Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategorySocial Media

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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…

china connectivity
China from space on realistic model of planet Earth with network. Concept of digital technology, connectivity and travel.

China’s Internet: The Biggest Influencer Is the State

How China uses social metrics to guide its censorship strategy

The Chinese Communist Party’s response to champion doubles tennis player Peng Shuai was about more than just dismissing an accusation and protecting a high-ranking Party member. It was about silencing influencers and suppressing social mobilization. In a previous article, we looked at how Beijing’s propaganda machine used fake Twitter accounts to amplify messaging around tennis champion Peng Shuai after she disappeared from the public and was censored on the Chinese internet. Wilson Center scholar Rui Zhong writes in Wired magazine, “This is not about topics. This censorship is fundamentally about the dismantling of social resources.” Rui Zhong’s article is helpful in contextualizing the Chinese Communist Party’s targets for online censorship. She says that most analyses of Chinese internet censorship focus on specific words, phrases, or topics, rather…

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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…

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miniature people walking on streets,people are moving across the pedestrian crosswalk in the city road

The Strange Story of Google’s “Selfish Ledger”

If you need Google to run your life, this is definitely for you

At one time, not too many years ago, Google top hats developed the idea to push the rest of us to change society, as follows: The video was obtained and published on Thursday by The Verge. It describes a so-called “Selfish Ledger” that would collect all of your data, including actions you make on your phone, preference settings, and decisions you make, and not just keep it there for future evaluation. Instead, the ledger, which would be designed and managed by Google, would interpret that information and guide you down a path towards reaching a goal, or on a broader scale, doing your part to help solve poverty or other societal problems. In one example, the video describes how the…

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Top view of grey crowd of identical people and special one woman, difference and diversity concept. Unique among the faceless, not like everyone else. Shocked, wondered, going mad. Collage.

How Do I Know If I Am Living in a Digital Ghetto?

AI-enabled tools can help to achieve the objectives of those motivated to create anger, fear, isolationism, or bigotry by manipulating our attention

I have recently been enjoying the PBS documentary on the history of New York City, part of the “An American Experience” series. With that in the back of my mind, I read design theorist William Dembski’s thought-provoking article, “How Does Worldview Differ from Cultural Environment?” I found myself contemplating various aspects of his argument and in this article, I would like to present some thoughts, using this statement as a launching point: When I taught apologetics at seminary, I would stress to my students that in doing apologetics, they needed to get out of the ghetto. Some seem to think that there is a Christian community in which one can isolate oneself. Beyond this Christian community there is a secular…

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embryo silhouette in woman hand

Political Website’s Christmas Gift to Readers: Promoting Abortion

FiveThirtyEight asked readers to share their abortion stories and got something it hadn’t bargained on: Many were glad it didn’t happen
If you want to understand the mindset of the abortion lobby, note that this plea for accounts of killing of children in the womb appeared on Twitter on Christmas Day. Read More ›
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Group of fashion friends watching on their smart mobile phones - Millennial generation z addicted to new technology trends - Concept of people, tech, social media, friendship and youth lifestyle

If Facebook Kills Holly, Shouldn’t Zuckerberg Take the Stand?

When social media is associated with suicide, legislators must ponder what to do next

(This article by Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog (15 December 2021) under the title “Will Facebook kill Holly?” and is reprinted with permission.) I have to be careful about how I write today’s column. I do not want to betray any trusts. But on the other hand, a topic that up to now has been an abstraction for me has become personal. A statistic has turned into someone I know by only two degrees of separation. To protect anonymity, I have changed names and some details of what I will write here. But I assure you that what I am going to write is based on facts as personally told to me yesterday by someone I…

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social media concept

What If Social Media Thinks for You? — Sci-fi Saturday

We get a good chance to find out in a short sci-fi about a couple on a date

“Vessel” at DUST by Ethan Godel (November 29, 2021, 8:14 min) Thomas and Lucy are on a date. It’s going well. Really well. The chemistry is palpable – there is never a dull moment, never a lull in conversation. These two seem perfect for each other. Thomas waxes poetic on T.S. Elliot’s prose, Lucy recites her favourite stanzas… They are the envy of every couple in the restaurant. But if these jealous couples just looked a little closer, beyond the big words and fancy clothes, they would find something very peculiar. Unbeknownst to each other and other restaurant patrons, Thomas and Lucy each sport a discreet earpiece. And, through their respective earpieces, these “passionate” and “soulful” “lovers’’ are being told…

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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…

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey Resigns from Twitter: “now is the right time”

Some are concerned that his replacement is bad news for free speech

On Monday, Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter CEO, explaining that he has “worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders” and that “now is the right time.” “I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it,” wrote Dorsey in an email to his colleagues that he then posted to Twitter. “It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company… and all of you so much. I’m really sad… yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”…

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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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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…