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very honest

Sacha Baron Cohen on the state of society

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I've been fascinated by this "greatest propaganda machine in history" era we're living in. Cohen, surprisingly and not surprisingly, does an excellent job formulating insightful, high-level observations about the information issue. I just wanted to share this excellent speech and I thought some WATMMers would like it.

 

 

Edited by very honest
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just another clown fear mongering to get people on board with stricter censorship :fail:

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why would a comedian want stricter censorship?

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censorship was not my take away from his speech. more of a "wake up these platforms should be regulated like other media outlets and the owners/operators should take some responsibility"...

also, it was funny and smart.  it's a conversation that needs to happen if we care about anything. 

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where is the line between regulation and censorship, though ?

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13 minutes ago, drillkicker said:

where is the line between regulation and censorship, though ?

Here's a suggestion: lets say that political ads are restricted to political parties under certain conditions (during elections) through certain channels (eg. not social media). political ads by third parties are illegal. and whenever third parties buy accounts on social media to push political opinion, that's illegal too. as that's basically political ads done differently. as long as people keep to their personal opinion, all is ok.

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23 minutes ago, drillkicker said:

where is the line between regulation and censorship, though ?

regulation regarding ads, regarding pages that promote hate, conspiracy etc.. this is new territory because laws weren't written to regulate these things other than print and TV.. so you need to think about it that way.. not about what you can post on facebook but what facebook can accept money for to promote.  right now they're largely uncontrolled and unregulated mediums that are very powerful and can easily change society's thinking about all kinds of things. 

think about the media now.. what if facebook decided to have a very solid obvious agenda and started promoting a narrative like foxnews or breitbart.  how would that go? the specific targeting of people and all that is not something that has been done in this way. sure, targeted ads have happened in all forms of media but not like this. 

some steps need to be taken to provide guidelines. right now they can do whatever they want and all they're subject to is a bit of testimony in front of congress. 

do you think the KKK should be able to place an advert in the NY times that says "all jews should burn. hitler was right" ?? 

i think cohen's points about the standard of truth and facts etc is important. facebook etc should have some responsibility. 

Edited by ignatius
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His own career as professional shit poster means he has shakey ground to stand on. 

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The problem with that is that “hate” can have a vastly disparate myriad of meanings varying from person to person.  There are obviously evil examples like what you gave, but who is the arbiter of what constitutes hate ?  I don’t think any living human these days has a good enough understanding of love to discern the subtler forms of hate.  We all have thoughts and even verbal expressions that have hatred as the cause, usually without our knowing, and that’s horrible, but we can’t do anything to stop it from happening completely.  We can only work on ourselves and allow love to guide us at all times.

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Jaron Lanier's not-metaphorical comparison of social media to a Skinner box is my favorite.

 

 

If you like dystopian sci-fi you really owe it to yourself to read neuromarketing journals, because there's not much more dystopian than the marketing industry.

 

Here's a taste:

 

https://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/tweets-viewers-fmri-eeg.htm

Edited by TubularCorporation
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3 hours ago, ignatius said:

regulation regarding ads, regarding pages that promote hate, conspiracy etc.. this is new territory because laws weren't written to regulate these things other than print and TV.. so you need to think about it that way.. not about what you can post on facebook but what facebook can accept money for to promote.  right now they're largely uncontrolled and unregulated mediums that are very powerful and can easily change society's thinking about all kinds of things. 

tv channels are required by regulation to fact check political ads. FCC i think. not that i want internet censorship. 

i think cohen is saying that at least the social norm should be expecting tech executives to respect public safety, with regard to the potential harm of disinfo. so, maybe not necessarily regulation. zuck should be setting the example. boycots are appropriate.

3 hours ago, ignatius said:

 think about the media now.. what if facebook decided to have a very solid obvious agenda and started promoting a narrative like foxnews or breitbart.  how would that go? 

and that capability facebook just makes available for whoever pays.

 

 

Edited by very honest
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4 hours ago, ignatius said:

censorship was not my take away from his speech. more of a "wake up these platforms should be regulated like other media outlets and the owners/operators should take some responsibility"...

also, it was funny and smart.  it's a conversation that needs to happen if we care about anything. 

or people could just not use them so much. the fact that the cambridge analytica scandal didn't affect their user figures (to me) is akin to saying you want to drink the kool aid but not die. forcing companies like facebook to police it's users only means they have more power to govern their users content and in a way, even more predictable. 

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5 minutes ago, Nebraska said:

or people could just not use them so much. the fact that the cambridge analytica scandal didn't affect their user figures (to me) is akin to saying you want to drink the kool aid but not die. forcing companies like facebook to police it's users only means they have more power to govern their users content and in a way, even more predictable. 

we can't just throw our hands up and accept the status quo. i think people don't want to leave the place where their friends/family are so it's a powerful thing. also, many people are more or less addicted to the internet and the idea of posting things as a social outlet for real life short comings of their social lives.  that's a broad brush to paint with but i think is actually reasonably accurate for a lot of people. 

figuring out how to deal w/all this is important. so, tackling the issues in pieces might be the way to go.. regulate advertising, political ads etc..  figure out some ways to approach it.  

dealing w/social media platforms and the internet at large is a big deal for nation states.. if we want a free and open society (which is not what everyone wants) then the internet has to be a part of that.. so figuring out how not to cut off our noses to spite our faces.. so to speak might be a good idea. 

so, perhaps not "policing users" but policing the dollars from groups w/an agenda other than selling me a mattress or whatever.  

policing users doesn't work well currently. the algorithms they're creating can't reliably differentiate between hate speech and people fighting hate speech. for example.. holocaust deniers and people promoting education of historical events. the algorithms flag all the posts.

not saying i have the answers but if facebook can target me with ads for shoes 10 seconds after i look at website that sells shoes then they can figure out how to at least dim the volume/frequency of hate speech or fake ads from bots etc etc.. they aren't trying to make the platform better/safer.. they're just trying to make it more profitable. 

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25 minutes ago, ignatius said:

we can't just throw our hands up and accept the status quo.

i agree with your point above. the internet and (especially) social media isn't something that's going away any time soon. but what i hate is this idea that i have to (i don't though) use facebook if i want to reach friends or communicate with certain people because they're so addicted to it. this narrow field of thought where even some businesses "only" have social media accounts as their "online presence" is also aggravating as it shows such a reliance to another entity for their identity and forces me to adapt for their sake.

if we're all following one lane- and forcing everyone to do likewise- then obviously we need all more and more rules and regulations to control the traffic, and i see it only hurting us.

i admit though, i don't know the answer. i just know i don't use social media and i think (hope) it would be better if more people didn't.

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5 minutes ago, Nebraska said:

i agree with your point above. the internet and (especially) social media isn't something that's going away any time soon. but what i hate is this idea that i have to (i don't though) use facebook if i want to reach friends or communicate with certain people because they're so addicted to it. this narrow field of thought where even some businesses "only" have social media accounts as their "online presence" is also aggravating as it shows such a reliance to another entity for their identity and forces me to adapt for their sake.

if we're all following one lane- and forcing everyone to do likewise- then obviously we need all more and more rules and regulations to control the traffic, and i see it only hurting us.

i admit though, i don't know the answer. i just know i don't use social media and i think (hope) it would be better if more people didn't.

i agree. i think there's multiple hills to climb.  there's some interesting studies on internet addiction and social media addiction in particular and how it affects the brain and all that.  it's all tangled up and i'm sure the people who handle advertising for facebook, google etc are aware of it all of course and they know how to get whatever kind of poison they want to wherever they want and charge someone money for it.  not that all of it is poison.. well.. maybe it is. 

if there was some way to inoculate people against loneliness we'd have a better chance. 

if the idea of breaking up monopolies gets traction then perhaps we'll see more competition that leads to better handling of targeting ads and collecting information etc and a more altruistic (ha right) platform could evolve if it's what users demand. 

the only reason i didn't quit facebook 3 years ago is because i needed it for work. i suspect i'll quit it soon and just use messaging in various apps to talk to the few people i only run into on facebook.  the only other thing facebook has been useful for is groups and finding out about shows.  

it's helpful to basically hide everything and everyone on facebook so you see no status updates.  it is possible to train the algorithms. my friend basically posted and followed and liked only memes for about a year. absurd ridiculous nonsensical memes. now the algorithm has no idea what to think of him and he gets the weirdest fucking stuff as suggestions. 

the best solution is to just quit though i think. 

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I check facebook daily and honestly haven't noticed any recommendations/ads.  Possibly it's always there and my brain just files it away as noise?  The only things I ever pay attention to are friends statuses, Scrabble notifications, event invitations and PMs.  I always hear about ad algorithms but the only time I notice that kind of thing is when I'm watching something on youtube and it gets interrupted.  Then I'm filled with rage and automatically hate whatever it is that's being peddled to me.  Oh and I do get some horrible youtube vid recommendations, notably JB(?) Peterson, Alex Jones and "watch so-and-so get destroyed by so-and-so [in a banal conversation that you might have had in high school if you were obnoxious.]"

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....So I can't really relate with the social-media-is-brain-washing-us thing, but I guess I can see how it could be an issue for other people?  I do know of one guy who I believe has been completely brainwashed by alt right BS.  He's always been big into conspiracy vids and is naturally kind of paranoid.  But I feel like he's a pretty big exception, at least for someone whose adult brain has finished developing.  I could see this sort of shit having a much bigger impact on shaping people under the age of 20.  I personally prefer having the option of easily accessing any reprehensible viewpoint that's out there so i can be exposed to what other people are actually thinking.  But I guess if those things are really psychologically damaging to a lot of people it's better to censor it on more mainstream sites like youtube/facebook.  After all, it's still out there for anyone that wants to search for it.  I kind of disagree with SBC in principle... but that's looking at it in a very idealistic way where everyone can think critically and reach their own conclusions.  if I accept that the majority of people are easily-swayed idiots, then I concede he's right.  But I kind of hate that.  Censorship should not be necessary god damn it!

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the majority of people on this earth think a magic man in the sky wants them to fight against people who believe in a different magic man in the sky. people are dumb and we should be careful what info we feed them unfortunately.

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The monopolists need to be smashed. Having 5 Facebooks instead of one wouldn't solve the core issues but it would force them to compete for users. Better privacy options and less ads could be one way to attract users. That would of course require that those services are mutually compatible otherwise the biggest one would always be the most attractive one as it has most users. So mutual compatibility should be required by law. Also an option to turn off all algorithms would be useful

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He made a good point about Zuckerberg and the like being held accountable just like executives in various other industries are when what they do goes wrong. A CEO can be held legally liable by the board of directors/shareholders, but can conspire to create a technocratic dystopia? Time to get our laws up to speed on this shit, my ni🅱️🅱️az

Edited by Candiru

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Interesting stuff about Facebook. Fake accounts seem to be a far bigger issue. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Zephyr_Nova said:

I check facebook daily and honestly haven't noticed any recommendations/ads.  Possibly it's always there and my brain just files it away as noise?  The only things I ever pay attention to are friends statuses, Scrabble notifications, event invitations and PMs.  I always hear about ad algorithms but the only time I notice that kind of thing is when I'm watching something on youtube and it gets interrupted.  Then I'm filled with rage and automatically hate whatever it is that's being peddled to me.  Oh and I do get some horrible youtube vid recommendations, notably JB(?) Peterson, Alex Jones and "watch so-and-so get destroyed by so-and-so [in a banal conversation that you might have had in high school if you were obnoxious.]"

the targetting, as cambridge analytica did it, looks for certain types of people that could be swayed by certain things (and then gives them those things, whether true or not). it can also target by state and area. 

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17 hours ago, drillkicker said:

where is the line between regulation and censorship, though ?

Here I made a handy diagram

 

 

the line.png

Edited by chassis
fixt
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