Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategorySocial Media

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young cute girl hipster, sitting at a cafe holding a smart phone, answering texts, phone calls, letters, posts photos in instagram, outdoor portrait, close up, elaborated and bracelets on the hands

I’ve Been on Facebook for 13 Years. Here’s Why I’m Leaving Now.

Has Facebook actually improved the ways we connect with each other? And does Meta have a chance to improve upon that?

When I first joined Facebook in 2008, it was primarily a way to remain in contact with my dad while he was deployed overseas for a year. As I went through school, and then graduated and moved across the country for college, it became a way for me to connect with new and old friends. Now, thirteen years later, I am looking at deleting my Facebook. Here’s why: Last month, Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made waves when he announced the creation of a parent company over Facebook called “Meta.” The basic idea is what Zuckerberg calls “the next frontier” of the internet – a virtual reality in which people can engage in connection and creativity with one another.…

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Stand out from the crowd and different creative idea concepts One red 3d social media notification love like heart pin icon pop up from others on light green pastel color wall background 3D rendering

Indie Social Medium Now Shows Big Gain Due to Big Tech Censorship

Rumble recently received backing from venture capitalist Peter Thiel, PayPal and Facebook co-founder

In the current issue of City Journal, Steven Malanga looks at the traffic Silicon Valley is losing. Not much was expected of Rumble, an alternative YouTube founded in 2013 by Canadian entrepreneur Chris Pavlovski. But it hung on until 2020, when YouTube stepped up its efforts to remove content inconsistent with its public-spirited values or with its parent company Google’s political alliances — depending on who you talk to. At any rate, high-profile commentators were looking fora new home. And they found one: In just ten months, Rumble’s online viewership has increased 25-fold. The company has attracted funding from prominent venture capitalists and recently completed a series of deals to bring such outspoken voices as Greenwald, Gabbard, and Joe Rogan…

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Couple in bed on mobile phones ignoring each other in relationship problems and technology addiction

5 Ways to Keep the Digital Marketplace Out of Your Home

Today, people who share living quarters interact much less, due to the constant presence of social media and other digital alternatives

After a busy day in the public sphere, it’s a beautiful thing to come home. Our house is a sanctuary, a safe place to relax and regroup. And it’s where we cultivate some of our most intimate relationships. Up until the early decades of the 20th century, the family home was viewed as a private domain that should not be intruded upon by the marketplace. But the development of new technologies like the telephone, radio, and television blurred the line between our public and private spheres. Today, we give a host of companies and organizations intimate access to our family through our screens, subscriptions, digital assistants, and smart appliances. This erosion of our private time and our place of refuge…

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Machine learning systems and accurate facial recognition concept , smart phone with blue screen and blur human faces background

Facebook (Meta) is strengthening, not dumping facial recognition

They’re getting rid of the annoying parts but read the fine print

Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s VP of Artificial Intelligence, explains the changes to the face recognition system that have accompanied the very recent brand name change from Facebook to Meta: In the coming weeks, Meta will shut down the Face Recognition system on Facebook as part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in our products. As part of this change, people who have opted in to our Face Recognition setting will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos, and we will delete the facial recognition template used to identify them. This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history. Jerome Pesenti, “An Update On Our Use of…

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shocked woman holding laptop being picked blamed by many people in the Internet

Silicon Valley: From Laid Back Hippies to Top Cops…What Happened?

A political science prof traces the steps by which the naive assumptions of the early Valley morphed into shadow banning, outright banning, and so forth

Political scientist Jon Askonas offers a grim but somehow strengthening look at how Silicon Valley morphed from Apple’s revolt against 1984 to an increasingly comfortable relationship with totalitarian China. We must, he says, go back to the beginning. First, this is how Apple saw itself in 1984: Most of Silicon Valley saw itself that way — liberating people from authoritarianism. So what happened? In an incisive essay at The New Atlantis, Askonas offers some thoughts on what’s changed: ➤ First, he says, the Valley was very much influenced by 1970s California hippie beliefs about human nature that did not long survive realities like this: Faced with deadly riots in unstable societies caused by Facebook posts, Facebook tweaked its algorithms in…

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Old-fashioned Telephones Mounted On Wall

COSM: The Trek From Phone to Smart Phone: What Have We Learned?

Daniel Berninger, a pioneer and activist in VOIP communications, shares his insights about keeping the internet free and accessible

Daniel Berninger, an activist in the transition from plain old telephone service (POTS) to the online world of the cell phone (“disruptive communications”), will be speaking at COSM 2021. He has been involved in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) since 1995, starting with the original assessment of VoIP at Bell Laboratories and was a founder of the VON Coalition, “keeping IP communications free from government regulation.” He is a frequently cited resource on regulatory, antitrust, and VoIP issues (for example, in Business Week, WSJ, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, Forbes, Associated Press, Dow Jones, Info World and the trade press). He is also a founder of VCXC (Voice Communication Exchange Committee). His interests and approach: ➤ the decline of the…

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Cute white English Bulldog puppy in a graduation cap

Tested!: Are the Least Expert People the Most Confident? No.

The claimed Dunning–Kruger effect in psychology is a very shakeable truth frequently exploited by online social bullies

Have you ever been in an online discussion where a vocal proponent confidently claimed that his opponent was the victim of the dreaded “Dunning–Kruger” effect? At Vox, Brian Resnick explains, “That’s where people of low ability — let’s say, those who fail to answer logic puzzles correctly — tend to unduly overestimate their abilities”: An obvious example people have been using lately to describe the Dunning-Kruger effect is President Donald Trump, whose confidence and bluster never wavers, despite his weak interest in and understanding of policy matters. But you don’t need to look to Trump to find an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. You don’t even need to look at cable news. Brian Resnick, “An expert on human blind spots…

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Group young people using mobile smartphone outdoor - Millennial generation having fun with new trends social media apps - Youth technology addicted - Red background

Are We Really Luddites Just for Logging Off?

We can be wiser about boundaries for technology

(This piece is reprinted with permission from the Houston Chronicle, October 7, 2021.) Have you ever been called a Luddite? If so, you were probably not being credited with fueling a skilled labor movement in 19th century England. You were being jabbed for your relationship to technology. Today, the term is largely pejorative and can be directed at anyone who questions, rejects or even fumbles with technology. If you resist a new technology in favor of an old one, you’re a Luddite. If the recent testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen persuaded you to quit social media, you’re a Luddite. If you don’t know how to use a newer technology efficiently, you’re a Luddite. You’re swimming upstream down the river…

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Group of demonstrators on road, young people from different culture and race fight for climate change - Global warming and enviroment concept - Focus on banners

Google and YouTube Demonetize Climate Change Skeptics

But how did Google acquire the authority to declare what is "misinformation" or "scientific consensus"?

The Google Ads team announced a new policy last week banning the monetization of content critical of a current consensus around climate change. Beginning in November, both Google and YouTube will: …prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change. Google Ads team, “Updating our ads and monetization policies on climate change,” posted October 7, 2021 This does not mean that Google and YouTube will block any and all content that denies…

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Ageing society concept with Asian elderly senior adult women sisters using mobile digital smart phone application technology for social media network among friends community via internet communication

Need Help With Today’s Technology? Ask Your Elders!

Until you place technology in its larger context, you won’t fully understand or appreciate it.

(This story originally appeared at Newsmax and is reprinted with the author’s permission.) I made a new friend recently in an unlikely place—the comments section of Newsmax.com. In response to a recent post for my Newsmax column, Dorothy shared of her experience as a telephone company switchboard operator from 1949 to 1952. In her initial comments, she recalled a nugget of wisdom she’d once heard from someone: change is not always progress. We got to talking. Born in 1932, Dorothy has lived in several states in America and held jobs at a telephone company, the U.S. Air Force, American Airlines, a travel agency, a Tupperware sales agency, and more. She’s lived through countless technological developments in every area of life.…

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Influencer Marketing, Concept of Information and Influence Propagation in Social Networks

Erik Larson To Speak at COSM 2021, Puncturing AI Myths

A programmer himself, he is honest about what AI can and can’t do

If you’ve ever got the sense that we are all being played by the people marketing “Soon AI will think just like you or me!”, you may want to catch Erik J. Larson’s talk at COSM 2021 (November 10–12). Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do (Harvard University Press, 2021), is a computer scientist and tech entrepreneur. The founder of two DARPA-funded AI startups, we are told that he is currently working on core issues in natural language processing and machine learning. He has written for The Atlantic and for professional journals and has tested the technical boundaries of artificial intelligence through his work with the IC2 tech incubator at the…

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Hand adding a new team member to a group. Business management concept

Can Texas Win Its Fight With Big Social Media Censorship?

Engineering prof Karl D. Stephan notes that, currently, if a user is de-platformed from a large site such as Facebook, there are, famously, not a lot of alternatives

(This article by Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog September 27, 2021, and is reprinted with permission.) On September 9, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 20, a law designed to keep social media companies with more than 50 million subscribers from blocking users whose viewpoints the company disapproves of. Scheduled to take effect in December, the law has already attracted controversy and threats of lawsuits to keep it from going into effect. Currently, if a user is de-platformed from a large site such as Facebook, there are not a lot of alternatives. The overarching law in the US pertaining to such situations is Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which prevails if there is a conflict between…

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Cancel Culture Symbol

Database! One Stop Shop for Tracking Attacks by Cancel Culture

Looking at a number of entries at once helps us grasp the extent of the takeover of our culture, especially at universities, by grievance mobs

One used to hear many people say “Cancel Culture is so ridiculous, it will go away soon.” Well, that’s not happening. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who usually writes about other matters, discusses two representative incidents: The removal of a book review at Science-Based Medicine written by one of its own editors because it was deemed too friendly to Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage (2021), on the 4,400% rise from from 2008 to 2018 of teenage females seeking to transition to males — and the curious absence of rigorous studies that might account for the astounding increase. Coyne notes I read Shrier’s book and thought it was fair, empathic, and certainly not transphobic. But because Shrier was unfairly accused of transphobia…

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children's sorter with geometric shapes on a white background selective focus

If Google Thinks For You, Use THEIR Search Engine. Otherwise…

Google’s monopoly affects the free exchange of ideas in the public square and our electoral process

For years, the internet has been dominated by the all-seeing Google. Google has been so successful in its execution and protection of its brand that we culturally understand that to “Google” something is to conduct an internet search, despite the existence of alternative search engines. Google holds a massive advantage over all other search engines. More than 88% of all web searches are conducted through Google while the second-largest web browser, Bing, claims not quite 6% of all web searches. While alternative search services have existed for years (such as DuckDuckGo, Ask, and Startpage), only two English language indexes exist – Google’s and Bing’s. Most of the familiar search “alternatives” pull from those two datasets. Alternative search engines, then, aren’t all that…

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Holograms of masks, Hackers hiding behind digital anonymous masks, fake accounts. Concept for internet crime, fraud, cyber attack, spam, electronic theft. 3D illustration, 3D render

China Manipulates Social Media to Spark Protests in the U.S.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye and Google Threat Analysis have fingered a campaign against the Hong Kong democracy movement, as well as claims that COVID started in the U.S.

Both a September report by cybersecurity firm FireEye and a threat assessment post by Google highlight the scope of China’s current global propaganda campaign. According to FireEye’s Threat Research Blog, thousands of “inauthentic accounts” — across dozens of social media platforms and websites around the world — amplify the Chinese government’s messaging. While several non-government organizations, cybersecurity firms, and media outlets have reported on the way China’s Twitter network manipulates social medial platforms, FireEye and Alphabet say the breadth and scope of the propaganda campaign is much greater than previously thought: Most reporting has highlighted English and Chinese-language activity occurring on the social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, we have now observed this pro-PRC activity taking place on…

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Texas Governor Signs Law Curbing Big Tech Censorship

A similar law in Florida was halted by a federal judge. Will Texas's law face the same legal battle?

Last Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 20 into law, legislation that would prohibit social media companies from banning users for their political beliefs and provide users with a legal remedy for unfair discriminatory behavior. The law is very similar to legislation passed earlier this year in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7072 into law at the end of May. Within days, technology trade groups had filed a lawsuit, and on June 30, a federal judge stopped the bill in its tracks with a preliminary injunction. For the bill’s proponents, the law’s intention is to protect the free speech rights of state citizens when using social media. “Freedom of speech is under attack in Texas,” said…

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Social media concept.

Federal Trade Commission Takes Facebook to Court… Again

The FTC hopes to prove in an 80-page complaint that Facebook holds damaging monopoly power over competitors

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an amended complaint against Facebook, trying again for an antitrust lawsuit after a federal judge dismissed their original complaint earlier this summer. The updated complaint alleges that Facebook has violated antitrust laws and garnered monopoly power, namely by buying up rival companies and imposing unfair policies that “neutralize perceived competitive threats.” Facebook is the world’s dominant online social network, with a purported three billion-plus regular users. Facebook has maintained its monopoly position in significant part by pursuing Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) Mark Zuckerberg’s strategy, expressed in 2008: “it is better to buy than compete.” True to that maxim, Facebook has systematically tracked potential rivals and acquired companies that it viewed as serious competitive…

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A cuban flag with holes waves over a street in Central Havana. La Habana, as the locals call it, is the capital city of Cuba

Social Media Was Instrumental in Recent Cuba Protests

Social media broke down barriers and helped galvanize the Cuban people against their Communist government

One month after protests broke out across Cuba, the island’s Communist government has released a new set of internet and social media regulations specifically aimed at cracking down on anti-government activity. The Cuban government released the new regulations on Tuesday, forbidding internet content that is critical of the state’s policies, specifically on “constitutional, social and economic” matters, as well as content that could incite actions “that alter public order.” In addition, Cubans are now encouraged to report any content violating the new regulations, using a government-created form. Penalties for violating the new internet use decrees will be determined by legislation at a later date. Why such a crackdown on internet content? It’s because social media was essential to the widespread…

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Justice and law concept. Gavel on sounding block in hand's Male judge at a courtroom, working with document law books, report the case on table in modern office.

Section 230: What Is It and Why the Controversy?

Does Section 230 provide Big Tech too much power, or is it necessary for the moderation of misinformation and inappropriate content?

At the center of the controversy between free speech and the rights of private companies lies Section 230, the controversial U.S. code dating back to 1996. Toward the end of his term in 2020, former President Donald Trump famously tweeted that Section 230 should be “completely terminated.” Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voiced their support, but by and large, the sentiment was met with fierce resistance. Advocates for the reform (or complete repeal) of Section 230 argue that it shields Big Tech companies from accountability when they engage in politically-motivated censorship and content moderation. Supporters of Section 230 argue that it is essential to keep the internet free of misinformation and vile or obscene material. Section 230…