📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) | Frontline | PBS

Watched The Facebook Dilemma (Part 2) from FRONTLINE | PBS

A major, two-night investigation of the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

SEASON 37: EPISODE 4: The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

This documentary focuses on just one of the major failings of Facebook and its attendant effects on society. If you’re using Facebook, you should watch both parts before continuing to support them.

I’m not quite sure what to label this particular type of failure. Tragedy of the commons? It’s painfully obvious that Facebook not only has no real idea how to solve this problem, but it’s even more telling that they don’t seem to have any desire or drive to solve it either.  The more I watch what they’re doing to their product and their users, the more I think that they have absolutely no ethics or morality at all. In particular Mark Zuckerberg  is completely tone deaf in these areas, and as a result the entire fish stinks from the head.

The only solution may be massive regulation. The sadder part is that with both their financing and lobbying power, not to mention their social influence power which could be leveraged completely via dark posts, they could have a painfully out-sized influence on elections to get their own way.

I’m really worried that things will get far worse before they get better.

📺 The Facebook Dilemma (Part 1) | Frontline

Watched The Facebook Dilemma from FRONTLINE

A major, two-night investigation of the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world. But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of “fake news” and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful? On Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, FRONTLINE presents The Facebook Dilemma. This major, two-night event investigates a series of warnings to Facebook as the company grew from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room to a global empire. With dozens of original interviews and rare footage, The Facebook Dilemma examines the powerful social media platform’s impact on privacy and democracy in the U.S. and around the world.

Some great journalism, but somehow I don’t think it’s as frightening as it should be.

It did spark some great debate within the house though.

📺 Facebook: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) | YouTube

Watched Facebook: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver from HBO via YouTube

Facebook’s global expansion has been linked to political turmoil overseas, so maybe their ads should focus less on how they “connect the world” and more on why connecting people isn’t always the best idea.

Some solid reasons to completely abandon Facebook.

📺 Ricky Gervais: Humanity | Netflix

Watched Ricky Gervais: Humanity (2018) by Ricky Gervais from Netflix
Live performance of British comedian Ricky Gervais filmed in London's Eventim Apollo.

I watched this in pieces over the last two evenings and finished of the tail end at lunch today.

I’ve often thought of Gervais simply as a crass entertainer, but there are so many interesting new dimensions which come out in “Humanity”, they give me newfound respect for who he is and what he’s doing now. This is far more complex than just simple comedy, he’s doing something much more significant with this particular performance.

I also haven’t laughed this hard in quite a while. Tears, literally tears. Perhaps most interesting is that he’s got a much wider range of emotions which he’s playing off of here than just the humorous.

Gervais has some really interesting philosophy hiding in here among the dark humor. He has an interesting take on comedy and what it does and doesn’t target. The bit at the end on social media was particularly interesting. His take on “The Commons” is quite solid and is something I don’t suspect many could expound upon so eloquently.

During the portion in which he talks about his favorite Twitter response ever, he looked down at his phone to quote the tweet. I was reminded of some of the comedy greats I’ve seen at clubs late at night reading out of their beat up notebooks to try out new material. For a moment I thought, “perhaps Gervais is trying out some new material live here.” If it’s the case, then he was genius, though I suspect now that it was just a useful prop to add to the narrative of the joke. Either way, just brilliant. I wonder when we’ll see comics at clubs reading off of phones instead of the old spiral bounds? I wonder if it’ll play an better than the index card or notebook?

His closer with the story about his mum’s death and the wonderful prank on the poor vicar put a wonderfully fine point on the entire piece. It is humanity indeed. If there were a god, I’m sure he’d bless Ricky Gervais.

📺 Zeynep Tufekci: We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads | TED

Watched We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads by Zeynep TufekciZeynep Tufekci from ted.com

We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response.

📺 Zeynep Tufekci: Online social change: easy to organize, hard to win | TED

Watched Online social change: easy to organize, hard to win by Zeynep TufekciZeynep Tufekci from ted.com

Today, a single email can launch a worldwide movement. But as sociologist Zeynep Tufekci suggests, even though online activism is easy to grow, it often doesn't last. Why? She compares modern movements -- Gezi, Ukraine, Hong Kong -- to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and uncovers a surprising benefit of organizing protest movements the way it happened before Twitter.

📺 The Decentralized Social Web | Keith J. Grant | recallact.com

Watched The Decentralized Social Web by Keith J. Grant from recallact.com
We tend to have a love/hate relationship with social networks. The ability to interact with friends, colleagues, and even celebrities is wonderful, but the lack of control over privacy or content algorithms is troubling. A better way lies ahead, where you aren't tied to large social networks and where you can own your own data.