Tag: Facebook

Member Post

 

In the latest episode, the Young Americans get super nerdy, with the help of real-life tech policy researcher Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. He and Jack discuss the virtues of free markets vs. Millennial skepticism thereof, question the emerging conventional wisdom on tech addiction and Silicon Valley, rebut the Unabomber (!), and go […]

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Guns Aren’t the Problem. We Are the Problem.

 

Guns are not the problem. We are the problem.

If you look at the Wikipedia page about mass shootings in the US, you will find that five out of the seven accepted causes are psychological and cultural. Five. Out of Seven. Even they recognize that gun accessibility is only worth two points of discussion.

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Facebook Censors Conservative Author Brad Thor

 

Someone at Facebook decided that paying to promote a post on your favorite internet destination is verboten. Carol Roth, host of The Roth Effect here at the Ricochet Audio Network, wanted to promote her latest episode, an interview with best-seller author Brad Thor, but was told she needed to get “authorized” to run ads about “social issues, elections or politics.” So what triggered the rejection? Was it her name, the name of her guest, Brad Thor, or was it the destination?

Here’s the ad she tried to buy:

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How the Nerds Took Revenge

 

We were all once nerds, or cool kids, jocks, bullies, dorks, AV cart-pushers, theater geeks, motorheads, preppies, break dancers, valley girls, wastoids, heshers, skaters, surfers, outcasts, and teacher’s pets. Microchip technology was nascent as we learned the term “hacker” from Matthew Broderick changing his grades via modem, while Anthony Michael Hall demonstrated how hyperactive geeks could end up with the Homecoming Queen.

We delighted in watching nerds take revenge. After all, those narcissistic jocks deserved it, which became an oft-repeated trope in many films of the 1980s. The smartest, but most socially awkward would exact vengeance on anyone who previously shunned them, both men and women. While comedic in tone and extremely satisfying to watch at the time, there’s no doubt that said retribution has since morphed into something darker; the entitled psyche of yesterday’s and today’s disenfranchised.

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What Cannot Be Unseen

 

A few days ago, fellow member @unsk wrote about California’s threat to the sanctity of the confessional in the Catholic Church. As an observation, I replied:

I don’t think many people appreciate the burdens the church puts on its priesthood. The confessional is an awful weight. The secrets some people carry are enough to push one to a breaking point and I cannot fathom knowing the secrets of an entire congregation.

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Utterly Absurd

 

In 1914, in his novel The World Set Free, H.G. Wells wrote of a future featuring “atomic bombs,” in which “it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.” That was thirty-one years before Trinity — before the detonation of the first atomic weapon in the sands of southern New Mexico.

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrentheit 451, written in 1953, described ear-buds, those ubiquitous little earphones everyone wears today. He called them “seashells,” but we’d recognize them today — as we would the insular cocoon they created for the perpetually distracted wife of that novel’s protagonist.

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Why America’s Social Media Firms Aren’t ‘Parasites’

 

It’s hard to be a big tech company these days without somebody rooting for your demise. But some cases are a bit more understandable than others. Like this one: “Bannon says killing Huawei more important than trade deal with China.” I mean, I get it. Former Trump White House adviser and nationalist Steve Bannon wants America to launch and win a Tech Cold War against China. Taking an ax to what might be its most important tech company, a key player in the global 5G rollout, might be a big step forward in such a plan.

But it’s not Americans wanting to shut down just Chinese tech companies. Sometimes it’s Americans going after American firms. “Maybe we’d be better off if Facebook disappeared,” writes Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, in an op-ed for USA Today. And his problem isn’t just with the social media giant run by Mark Zuckerberg. According to Hawley, Twitter and Instagram, though oddly not YouTube, are also “best understood as a parasite on productive investment, on meaningful relationships, on a healthy society,” He claims they’ve created an “addiction economy” based on extracting and selling data gleaned from uninformed users. The first sentence of the piece: “Social media consumers are getting wise to the joke that when the product is free, they’re the ones being sold.”

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Should We Tax Facebook and Google So They Change Their Business Models?

 

Paul Romer.
Is Big Tech today as dangerous as Big Money a decade ago? Economist and Nobel laureate Paul Romer seems to think there are disturbing similarities. In a New York Times op-ed, Romer advocates taxing revenue from the sales of targeted digital ads to check the size and power of “dominate digital platforms,” specifically Facebook and Google. “Our digital platforms may not be too big to fail,” he writes. “But they are too big to trust.” Romer’s policy goal is to nudge these companies away from the original sin of advertising-driven business models, and Romer sees a Pigovian tax as a more efficient way to reduce their size and influence than antitrust or regulation. He doesn’t like targeted ads, nor the financial power they generate.

Romer’s approach toward Big Tech might sound familiar to anyone who followed the post-Financial Crisis debate about Wall Street and “too big to fail.” Among the policy options for taming the megabanks and de-risking their business models were regulation, antitrust, or higher capital requirements. That last one, advocates argued, was the most efficient and market-friendly way of making failure less likely, potentially serving as a de facto tax on bigness, or even spurring a self-initiated breakup.

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The FTC Unfriends Facebook

 

While Facebook thrives in the marketplace, the company is under siege by angry critics both inside and outside of government over privacy issues. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that Facebook violated its 2011 privacy consent decree and may impose a fine on the company of up to $5 billion. The FTC alleges that Facebook did not do enough to protect user data from being improperly exploited by Cambridge Analytica, which used that data to supply strategy advice to the Trump campaign.

In one sense, the fine is the least of Facebook’s worries; other initiatives are in development to alter the way the company does business. With her usual lack of caution, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon, and Google on the ground that their allegedly monopolistic practices tend to squash smaller upstarts, leading to what she laments as a rapid decline in competition and innovation across an industry that has been defined by fierce competition and high levels of innovation. Warren doubled down on her position by recently unveiling a new bill imposing criminal liability—including jail time—on corporate executives for simple negligence in carrying out their manifold duties.

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Why I Left Facebook

 

Four years ago a cartoon contest was held in Garland, Texas. Organizers encouraged contestants to draw political cartoons in response to a terrorist attack by Islamic supremacists on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper, in January of 2015, in which a dozen people, including the newspaper’s publishing director Stéphane Charbonnier, were murdered.

This is the winning cartoon, drawn by a fellow named Bosch Fawstin.

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As a Man Thinketh in His Heart . . .

 

After numerous startling Facebook suggestions echoing sentiments I’d expressed aloud less than twenty-four hours before, I’ve quit fighting the idea that some apps on our devices are picking up on our conversations to suggest products and articles that suit our needs. Too far-fetched? How about this? I feel old and tired, I remark to my sister as we ride together in the car. The next day, an article with helpful tips appears in my feed. The title: “Feeling Old and Tired?” I took a screenshot of this stunning example of eavesdropping devices.

Then there was the time someone said to me, Not everyone appreciates me being frank and honest. The next day, there in my newsfeed, in case I needed to read up on the topic, was the article, “The Virtues of Frankness and Honesty.” Coincidence? Probably I had more chance of winning the lotto than encountering a coincidence like that.

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Can Washington Solve Facebook’s Problems?

 

If Mark Zuckerberg’s call for more government regulation of the tech sector had been published today rather than over weekend, some might have thought it an April Fools Day prank. After all, what company or industry wants more Washington meddling?

But there’s good reason for the Facebook boss to make just such an ask. Politicians on the left and the right have been pushing for new rules or even the break-up of the social media giant. And a slew of controversies has damaged its reputation — election meddling, data privacy, and what the company calls “controversial, harmful, and hateful” content — giving a further boost to anti-Facebook activists and pols.

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Member Post

 

As Facebook celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is coming into controversies on all sides: political, psychological, social, and more. Thus, Jack assembles a panel of youth to discuss their own experiences with Facebook and how it has affected them. They also reveal their thoughts about the site’s effect on themselves, their peers, and society as […]

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Wake up the President? Terrorist Mass Murder at New Zealand Mosques [Updated midday Friday]

 

On Friday afternoon, 15 March 2019, New Zealand time, there was a horrific terrorist attack at least two mosques in New Zealand. They are 20 hours ahead of the U.S. West Coast time. According to the initial reports, an attacker livestreamed the event. The image, at right, was captured by media before the video was taken down. There apparently was a lengthy manifesto. There have been multiple people arrested. It appears this was an attack by white New Zealand and Australian citizens on Muslims.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This can only be described as a terrorist attack.” The linked BBC page has a series of videos. The PM is not inclined to tweet. Indeed, you can see her last communication was in October.

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The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Wrongheaded Plan to Break Up Big Tech

 

An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”

This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.

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Must There Be a Facebook?

 

It’s a real “… and the problem is what exactly?” sort of headline. This from Axios: “Facebook’s new cash-for-data debacle.”

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to data privacy issues — involving Facebook and other technology companies — then you might be aware some activists and academics have suggested users be paid for their personal data. They criticize the current system as “a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary people to the tech titans.”

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Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

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Member Post

 

Is anyone out there concerned about 1984 coming true? https://pjmedia.com/trending/google-reveals-plans-to-monitor-our-moods-our-movements-and-our-childrens-behavior/ More

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Member Post

 

With my newly minted Coolidge account I shall post! (Someone tell me if I’m doing this wrong.) So this was more of a “Hot Take” when I started thinking about it last week. Since then several events have caused people smarter and with actual audiences to weigh in on this. Variations on “Do We Need […]

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