Social media controls the world


When consistently liberal means not being racist, then I’m consistently liberal these days.

But seriously, what exactly is that poll measuring and how? If the right pulled far enough to the right, would that be enough to look like the other side is pulling left? The center of the graph in 94 vs 04 made a lot of progress (i.e. moving from don’t ask don’t tell half the way to legalized gay marriage). Maybe the center kept moving left but the right pulled away?


That is a good point. The definition of a “liberal” stance has come to effectively be “not authoritarian or horrifically racist” these days. I mean Reagan and both Bushes are basically Communists at this point, whereas in 94’ anyone who said that would look like a crazy person.



This whole outcry by politicians against social media is a joke. It is just a bunch of children ganging up to attack an innocent 3rd party as an outlet for their own inadequacy,

  1. It is not illegal for foreign people/companies/entities to buy ads
  2. It is not illegal for ads to be complete bullshit. See basically any ad bought by republicans

Things like this are what we should criticize social media for, for not having the guts to actually police content that are clearly lies:

The big worry I see is companies like the Sinclair Broadcast Group buying up all of our media outlets and then forcing them to run outright propaganda that is worse than anything the Russians did. The only difference between these two situations seems to be that our politicians get their cut with Sinclair. Maybe if the Russians had just done that there would have been no problem?

So if our politicians don’t like that a Russian can place an ad on facebook that is complete bullshit, they should make a law against it and apply it equally, or shut the hell up.


But like those articles above have shown it’s not that simple. It’s not one or two false articles, it’s a flood of lies. Huge percentages of likes in social media are being propagated by bots. People have a very hard time distinguishing reputable journalism from rumor from slander from naked propaganda (which, tbh, isn’t helped by the fact that reputable, serious people do still make use of the platforms).


The biggest problem is just that people are dumb.

If people are too stupid to know how to investigate things, and not just trust random shit they see on the internet, then there’s little you can do to protect them from their idiocy.

It’s not Twitter or Facebook’s fault that Trump supporters can be conned by obama memes.


Yes, it is.

Explainer with more nuance here.


Even in that article it seems kind of questionable whether they say it is technically illegal. They could have tweaked things very slightly and it would have been fine.

I just don’t understand why people get so crazy when the source is Russia compared to elements inside the USA that want to influence our elections with organized disinformation campaigns. We’re talking about a drop in the bucket compared to the ocean here.


Well, we clearly need some sort of working group to regulate this doublethink.

We could call them the Committee of Public Safety, or some such.


The larger point is not whether this activity is currently illegal, but whether we should look into and regulate it. Social media presents an immensely powerful platform for propaganda, and it allows foreign entities to drive our politics. Do we want more of this?


This x1000. If voters can’t tell the difference between ‘Killary wants Sharia Law’ memes and an article by (or sourced to) a reputable news organization*, then we got bigger problems than Facebook.

*It occurs to me that Fox News, being on the cusp of ‘reputable’, could act as a sort of gateway drug to the crazy. I am naive enough to suppose (hope?) that if you cancel out the editorial stuff and adjust for their choice of emphasis, they don’t typically print non-factual items as news. Of course, the average Fox News watcher seems to be mainly consuming editorial content (Hannity, Ingraham, etc.).


I had been hearing for a couple of weeks that “everybody knows” that Antifa is going to start shooting people November the 4th, but at the same time, this knowledge exists in their brains as culture rather than actionable reality- nobody was changing anything about their lives, of course, it’s just that “everybody knows” Antifa is planning something, the date passes without incident, and then it’s shuffled out of short term memory into the trash.

And it is places like Fox News that give a veneer of reality to it.


You are making the assumption here that the people in question want/care to know the difference. They simply blindly accept, without question, whatever supports their worldview.


I have a friend… I could get affirmation of this worldview firsthand if I wished to. But I don’t. We can get along if we just avoid any discussion of politics at all. If we talk politics it turns into a screaming match and someone hanging up on the other. Usually me. Then we don’t talk for a month or two.

While I’m curious as to his present conspiracy theory, it’s not really worth it.

In the past he’s gone on about, Nibiru, baking soda curing cancer and diabetes, Muslim Obama, end of world prep stuff. If we stick to talking about gaming and computer stuff we’re okay.


Every human being wants to feel secure and in control. Of course, we know that won’t always be the case so we take action. We do that especially when we’re scared.

Social media provides easy targets, hints of “insider” information, and a feeling of safety in numbers which all seem to satisfy those basic wants no matter how illusory that feeling is. It’s so ridiculously easy to manipulate people who are afraid on social media that it’s almost feels criminal; understand a fear, present a trickle of information, provide a magical solution, feed the fear again, present another trickle of information, and on and on and on. Bigots are the easiest to manipulate because they bring a set of extra fears to the party, but we’re all susceptible.

None of that is news, just a reflection on how we got into this mess.

But should social media be regulated? CAN it be regulated? I don’t know. China has their censorship approach, which is obviously quite troubling for anyone interested in their freedoms. What if we just banned ads with political content on social media? Sadly, it seems to me like that would have MASSIVE unintended consequences and too many easy loopholes (such as massive likes artificially generated by an organization’s network for “personal” posts).

I fear the cat is out of the bag, and it’s not ever going back in.

PS - all people should carry their cats in approved cat-carriers. They’ll be the first to let you know they’re too good for bags … unless they’re grocery bags on the kitchen floor.


I mean, personally I agree, but it remains the fact that foreign advertising campaigns intended to influence an election are illegal and domestic ones are not (subject to following the rules of course). But I’m unusual in that I think it’s perfectly OK for foreign governments to try to (legally) influence elections, subject to whatever diplomatic blowback that might entail.


That’s not going to happen, for first amendment reasons. At most, we’ll get more explicit disclosure and regulation around election advertising.


The world started going downhill when everyone (including kids) got cell phones and never actually used the phone part of the technology. Everything became texts and social media. Faster became important. Sources shrank as people looked for affirmation.

It was cell phones.

Now get off my lawn.


One thing I would like to see is to require all ads for a specific race be endorsed by one of the candidates. There’s a state senate race here where a committee/fund/PAC aired ads that deliberately sought to mislead people by appearing to promote one of the candidates


Paid ads are a tiny part of the problem, and were probably only used to collect bot-targeting info. Most of the Russian political content came in ordinary posts from bots and paid trolls. That will be extraordinarily difficult to prevent or police; it pretty much can’t be made illegal under the Constitution.