Is Facebook killing freedom and liberty?

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Brian Peacock
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Is Facebook killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:51 pm

Serious article, or click-bait?
economist.com wrote:Do social media threaten democracy?

IN 1962 a British political scientist, Bernard Crick, published “In Defence of Politics”. He argued that the art of political horse-trading, far from being shabby, lets people of different beliefs live together in a peaceful, thriving society. In a liberal democracy, nobody gets exactly what he wants, but everyone broadly has the freedom to lead the life he chooses. However, without decent information, civility and conciliation, societies resolve their differences by resorting to coercion.

How Crick would have been dismayed by the falsehood and partisanship on display in this week’s Senate committee hearings in Washington. Not long ago social media held out the promise of a more enlightened politics, as accurate information and effortless communication helped good people drive out corruption, bigotry and lies. Yet Facebook acknowledged that before and after last year’s American election, between January 2015 and August this year, 146m users may have seen Russian misinformation on its platform. Google’s YouTube admitted to 1,108 Russian-linked videos and Twitter to 36,746 accounts. Far from bringing enlightenment, social media have been spreading poison.

Russia’s trouble-making is only the start. From South Africa to Spain, politics is getting uglier. Part of the reason is that, by spreading untruth and outrage, corroding voters’ judgment and aggravating partisanship, social media erode the conditions for the horse-trading that Crick thought fosters liberty.

A shorter attention spa...oh, look at that!
The use of social media does not cause division so much as amplify it. The financial crisis of 2007-08 stoked popular anger at a wealthy elite that had left everyone else behind. The culture wars have split voters by identity rather than class. Nor are social media alone in their power to polarise—just look at cable TV and talk radio. But, whereas Fox News is familiar, social-media platforms are new and still poorly understood. And, because of how they work, they wield extraordinary influence.

They make their money by putting photos, personal posts, news stories and ads in front of you. Because they can measure how you react, they know just how to get under your skin (see article). They collect data about you in order to have algorithms to determine what will catch your eye, in an “attention economy” that keeps users scrolling, clicking and sharing—again and again and again. Anyone setting out to shape opinion can produce dozens of ads, analyse them and see which is hardest to resist. The result is compelling: one study found that users in rich countries touch their phones 2,600 times a day.

It would be wonderful if such a system helped wisdom and truth rise to the surface. But, whatever Keats said, truth is not beauty so much as it is hard work—especially when you disagree with it. Everyone who has scrolled through Facebook knows how, instead of imparting wisdom, the system dishes out compulsive stuff that tends to reinforce people’s biases....

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/ ... uk/77921/n

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The idea, let alone the reality, of being able to communicate in real-time -- or at least in near-real-time -- with citizens of the World from diverse and disparate locations and cultures is surely one of the wonders of our age. When it comes to the internet, our reality is far more awesome, varied and rich than anything a pre-90s Science Fiction writer could have possibly imagined. I mean, I watched the 1982 BladeRunner a few weeks ago but amid the manufactured humans, the rain, and the massive flying billboards the main character still had to find a phone box to make a video call to his boss. Even by the early 90s no-one was foreseeing that by now we'd pretty much all be carrying around a communication device with more processing power than that which put men on the moon. Basically, it's arrived like a torpedo rising from dark waters and caught us completely on the hop.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Svartalf » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:36 pm

social media is killing free thought FACT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:17 am

If it wasn't for the internet I wouldn't even know what freethought was.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by pErvinalia » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:05 am

The reason why politics is getting ugly is because of bad politicians and a shithouse regular media who enable them. If the regular media doesn't like the influence of social media, then they need to clean up their own back yard first.
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Sean Hayden » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:15 am

I worry about the zero-day mind fuck. "They" have unprecedented access to absurd amounts of data relating to how we operate and interact as individuals and groups. What can be mined from all this online interaction? What might we discover about the potential for manipulation hidden away in all these data and their relationships?

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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:36 am

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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Scot Dutchy » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:37 am

Social media is destroying society.

When you see a family (well not just one) going for all meal but instead of interacting with each other the interact with their device then things have gone too far. Or a group of kids standing anywhere just staring at their devices it has gone too far. It is a drug and it is destroying physical communication. It should be banned. Mobile phones were intended just to be that but now it is addictive as cocaine. Luckily there is hope as plenty of younger kids here are ignoring them. Education does work. Like religion once the craziness is pointed out they turn their backs on it.
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:57 am

I think Social Media does present some problems, but I think we'll get used to it like we did with the telegraph.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Scot Dutchy » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:06 am

Brian Peacock wrote:I think Social Media does present some problems, but I think we'll get used to it like we did with the telegraph.
Only with education. It has some benefits but the addiction has to stop. Taking kids to areas which are not being covered for week is all that is required apparently. Once kids start talking to each other they soon realise it is more fun than on their device.

Another thing social media has done it has killed off physical sex.
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:17 am

Yeah, for those of us not getting any physical sex the internet has definitely had a detrimental effect on our eyesight. :whistle:
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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Svartalf » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:23 am

Bleh, I miss sex, but I can't find me no playmates... and I'm definitely fed up with wanking... must be old age coming, I can remember a time when I could not get enough.
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Scot Dutchy » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:36 am

Dont we all. I loved sex and was lucky in my time as I never had trouble finding partners.
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Hermit » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:57 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Brian Peacock wrote:I think Social Media does present some problems, but I think we'll get used to it like we did with the telegraph.
Only with education. It has some benefits but the addiction has to stop. Taking kids to areas which are not being covered for week is all that is required apparently. Once kids start talking to each other they soon realise it is more fun than on their device.
That's exactly what my aunts, uncles and grandparents said in the late fifties and early sixties,

Image
Scot Dutchy wrote:Another thing social media has done it has killed off physical sex.
How would you know? Condom sales tanking? Parents of teenagers no longer needing to worry what their kids get up to when they borrow the car?

In the environment I live physical sex is still very much alive. Wrinklies are of course sidelined, but there's nothing new about that phenomenon.

Back on topic, manipulating people's opinions, spreading fake news and statistically analysing populations are all ancient. Sites like Facebook just make it easier, more thorough and more systematic, but to say Facebook is killing freedom and liberty is the result of a lopsided view and an exaggeration. The same sites that facilitate manipulation through misinformation also enable more systematic opposition to it. Nothing kills freedom and liberty more effectively than the recognition of what neoliberalism really is and turning to populist demagogues in the hope that therein lies a solution to one's woes.

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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:08 am

Rationalia relies on voluntary donations. There is no obligation of course, but if you value this place and want to see it continue please consider making a small donation towards the forum's running costs.
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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Is Facebook is killing freedom and liberty?

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:22 am

Rationalia relies on voluntary donations. There is no obligation of course, but if you value this place and want to see it continue please consider making a small donation towards the forum's running costs.
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"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice.
There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

Frank Zappa

"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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