👓 Click Facebook’s “I’m Voting” Button, Research Shows It Boosts Turnout | TechCrunch

Read Click Facebook’s “I’m Voting” Button, Research Shows It Boosts Turnout (TechCrunch)
Today, Facebook is encouraging its legions of users to declare civic enthusiasm to their friends, with a prominent "I'm A Voter" botton at the top of the newsfeed. Large-scale, experimental research shows that simply clicking the button, and sharing your voting intention, could do more to increase …

👓 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Read 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)
Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions

If you can’t read Zuboff’s new book in full, this article/interview may convince you that you should anyway. It may be one of the most important things you read all year.

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)

We saw the experimental development of this new “means of behavioural modification” in Facebook’s contagion experiments and the Google-incubated augmented reality game Pokémon Go.  

👓 Why Marc Benioff quit Facebook | Business Insider

Read Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has quit Facebook (Business Insider)
If you're looking for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on Facebook, you won't find him. He quit Facebook and deleted his account, he told folks on Twitter.

I might have thought this would have been more recent, but this article is actually from 2015. Now I’m curious what more he likely knew at the time that he wasn’t saying, particularly given his day job and relationship to people at Facebook.

👓 A Declaration of Independence from Facebook | Mike Elgan

Read A Declaration of Independence from Facebook by Mike Elgan (Mike Elgan)
I’m deleting my Facebook accounts. I think you should, too.
I’m deleting my Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger accounts on July 4th, 2019. I’m calling it “Independence from Facebook Day.” (Facebook owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.) I’m doing this on the 4th of July becaus...

What a well reasoned out silo-quit plan for Facebook! More and more I’m leaning toward leaving soon myself.

👓 How to replace Facebook with “Nicebook” | Mike Elgan

Read How to replace Facebook with "Nicebook" by Mike Elgan (Mike Elgan)
Many people would like to leave Facebook, but fear that leaving Facebook means losing connection with family and friends. But that’s not true. You CAN leave Facebook and still stay in touch with your loved ones. I call my replacement a “Nicebook” because if give...

I know Mike has always been a major fan of Google+, so it’s nice to see that he’s finally got his own website now. It’s not surprising to see him suggest Google Photos as a potential replacement for something like Facebook, especially since a lot of his content is so visually done. For him I suspect that a lot of the functionality of Google+ is baked right into Google Photos.

It’s an interesting idea in general, but wouldn’t work for me because of a lot of pieces I would be missing as a complete solution. However, for small scale social sharing with family and friends with the ability to have some general private communication, it’s probably not a very bad idea.

The more I seeread, and hear about the vagaries of social media; the constant failings and foibles of Facebook, the trolling dumpster fire that is Twitter, the ills of Instagram; the spread of dark patterns; and the unchecked rise of surveillance capitalism, and weapons of math destruction the more I think that the underlying ideas focusing on people and humanity within the IndieWeb movement are its core strength.

Perhaps we need to create a new renaissance of humanism for the 21st century? Maybe we call it digital humanism to create some intense focus, but the emphasis should be completely on the people side.

Naturally there’s a lot more that they–and we all–need to do to improve our lives. Let’s band together to create better people-centric, ethical solutions.

👓 Bundeskartellamt prohibits Facebook from combining user data from different sources | Bundeskartellamt

Read Bundeskartellamt prohibits Facebook from combining user data from different sources (bundeskartellamt.de)

The Bundeskartellamt has imposed on Facebook far-reaching restrictions in the processing of user data.

According to Facebook's terms and conditions users have so far only been able to use the social network under the precondition that Facebook can collect user data also outside of the Facebook website in the internet or on smartphone apps and assign these data to the user’s Facebook account. All data collected on the Facebook website, by Facebook-owned services such as e.g. WhatsApp and Instagram and on third party websites can be combined and assigned to the Facebook user account.

The authority’s decision covers different data sources:

(i)     Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram can continue to collect data. However, assigning the data to Facebook user accounts will only be possible subject to the users’ voluntary consent. Where consent is not given, the data must remain with the respective service and cannot be processed in combination with Facebook data.

(ii)    Collecting data from third party websites and assigning them to a Facebook user account will also only be possible if users give their voluntary consent.

🎧 Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism | TWiT.TV

Listened to Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Leo Laporte from TWiT.tv

Shoshana Zuboff is the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. She talks with Leo Laporte about how social media is being used to influence people.

Links

Even for the people who are steeped in some of the ideas of surveillance capitalism, ad tech, and dark patterns, there’s a lot here to still be surprised about. If you’re on social media, this should be required listening/watching.

I can’t wait to get the copy of her book.

Folks in the IndieWeb movement have begun to fix portions of the problem, but Shoshana Zuboff indicates that there are several additional levels of humane understanding that will need to be bridged to make sure their efforts aren’t just in vain. We’ll likely need to do more than just own our own data, but we’ll need to go a step or two further as well.

The thing I was shocked to not hear in this interview (and which may not be in the book either) is something that I think has been generally left unmentioned with respect to Facebook and elections and election tampering (29:18). Zuboff and Laporte discuss Facebook’s experiments in influencing people to vote in several tests for which they published academic papers. Even with the rumors that Mark Zuckerberg was eyeing a potential presidential run in 2020 with his trip across America and meeting people of all walks of life, no one floated the general idea that as the CEO of Facebook, he might use what they learned in those social experiments to help get himself (or even someone else) elected by sending social signals to certain communities to prevent them from voting while sending other signals to other communities to encourage them to vote. The research indicates that in a very divided political climate that with the right sorts of voting data, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of work for Facebook to help effectuate a landslide victory for particular candidates or even entire political parties!! And of course because of the distributed nature of such an attack on democracy, Facebook’s black box algorithms, and the subtlety of the experiments, it would be incredibly hard to prove that such a thing was even done.

I like her broad concept (around 43:00) where she discusses the idea of how people tend to frame new situations using pre-existing experience and that this may not always be the most useful thing to do for what can be complex ideas that don’t or won’t necessarily play out the same way given the potential massive shifts in paradigms.

Also of great interest is the idea of instrumentarianism as opposed to the older ideas of totalitarianism. (43:49) Totalitarian leaders used to rule by fear and intimidation and now big data stores can potentially create these same types of dynamics, but without the need for the fear and intimidation by more subtly influencing particular groups of people. When combined with the ideas behind “swarming” phenomenon or Mark Granovetter’s ideas of threshold reactions in psychology, only a very small number of people may need to be influenced digitally to create drastic outcomes. I don’t recall the reference specifically, but I recall a paper about the mathematics with respect to creating ethnic neighborhoods that only about 17% of people needed to be racists and move out of a neighborhood to begin to create ethnic homogeneity and drastically less diversity within a community.

Also tangentially touched on here, but not discussed directly, I can’t help but think that all of this data with some useful complexity theory might actually go a long way toward better defining (and being able to actually control) Adam Smith’s economic “invisible hand.”

There’s just so much to consider here that it’s going to take several revisits to the ideas and some additional research to tease this all apart.

📑 What the earliest fragments of English reveal | BBC

Annotated What the earliest fragments of English reveal by Cameron Laux (bbc.com)
If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.  

So sad to see that they’ve abrogated their responsibility for comments on their site to Twitter and Facebook

👓 Pulling the plug on Facebook | Dries Buytaert

Read Pulling the plug on Facebook by Dries Buytaert (dri.es)
I'm pulling the plug on Facebook because of their recent privacy violations — which got me thinking about what is next for the Open Web.

I want to pull the plug myself. I’ve essentially stopped using Facebook and have had the mobile app off my phone for almost a year and a half. I’m half waiting for better data export so I can keep all my data the way I’d like, but I’m beginning to think the moral imperative to just leave is more important.

👓 Maybe Only Tim Cook Can Fix Facebook’s Privacy Problem | New York Times

Read Maybe Only Tim Cook Can Fix Facebook’s Privacy Problem (New York Times)
The cold war between Facebook and Apple over data use and privacy is heating up. How far should Mr. Cook take it?

👓 The world in brief, January 22nd 2019 | Economist Espresso

Read The world in brief, January 22nd 2019 (Economist Espresso)

WhatsApp, a messaging service, is cracking down further on fake news. Users will now only be allowed to forward a message to five groups (each group can be up to 256 people), down from 20. The limitation was first introduced in India last year after several mob lynchings there appeared to start after incendiary messages spread through the service.

I can’t imagine that unless the average group is well under 20 people, that WhatsApps change will have a drastic effect. 256 by itself, much less 5 times that, is way over the Dunbar number and likely not enough of a brake on social gossip. This sounds like a lot of lip service to me.

👓 Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right? | Wired

Read Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right? (WIRED)
Opinion: The 2009 vs. 2019 profile picture trend may or may not have been a data collection ruse to train its facial recognition algorithm. But we can't afford to blithely play along.

👓 Wednesday, January 2, 2019 | Scripting News

Read Wednesday, January 2, 2019 by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
Facebook really is dying
You know I hate the word "dead" applied to things that were never alive, but in this case I can't think of a better way to say it. Facebook is turning into a ghost town. Here's how I know.

I kind of like the idea of a death penalty for corporations…