Tag: Facebook

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conservatives and Gender Nonsense Tolerance

 

The whole gender identity movement, the so-called “trans” thing, the idea that sex is not biologically determined, the idea that it’s really more complicated than two overlapping bell curves of masculine and feminine traits — all of that seems pretty absurd to me. It also seems important, in that it’s the first time we Americans have been told that we have to profess belief in something patently absurd or face censure in the workplace and society — and possible prosecution in New York City.

I comment on it more often than something as ridiculous as the “trans” movement would seem to deserve. I usually comment about it on Facebook, rather than here, because I assume most people here are broadly in agreement that the whole thing is silly.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.

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Member Post

 

Unlike most unsolicited, intrusive online messages that pop up or appear in e-mail to remind me of some tepid offer when I simply want to be left alone to use a service, I enjoy the Facebook memory feature. It will say something like “7 years ago today,” and then bring up an old post or picture. […]

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Member Post

 

Of course a pundit is supposed to KNOW about the subject, but nonetheless I nominate Dan Rather. Not that I actually “follow” him, but a friend on Facebook linked one of his posts (he’s on Facebook) and it was about the President using his office to enrich himself, as confirmed fact with nothing behind it, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. It’s Too Late in Campaign Season for Facebook to Ban Political Ads, but Not Fact-Check Them

 

Facebook has instituted fact-checking before, like with its partner BOOM in India.
There are some famous natural experiments out there, such as the Dutch Hunger Winter study or the Oregon Health Insurance study. Or how about that nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea showing the benefits of democratic capitalism vs. totalitarian communism. That may be the most famous and instructive natural experiment of all.

Silicon Valley may be giving us another enlightening comparison. Twitter is banning all political advertising, while Facebook will continue to run such ads — even those containing false or misleading claims. We should get a first read on the results on either the evening of Nov. 3 or the morning of Nov. 4, 2020.

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This episode of Young Americans is special for many reasons. For one, it is a crossover with the White Noise podcast, whose co-host, Joe Pappalardo, joins Jack. For…two, Jack and Joe attempt to discuss the effect that excessive technology use may be having on the ability of young people to focus on what matters. And for…three (?), they attempt this discussion…while themselves deliberately distracted by as many apps as they could have open while recording.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of watching Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren battle over whether the government ought to break up big tech. With little appetite for Warren’s big government intrusion or Zuckerberg’s pathetic efforts to protect user privacy and free speech, Jim and Greg plan to enjoy watching these two liberals devour each other. They also slam President Trump for cheerfully congratulating China on it’s 70th anniversary since the communists took hold in 1949, making no reference to China’s brutal repression of people and freedom that continues to this very day. And they hammer the Washington Post for running an op-ed fantasizing about impeaching both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence so Nancy Pelosi can become president.

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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 full nerd with semi-related digressions about Blade RunnerThe Matrix, and, of course, Dune.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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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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 a whole.

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