Social Media Inflection Point

It’s Armed + Dangerous, How Do We Turn This Thing Off

The CEO of Facebook is asking the government to regulate technology. [FB] While some Countries Want to Ban ‘Weaponized’ Social Media. What Would That Look Like? [NYT]

In a collection of stories across major newspapers and op-eds addressing the complexity of the social media landscape we are finally starting to arrive at the vocabulary and language we need.

You have to love the Facebook post, taking a page straight from plausible deniability playbook. Errr we fired up this massive weapon and don’t know what to do with it – just putting this out there.

The points made in the Facebook post are valid – if executed correctly – they won’t be.

Regulating Frankenstein

In the weekend FT How Facebook grew too big to handle concludes “Facebook and governments are responding to the social network’s problems one by one, rather than addressing underlying causes. Tristan Harris believes the company has created a “digital Frankenstein”. “By definition, they cannot control it,” he says. “I think they don’t want to admit that.”

The movement to accountability is gaining traction. NYT ..What if Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were treated like traditional publishers, expected to vet every post, comment and image before they reached the public? Or like Boeing or Toyota, held responsible for the safety of their products and the harm they cause?

Separating the ownership of technology platforms from the commercial activity

Perhaps the most defining sentence comes to us in this weekends Lunch with the FT Lina Khan -She “explores the case for separating the ownership of technology platforms from the commercial activity they host, so that Big Tech firms cannot both run a dominant marketplace and compete on it.”

Advertising Industry Failure To Self-Regulate

Let’s be clear it’s not often that industry asks for regulation. Technology has always led law, it only now that significant consequences are taking place, we are feeling the impact. The advertising industry fought regulation at every turn and promised self-regulation around it’s data collection process that led to targeting and segmentation.

After no regulation in the advertising industry or following up on any self-regulation promises, (coupled with the public’s apathy towards data collection and targeting ) the consequence was it – set the table perfectly for where we are now.

After You Target, You Fire

So the weaponization of social media – real-time by using targeting, automation (bots) and propaganda practices turned all social media into an attack vector. Some are taking the threat seriously – Taiwan to block Tencent and Baidu streaming sites on security risk – Taipei fears Beijing ramping up ‘cultural infiltration’ ahead of 2020 election.

Others not so much US ripe for Russian meddling in 2020 vote, experts warn [FT] When it comes to the 2020 presidential vote, the US faces many of the same vulnerabilities that made its electoral system a prime target In 2016 — and perhaps some new ones, said Doug Lute, a former American ambassador to Nato and retired Army lieutenant-general who has taken up the cause of US election security.

Incoming : attacks (con’t)

Attack who? If the above election tampering warning does not scare you – Take your pick from these two stand out examples. Support for populist ideas is strongest among older middle class voters suffering from “downward mobility” [The Power of Capitalism: A Journey Through Recent History Across Five Continents, Rainer Zitelmann] Or this easily preventable horror – advertising designed to exclude certain groups violates the Fair Housing Act. Facebook Faces a Reckoning for Redlining

What did you think happens after you target, you fire and we’re all unarmed, naked and vulnerable. All this glass has created further distance, we want connections our ripe receptors not satisfied. It will end in tears.