Freedom from Facebook?

(Mark's Myth) #1

I’m curious who feels this way about Facebook and their growing monopoly and what to do about it, if anything…

(ACD) #2

I am more concerned about surveillance generally than the fact that people have gravitated toward facebook. After all, the town square is where everyone meets. I would be happy if we could stop surveillance and big data collection which, as I say, does not appear to me to be a necessary consequence of facebook’s dominant position in social media.

(Bill Ames) #3

Facebook is just a website where I can keep track of my friends with which I share common interests and monitor the news of the TV shows I follow. I do not buy anything there, read any political or religious stuff. You know how difficult it is to deal with me on Ideapod, FB properly ignores me, as it should. Their user interface is horrible, I am a software pro for quality assurance and know junk when i see it. To effectively use FB is a pain. I am surprised that no competition has arrived. Oh, ads, I have programmed my mind to not register ads. Ads are like animal droppings on the sidewalk, you make sure you avoid them. I have about 140 friends and that is mostly old coworkers and family. The rest are people with a mind that is a match for me and we frequently enjoy laughing at the world and how stupid it is. Note that our perspective is that of the aliens in my screenplay as it is necessary we keep in character as we write the script. So if at times I appear as a know it all who is a billion years old with appropriate technology with an unlimited lifespan and has seen many races like humans. Fortunately many are led by the equivalent of human cats and are much better at providing a well rounded life experience.

(Justin Brown) #4

It’s interesting you post this just now, @eleprocon. Just yesterday I hid the Facebook app from my homescreen on my phone. I only hid it rather than delete it because I use it regularly for work and logging into other apps on my phone. I hid it to get out of the habit of mindlessly going into Facebook every time my attention wanes from whatever I’m focusing on.

This is what I’m most concerned about with Facebook. That it’s become ubiquitous and so many people become addicted to checking their newsfeed every day. It gets us addicted to a kind of mindlessness where we are passively checking in without really engaging with the world around us.

I find Google, for example, quite different. We have an entirely different mindset when we go to Google. We are in some kind of inquisitive mindset, wanting to learn about something or find some information.

I’m interested to learn more about this. I think this concern is closely correlated with a concern that our politics is gravitating in an Orwellian direction with an all-powerful state running the show. Personally, I’m more concerned about the power of private corporations. But as I said, interested to learn more.

Here’s an article we published a while back that became one of our more popular, ironically “going viral” on Facebook:

(Mark's Myth) #5

“Privacy” is an impoverished word — far too small a word to describe what we talk about when we talk about the mining, transmission, storing, buying, selling, use and misuse of our personal information.

“Privacy is really about being able to define for ourselves who we are for the world and on our own terms,” … “That’s not a choice that belongs to an algorithm or data broker and definitely not to Facebook.”

“I think it’s too big for most individuals to digest fully,” a cyber security entrepreneur, Amir Orad, told me. “It’s comparable to asking people to stop using air conditioning because of the ozone layer. It’s not likely to happen because the immediate comfort is more valuable than the long-term fear.”

(ACD) #6

This is, as you suggest, entirely within one’s own control like so many other habits which appear to to characterize an addiction-prone Western culture, perhaps beginning with what was prophetically labeled as the boob tube seventy years ago. Interestingly, radio did not seem to have this pernicious effect even though people used it similarly before the advent of television.

(ACD) #7


I think you are suggesting that, like our use of air conditioning, our use of social media has become such an integral part of what we think we need that we would have difficulty giving it up. Perhaps. But the harms are different. In one case, we are systematically and, initially, unwittingly changing the atmosphere to our detriment. In the other, we are potentially innocently and harmlessly engaging in social intercourse which is then potentially malevolently being surveilled by the state and by businesses without our permission and against our wishes.

(Mark's Myth) #8

Can it actually be legislated? Think lack of seat-belt in cars, smoking, and all of the things humanity has created which in turn put us at risk, we learned about, then made the changes to alter our course choosing between the supposed pros and cons. Or so we think. Only to eventually, maybe, hopefully find the cure might be worse than the symptom or worse yet… actually good for us yet not accepted to be so for the variety of reasons we can conjure up. Like what is being discussed in this thread.

As Bucky once said, “What we usually speak of as our everyday world, is a stage set with visible props which are easily manipulated by ignorant people to exploit the equal ignorance of others.”

Seems the challenge now is those with the levers and metrics are not so ignorant anymore. And maybe even the rest of us are are finding our way out the fog of ignorance.

Is this the new battlefield? The epoch we are in… manipulating the physical and cognitive realms for the perverted essence of control? Or has this always been the case for humanity… and will continue to be so?

(Mark's Myth) #9

I wonder if radio does not have the same cognitive effects as tv and the internet as they are visual mediums vs just aural. With a complete picture, so to speak, our minds are left to believe what we see is truth. Yet with just hearing a story we fill in the missing pieces and are engaged in a very different way.

I just came across this quote yesterday and find it may be relevant here…

“Oral peoples mythologized their histories, while literate peoples historicize their myths.” - John Lundwall

(Mark's Myth) #10

Wandering a bit (as I’ve already claimed in “When ideas go astray”) this conversation reminded me of a book I read back in 1979 by Jerry Mander, “Four Arguments for the Elimination of TV”

“My own feeling is that that is true – that it’s very important to improve the program content – but that television has effects, very important effects, aside from the content, and they may be more important. They organize society in a certain way. They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch. It increases the passivity of people who watch. It changes family relationships. It changes understandings of nature. It flattens perception so that information, which you need a fair amount of complexity to understand it as you would get from reading, this information is flattened down to a very reduced form on television. And the medium has inherent qualities which cause it to be that way.

And the book is really about television considered from a holistic point of view, from a biological point of view – perceptual, environmental, political, social, experiential, as well as the concrete problems of whether a program is silly or not. But other people deal with that very well. My job was to talk about television from many of these other dimensions which are not usually discussed.” - Jerry Mander

That was 35 years ago… now we have the internet with the same issues yet maybe even worse now.

(ACD) #11

If the motion is to make television or facebook unlawful, then I think we need first to consider free speech. The internet promised to set us free from programming. It may well be that humans have been susceptible throughout the ages to mind control.

(Mark's Myth) #12

I am sharing what is out there about this topic of “free speech” and how it has been a long winding road since electronic communications came along and gave us the ability to alter realty and transmit it to the masses. Which as you say we may have been doing to ourselves for eons… “mind control” whether we do it to ourselves or it is imposed on us.

The challenge is how to legislate this realm. If at all.

(ACD) #13

Please expand on legislating this realm.

(Bill Ames) #14

Advertising is mind control and if you look at some of the stuff people buy you will see that they are likely to buy into any glittery idea that promises fun regardless of the price they must pay.

(Mark's Myth) #15

So many aspects of our environment constitute our realty… be it language or architecture for example. We try to make sense of the signals setting our context for who we are and why. Then as soon as there are too many of us to come to a simple agreement we try to legislate it. Control it. This can be very dangerous as we are and have witnessed over time. Be it through religion or governance.

What triggers me is where this is all heading.

How do we consider the 3T’s: Truth, Transparency and Trust?

How will our decisions we make now affect my children’s future?

What is free speech?

Who has the right to amend/stop your speech?

(ACD) #16

I am trying to understand what is the proposition. Personally, I would need much convincing to accept legislation which attempts to alter my right to read and write (both broadly defined) what I like.

(Mark's Myth) #17

@ACD Actually I am not proposing anything in particular as far as hindering your rights to what you consume. I am exploring what is, has been, and where we might be going. Human communication is a given for us now, how do we navigate the blossoming amplification is what is in question…for which I have no answers… only more questions.

(Bill Ames) #18

Speech is usually used to change a persons position on a subject and since we do not want to disrespect other peoples ideas we need never try to change their position. That would be disrespectful. Therefor we do not need free speech. Free speech not being necessary is demonstrated in North Korea and we see no complaints from the population. What good is free speech if their is no one that understands the message?

(ACD) #19

Understood. This appears to be a question at this time because the agents of state power are colluding with purveyors of communications infrastructure against the interests of the public. Is this a fair statement?

(Bill Ames) #20

There are no public interests. Only state interests. How could you have countries like China, NK or Russia if the public interest was paramount? Imagine how it would be if those three were like the US, SK and Germany. We would have too many competitors in the world, we would not be able to match their resources and technology. It is the public that makes a world worth living in and causes the state to be in the background. The state does not like serving the people, they want the people to serve the state.