I've said it before, and I will say it into infinity: Elon's purchase was an ideological op because his RW friends got butthurt about getting bans and he and Kayne are tied for the most divorced man in history.

I've pretty much only go to Bluesky now but I went to Twitter yesterday to check something. I was immediately greeted with an ad from Elon's creepy brother for his cook book. Then, every third post (at least six times) was an ad for something called Liver King and every single one of those ads had a community disclaimer about how that guy is a fraud. Seems like things are going well over there.

iaintgotnopants wrote:

Then, every third post (at least six times) was an ad for something called Liver King and every single one of those ads had a community disclaimer about how that guy is a fraud.

For the curious, I went and looked up Liver King on Wikipedia. Dude is pretty jacked (image spoilered):

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmpLyzVRW2T8MnmlOdsc2cQ969JOdqjjCwqw&usqp=CAU)

So okay, what's this guy's story?

Wikipedia wrote:

Brian Johnson, known by his online alias Liver King, is an American fitness social media influencer and businessman. He is known for promoting what he calls an "ancestral lifestyle", which includes eating large amounts of raw unprocessed organs and meat focusing on a daily intake of liver. His dietary advice has been criticized by nutritionists for promoting potentially dangerous misinformation.

Wait, all it takes to look like that is to eat tons of raw meat? Where do I sign up?!

Wikipedia wrote:

Despite repeatedly denying having ever used anabolic steroids to attain his physique, it was revealed in late 2022 that he regularly used multiple drugs, including synthetic IGF1 and testosterone, and spent $11,000 on pharmaceuticals a month.

... oh.

Never mind.

Could we send him a polar bear liver to try out for his diet?

Nevin73 wrote:

Could we send him a polar bear liver to try out for his diet?

That depends. Has the liver already been removed? If not, absolutely.

Elon's interview with Don is out.

He is, in every way, a pathetic, tremendously divorced manlet. It's fairly amazing.

EDIT: Don Lemon spoke to NYMag about King Dipsh*t.

iaintgotnopants wrote:

I've pretty much only go to Bluesky now but I went to Twitter yesterday to check something. I was immediately greeted with an ad from Elon's creepy brother for his cook book. Then, every third post (at least six times) was an ad for something called Liver King and every single one of those ads had a community disclaimer about how that guy is a fraud. Seems like things are going well over there.

Also, the new ad I'm seeing constantly is Lovesense dick-sucking toys that'll link up to whatever Hentai game you're playing or whatever.

Like, in the replies to every single post with any significant virality.

X’s New Video Strategy Is a Pivot to Nowhere

In June, Twitter started telling investors that video was the future of the platform. In January, the company, now called X, declared the job done in a post to advertisers: “X is now a video-first platform, with people watching video in 8 out of 10 user sessions.” Two weeks ago, Fortune reported that the company was working on an app for smart TVs that would compete with YouTube. Last week, X CEO Linda Yaccarino returned to the future tense but stayed on message:

X is an online advertising company, mostly, and video advertising can be lucrative, or at least more lucrative than the skimpy in-feed text and image ads that Twitter could never quite convert into profit. It would obviously be helpful for X’s core business to have a bunch of videos to monetize, and so that’s what the company is saying it wants.

This is reasonable from the perspective of an executive trying to run a large internet business. So reasonable, in fact, that every other social-media platform made a similar change in priorities nearly a decade ago. “I want to start by talking about our work around putting video first across our apps,” Mark Zuckerberg said in 2016, opening a Facebook earnings call (at the time, Zuckerberg’s focus was on competing with YouTube). That same year, Instagram copied Snapchat’s stories, remaking the app into a “real video product.” Twitter itself tried to get in on the action: “Video is becoming increasingly central to the real-time conversations happening on Twitter,” the company said in a June 2016 blog post, in which it outlined a program to pay video creators, YouTube style.

As social-media platforms filled with videos, traffic-dependent media companies made their own hasty investments in video — encouraged in part by cooked metrics from Facebook — the near-universal failures of which turned the phrase “pivot to video” into a grim industry joke. More than Facebook — and certainly more than Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok — Twitter was always very much for text, so much so that the company maintained Vine as a separate app, which it then decided to shut down in 2016 — two years before the similar TikTok app was made available in the U.S. Since then, the major social platforms all “pivoted to video” one more time, this time mimicking TikTok, replacing whatever their users were used to seeing with infinite feeds of algorithmically recommended vertical videos. At X, the current strategy appears to be a speed-run of the past ten years of “us too” social-media trends, a sort of pivot-to-video 1080 with unclear prospects for landing. It’s getting big personalities to broadcast or at least post longer videos on the platform: Tucker Carlson has a show; Don Lemon almost had a show; Mr. Beast reposts videos sometimes. It’s building a Twitch-style streaming platform. In its new “For You” tab, it’s constantly recommending videos to its users.

So X is indeed now a “video-first platform,” in that it’s full of videos, and videos are often the first thing users see when they open the app. To accomplish this, however, X has employed another industry strategy years later than its peers: It has allowed — or invited — users to fill the platform with videos that originated on other platforms. Facebook’s first pivot to video was driven by the popularity of YouTube videos embedded in user posts; when Facebook disabled YouTube embeds and started hosting video itself, users flooded its servers with videos they’d ripped from YouTube, many of which became hugely popular in a slightly new context. This was transparently scummy and also common practice among start-ups. In its early days, before it got sued and professionalized, YouTube gained popularity by hosting popular TV clips and unauthorized music videos. More recently, Meta and YouTube enjoyed the benefits of a similar … arrangement: Both companies cloned TikTok features in their core apps and watched as users posted thousands of ripped TikTok videos, filling the platforms with content created elsewhere, often by creators who had no idea it was being reshared.

Freebooting solves a short-term problem — your platform didn’t have content, and now it does — but it doesn’t guarantee long-term success. Facebook’s freebooted foray into video, which was followed by years of strenuous effort to get people to make videos for the platform, didn’t turn it into a YouTube competitor. Plenty of users post their own Instagram Reels, but the platform is still clearly downstream from TikTok. Whether Meta’s freebooting will pay off over the longer term is an open question — despite having fewer users, TikTok produces vastly more influential video — although a government ban of TikTok would probably help answer it.

In contrast, X videos — not to be confused with Xvideos — are downstream from basically every other video site on the internet: X’s “For You” recommendations are frequently ripped from elsewhere, often with watermarks or leftover interface elements from YouTube, Reels, and most of all TikTok. In its own pivot to video, X has remade itself as a video aggregator — it’s going video-first by posting everyone else’s videos last. The money isn’t good. Users are leaving. Most creators thinking about building an audience or monetizing their videos have no reason to think of X before YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram — if Mr. Beast treats it like an unserious afterthought, why shouldn’t they?

I love this:

Galloway: Yeah. Don, good to see you. So I don’t want to speak specifically to working with Elon Musk, but what’s it like to work with a malignant narcissist who is abusing a dissociative narcotic? Just generally speaking.

Everything is just incalculably stupid now.

Prederick wrote:

Everything is just incalculably stupid now.

Whatever video that was is now private.

So it was too incalcuably stupid.

LOL, it was a YouTube post of a Channel 5 "documentary" about the Glasgow Willy Wonka disaster.

Oh wait, someone else posted it!

"The Scandal that Rocked Britain"

*Legion* wrote:

Mitch McConnell's billionaire sister-in-law drowned in her Tesla Model X, after rescuers were unable to break the reinforced glass.

So, it turns out, our dead billionaire here was drunk off her ass when she took her Tesla swimming.

Crazy that even with a billion dollars, you still have to self medicate with alcohol or drug du jour

Supposedly $75k per year is the point of diminishing returns beyond which money stops making you happier. That number probably doesn't take the last couple years of greedflation into account, but still.

hbi2k wrote:

Supposedly $75k per year is the point of diminishing returns beyond which money stops making you happier. That number probably doesn't take the last couple years of greedflation into account, but still.

That was certainly the case a few years ago, but I suspect that number is up a little bit since. At least for me, it is less about how much I make and more about the freedom from the crippling anxiety of financial insecurity. If, for instance, I could do the job I do now for what I make now with the current atmosphere of insecurity or, otoh, take a significant pay cut down to $75K per year and be confident that I will be assured employment until retirement age and have my retirement and medical expenses paid for after I leave, I would most assuredly take the latter.

America is a pretty awful place to be poor, old, and/or sick.

Tell you what, I will start making $75G a year and then (for ease) make $10 G more a year until I retire. I will report the results.

hbi2k wrote:

Supposedly $75k per year is the point of diminishing returns beyond which money stops making you happier.

They need to localize that because as someone living in the NYC/metro area, that is the wrongest sh*t I've ever read.

Yeah, same with the California coast.

I think the idea of significantly diminishing "happiness" returns past $X is probably correct, but X absolutely needs adjustment based on region.

I know doubling my salary would not improve my happiness to remotely the same degree that slashing my salary in half would harm my happiness. There are definitely tipping points along the way. And whatever X is for a certain region, I absolutely buy the idea that the upward slope flattens out long before you get anywhere near billionaire status.

I’d like to see an analysis that specifically accounts for how that additional salary is earned. I think if I could do what I do right now and make $25k more, with no additional responsibility or stress, I bet my happiness would increase substantially.

Sure, we can quibble over the dollar amount at which diminishing returns sets in, point I was trying to make is that it's FAR below the billions that dead Female Doggo had in the bank. You don't hoard that kind of wealth because you're mentally well-adjusted.