Facebook, By Its Very Design, Cannot Avert the Tragedies it Creates

4 minute read
| Particle Debris

Recently, Facebook has suffered some difficulties that were caused by its very design. It’s clear now that one of the features of large, complex social services is that they contain within themselves the seeds of tragedy. Worse, thanks to the money at stake, there’s no remedy. Not even a tough-to-implement one.

Facebook and the Web of Trust

Facebook has the popularity and power to become the new Web of Trust – and the features are already in place (Image Credit: geralt)

Two recent tragedies come to mind. The first has been the systematic exploitation of how Facebook functions to distort the news, influence Facebook subscribers and even promote the interests of a hostile foreign government.

The second event was an abuse by a subscriber so horrendous it brought national attention to the foundations of how Facebook is used. “Father in Thailand Kills 11-Month-Old Daughter Live on Facebook.

In the first case, Facebook has issued a report that, according to The Verge, “details a comprehensive plan for dealing with what Facebook calls ‘information operations’ — any sustained attempt by an organized force to distort public discourse.” The Verge analyzes the 13 page report here: “The most important part of Facebook’s disinformation strategy is what it leaves out.

Facebook After Action Report

Author Russell Brandom has some interesting and depressing things to say about this Facebook report.

In some ways, Facebook faces an impossible task.

But what we’re left with is the real prospect of foreign powers manipulating public discourse, and no clear way to fix it.

As a result, what should be a reassuring document ends up as an admission of defeat.

No matter how one feels about Facebook, it’s slowly becoming clear that the very design of Facebook naturally leads to the exploits and abuses described above. In the case of that horrid video, CEO Mark Zuckerberg may suggest that Facebook will do a better job filtering those kinds of videos, but it’s really just a continuing game of whack-a-mole.

I’ve heard it said that a uniquely American psychology is that we think we can fix any social problem, no matter how difficult. However, some things just can’t be fixed by their very design, complexity, size, and financial ties.

It seems to me there are only two approaches. The first is to remain stuck amongst the Facebook goings on, remain immersed in the wretched hive and slowly become more and more depressed.

The second is to delete your account and go skiing.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of April 24th. False narratives about Apple.

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wab95
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wab95

John: Leave it to Dilger to destroy a perfectly beautiful narrative with an ugly set of facts about Apple’s products and their market performance relative to their competitors’. Is no nestled narrative safe from the purgative light of truth and evidence? Such wanton and data driven disregard for alternative facts runs afoul of today’s political and social climate, is a slur against siloed sanctums of secure echo chambers, islets of inbred pseudo-intellectualism, and smacks of pointy-headed, double-domed elitism. I’ll bet that the man actually reads books. Lest someone take that sarcasm literally, or better still, levels the charge of hypocrisy… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Two Apple Stores in San Diego were robbed today. The thieves took display items by cutting the security cables, MacBooks and iPhones.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/SD-Thieves-Steal-Displays-From-Fashion-Valley-Apple-Store–420756213.html

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

It seems to me there are only two approaches.

Three, a replacement for Facebook that is run by responsible people that respects the users and the advertisers. Easy to understand settings, filters, reporting, and privacy.

geoduck
Member
geoduck

Thank you as well for the links to Dilger’s articles. They put things into perspective very nicely. I loved the bit where Samsung makes more off of the components they sell to Apple than they do from their own smartphones. That’s priceless. The bit about the Apple Watch and integration was interesting too. Since its introduction it has gone from a device I was actively annoyed by to something that’s interesting but just doesn’t do anything to make it a must have for me. However if they are successful in adding blood glucose monitoring, we will be in line the… Read more »

geoduck
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geoduck

Facebook and the other platforms that allow live streaming are going to re educate people on why editors are a good thing.

skipaq
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skipaq

I always read Diger’s articles; just as I always read yours. He is very good with his analysis.

Anything is better to do than time spent in Facebook.