Posts tagged ‘Web 2路0’


How to end social media censorship

16.04.2022


Kristina Flour/Unsplash
 
This Twitter thread by Yishan Wong is one of the most interesting I鈥檝e come across. Not because it鈥檚 about Elon Musk (who he begins with), but because it鈥檚 about the history of the web, censorship, and the reality of running a social platform.

Here are some highlights (emphases in the original):

There is this old culture of the internet, roughly Web 1.0 (late 90s) and early Web 2.0, pre-Facebook (pre-2005), that had a very strong free speech culture.

This free speech idea arose out of a culture of late-90s America where the main people who were interested in censorship were religious conservatives. In practical terms, this meant that they would try to ban porn (or other imagined moral degeneracy) on the internet 鈥

Many of the older tech leaders today 鈥 grew up with that internet. To them, the internet represented freedom, a new frontier, a flowering of the human spirit, and a great optimism that technology could birth a new golden age of mankind.

Fast forward to the reality of the 2020s:

The internet is not a “frontier” where people can go “to be free,” it’s where the entire world is now, and every culture war is being fought on it.

It’s the main battlefield for our culture wars.

Yishan points out that left-wingers can point to where right-wingers get more freedom to say their piece, and that right-wingers can point to where left-wingers get more. 鈥楤oth sides think the platform is institutionally biased against them.鈥

The reality:

They would like you (the users) to stop squabbling over stupid shit and causing drama so that they can spend their time writing more features and not have to adjudicate your stupid little fights.

That鈥檚 all.

They don’t care about politics. They really don’t.

He concedes that people can be their worst selves online, and that the platforms struggle to keep things civil.

They have to pretend to enforce fairness. They have to adopt 鈥減rinciples.鈥

Let me tell you: There are no real principles. They are just trying to be fair because if they weren’t, everyone would yell louder and the problem would be worse 鈥

You really want to avoid censorship on social networks? Here is the solution:

Stop arguing. Play nice. The catch: everyone has to do it at once.

I guarantee you, if you do that, there will be no censorship of any topic on any social network.

Because it is not topics that are censored. It is behavior.

I think Yishan鈥檚 right to some degree. There are leanings that the leaders of these social networks have, and I think that can affect the overall decisions. But he鈥檚 also right that both left and right feel aggrieved. I warned as much when I wrote about social media and their decision about Donald Trump in the wake of the incidents of January 6, 2021. I鈥檝e seen left- and right-wing accounts get taken down, and often for no discernible reason I can fathom.

Generally, however, civil discourse is a perfectly fine way to go, and for most things that doesn鈥檛 invite censorship or account removal. Wouldn鈥檛 it be nice if people took him up on this, to see what would happen?

Sadly, that could well be as idealistic as the 鈥榥ew frontier鈥 which many of us who got into the dot com world in the 1990s believed in.

But maybe he鈥檚 woken up some folks. And with c. 50,000 followers, he has a darn sight better chance than I have reaching just over a tenth of that on Twitter, and the 1,000 or so of you who will read this blog post.
 
During the writing of this post, Vivaldi crashed again, when I attempted to enter form data鈥攁 bug that they believed was fixed a few revisions ago. It appears not. I’ll still send over a bug report, but everything is pointing at my abandoning it in favour of Opera GX. Five years is a very good run for a browser.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in culture, internet, politics, technology, USA | No Comments »


Facebook fooled us into thinking we were being creative

11.02.2021

My friend Keith has been away from Facebook for six weeks, for work reasons, and hasn鈥檛 missed it. And he asked, 鈥榃as it all really a waste of time?鈥
   I know you think you know what I鈥檓 going to say, but the answer might surprise you a little.
   Fundamentally, it鈥檚 yes (this is how you know this blog has not been hijacked), but Keith鈥檚 question brought home to me, as well as other work I鈥檝e done this week, the biggest con of Facebook for the creative person.
   It鈥檚 not the fact the advertising results are not independently checked, or that there鈥檚 evidence that Facebook itself uses bots to boost likes to a page. The con was, certainly when I was a heavy user around the time Timeline was introduced, making us feel like we were doing something creative, satiating that part of our brain, when in fact we were making Zuckerberg rich.
   How we would curate our lives! Show the best side of ourselves! Choose those big pictures to be two-column-wide Timeline posts! We looked at these screens like canvases to be manipulated and we enjoyed what they showed us.
   Before Facebook became 鈥榯he new Digg鈥 (as I have called it), and a site for misinformation, we were still keeping in touch with friends and having fun, and it seemed to be the cool thing to do as business went quiet in the wake of the GFC.
   And I was conned. I was conned into thinking I was enjoying the photography and writing and editing鈥攁t least till I realized that importing my RSS feeds into Facebook gave people zero incentive to come to my sites.
   This week, with redoing a few more pages on our websites, especially ones that dated back many years, I was reminded how that sort of creative endeavour gave me a buzz, and why many parts of our company websites used to look pretty flash.
   The new look to some pages鈥攖he photo gallery was the most recent one to go under the knife鈥攊s slightly more generic (which is the blunt way to say contemporary), but the old one had dated tremendously and just wasn鈥檛 a pleasure to scroll down.
   And while it still uses old-fashioned HTML tables (carried over from the old) it was enjoyable to do the design work.
   There’s still more to do as the current look is rolled out to more pages.
   Maybe it took me a while to realize this, and others had already got there, but most of my time had been spent doing our print magazines lately. But designing web stuff was always fun, and I鈥檓 glad I got to find that buzz again, thanks to Amanda鈥檚 nudge and concepts for jya.co, the JY&A Consulting site. Forget the attention economy, because charity begins at the home page.



Photo galleries, old and new. The top layout is more creative design-wise than the lower one, but sadly the browsing experience felt dated.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in design, internet, technology | No Comments »


All you need is one NewTumbl user to undo management goodwill

14.01.2021

This is a comment (with my reply, in reverse chronology) from a NewTumbl user, Thewonderfulo, who often posts about the site鈥檚 rating system. I鈥檝e no idea if it鈥檚 official, but it certainly passes itself off as authoritative.
   I usually find myself agreeing with them but here鈥檚 a prime example where I don鈥檛鈥攂ecause, first, I can鈥檛 see anything in the NewTumbl rules that confirms this (excepting one sentence below which I鈥檒l get on to); secondly, NewTumbl has told me of some of their positions personally and I feel they鈥檝e confirmed my position; and thirdly, if bare behinds can be seen in PG-13 films (including in their country), then a single ‘buttcheek’ is even less offensive and couldn鈥檛 possibly be M, which is where NewTumbl classifies nudity.
   There is one sentence under the O category (鈥極ffice鈥, or safe for work): 鈥業mages that would be considered sultry or provocative qualify as O provided the people in the photo have both their tops and bottoms covered 鈥 not just hidden from view, but actually wearing clothes.鈥 We鈥檇 then have to argue about how much 鈥渃overage鈥 there is, and here I鈥檇 fall back on being alive for nearly five decades and having kept my eyes open about popular culture. Swimwear, for instance, provides acceptable coverage which wouldn鈥檛 offend most of us in the occident. From memory that鈥檚 the level of skin the post in question was dealing with.
   It鈥檚 exactly as I said in my last post on NewTumbl. I love the concept, and the people who run the site, but the moderators are in some sort of Handmaid鈥檚 Tale Gilead. In fact, I鈥檇 venture to say that Tumblr wouldn鈥檛 consider a buttock to be offensive enough for removal. Given NewTumbl鈥檚 history, as a Tumblr alternative that would be more tolerant, I believe that the moderators really don鈥檛 understand the whole picture, and where the lines should be drawn.
   To think, after chatting directly to NewTumbl I was feeling a bit more chipper about the site, only to have a one-sentence comment and zero willingness to engage by a user who is, I fear, typical of the 鈥渟tandards鈥 that are actually being applied by the overenthused American puritans.
   Incidentally, speaking of Americans, the sort of divisive talk that they are infamous for is all too present. Have a look at the thread from my earlier post. Frankly, if they have a problem with a buttock on a woman who is actually wearing clothes, while this sort of mudslinging is fine on a family-friendly post, then I won鈥檛 be in a hurry to return. Sorry.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in culture, internet, politics, USA | 3 Comments »


Today’s thoughts on Twitter

25.05.2019


Momentmal/Pixabay

Random thoughts in the last few minutes, blogging as a means of bookmarking:

   You never know, we may see a rise in the demand of very basic phones. And:

鈥橬uff said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in internet, politics, technology, UK | 1 Comment »


Twitter stutters and other Big Tech misadventures

07.10.2018

I think the signs of a departure from Twitter are all there. Certainly on a cellphone there’s little point to it any more. As of last week, this began happening.

   That last sentence refers only to the fact that Twitter is the only website on the planet where the keyboard is incompatible. (Thanks to Andrew McPherson for troubleshooting this with me.) Other sites are buggy, too: earlier today I couldn’t delete something from Instagram (being owned by Facebook means all the usual Facebook databasing problems are creeping in), and one video required four upload attempts before it would be visible to others:

I couldn’t reply on the Facebook website to a direct message (clicking in the usual typing field does nothing, and typing does nothing) except in image form, so I sent my friend this:

   Earlier this year, many friends began experiencing trouble with their Facebook comments: the cursor would jump back to the beginning of text fields, pushing the first few characters they typed to the end. Others are complaining of bugs more and more often鈥攔eminds me of where I was four or five years ago. And we all now know about Facebook bots, four years after I warned of an ‘epidemic’.
   It’s as I always expected: those of us who use these sites more heavily encounter the bugs sooner. Vox was the same: I left a year before Six Apart closed it down, and the bugs I encountered could never be fixed. I’m actually going through a similar battle with Amazon presently, blog post to come.
   Now, since Mastodon and others work perfectly fine, and there’s no end of trouble to Big Tech, it’s inevitable that we jump ship, isn’t it?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in internet, technology, USA | No Comments »


Social media mean less and less

16.09.2018


Above: I must report and block dozens of Instagram accounts a day, not unlike getting over the 200-a-day mark on Facebook in 2014.

For the last few days, I made my Twitter private. It was the only time in 11 years of being on the service where I felt I needed that level of privacy; I only made things public again when I realized that I couldn鈥檛 actually contact people who weren鈥檛 already following me.
   However, it was relatively blissful. Accounts with automated following scripts were blocked as I had to approve them manually. I had far fewer notifications. And I only heard directly back from people I liked.
   It actually reminded me of the 鈥渙ld days鈥. It鈥檚 why Mastodon appeals: since there were only a million people on there at the end of last year, it felt like Twitter of old (even if it has already descended far enough for actor Wil Wheaton to get abused, compelling him to leave).
   The quieter few days also got me thinking: I had far more business success prior to social media. I was blogging at Beyond Branding, and that was a pretty good outlet. I emailed friends and corresponded like pen pals. Those weren鈥檛 fleeting friendships where the other party could just 鈥渓ike鈥 what you said. If I really think about it, social media have done very little in terms of my business.
   I鈥檓 not saying that social media don鈥檛 have a purpose鈥攁 viral Tweet that might get quoted in the press could be useful, I suppose鈥攂ut I really didn鈥檛 need them to be happy in my work and my everyday life.
   Since giving up updating my Facebook wall in 2017, I haven鈥檛 missed telling everyone about what I鈥檓 up to, because I figured that the people who needed to know would know. Twitter remained a useful outlet because there are some people on there whose interactions I truly value, but as you can surmise from what I said above, the number of notifications didn鈥檛 matter to me. I don鈥檛 need the same dopamine hit that others do when someone likes or re-Tweets something of theirs.
   Interestingly, during this time, I logged into Whatsapp, an app I load once every three months or so since I have a few friends on it. I saw a video sent to me by Stefan Engeseth:

   When I look at my Instagram stats, they鈥檙e back to around 2015 levels, and with these current trends, my usage will drop even further as we head into 2019.
   And I really don鈥檛 mind. The video shows just why social media aren鈥檛 what they鈥檙e cracked up to be, and why they aren鈥檛 ultimately healthy for us.
   I can add the following, that many of you who read this blog know: Facebook is full of bots, with false claims about their audience, and engages in actual distribution of questionable invasive software, charges I鈥檝e levelled at the company for many years, long before the world even heard of Christopher Wylie. Twitter is also full of bots but actually disapproves of services that help them identify them; they have double standards when it comes to what you can and can鈥檛 say; and, perhaps most sadly, those people who have viewpoints that are contrary to the mainstream or the majority are shat on by disorganized gangs of Tweeters. That鈥檚 not liberty. Instagram is also full of bots鈥攍ike when I was on Facebook, when I reported dozens to hundreds of bots a day鈥攁nd there seems to be no end to them; it also lies when it talks about how its advertising works. Given all of these problems, why would I provide these services with my precious time?
   I engage with these social media in more and more limited fashion and I wouldn鈥檛 be surprised if I鈥檓 completely away from these big tech names in due course.
   It鈥檚 not as though young people are active on them, so the idea that they are services where you can get the next generation of customers is bogus. If you say you鈥檙e on Facebook, you might be considered an old-timer now. I asked a Year 11 student here on work experience what he used. Facebook wasn鈥檛 one of them. He said most of his friends Snapchatted, while he was in to Reddit. He didn鈥檛 like Facebook because it wasn鈥檛 real, and we have a generation who can spot the BS and the conceit behind it.
   It does make the need for services such as Duck Duck Go even greater, for us to get unbiased information not filtered by Google鈥檚 love of big corporations, in its quest to rid the web of its once meritorious nature. Google is all about being evil.
   As we near the 2020s, a decade which we hope will be more caring and just than the ones before, it鈥檚 my hope that we can restore merit to the system and that we find more ethical alternatives to the big names. I can鈥檛 see as great a need to show off fake lives on social media when it鈥檚 much more gratifying, for me at least, to return to what I did at the beginning of the century and let the work speak for itself.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in culture, internet, media, New Zealand, Sweden, technology, USA | 1 Comment »


The decline continues: Facebook pages no longer accept YouTube links

18.07.2018

Many of you know that I no longer use Facebook for my personal stuff. However, there are still work things to do, although I’ve noticed Facebook pages get more and more useless by the day. Here are the stats for my Facebook page:

   Strangely, I can see the stats on a page that’s not even mine, and for which I have no role:

   And now, you can no longer post links to YouTube videos on to pages. Facebook just gets stuck, trying to ‘import’ the link. I’ve tried this from different accounts and had to give up, opting to upload directly into Facebook, which is probably their (unannounced) plan anyway.

   YouTube’s uploading took ages, too. Or, rather, it took ages to find an uploading link. Dailymotion and Vimeo have, by far, superior interfaces.
   Yet, ladies and gentlemen, these are among the top three websites in the world. You truly have to wonder why, in the face of overwhelming evidence of tracking in one case, and privacy breaches in another.
   Facebook had been pretty hopeless as a traffic referrer anyway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others woke up to the fact it is worsening as a business platform.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in business, design, internet, technology, USA | No Comments »


Musk apologies to Unsworth, only because teacher told him to

18.07.2018

Via Adeline Chua: I see Elon Musk has apologized to Vernon Unsworth. But it smacks of the apology a child would give after being compelled by his teacher to do so.

   Translation: 鈥業 wouldn’t have said anything if the Vern didn’t push me. It’s all Vern’s fault.’ Or, ‘Vern made me do it.’
   I stand by my earlier blog post.
   I also take issue that there were mistruths, having watched the interview. As far as I could tell, Unsworth gave his opinion: I never took his statements for anything but that. And he drew a conclusion鈥攖hat it was all a publicity stunt鈥攖hat he wasn’t alone in drawing. Musk seems very easily offended by an opinion.
   Even if Musk was sincere, and there is no denying that he devoted resources to his rescue submarine idea, how the whole thing played out did feel like a publicity stunt. It wouldn’t hurt to review just how that perception went out, and how communications could have been better.
   If he hadn’t burned the bridge with Unsworth, maybe he could have had one extra person to ask.
   I find it hard to believe that a South African, someone who described himself as an alpha male once, would actually consider ‘can stick his submarine where it hurts’ to be an actual suggestion he commit a sexual act rather than an insult.
   If we really want to pick hairs on mistruths, Musk inferred that Unsworth wasn’t even there because he didn’t see him. That was exactly what he wanted people to think.
   I admire Musk for a lot of what he has accomplished, and Lucire was an early supporter of Tesla, but this week’s news has prompted me, and others, to look back at how he has conducted himself.
   It’s the record of a privileged man who hasn’t endeared himself to others, as this blogger notes. One might add this link, about a Twitter-based cult that will attack those who go after him (especially if you’re a woman, it seems).
   Just another day on the playground we call Twitter, then.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in business, culture, internet, leadership, USA | No Comments »


The founder’s image is tied to the business鈥攐r, why Elon Musk shouldn’t call someone a p忙dophile

16.07.2018

I have often said that each new technology often goes downhill when unsavoury parts of our society get to it. Email was fine before spammers, Wikipedia was fine without sociopaths, Blogger was fine without Google ownership, and Google was fine without an NYSE listing.
   But what does one make of Twitter? Once upon a time, it was a decent place to hang out. Ask Stephen Fry.
   Today, however, with all sorts of people on it, the post-spammer, post-sociopath stage appears to be: watch the rich lose it.
   Those who don’t like President Trump might think I’m thinking of him, but it was actually Elon Musk, whose efforts on so many fronts I have publicly admired, who seems to be the latest in turning his corner of Twitter into an angry man’s rant record.
   Not long ago, I saw Musk argue with a Tweeter about economics and blocking him. Of course it’s everyone’s prerogative to block as they see fit, but I always remember what my parents told me when I was a child: the really powerful see the big picture. They don’t sweat the small stuff. And this seems like someone sweating the small stuff. Even if he is the 53rd richest person in the world.
   From Techcrunch (hat tip to Adeline Chua):

There’s more on that story here.
   Quoting Adeline:

   I’m not sure what Musk intends with all of these Tweets, but I’m losing respect for the man. He probably wouldn’t care what I think, but then, going on the earlier Tweets, he probably does.
   As someone who leads a much, much smaller bunch of companies, I know the boss’s public statements do impact on the rest of the team, and how your firm’s perceived.
   If we look at the rich, Sir Richard Branson is a great ambassador for his ventures and is careful about what he says. His brands are tied in with his personal image, and he’s well aware of that. Elon Musk is not an exception: his personality and announcements are keeping Tesla’s faithful invested in the brand, for instance.
   On the one hand, it’s great that Twitter is a great leveller. But with that comes other risks. If it is a leveller, bringing everyone to the level of the village merchant, then we can make a choice about whom we deal with.
   In a real-life village, when we walk round, we may choose to buy from certain people and not others, because of how we’re treated or what their reputation’s like.
   In this virtual village, we have one of the wealthiest players ranting in the corner.
   And therein lies the risk for Tesla and SpaceX. Maybe he’s so confident at his lead that, with or without him, his dreams can come true. It would be great if we did have more electric cars and more affordable space exploration. However, while the founder is still young, alive and kicking, I’m afraid these ventures are still very much tied to how we perceive him. I’m not sure that being a rich, angry Tweeter who calls a rescuer a ‘pedo’ is the image that a Tesla buyer, for instance, wants to be associated with.
   Frankly, if we’re going to remember anyone in the whole Thai cave rescue, let it be Saman Kunan, the former Thai navy SEAL diver who lost his life.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in branding, business, culture, internet, media, USA | 3 Comments »


Neil Gaiman on JY Integrity on his UK paperbacks

09.07.2018

When Neil Gaiman pays you a compliment about one of your typeface families (JY Integrity, which I designed in 1993), you gratefully accept.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in culture, design, internet, New Zealand, publishing, typography, UK, Wellington | No Comments »