The illusion of improving social media platforms

By Om Malik

Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Tinbergen, writing for the Washington Post have applauded the social media platforms’ recent efforts to reign in “hate speech, misinformation and posts that potentially incite violence.” These posts were coming from the US president and many of his supporters. When asked what I thought of this step forward, here is what I told them:

“A lot of what has been previously thought of as fringe behavior has been brought to center stage by these platforms. They’ve been complicit for a very long time. You can ban a few people — even the president — but on platforms that have a billion people, there are so many dark corners. And instead of coming up with a solution for the entire network, they are banning individuals.

The Washington Post (Subscription Required.)

I have been screaming in the wind for a long time — and will say this again. The incentives to undertake real change aren’t there for these platforms. Most of them will have to retweak and re-imagine their algorithms. They won’t do that because, in doing so, they will have to move away from the current model of monetizing attention and engagement from advertising.

It will undermine how they make money, and thus there is no upside for anyone — including Facebook to Twitter to YouTube. So what do they do? They do the equivalent of re-arranging the chairs on the deck of a listing ship. People applaud them for doing something. They get some good publicity. And soon enough, the world moves on to another outrage.

Say it, again, my brother!

Judge rules Devin Nunes can’t sue Twitter over statements by fake cow

That has to be the headline of the week!


Mother Jones

A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist.

Judge John Marshall said in a decision Friday that Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims of” Nunes, R-Tulare, due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms…

Nunes “seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform,” Marshall wrote. “The court refuses to do so…”

Absolutely hilarious. A pleasure to see this happen to Congress’ creepiest version of what passes for a Republican conservative, nowadays.

Twitter now a quiet island on the global map of crap paid political advertising

❝ Twitter will no longer run political ads, CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday, a move that comes as fellow social media giant Facebook faces rising heat over its policy of allowing candidates to lie in their campaign messaging.

❝ Twitter is removing itself from that contentious tangle as U.S. political campaigns prepare to spend vast sums of money on online advertising around the 2020 elections. The new policy applies worldwide, not just in the U.S., and to issue ads as well as ads run by specific political campaigns.

Hallelujah!

Caribbean Vikings happy to leave Trump’s Amerika

❝ President Donald Trump has been joking recently about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland. But now it’s Puerto Ricans who are the ones laughing — and many say they’d be happy with the trade.

Some called themselves the “Caribbean Vikings” and others shared all the benefits they would have if they stopped being a U.S. territory and became an autonomous Danish territory…

❝ “Denmark is the country with the best education in the world,” a man wrote on Twitter.

A Puerto Rican podcaster, known as Nieto, shared what some labeled as the Danish “Starter Kit.”

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Lawyers for nutball MAGA BOMBER lay the blame on fake president and Sean Hannity

❝ The “MAGA Bomber” who mailed explosives to President Donald Trump’s critics turned violent on a steady diet of Fox News, Trump tweets, and Facebook, his lawyers claim.

❝ Cesar Sayoc, 57, previously pleaded guilty to sending 16 pipe bombs to news outlets and public figures… On social media, Sayoc promoted far-right conspiracy theories and threatened people who were critical of Trump. He faces life in prison for the mail bombings.

❝ But Sayoc’s lawyers argue he was just a man struggling with “cognitive limitations and mental illness” who was manipulated by conservative media and the president’s Twitter feed.

Sounds like the kind of defense that could be raised by the fake president after he’s out of office and fit only for the sort of work he ever qualified for: modeling an orange jumpsuit.