How Facebook broke America

If you’re talking about the MMR, the data doesn’t really demonstrate that as some equivalent lefty issue. State level data for the MMR shows that New England and the Pacific Northwest have the highest levels of vaccination.

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I’d argue it’s hubris to have too much confidence in one’s own doubt. The art of deception is in a constant state of refinement. I’m keenly aware that only a tiny cognitive difference separates the smartest human from the dumbest. I flatter myself that I’m above average, while knowing I’m nowhere near the top, and I nonetheless cling to that tiny difference. But I don’t imagine for a moment that it’s insurmountable.

Chicken, Meet Egg [small]


So communication shows that pre-fab countries with a captive audience of otherwise unrelated people are really unstable. Who knew?

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Meanwhile, people worry about robots with human-like intelligence.


Some do, but I think when a lot of people say AI, they’re talking about the dangers of the kind we already have or soon will (not necessarily human-like AI), and they’re not wrong.

How Facebook broke America

Fbook sucks.


FB operates worldwide. Do you need a Great Firewall of America to shield Americans from foriegn comments?

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That implied naiveté seems to fall in with Facebook posters’ demonstrated need to share (perhaps too) many aspects of their personal lives online.

And – from an interesting NPR radio report a few weeks ago – it sounds as if the BS is not limited to the Facebook ad content: There is a huge propensity for Facebook posters to purposely limit their shared information from their personal lives to things they can brag about (whether true or not), with the result being the targeted readers (family/friends) become depressed; they come to believe that, unlike them, the sharers have no problems (oh, really?) and are happy (are they)? Jealousy and feelings of inadequacy sink in.

This latest BB article and the NPR report together paint Facebook as being a Petri dish of BS. At risk of being called a Monday morning quarterback, I can’t imagine that it had to take more than one step back to see that coming. I mean… PEOPLE!


If this is an example of what we get from unintended consequences of some dumb algorithms at Facebook, imagine what could happen if we instead get a smart AI running Facebook with an agenda of its own.Skynet doesn’t need the ability to launch all the nukes, only the ability to convince people that launching the nukes is the only option.

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Better yet, drop FaceCrook all together. I mean it’s not like they are gathering all your peronal information that you voluntarily post and use it for markeing, data mining and profiting and undermining our democracy.


In fact, many such algorithms are quite sophisticated, and form ecosystems that are sometimes literally beyond our understanding. We humans often mistake consciousness for the whole gamut of intelligence, or to believe it’s the most decisive form of intelligence, when in truth this may not even be the case in ourselves. Some neurological research appears to suggest that we seem to act before we’re conscious of our decisions and our conscious mind mainly rationalizes after the fact. At the very least our conscious mind is probably not the master and commander we like to imagine it to be.

The focus on self-aware AI is a distraction.


No, not me personally. I hear from all sorts of a##holes online.

But sure - the country & particularly the electoral system needs to be
protected from covert intelligence operations.

It’s a bit naive to think a few billion people are going to stop using Facebook anytime soon.


FB will need an algorithm to distinguish political commentary from covert intelligence operations.

I’m getting tired of articles like this.
Facebook didn’t do anything to America. It’s a private, advertising-based company that’s doing it’s thing – selling advertising.

To argue that they shound’t sell advertising to foreigners who try to influence an election is to ensconce FB as a public institution, which it manifestly is not. Personally, I find that more harmful and offensive than “Ruskies” buying ads.

People need to get the fuck over thinking that FB somehow has any of their best interests at heart, and they need to get over thinking it’s some kind of public institution. And the quicker the better, because it’s those attitudes that are breaking America…

Most of all, people need to learn the difference between public and private, and let the public sphere get back to doing what it should be doing. The shear amount of neo-liberalism that Americans on both the right and the left have internalized is saddening. Seriously, when did the Atlantic become a neo-liberal rag?

Oh, that’s right. Because technology.


I agree. I should have said in my original comment that I’ve fallen for fake stories before myself. It’s easy when the story fits your worldview. I hope I’ve gotten smarter. I can say I mostly use Facebook now to keep up with personal news from family and friends (birthdays, new jobs, relationships, cool cat photos, etc) and not to find out what’s going on in the world. I think Facebook excels at this. It does not excel at news distribution. I still think we as individuals have to take some personal responsibility to fix this, because I don’t think any corporation or government institution is going to.

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Ditto. It’s a most unnerving feeling, isn’t it? But what should really bother each of us is which one’s we’ve fallen for but don’t realize it.

I think we as a culture do. Government is an important avenue through which people can effect change, but only strawmen argue it’s the only avenue. Real people hardly ever think government is the only lever of social change.


Since when it FB part of the country (or electoral system)?

They seem to have had no trouble identifying quite a bit of it when pushed.

Nah - let’s just give up. We only do things that are easy and unimportant.