Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Facebook and Social Media have no heart!

Why #Facebook and others profit from Emotion

Facebook is in the news again - and other networks. Why? The claim is that there is too much harm done to individuals and then to groups of those individuals by what they see and read on such provider sites.

Let's face it, in news negative has always sold more than positive. Before social media, phones, or computers, fires, shootings, disasters, divorces, wars, UFO sightings and other topics sold magazines and newspapers. Occasionally a moon landing or big lottery win made the front page and when they did they were quickly replaced. Thus is the morbid nature of the average person's curiosity.

The same goes for conspiracies. Again - before computers were common - the JFK assassination was and still is popular because conspiracies prevailed. Roswell, UFOs, and the death of Diana were similar. Everyone wants to prove that their favored conspiracy is the right one. Social Media supports this desire perfectly.

We have probably all heard of "rabbit holes". Facebook in particular is exceptional at creating them. A person clicks on one article or conspiracy and the "algorithm" immediately fires another at them for consumption. It begins to appear that such negative stories are dominating the news when they are not.

If you click on a positive story or just a personal interest or pastime, you will again receive dozens of similar stories. This might be a good thing if it makes you feel good. Facebook does not know and does not care.

As we all know both promote more clicking and each new page provides more potential advertising revenue for Facebook. Is this breaking the law? Not yet. Zuckerberg claims that it is all a matter of free speech.

Here is the problem: what these algorithms can NOT do and likely never will, is assess the emotion the reader feels whether positive or negative. They would claim that the reader is consuming more of those articles in the rabbit hole presumably because he/she wants to. That is the core problem. A click is not always an indicator that you like the content. You might actually hate it but hate is a negative emotion and as agreed above, it sells more. People are psychologically drawn to it.

When the reader - especially a young one - is already feeling badly about something like their self-image, the rabbit hole can turn into a grave. People with pre-existing feelings of rage begin to act upon that rage.

Despite false claims to the contrary, that was at the heart of January 6th and other violent uprisings.

Algorithms can not feel or measure emotion. The question is whether their creators - and their top executives can or even want to. If an algorithm is capable of judging that a second article is similar to the first, surely it can return a different article with an opposing view or topic. Maintain a taboo list - subjects like self-image; depression; drug availability; guns and so many more. Do NOT return similar articles. It would be a start. Why not try it?

Mark you are by all measures extremely rich. Take a page from Bill Gates and start to give back.


Monday, 4 October 2021

Facebook, Social Media etc.

Social Media has become the Unsocial Media

Here we go again - headlines about The Donald returning to Twitter. Should he be restored or not? I vote a big NO. He is but one example of bad that can occur on these platforms. There is a much bigger picture here.

Personally I am not a big fan - of Trump OR social media. That is just me. Donald generates news to be sure however this controversy is only the tip of the iceberg. Is social media a good thing or not and if not what can be done to make it better? The majority will probably say it is a good thing.

Electronic media from the time of the first email networks and since have just become more immediate - many now in real time. What has not changed is the tendency for people to write things that they would not say face to face. Anonymity allows people to become brave and brazen when hiding behind an electronic device.

People like Trump, Tucker Carlson, and FOX News in general, know they are spreading lies but don't care. That is their bad. In some cases, legitimate corporations do rein them in. Part of the bad is that these "news" celebs know what kind of audience will get fired up by what they say - the lemmings of society.

Free speech is important in a democracy. It is cherished and fundamental in America. That is not always a good thing - hate mongering is an example. That should be restricted and come with negative consequences for the guilty.

The problem here is that the lemmings mentioned above, also are the ones who become violent without any true factchecking of what they have been fed. It is like throwing chunks of beef to a school of sharks or piranha. That is the reason that Trump should be kept on a short lease. He tosses the chunks and knows where the fish reside. America does not need any more Jan. 6 incidents. Trump and his crew would instigate another in an instant - and probably will.

Now I am focusing on the Trump example again. What I am really trying to portray is that social media has just accelerated the apparent insatiable need for many people to be FIRST to hear something and then pass it on. The content and its impact don't matter anymore as long as you are first. This is the same thing that has always driven Hollywood and celebrity gossip. It is some peoples' prime entertainment. Try this: read a good book and then pass THAT on.

Imagine the following analogy and we have seen some examples almost as extreme. Some poor soul is on a rooftop or bridge contemplating jumping. There was a time when everyone would be united in trying to de-escalate the situation and talk the person down. Now half of the onlookers would only be there to video the jump and the horror after the body hits the ground. Then the race to be first would be on - first on Facebook; first to text to a "friend"; first scoop to a paying media company.

What has happened to people? Every person with a phone is now both a paparazzi and a shark . Is social media the cause or was it always in people just waiting to come to the surface? I suspect both are true.