If triggering emotions is the highest prize, and negative emotions are easier to trigger, how could social media not make you sad? If your consumption of content is tailored by near limitless observations harvested about people like you, how could your universe not collapse into the partial depiction of reality that people like you also enjoy? How could empathy and respect for difference thrive in this environment?
To keep the internet free — while becoming richer, faster, than anyone in history — the technological elite needed something to attract billions of users to the ads they were selling. And that something, it turns out, was outrage. As Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality, points out, anger is the emotion most effective at driving “engagement” — which also makes it, in a market for attention, the most profitable one. By creating a self-perpetuating loop of shock and recrimination, social media further polarized what had already seemed, during the Obama years, an impossibly and irredeemably polarized country.
“The Internet Apologizes…” by Noah Kulwin, 4/13/2018
Seriously, this story first came up in what, 2012? You’ve had 6 years to hire some brilliant strategist to plan a response, and this is the best you could do? Even though I am just nobody, let me do you the solid of a prepared statement.
“The family story of my grandparents getting married despite parental opposition has a lot of personal meaning for me, even though there’s no evidence it’s true. I was wrong to claim Native American heritage based on that story, without investigating first. I compounded that mistake by being defensive when it was pointed out to me, and by refusing to listen to some women who wanted to help me understand the issues involved more deeply. Unlike some of my colleagues on the left, I do not believe that a person can claim any biological or cultural identity they’d like. And unlike some of my colleagues on the right, I do not believe that Native people get special advantages because of their ethnicity or tribal affiliation — quite the opposite, in fact. I won’t be discussing this issue in interviews or answering questions about it going forward, though I will consider all communications about it from my constituents as I work to represent them all to the best of my ability.”
Now was that so hard?
From Feminist Current responding to a post on Facebook’s response to “revenge porn”:
“Do not tell me that the men at Facebook couldn’t see this coming.”
THIS IS WHY WE NEED MORE DIVERSITY IN STEM. THIS RIGHT HERE. Any woman who, like myself, was online in the late 80s could see this shit coming a mile away. We could see the potential quite easily for this to be used to stalk, harass, and destroy lives and careers.
Same with black people and other people of color. Any politically active black person in the late 80s had clear memories of the government infiltrating and trying to hamstring and destroy their communities. Between people of color and women of all colors, we could have AND IN MANY CASES DID warn people in online communities of the potential for these kinds of abuses. I and a community of women I knew were screaming about this shit in the early 90s on Usenet for chrissakes!!
Yet the only people around the boardroom tables making the decisions on tech design and security were stupid, clueless white boys who were all so fucking convinced that they were the smartest people in the room. Shut up, stupid girls. We Men Are Making Important Decisions Here.
And now we have technology that is ruining the planet, and all those dumbfucks at Facebook are suddenly waking up TWENTY-FIVE YEARS TOO LATE going, “Uh-oh, mebbe we do a bad fing.”
If women and minorities are excluded from the development of technology, that technology will only ever destroy the fucking world. THAT’S WHY WE NEED TO BE IN STEM, not because some asshole fucking ugly-ass white boy at Google thinks they have to be politically correct and generous toward people of lesser brain power and unfairly take a job away from the pasty-ass scrawny white male fuck who shoulda haddit.
No one notices this about tech. All this fucking handwringing about how Facebook destroyed democracy and NO ONE HAS REALIZED that the exclusion of women and minorities from its design and implementation from the start caused it. Science, technology, religion, art … all of it. Exclude women and minorities, and it all becomes a force for evil and Armageddon.
GodDAMN fucking stupid-ass white boys. Everything that’s wrong with the whole world from environmental degradation and global warming to the destruction of democracy to ebola comes down to them kicking everyone else in the face whenever we try to express an opinion about ANYTHING.