Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is lying to you about censorship and I’m the proof.
I’m routinely kicked off of Facebook for jokes on my personal Facebook page, often for thirty days at a time.
When I explained that they were jokes to Facebook’s Global Politics and Government Outreach Director Katie Harbath she ignored me. Twice. Even though she had helped with another project before. At one point Facebook deleted my entire Facebook page. Just because. No reason given.
The problem Facebook faces is that it treats humans inhumanely with its algorithms.
Harbath’s now using her status as a Republican to protect Facebook from the true charges that it censors.
Except she, along with Joel Kaplan, who is Vice President for US Public Policy at Facebook, is a Bush Republican — you know, the same presidents who are sitting out the GOP convention because Trump.
How Republican can they be if they allow posters like this one in their office?
So what’s really going on with Facebook? It’s a combination of “hate speech” artificially intelligent algorithms targeting while no name millennial curators are restricting what news trends or doesn’t. The speech codes of the college campus have taken over the Silicon Valley companies. I don’t know if this is a malicious thing or just an indication of what happens naturally when you hire a bunch of over credentialed Ivy league educated liberal arts majors.
We’ll discuss the end of Facebook and Sheryl Sandberg’s weird college thesis and creepy U.C. Berkeley address in a moment but it’s important to understand the larger issues at play first. (Short version: Sandberg’s very personal speech came just days after calls to regulate Facebook and her wacky college thesis shows she’s not on the side of reason and debate despite anything she might say otherwise. It’s as if the Gender Studies Department took over.)
One of the fascinating things about humans is how we — a territorial primate species that evolved to care about 150 other humans — have adjusted to the limitlessness of the Internet and how the Internet hasn’t really changed our human nature all that much. We’re still a territory obsessed species that cares about its turf.
Go through our political lexicon and it is obsessed with territory, especially among our supposed elite. Examples abound. The “safe space” is where minorities can presumably be themselves in much the same way that Lebensraum was how Germans could be more themselves. “Opportunity zones” are places where blacks are showered with exemptions to the laws that were already made supposedly to help them advance.
Freedom seems to be a function of how densely populated an area is. Out in the countryside it’s man vs. nature and the only law that matters is necessity but in the city it’s man vs. man and so new rules have to be created, rules like where you can throw your trash, what buildings you can build, and so on.
It can’t be a coincidence that highly densely populated South Korea or Japan have such a robust inner video game life.
Indeed the only rejection of the social justice warriors in modern times came from overly educated, highly indebted gamers living in their parents’ basements. (I say this, not with hate, but admiration. May #GamerGate live forever and as an example as to what can happen when people fight back against the SJWs!)
Density gives us community but it comes at a price, especially when the availability of housing is kept artificially low through land use restrictions. Hang out long enough in a place that has seen a sudden population increase and you’ll notice that all the old people seem to talk about is how they are all getting richer as their children — those few that they can afford — are moving to more affordable places further and further away. When interest rates are kept really low or the central bank allows lots of credit expansion the price of land in desirable areas explodes. Add some foreign money to the mix and you can’t really afford the rents. This, in turn, gives us declining birth rates because if you can’t afford the rents you can’t really afford a family, can you? So people turn to escape: pot, video games, internet porn, and soon Facebook’s Oculus Rift.
Part of what made the Internet fun is just how unregulated, how Wild West it actually is.”Cyberspace” — the place of bits, not atoms — has been where we have been most free but even that is being taken from us. For the more ambitious among us it’s the place where we might actually have power and relatively cheaply at that. The coolest thing about the Internet is that when you’re the best at something on it you can really be the best in the world because if you weren’t the best someone would just come and take it from you.
Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have all advertised themselves as places where we can have free speech in much the same way we can have free speech in the public square. But, of course, that’s a fraud. These are corporate-run places where we turn over our thoughts, our hopes, our likes and dislikes, and our most intimate moments–all for free but ALL at terrible cost. We do this because we want to advertise the great lives we are living (which most of us are not) and to maintain the connections we once had (which are too far away to really maintain thanks to the housing situation). And yet these are corporate-run organizations aren’t really interested in how we express ourselves. They’re interested in controlling how we express ourselves and to whom.
Don’t believe me? Listen to Mark Zuckerberg in Germany describe how algorithms are being used to curb “hate speech” on Facebook.
“Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community,” says Zuckerberg to a Berlin-based audience. We want to protect certain classes, he says, including migrants.
Ah yes, a Jew in Germany discussing how to police speech. It’s pretty insane and disturbing because after English German is one of the top languages of the educated Internet. What happens in Germany is happening in the U.S.
So if a people is invaded will Facebook censor people letting their neighbors know if they are a “protected class”?
Notice how he describes human nature “as a problem to solve.” How odd. How unserious. How worrisome.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around Facebook and its revenue right now because there’s uncertainty about how people will use the company going into the future.
This is probably why personal sharing has declined on Facebook.
Who owns your clickstream?
When websites like Facebook or Twitter can delete your username without warning or explanation there’s really no such thing as a digital property and really no reason to invest in building it up.
Why advertise on Twitter or Facebook if your account can be deleted at any moment?
Why share on Facebook if you run the risk of having your account shut down for 30 days over jokes and added to a hate speech registry?
Zuckerberg claims it has a “white list” of sources that are approved for trending. He also claims in this Germany interview that there’s a checklist that curators use. Why can’t we see that “white list” or checklist? Why can’t we read what sources have been approved?
What winds up happening is that the trust is eroded and the network collapses.
We’re at the beginning stages of that taking place. The higher the density of a population, particularly a less homogenous population, the more people retreat online. I suspect that part of the reason Facebook has grown post-2007 crash is that so many people over 40 are woefully underemployed. The millennials (or those younger than them) moved to Snapchat precisely to avoid their parents and to have a sense of privacy that previous generations took for granted. Snapchat probably isn’t worth $16 billion but it’s success is a revelation of the weaknesses of the larger social media properties. We used to joke about permanent records as children but now we know that that’s not true in an era of Google or Facebook.
The macroeconomic perspective is worth noting further: It’s easy to connect everyone together when things are going well. After all, if our wealth is a function of our capacity to network, then the more people we add to that network increases our wealth but if things are turning in a more bearish direction, well, then it comes down to who we trust in our tribe.
As Trump and the alpha males rise, Zuckerberg and the cucks who met with him yesterday, will be left behind.
These “influential” conservatives are losers. Sometimes quite literally, like Glenn Beck who backed Ted Cruz or Zac Moffatt who backed Mitt Romney. I don’t mean that in a Trumpian way; I mean it in observable, obvious way.
The end of Facebook is tied to its beginning. Facebook grew because having an account was a positional good. It started as an Ivy League phenomenon that expanded out to selective colleges and high schools. Each of these groups were easier to expand to. It becomes harder to expand into impermissible groups — like migrants (who Zuckerberg defends), Mexican illegals (who Zuckerberg shills for), or Chinese (who Zuckerberg panders to).
But Facebook is running out of people to connect and coming up against its limits. Like all Ponzi schemes it’s running out of people. Nigerians consume Facebook very differently than do Americans or Brazilians or Australians.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that there are some news sites that are banned from those algorithms. This is especially dangerous because Facebook is run, essentially, in perpetuity, by one man, thanks to its corporate structure. One man with all this power. Huh. I’m sure that’s going to go over well.
Investor Peter Thiel supposedly told Zuckerberg, “Don’t fuck it up,” before he invested.
Well Zuckerberg is fucking it up.