[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.

Parents of the social media generation are not OK

It will surprise no-one to hear that there's not much I agree with Sam Harris on, but I have always remembered a thing he said a while ago, namely that Social Media is essentially a gigantic psychology experiment that we've all been entered into, with our consent or not and that we can't get out of.

Last September, just a few weeks into the school year, Sabine Polak got a call from the guidance counselor. Her 14-year-old daughter was struggling with depression and had contemplated suicide.

"I was completely floored," said Polak, 45, who lives in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. "I had no clue she was even feeling remotely down at all. When I asked her about it, she just kept saying she wanted to get away from it all ... but I didn't know what that meant."

After taking her to a crisis center, which banned phone use for anyone checking in, Polak learned from her daughter that the pressures of social media were driving her increased anxiety. The main source of stress: waiting for her friends to open and respond to messages and photos on Snapchat.

"It became really addictive [for her] -- the sense that you always have to be on, and always have to be responding to someone in order to be seen or to exist," she said. "She would look at her phone and go from calm to storming out of the car, and the rest of the night, just curled up in her bed."

Polak turned on some of the phone's parental controls, but they were easy for her daughter to circumvent. She took the phone away but worried this move would only drive her daughter to think about taking her own life again. She gave the phone back only to find her daughter "self-soothing" on another social app, TikTok -- so much, in fact, that "she literally believes that she can't fall asleep without it." As Polak put it, her daughter "feels lost, like, 'I have no idea what to do with myself if I'm not on social media.'"

Polak is among a generation of parents who did not spend their childhoods with social media apps and are now struggling to understand and navigate the potential harms that social media can have on their kids' mental health as they grow up. In interviews over the last month, nearly a dozen parents spoke with CNN Business about grappling with how to deal with teens who experience online harms such as bullying, body image issues and pressures to always be Liked. Most of the parents said these issues either began or were exacerbated by the pandemic, a time when their children were isolated from friends, social media became a lifeline and the amount of screen time increased.

Prederick wrote:

Parents of the social media generation are not OK

It will surprise no-one to hear that there's not much I agree with Sam Harris on, but I have always remembered a thing he said a while ago, namely that Social Media is essentially a gigantic psychology experiment that we've all been entered into, with our consent or not and that we can't get out of.

I'd start looking for real estate around the Shellbrook area; you're into the tree line but still not a long drive (on half-decent roads) from Prince Albert and civilization -- if P.A. can be called "civilization."

A QAnon con: How the viral Wayfair sex trafficking lie hurt real kids

Color me f*cking shocked.

The real Samara Duplessis was sprawled across her comforter, her thumb on Instagram. Summer could drag on in the Detroit suburbs, and the summer of 2020 — her eighth-grade graduation reduced to Zoom, her whole world masked and anxious — was already the most boring of them all.

But it felt even more bleak to 13-year-old Samara, whose parents had been a mess of worry ever since what happened in the spring.

In May, Samara had stuffed a box of Frosted Flakes into her sparkly backpack, slipped out the door and ran away. She had just needed a break from it all, you know?

It was terrifying for her parents, Samara understood that now. The search parties, the police alerts, the missing posters.

They found her after two days, and ever since, everything in Samara’s life was about “rebuilding trust” and “taking responsibility.” All she wanted was for her parents to see that she was fine, and they didn’t need to be so worried.

On this afternoon in July, she felt perfectly safe.

She scrolled to the next Instagram post, and the next, and the next, until her phone rang. Her dad’s name was on the screen.

“Something’s going on,” Kevin Duplessis told his daughter.

Within the last 20 minutes, more than a dozen people had called him, frantic about whether Samara was okay. Apparently, thousands of people on the Internet were talking about the same thing.

Samara’s name and face were going viral, along with the names and faces of half a dozen other children.

One tweet circulating her picture showed a screenshot of an old local news article that said Samara Duplessis was missing. The article was never updated when Samara was found safe.

Beside it was a screenshot of a pillow for sale on Wayfair, the online furniture superstore. It was called the “Duplessis” pillow. Its price: $9,999.

The person behind the post was seemingly arguing that because the pillow was marked at a ridiculous price, and because its name matched the last name of a child who appeared to be missing, Wayfair was involved in something sinister.

There were thousands of tweets making similar accusations about cabinets Wayfair was selling. The claims were on Facebook, too. And on Reddit, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Within 72 hours, the company was trending, with an estimated 1.2 million tweets about Wayfair and trafficking.

In the days to come, every aspect of these claims would be found to be false.

Human trafficking investigators at the Department of Homeland Security, who had to pause active investigations to sort out what was happening with Wayfair, would find no evidence to support any of the allegations. Wayfair’s staff, bombarded with threats, would realize how the pricing anomalies were happening. Anti-trafficking organizations, inundated with callers, would beg the public to stop sharing bogus stories that made their work harder.

For whatever reason, this one sticks in my craw, because it was such obvious bullsh*t from the jump, and yet people were genuinely arguing online that an evil cabal was shipping missing children across the nation in f*cking chiffarobes.

As someone with a PhD, and who works with many, many PhDs, a hell of a lot of them are very knowledgeable about their given field and are also dumb as hell in every other part of life.

I've helped people with multiple PhD's that couldn't put a CD in the CD drive (during the height of CD's) nor could they remember MS Word shortcuts without a keyboard template. And of course they blame and yell at you for their short comings

H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Parents of the social media generation are not OK

It will surprise no-one to hear that there's not much I agree with Sam Harris on, but I have always remembered a thing he said a while ago, namely that Social Media is essentially a gigantic psychology experiment that we've all been entered into, with our consent or not and that we can't get out of.

I'd start looking for real estate around the Shellbrook area; you're into the tree line but still not a long drive (on half-decent roads) from Prince Albert and civilization -- if P.A. can be called "civilization."

I read these posts and I know these places, but I still find this post very confusing.

BushPilot wrote:
H.P. Lovesauce wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Parents of the social media generation are not OK

It will surprise no-one to hear that there's not much I agree with Sam Harris on, but I have always remembered a thing he said a while ago, namely that Social Media is essentially a gigantic psychology experiment that we've all been entered into, with our consent or not and that we can't get out of.

I'd start looking for real estate around the Shellbrook area; you're into the tree line but still not a long drive (on half-decent roads) from Prince Albert and civilization -- if P.A. can be called "civilization."

I read these posts and I know these places, but I still find this post very confusing.

Callback to an earlier post in which Prederick said he's almost considering "a cabin in Saskatchewan" as a living situation.

IMAGE(https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/helenair.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/74/e748de1a-20b4-5c58-977c-afbf23bca989/5d9fbc69701a1.image.jpg?crop=868%2C868%2C197%2C0&resize=1200%2C1200&order=crop%2Cresize)

I see a cabin in Saskatchewan does have its perks. Well, if you decide it has come to that and you go through with it, send me a DM and I'll buy you a drink.

Speaking of rural Saskatchewan...does Arborfield mean anything to you?

I see it's a town up Melfort/Tisdale/Nipawin way, but I've never heard of it before. It looks like it's on the road to...errr...nowhere?

Ahh. It is a little 0-stoplight town that my grandparents (and an aunt/uncle) lived in.

Prederick wrote:

IMAGE(https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/helenair.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/74/e748de1a-20b4-5c58-977c-afbf23bca989/5d9fbc69701a1.image.jpg?crop=868%2C868%2C197%2C0&resize=1200%2C1200&order=crop%2Cresize)

I've seen this movie. It...it does not end well.

Good, but missing the part where YouTube is like "You liked this video about any part of military history? How about a video about how the Klan actually are American heroes."

Also YouTube has "helpfully" forgotten that I watched a lot of videos from years ago.

Good, but missing the part where YouTube is like "You liked this video about any part of military history? How about a video about how the Klan actually are American heroes."

Youtube is so awful.

I started watching YT anonymously on a laptop I had never used before. Within an hour of watching, I started getting recommended videos on: Richard Spencer, Joe Rogan's mysogynist and anti vax bull crap, anti immigration turds, other female ridiculing/hating garbage, Shapiro nonsense, etc.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

FWIW, I really like her; her way of thinking and how she constructs her arguments.
I was googling her the other day because I remembered she used to be part of the Nostalgia video channel, and I learned about this cancellation two days before she posted this video.

Warning, it gets into very deep, personal issues.

Update: The definitely good-faith interlocutors who are absolutely working for a better world and not just getting off on using social justice as a flimsy but easily-defended pretense to engage in harassment are taking a W on this one.

EDIT: Timely comic from The Nib on a similar subject.

EDIT v2: This, and several other situations similar to it, do invite discussion on how, at least IMHO, "Cancel Culture" is real, and is a problem, but not in the "You pointed out that I called someone a racial slur" way conservatives frame it (See: Louis C.K.'s very successful recent stand-up release).

Someone on Twitter mentioned that this sh*t is the reason why they are automatically suspicious of any "callout" posts, and I agree. Whatever value the "callout" may have had initially, pretty clearly, these days, frequently less about making positive change and holding people accountable as it is creating a villain of the week over frequently minor transgressions and going berserk over it.

I know it makes me a bad progressive, but the development of this in progressive spaces has genuinely been a massive net negative. Speaking personally, I feel like you see a ton of this bad faith bullsh*t in what passes for Young Adult Fiction discourse these days, where there are a significant number of people who have turned a genuinely good idea like a "sensitivity reader" and turned it, in practice, into a f*cking protection racket.

"Great story you've got there. You should pay me to read it for sensitivity... or it might be deemed 'problematic'."

Oh, and the spectacularly stupid "saying Hermione is an annoying know-it-all is anti-Autism" discourse of earlier this year.

Etc.

Helen Lovejoy may be a parody of conservative Christians, but her mentality knows no political stance.

EDIT v3: So much absolute horsesh*t.

i've written long threads about how the calls for increasingly specific and increasingly abject apologies from the people we've decided to excise from our communities are performative -- that there is no level of apology or offered restitution that will ever be enough.

once someone is marked as an enemy, it doesn't matter what they do. if they apologize, it's not enough, or not sincere enough, or not phrased correctly, or doesn't address a specific aspect of the transgression.

if they remove offending content, it's covering their tracks. if they leave offending content, it shows they don't care about the harm it caused. if they put disclaimers on their content, it's a sign of moral cowardice because they clearly know they were wrong.

if they get upset at whatever ostracism has been levied against them, their emotional reaction shows the ostracism was justified. if they stay calm at the ostracism, it demonstrates that they're indifferent to the harm they caused.

And even if the apology is sincere, worded correctly, accompanied by proper restitution and action, and accepted...

the notion of that person as 'enemy' is now part of the collective culture of the group that they transgressed against in the first place.

It never fades.

the transgression is remembered; the apology is not. the crime is a great bit of gossip; the careful demonstration that the person has learned from the experience is boring, and not worth repeating.

the stain is indelible. the spot cannot be scrubbed off your guilty hand.

because justice is decentralized, the outcomes of justice are also decentralized. because a verdict is reached thousands or tens of thousands of times for every crime, individually, based on criteria known only to those reaching a verdict, justice is unknowable.

Nice one Prederick, now put that in a tweet. I DARE YOU!

edit: lame joke aside, I just watched the video and have a much better understanding of the issue now. If anything Lindsay Ellis was being too kind to her bullies.

Becoming popular on the internet is my second biggest fear for my daughters.

‘I have moments of shame I can’t control’: the lives ruined by explicit ‘collector culture’

Ruby will never forget the first time she clicked on the database AnonIB. It is a so-called “revenge porn” site and in January 2020, a friend had texted her for help. Ruby is a secondary school teacher, used to supporting teenagers, and her friend turned to her for advice when she discovered her images were on the site.

“She didn’t send the thread that she was on,” says Ruby, 29. “She was embarrassed, so she sent a general link to the site itself.” When Ruby opened it, “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe that such an infrastructure existed: something so well organised, so systematic, fed by the people who lived around us.”

AnonIB was categorised by country – the US has the most entries, the UK is next – but then broken down by region, city and local area. “And when I say ‘local’, it wouldn’t be ‘London’ or ‘Birmingham’, a city of any size would have smaller, specific categories, like ‘Birmingham University students’,” says Ruby. The thread for Ruby’s town (population 55,000) stretched to 16 pages and with each intimate image of women and girls, there were comments with as much identifying information as possible by local users – names, surnames, the schools they had attended, who their relatives were. There were also lots of “requests” for pictures of certain women – often called “wins” (“Any wins on XXXX?” “There must be more of this slut out there.” “I can now look her boyfriend in the eye knowing I’ve seen his missus naked.”)

Ruby was horrified. “I was in shock. Disgusted that it existed, but also confused,” she says. “How could it be allowed?” But worse was to come. Four months later, she found her own pictures had been added to the site.

Well, I certainly hope victims have been able to take action against these site's hosts and demand....

AnonIB has used various names over the last few years – always some kind of variation of “image board” and “anonymous”. It was shut down by Dutch police, but has since reappeared and is currently hosted from a Russian domain. In the past few months, it has gone behind a paywall.

Should've seen that one coming.

WTF