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More Bad News for the Metaverse

Virtual reality projects are losing steam across the tech industry in the wake of layoffs and investor skepticism

Big tech companies across the spectrum, including Meta, Microsoft, and Apple, are scaling back on virtual reality research and development. The technological demands of the metaverse are more advanced than CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg have anticipated, and employees are feeling the impact. Microsoft recently laid off 10,000 workers, cutting funding from the lab responsible for the production of its mixed-reality “HoloLens.” The army was originally in the works to use the Microsoft lens for aids in combat and training, but the technology has since been labeled as “dangerous and poorly designed.” Meta laid off 11,000 employees last November and continues to struggle to gain interest and traction for its ambitious metaverse project. A report from Insider notes that a combination Read More ›

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Cancel Culture society concept or cultural cancellation and social media censorship as canceling or restricting opinions that are offensive or controversial to the public

Twitter files 13 and 14… plus the critical bigger picture

Growing distrust of mainstream media should be supplemented by scrutiny among users of Big Tech social media. They're not an answer to the problem.

First, as Elon Musk continues to dump the files out the window at Twitter — to the dismay of the media elite that generally knew and approved of censorship of views other than their own, especially where COVID-19 or U.S. federal politics was concerned: Twitter files 13: Handled by independent journalist Alex Berenson — once banned from Twitter for criticizing the government response to the pandemic: “Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb secretly pressed Twitter to hide posts challenging his company’s massively profitable Covid jabs /To funnel his demands, Gottlieb used the same Twitter lobbyist the White House did – fresh evidence of overlap between the company selling mRNA shots and the government forcing them on the public.” 4/ In October Read More ›

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An internet email symbol and a group of people are separated by a red prohibitory symbol No. restrictions on access to the global Internet. Censorship. Information control, society isolation policy

Big Tech Censorship Goes Well Beyond Twitter

Big Tech media is not, in itself, an answer to current legacy mainstream media if we would like to know information that our betters would prefer that we didn't

The big news (if it is even news) is that most Big Tech media are involved in censorship of opinions disapproved by the governing elite. Elon Musk has certainly shone a light by buying Twitter and releasing the house files to independent journalists. Legacy media entities still refuse to cover the story seriously (probably because they cannot take inevitable further blows to their relevance, numbers, or prestige) First, some updates on the Twitter Files via indie journalist Matt Taibbi: Twitter files 11 deals with — among other things — the way Twitter was pressured in 2016 by political friends, then out of power, to discover that there was Russian involvement in the outcome of the U.S. 2016 election. Twitter was Read More ›

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Unemployed hold cardboard box and laptop bag, dossier and drawing tube in box. Quiting a job, businessman fired or leave a job concpet.

Twitter Gets Blasted While Meta Struggles

While Musk’s every move is being scrutinized, Zuckerberg’s struggles fall to the wayside

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and founder of PayPal, radically reorganized Twitter in October and November, and now, is the subject of much criticism from the media. He has laid off hundreds of employees and fired the advisory board. In addition, he reinstated the formerly suspended accounts of Jordan Peterson, parody news site The Babylon Bee, and most outrageously, former president Donald Trump. A few days ago, somehow it was assumed across the Twitter sphere that the entire platform was about to implode. I started seeing people post things like, “If this is my last tweet, I’m okay with that…” Not sure what was happening, I experienced a sudden flood of similar tweets prophesying the Twitter era’s impending Read More ›

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A man with the sky surreal painting illustration

Facebook and Government: Working Together for Thought Management

A critical distinction between Facebook and traditional media is that Facebook is global and total, not regional and partial

In recent years, motivated perhaps by a sense of public duty, Facebook (rebranded as Meta) has turned its attention to fine-grained political reeducation and censorship of the nearly 3 billion monthly active users of its platform. All the instances listed below (plus, doubtless, many others we don’t know of at press time) add up to quite the program of thought management: ● Working closely with the FBI to monitor Americans who questioned the results of the 2020 election: “It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause,” alleged one of the sources, who spoke on condition of -anonymity. “Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena.” These private messages Read More ›

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Automotive Engineer Use Virtual Reality Headset for Virtual Electric Car 3D Model Design Analysis and Improvement. 3D Graphics Visualization Shows Fully Developed Vehicle Prototype Analysed Optimized

Why Don’t Some Tech Moguls Like Web3, the New Internet?

Web3 is a decentralized, less controlled version of the internet, as George Gilder predicted in Life After Google

In this week’s podcast, “Web3: The next generation of the internet” (August 4, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews graduate student Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert, both in computer engineering at Baylor University, on the coming decentralization of the internet. With developments like the ones they discuss looming, Big Tech may be seeing a waistline trim. This is the Part I of the first of the three discussions. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-198-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript and Additional Resources follow. Dr. Marks began by discussing all the services he gets from Google, confessing that he has not needed to go to a library in over two decades. But… Robert J. Marks: Now, is Google just being nice in giving me Read More ›

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birds eye view photography of cloudy sky

Web3: The Next Generation of the Internet

Futurist George Gilder forecasts that decentralization of the web is going to be the future of the internet. Data will become more personalized and stored on your local computer instead of in the cloud and companies like Google will have to figure out some way to adjust. Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert discuss blockchain, Web3, decentralization, and the metaverse Read More ›

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Strichcode

What You Need To Know About Surveillance Capitalism

A Harvard professor coined the term and her 2019 book sounds a warning about how Google and Facebook gain power and wealth selling YOU

The term “surveillance capitalism” was coined by Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff in her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. It’s a fascinating read, offering insight into the power that companies like Google and Facebook have amassed and the danger that power poses to our way of life. Here’s how she explained it to the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 News in 2019: Here’s how surveillance capitalism works, just in brief. It begins with these companies claiming, unilaterally claiming, our private human experience as their free source of raw material. So what do they do with that raw material? They lift out of it the rich predictive signals in our Read More ›

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Meta Suspends Hate Speech Policy in Countries Near Russia

Hate speech and death threats against Russian and Belarusian political leaders and their militaries are temporarily allowed in twelve Eastern European countries

In a dramatic change of policy, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) will temporarily allow users of Facebook and Instagram in twelve countries to post hate speech and death threats directed toward Russian and Belarusian military personnel and political leaders within the context of the conflict in Ukraine. The change was first reported by Reuters on Thursday morning. A Meta spokesperson told Reuters, “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.” Calls for violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko are Read More ›

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In State of the Union, Biden Vows to Curb Social Media Harms

Biden addressed the mental health harms of social media use on children and teens

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden referred to the harms of social media in his State of the Union address, announcing policy proposals to curb those harms. In response, however, some have been critical of the president’s remarks, accusing him of ignoring social media’s deeper dangers. Over an hour into his speech, President Biden turned to mental health and the emotional toll the pandemic has had, especially on children. Then he turned to the emotional health toll exacted by social media, long before the first COVID-19 lockdowns. “Children were also struggling before the pandemic – bullying, violence, trauma, and the harms of social media,” he said. “It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop Read More ›

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Fact Checkers Stifle Story on Government-Funded Crack Pipes

When official sources contradict each other, who has the authority to decide what is misinformation and what is not?

A Facebook fact-checking group censored a report released this week that the Biden Administration is providing grants that would fund the distribution of crack pipes to the addicted, labeling it as containing “partly false information” and burying any posts containing the report in users’ news feeds. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is operating a $30 million grant program for harm reduction, a strategy to combat drug addiction that seeks “to reduce the negative personal and public health impacts of behavior associated with alcohol and other substance use.” Perhaps the best known harm reduction tactic has been the exchange or distribution of clean needles to the addicted. Now, it would Read More ›

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Bearish stock financial, bear market chart falling prices down turn from global economic and financial crisis.

Zuckerberg’s New Meta Pummeled by Stock Market

Meta (Facebook reimagined) faces a gauntlet of challenges only months after Zuckerberg announced his new "metaverse" initiative

Last October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be undergoing a major facelift to become Meta. The Facebook platform we all know and love would remain as is, but Meta would become Facebook’s parent company with a primary focus of developing the “metaverse,” an immersive online experience that Zuckerberg called “the next frontier” of the internet. But Meta is off to a rough start. Facebook’s parent company shed more than $230 billion in market value Thursday, a one-day loss that is the biggest ever for a U.S. company and increases pressure on a stock market long powered by technology shares…. The Facebook parent company surprised investors with a deeper-than-expected decline in profit and a downbeat outlook. The company Read More ›

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closeup keyboard laptop and Google Ads AdWords app icon on smartphone screen. Google is the biggest Internet search engine in the world. Moscow, Russia - April 27, 2019

Facebook and Google Face Big Legal Challenges

The FTC, dozens of states, and private citizens are coming after the big tech companies for antitrust violations

How has 2022 begun for our favorite Big Tech companies? With a good chunk of lawsuits. As technology companies grow bigger, they face bigger legal challenges. Here’s a brief rundown of a few such challenges Facebook and Google face in the courts in this new year: FTC Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook Moves Forward Let’s begin at the federal level. Last June, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia tossed out a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenging Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. According to Boasberg, the FTC failed to adequately show that Facebook holds a monopoly. Not to be dissuaded, the FTC re-filed with an amended complaint in August. Last Read More ›

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Robot concept or robot hand chatbot pressing computer keyboard enter

Will AI Take Over Content Moderation?

While content moderators report psychological trauma, experts weigh in on whether artificial intelligence could remove humans from the equation

How do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and other platforms keep up with the millions upon millions of posts, comments, videos, and photos posted to their sites on a daily basis? It takes a partnership between artificial intelligence and human content moderators.  In recent years, however, content moderators have begun to reveal that their work is often traumatizing. Moderators for Facebook and TikTok have gone so far as to sue for the psychological harm they have experienced at their workplaces, regularly reviewing images and videos that you and I never have to see depicting rape, murder, child trafficking, and other violent and graphic content. Subjecting workers to violent and graphic imagery is an unsustainable way of keeping the internet free of such Read More ›

Woman walking smartphone tik tok

Social Media Content Moderator Sues TikTok for PTSD

Social media moderators protect users from graphic content, but who protects the moderators?

A social media content moderator is suing TikTok, a popular video app, for psychological trauma developed from 12-hour shifts moderating endless graphic videos. Candie Frazier works for Telus International, a Canadian contracting firm providing moderation services to social media apps like TikTok. Frazier filed a complaint with the California Central District Court in December, alleging that TikTok and parent company ByteDance do not provide enough support for the psychological wellbeing of their contracted moderators, whose job it is to remove violent, graphic, and otherwise inappropriate content from the platform. TikTok’s popularity exploded in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns, especially among millennials and Generation Z. As of September, TikTok reported 1 billion users every month. In her complaint, Frazier explains that Read More ›

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Pre-adolescent teen girl texting on a smartphone lying in bed at home. Candid indoor photo withFocus on the foreground and copy space

Facebook’s…Er, Meta’s Instagram Problem

Despite employee-recommended solutions, Facebook has largely turned a blind eye to the harms their own algorithms have caused in teenage girls using Instagram

The Wall Street Journal’s series of articles based on leaked internal documents from Facebook, Inc. (now Meta Platforms, Inc.) gave us a peek inside the company’s business model, including what the company knew about Instagram’s harmful mental health effects on teen girls.*  Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, provided thousands of pages of internal documents and Slack conversations to the Wall Street Journal’s Jeff Horwitz, and has since made the documents available to other media outlets. Gizmodo is working with a group of experts to make the documents public, which can be viewed here. On October 5th, Haugen testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Facebook’s lack of transparency regarding the harms of its platforms. The full testimony can be seen in the video below. Haugen Read More ›

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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. Read More ›

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Gold bitcoin on dark background

COSM Speaker Peter Thiel: The Failures and “Self-Hatred” of Big Tech

Listen to maverick entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s talk from last year’s COSM conference. Thiel discusses his views of artificial intelligence, Big Tech’s monopoly, China, and the future of technology with legendary tech guru George Gilder. You can register now to hear Peter Thiel and George Gilder at this year’s COSM conference in November. Show Notes 00:50 | Introducing Peter Thiel 01:12 Read More ›

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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 Read More ›

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An internet email symbol and a group of people are separated by a red prohibitory symbol No. restrictions on access to the global Internet. Censorship. Information control, society isolation policy

Is “Misinformation” Another Way to Say “Unwelcome Information”?

Cameron English notes that, on social media, major media outlets can botch the science with impunity but the slightest offenses, real or imagined, get others silenced

At American Council on Science and Health (“promoting science and debunking junk since 1978”), Cameron English reflects on the handwringing among social media companies about how to crack down on “misinformation” on COVID-19. Given the number of authoritative statements made and suddenly reversed, tt seems that any such crackdown would largely be driven by politics. For example: Facebook recently announced that it would “no longer take down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured,” and the company’s new policy nicely underscores this point about credibility. What was the social media platform’s justification for allowing users to discuss the lab-spillover hypothesis? It didn’t hire a team of virologists and foreign policy experts to assess the viability of competing explanations for Read More ›