IIt’s good to remember that whenever Mark Zuckerberg claims to have founded Facebook in order to connect people or build communities, he somehow forgets that he created the site first in order to allow him- even and his fellow dormitories to assess the young Harvard women on their looks. But then, Zuckerberg was never the sharpest tool in the box. He once said that Facebook would not interfere with Holocaust denial on his service, as it was difficult to challenge people’s motivations for denying the Holocaust, before announcing a few years later that his “reflection On the issue had “evolved” and Holocaust denial was now frowned upon. Well, evolution works slowly.
But as Charles Arthur’s book on lawsuits coldly shows, social media algorithms don’t just allow people with bad interests to come together: they act as active matchmakers. “Facebook was harboring extremism by putting extremists in contact with each other,” Facebook’s own internal investigations concluded in 2016. Not only that, Facebook “automatically generates terrorist content”: its “machine learning systems” Have created a “Local Business” page for “al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula”.
Electronic social networks began with the telephone bulletin boards of the 1980s, when hipster clubs such as WELL (“Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link”) became model communities of the utopian future in books with the word “Cyberspace”. in their titles. “There are things about the WELL chat system that would become obvious to almost all future systems,” Arthur points out. One of them was the fact that assignments do not expire naturally. This architectural choice has led directly to the modern phenomenon of ‘criminal archaeologists’ scouring people’s stories on Twitter in order to publicly humiliate them for sins committed in the distant past, as recently happened to cricketer Ollie Robinson.
The modern conception of social media also psychologically encourages bad behavior, including mass aggression. Chris Wetherell, the man who created the retweet feature, now regrets doing it. And to “quote tweets”, or retweet someone’s post with a comment (usually whistleblower), Arthur writes in a funny way: that idiot just said on the phone! Let me read it to you! ‘ “