It’s the business model, folks. If we’re going to “fix” anything, we have to start there.
“We weren’t expecting any of this when we created Twitter over 12 years ago, and we acknowledge the real world negative consequences of what happened and we take the full responsibility to fix it.”
That’s the most important line from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s testimony yesterday – and in many ways it’s also the most frustrating. But I agree with Ben Thompson, who this morning points out (sub required) that Dorsey’s philosophy on how to “fix it” was strikingly different from that of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (or Google, which failed to send a C-level executive to the hearings). To quote Dorsey (emphasis mine): “Today we’re committing to the people and this committee to do that work and do it openly. We’re here to contribute to a healthy public square, not compete to have the only one. We know that’s the only way our business thrives and helps us all defend against these new threats.”
Ben points out that during yesterday’s hearings, Dorsey was willing to tie the problems of public discourse on Twitter directly to the company’s core business model, that of advertising. Sandberg? She ducked the issue and failed to make the link.
Next week Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, will testify in front of Congress. They must take this opportunity to directly and vigorously defend the role that real journalism plays not only on their platforms, but also in our society at large. They must declare that truth exists, that facts matter, and that while reasonable people can and certainly should disagree about how to respond to those facts, civil society depends on rational discourse driven by an informed electorate.
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of….
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
If Twitter’s countermeasures fail in the run up to the mid-term election, they should prepare a nuclear option.
Russian intelligence distorted the democratic process of the 2016 Presidential Election by manipulating social media, and perhaps more. A tech backlash is in full swing, where the power of unintended and intended (ads) consequences wielded by platforms will be curbed. The management of these platforms has failed to self-regulate to date.
Twitter’s countermeasures have reduced the number of bot fakesters, and it does feel like there is less toxicity in the personalized feed. But in this information war there will always be new attack vectors on the attention and divisive outrage of the electorate. The same hacks are already happening to ready disinformation dumps.
A friend of mine worked for an online dating company whose audience was predominantly hetero 30-somethings. At some point, they realized that a large number of the “female” accounts were actually bait for porn sites and 1–900 numbers. I don’t remember if users complained or if they found it themselves, but they concluded that they needed to get rid of these fake profiles. So they did.
And then their numbers started dropping. And dropping. And dropping.
The theme of this year’s Shift Forum is “Business Must Lead,” but its framework — the how of the event — is “Rational Discourse.” So I’m fascinated by any story that touches on the topic of how we disagree with each other these days. According to this piece, it’s a dying art. Sad! Money quote: “In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.” A worthy read.
When I caught the story of the mass shooting yesterday (and yes, I know, in my country, we need to specify which mass shooting yesterday, so I mean the mass shooting of Republican congressmen in Virginia, not the one in San Francisco, or any of the other 154 that have happened so far this year), I immediately feared what turned out to be true — that some crazy had targeted a group of politicians because of their politics. And so saddened by all that meant, I tweeted an expression of condolence:
Last November, a friend told me about his extended family of Filipino-Americans in the Fresno area. In a matter of days they went from feeling conflicted about Trump’s candidacy to voting for him en masse. They are Catholics, and once they heard the Pope had endorsed Trump their minds were made up. Of course, this papal endorsement did not really happen. This is an example of fake news wave that went viral and misled millions.
Here is that same story in a Facebook post, shared by the group North Carolina For Donald Trump. They have 65,000 followers, and you can see how shares by dozens of influential groups could spread this to millions.
Dissent is feverish in the Trump era, and we’ve all grown accustomed to posts by “rogue” social media accounts set up anonymously by disgruntled government insiders. Now Twitter is suing the federal government to resist attempts to force it to reveal the identifying personal information of the owner of one such handle — @ALT_USCIS, a self-described “immigration resistance” account (The New York Times). The ACLU is defending the anonymous Tweeter, while Twitter’s lawsuit — first reported in The Intercept — proceeds in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Social media platforms and internet services like Twitter, Facebook, and Google sometimes receive requests from law enforcement authorities for similar information in cases involving terrorist attacks, national security, and other criminal matters. This case looks a lot more dubious on the face of it — more like a petulant administration’s effort to silence a critic than a legitimate conflict between a crime investigation and privacy rights.
If you’re just getting started using Statusbrew, you’re probably trying to develop your business’ social media following. The best tool you need to learn right out of the gate is the Copy Followers/Following tool. It will make a huge impact on your Twitter following.
Nutrition experts and health activists have been pushing Americans to drink less sugar water. That has sparked soda-tax campaigns and put pressure on the soft-drink companies, which don’t want to get cast as the next cigarette industry.
Now Coca-Cola has discovered that one of its responses to this pressure — selling its products in smaller portions, at a higher unit price — has a salutary side effect: It has boosted Coke’s profits (Bloomberg). Is this is a case of doing right leading to doing well? Or simply an instance of milking some desperate last profits from an aging product category before the march of demographic change leaves it behind? Either way, anything that helps people reduce sugar calories — or even better, replace them with more nourishing alternatives — deserves a cheer.