[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.

Prederick wrote:

In related news, Joe Rogan repeated the "Left Wing antifa BLM terrorists are starting wildfires in Oregon" conspiracy today, so that's basically gone mainstream.

As has QAnon, at this point.

I was discussing this with a friend today, and both of us agreed, I don't think there's a conspiracy theory too ludicrous not to get some decent traction on RW social media right now. Just matters how you package it.

There's a lot of evidence that believing in one conspiracy theory makes it more likely that you'll believe future conspiracy theories. The Antifa wildfire conspiracy can be an illustrative example of how that happens.

One of the lynchpins of the Antifa theory is that there are too many fires occurring simultaneously for this to be a coincidence; there has to be some other factor at play. And that's correct! There is! But it's climate change, not Antifa.

However, the American right has consistently rejected climate change which at this point amounts to a conspiracy theory that the global scientific community is collectively deluded or lying. If you already reject climate change as the unifying factor behind the fires, then you'll look for something else, like a network of politically radical arsonists. Likewise, if you didn't reject climate change but bought into the Antifa theory, then the news media and political leaders attributing the fires to climate change might cause you to reject that science.

You basically must keep patching conspiracy theories with more conspiracy theories, because filling in the gaps with fact will undermine what you already believe. It can cause a tight downward spiral into fully fraudulent worldviews, especially if you have sources like YouTube and Facebook algorithmically feeding you more and more "alternative" answers.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Are you secretly Jamelle Bouie

LOL, I would've claimed Charlie Warzel, first.

Also, FWIW, Rogan retracted the statement and apologized yesterday, which some have said likely happened because, as a result of his lucrative Spotify contract, he now has someone to answer to.

Prederick wrote:

Also, FWIW, Rogan retracted the statement and apologized yesterday, which some have said likely happened because, as a result of his lucrative Spotify contract, he now has someone to answer to.

He did it over twitter though, so the vast majority of his listeners will never see it and it will quickly be buried in everyone else’s timeline. Unless he apologizes for it on air the current retraction doesn’t really mean much.

“The Facebook fact checkers are wrong”

About facts? WTF

We’re back to “reality has a known liberal bias” only it’s not a joke any more.

Also how is Don Jr. not arrested for sedition right now?

That just goes to show that tech companies will do the right thing.*

*once the damage of their inaction has ballooned to cartoonish proportions and begins to have potential legal and financial repercussions

ruhk wrote:

That just goes to show that tech companies will do the right thing.*

*once the damage of their inaction has ballooned to cartoonish proportions and begins to have potential legal and financial repercussions

Disagree.

It shows that they'll piss on the cold ashes of the dumpster fire they started and say "See? We're doing something about that fire."

I agree, I was just being snarky. They also have a habit of nuking leftist groups whenever they do one of these bans on far right extremism, but they only publicize the banning of the far right groups. A lot of indie news orgs like It’s Going Down have been banned like this, and I personally lost a really cool theory-centric anarchist group where I made a lot of friends.

Zuckerberg is wildly conservative, he's just trying to hide that from the Democrats, while using his platform to push every bit of misinformation he can plausibly get away with... and just a little bit more.

Speaking of my favorite social media company....

Facebook is ordering some of its third-party content moderators back to its offices on Monday — and that's caused them to panic.

The workers, contract employees at Accenture, a $145 billion professional services company, say the back-to-work order is indicative of a culture of silence and a two-tiered employment structure at the social network that exposes them to much greater risks than full-time employees.

Internally, workers have voiced concerns about returning to offices during a pandemic that has sickened 7.6 million people and killed more than 213,000 in the United States. And some Facebook content moderators employed by Accenture in Austin and Mountain View, California, who are expected to return to the office next week are concerned that they may lose their jobs if they do not.

Facebook has told its full-time employees that they should expect to work from home until July 2021. One full-time employee told BuzzFeed News that they’re not even allowed to go into their office to retrieve their personal belongings.

Accenture contractors working for Facebook on community operations and product data operations, however, have been told to show up in person on Monday, according to internal posts seen by BuzzFeed News, after having worked from home since March. Some of those contractors are concerned about their personal health, while others wonder why there have not been written communications from Accenture or Facebook on the protocols for their return.

“No written documentation, HR is hit-or-miss when it comes to addressing the numerous and varied concerns of the employees, and people are scared. Truly and understandably scared,” wrote one Accenture contractor on Thursday on an internal Facebook message board. “How can we possibly be ready to return to the office when this entire process has been so utterly and completely mishandled?”

“The blame here lies with Accenture,” they said. “The blame lies with Facebook.”

As someone who has found that my quality of life is much better by largely avoiding social media platforms, I’m wondering what the solution for this problem is? While there are so many downsides to social media (as pointed out in this thread) there are many positives, too.

I know there are calls to break up all of the big tech companies which I think might be a good start. But it seems we will need massive regulation regardless. Or would it be best to just nuke social platforms as they exist from orbit and start something new that is under complete government control/regulation? Although I guess that’s what China does and that is also a problematic model.

Docjoe wrote:

Or would it be best to just nuke social platforms as they exist from orbit and start something new that is under complete government control/regulation? Although I guess that’s what China does and that is also a problematic model.

It's only problematic if you don't have well-paid and protected investigative journalists that can shed light on problems and corruption.

Oh.

:frown:

I don’t think the problem is with social media itself so much as the content algorithms they’ve developed on top of the platforms to deliver and police content- programs meant to keep people engaged but have the knock-on effect of funneling them increasingly radicalizing content.
At least that’s my take on it. I don’t remember Myspace or Friendster being involved in any genocides, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

My take is that the radicalization effect is no longer a knock-on one, and that they've long since tweaked their algorithms to enhance it. When they first discovered it a choice was made, and it wasn't to be good stewards of their platform.

I guess I don’t use FB enough to know about being presented bad content. It seems that I only see stuff from my friends or some ads. But maybe if I used it more my experience would be different. Or if I was joining fringe right wing groups Im sure it could get weird fast.

Now YouTube is a different animal and I can see how that could get you down some dark rabbit holes.

There are myriad stories about people watching or liking one video, and the YT algorithm feeding them a veritable avalanche of more extreme content. A while ago, I watched a single Jordan Peterson video, and for the next several months YouTube assumed I was a Breitbart/American Renaissance reader.

Prederick wrote:

There are myriad stories about people watching or liking one video, and the YT algorithm feeding them a veritable avalanche of more extreme content. A while ago, I watched a single Jordan Peterson video, and for the next several months YouTube assumed I was a Breitbart/American Renaissance reader.

I watched a couple no-commentary gameplay videos on YouTube, and my recommendations were flooded with videos about social justice ruining gaming and the evils of feminism. My charitable assumption is that one of the no-commentary streamers I'd found through a search had some more-commentary videos I didn't know about. My uncharitable assumption is that YouTube's algorithm drives any interest in gaming toward GamerGate-like content.

Watching clips of new Star Trek on YT somehow tells the YT algorithm to keep suggesting videos from people who hate new Star Trek.

Prederick wrote:

A while ago, I watched a single Jordan Peterson video, and for the next several months YouTube assumed I was a Breitbart/American Renaissance reader.

Yeah, I watched some Trump speeches to transcribe his ramblings and YouTube flooded me with right-wing recommendations. You gotta click on the recommendations and tell YouTube to stop recommending similar garbage.

Just scrubbing through the single Sam Seder/Lincoln Project episode was enough for YouTube to think I was exceptionally interested in watching rando "news" programs made by lefty white guys instead of the normal thing I watch: cooking shows, silly things, and 90s hip hop videos when I've had a few cocktails.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

My uncharitable assumption is that YouTube's algorithm drives any interest in gaming toward GamerGate-like content.

YT's algorithm and those dudes smuggled a bunch of their rhetoric into that audience there and have maximized the sh*t out of the engagement. Chicken/egg, a bit.

But yes, it takes like three clicks to get from "Let's Play Call of Duty Beta" to "Why the 19th Amendment ruined America and must be repealed."

OG_slinger wrote:

Just scrubbing through the single Sam Seder/Lincoln Project episode was enough for YouTube to think I was exceptionally interested in watching rando "news" programs made by lefty white guys instead of the normal thing I watch: cooking shows, silly things, and 90s hip hop videos when I've had a few cocktails.

Whereas a silly cooking show with a '90s hip-hop soundtrack done by a lefty white guy (me) gets nothing.

The YT algorithm leads me to regularly remove videos from my watch history. Or venture forth via a browser whilst logged out. It's otherwise horrifying. My regular YT recommendations should be calming asmr videos, retro gaming videos, and the occasional synthwave music video. I also accept kitten and cat videos. YT, for me, is entertainment and distraction.

Nevertheless, a day or so back I was taking in Steven Crowder content, and Daisy Cousens content. I had been accused to be biased favourably towards the left, and unavoidably towards the right. To an extent that it was suggested I had became blinkered. Which is funny as not so long prior it was the opposite claim from another. Ha! That's what happens when you don't conform and fall in. Anyway. I done as was asked. I watched. I listened. I checked. I compared. I was logged in the whole time. No! The horror! I almost nuked my internet access from existence at the flood of suggested content. No wonder folks succumb to confirmation bias and pack mentality. It was everywhere. If one was to never seek out anything contrasting, or mix with others minus political sway, this could easily begin radicalization.

Basically, if it isn't related to food or a British panel show, I open YouTube in an incognito window.

Fwiw, on the web browser you can click the three dots by a video and select 'not interested' or even better 'never recommend this channel'. I had a couple conservative style videos pop up in my feed because I watched a video talking about how they're idiots and that cleaned them up quick.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

My uncharitable assumption is that YouTube's algorithm drives any interest in gaming toward GamerGate-like content.

YouTube's algorithm's, hell, any social media platform that offers suggestions, is designed to keep people on the platform as long as possible. For gamers, that will lead people down the GG side of things. For political people, it will bring you towards either the alt-right or the radical left (is that what they call it?? Does it even exist??)

If you look at it from a profit/loss point of view (which, legally, most companies are obligated to do) it's smart business to do everything you can to keep people on your site as long as possible. Now, I am 99.9% certain this is not due to any overt/deliberate decision to drive people towards alt-right/gamergate. It is the result of unintended consequences.

Now, knowing what they know now, they could easily fix it, but they won't, because they worship at the alter of the almighty dollar.

mudbunny wrote:

radical left (is that what they call it?? Does it even exist??)

It’s okay to use radical left, but only in this context:
IMAGE(https://i.postimg.cc/Qtz26pW1/AE7-C249-E-0131-41-EF-8-B91-8-D2445519824.jpg)

ruhk wrote:
mudbunny wrote:

radical left (is that what they call it?? Does it even exist??)

It’s okay to use radical left, but only in this context:
IMAGE(https://i.postimg.cc/Qtz26pW1/AE7-C249-E-0131-41-EF-8-B91-8-D2445519824.jpg)

Maybe Che Guevera type Marxists and anarchists?

The question is, are there really extreme right wingers or do you just call those mainstream Republicans?

Docjoe wrote:
ruhk wrote:
mudbunny wrote:

radical left (is that what they call it?? Does it even exist??)

It’s okay to use radical left, but only in this context:
IMAGE(https://i.postimg.cc/Qtz26pW1/AE7-C249-E-0131-41-EF-8-B91-8-D2445519824.jpg)

Maybe Che Guevera type Marxists and anarchists?

The question is, are there really extreme right wingers or do you just call those mainstream Republicans?

The far right of ten years ago is now the mainstream, and the current far right are basically just the ones that don’t bother with dog whistles anymore.

“Radical left” is less useful a designation. Conservatives paint everyone left of themselves as “radical left,” but actual leftists have like a million subdivisions of ideology and most of those subgroups don’t get along with each other, and each subgroup’s position within the overarching framework of “the left” is fairly subjective.
I guess I would personally consider nazbols (National Bolsheviks, basically nazi communists), tankies (Stalinists who believe Soviet-style communism was perfect and only fell because of US meddling), and posadists (communists who want to start a nuclear war to wipe out capitalism and summon aliens) as “radical left” even though the first two groups are authoritarian and pretty right-leaning in a lot of ways, and posadism has essentially become an ironic online movement that doesn’t have many serious adherents anymore.
I’m sure most Democrats would probably consider me “radical left” but I tend to waver between simple libertarian socialism and anarcho-communism, depending upon mood.

Groups I'd consider far/radical left: tankies, militant anarchists, eco-terrorists. They're just not nearly as active anymore compared to the far/radical right.