This war shows just how broken social media has become — The global town square is in ruins::The global town square is in ruins.

  • atzanteol@sh.itjust.works
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    9 months ago

    Why do people operate under the assumption that the “town square” was anything other than crazy people shouting at each other? In the US in the 1600’s we had witch hunts where people were killed over vague claims made by malicious people spreading lies. Why would people today be any better?

    • btaf45@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Why would people today be any better?

      Yep. It is important to understand that conservative have always been people who love to be lied to. The internet just makes it more obvious. Before they said Obama was a Muslim they said Ike was a Communist. Before they said that horse medicine cures covid they said that Laetrile cures cancer.

  • Perhyte@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    This War […]

    Unfortunately you’ll have to be a bit more specific than that, too many wars going on at the moment…

  • theluddite@lemmy.ml
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    9 months ago

    The purpose of a system is what it does. "There is no point in claiming that the purpose of a system is to do what it constantly fails to do.” These articles about how social media is broken are constant. It’s just not a useful way to think about it. For example:

    It relies on badly maintained social-media infrastructure and is presided over by billionaires who have given up on the premise that their platforms should inform users

    These platforms are systems. They don’t have intent. There’s no mens rea or anything. There is no point saying that social media is supposed to inform users when it constantly fails to inform users. In fact, it has never informed users.

    Any serious discussion about social media must accept that the system is what it is, not that it’s supposed to be some other way, and is currently suffering some anomaly.

    • SpiderShoeCult@sopuli.xyz
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      9 months ago

      I’d say all these articles about social media saying it’s broken are just about maintaining the illusion of something better. As long as they can keep it up, people are going to think “it’s bad but it shouldn’t be!” and just keep coming back hoping it improves. And that can keep social media alive with everything it can do for everybody using it as an income stream.

      It has never informed users and a pet peeve of mine is governments using fucking twitter to communicate. And businesses too lazy to create their own webpages (or pay somebody to do it for them) and pay for some hosting (deductible as a business expense, by the way) so they use fecebook instead.

      Also, as somebody mentioned in a different comment, it is actually the town square, as it always was (I believe their comment evoked witch trials as an example).

      • atzanteol@sh.itjust.works
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        9 months ago

        I’d say all these articles about social media saying it’s broken are just about maintaining the illusion of something better.

        Every article about how “social media is broken” are just avoiding the obvious painful truth: Humanity is broken.

        • SpiderShoeCult@sopuli.xyz
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          9 months ago

          I mean you’re not wrong. But here we are. If you’ve ever tried to convince anyone of… well anything that conflicts with their views, you’re probably well aware that there’s no changing peoples’ minds.

          So I guess my honest question is… what now?

          • atzanteol@sh.itjust.works
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            9 months ago

            What we’ve always done. Soldier on fighting the good fight hoping reasonable minds prevail. And knowing that often they won’t.

            Wish I had a solution.

  • nodsocket@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    Imagine believing that a service as important as a “global town square” should be a private company.

    • SinningStromgald@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      The news, as always, is conflating capitalism with freedom and truth. Capitalism promises neither, only money.

    • davidgro@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Do you think it should be run by the (US) government instead?

      I’m pretty lefty and think the government should be large and powerful, but not like that.

      Fediverse is the best compromise I’ve seen, still private but a little bit democratic because of instance hopping if you don’t like the policies of the one you started on.

    • JasSmith@sh.itjust.works
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      9 months ago

      I have whiplash watching the left argue that Twitter was a private company so they could censor anyone they liked, then immediately 180 when Musk bought it and decry private ownership and operation of de facto town squares. For the record, I don’t think town squares should be privately owned, but at least I’m consistent. Apparently on the internet ethical beliefs are a shiny coat to put on when it’s convenient.

      • davidgro@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        My personal opinion is that “Global Town Square” is just nonsense that Musk made up. Twitter is not the first big privately owned social network and won’t be the last.

        The closest thing to that town square idea that actually exists is undermoderated cesspools like 4chan, which is not a good thing. Good moderation is simply necessary to have reasonable discussions/communities, and I feel like I believe that consistently.
        I don’t know if you think the (US) government should have that role, I think it would be a bit of a conflict of interest.

        And I think what’s happening to Twitter is unfortunate, but yeah the owner can do whatever he likes to it. However that still doesn’t mean I have to approve of his choices or stay quiet about them either, that’s not inconsistency to praise a company or its owner when they do good things and boo them when they do awful things. I’m certainly not going to say that he shouldn’t have the right to censor whatever he wants, but it’s still reasonable to complain about which things he chooses to exercise that right on.

        The only reasonable alternative to these big private social networks I’ve seen is the fediverse, still private, but a slight bit more democratic in that if you disagree with your instance’s moderation or administration, you can just use a different instance and usually still access most of the same communities.

  • uriel238@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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    9 months ago

    In the aughts we had to hunt down page ten articles from foreign papers to find out the latest on the CIA torture program and the actions of Blackwater PMCs in the kill zone.

    In 2014, Twitter had streaming journalists on the streets of Ferguson during the unrest.

    In 2020 reddit protest watch subs (some made specifically for the purpose) were showing hourlies, dailies and incident videos from the George Floyd unrest and protests. Like Ferguson it mostly was law enforcement misbehaving and calling it law and order.

    In 2022 the Iranian civil unrest went hot when the government doubled down after killing Mahsa Amini. Protestors went from defying hijab and tapping imam hats to throwing Molotov cocktails and burning down state buildings. Far right militants started nerve-gassing girls’ schools and the police engaged in mass executions. Then a deal was made. (Today 2023-10-16, a 16 year old teenage girl was put into a coma by the morality police. So stay tuned.)

    A single platform is and never can be the global town square, partially because information about hot zones have to get through the fog of war and active measures to impede that content from getting to the public. Much like revolutionaries or resistance, information gets through when there are multiple avenues for traffic, enough that not all can be intercepted.

    One billionaire (with some collaborators) spent $44 billion to neutralize one centralized information platform. Reddit and Google have also taken hits, but that isn’t all of the internet. If our shadowy plutocratic masters are able to douse all the surface web, I suspect it’ll be conspicuous and the public will want information, and access to the dark web may have to be transmitted.by word of mouth, but it will happen.

    For all of us who are not conservatives, we’ve learned we can’t trust official sources nor rumors that sound too good (or too awful) to be true.

  • Margot Robbie@lemm.ee
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    9 months ago

    Global town square? If anything, social media in the modern age is like Time Square: dirty, overcrowded, covered in billboard ads for brands, filled with cartoon characters in costumes and CD hawkers who are only there to take your money, and of course, the people shouting their political agendas at you through megaphones.

    • btaf45@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Only a media person would be thinking that xshitter used to be the ‘town square’. If anything it used to be reddit, but now we lots of better options. Like Lemmy.

  • generalpotato@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    This war uncovered the conventional one sided “reporting” by most big media outlets especially here in the US which was in favor of Israel, turning a blind eye to the blight of the Palestinian civilians. People called them out because of social media and media outlets changed their tune to be more “neutral” as a consequence.

    Social media sucks and but one thing it’s extremely good at is disseminating information, good and bad, and it should be used with that in mind.

    By comparison, that Atlantic “article” is paywalled and can’t even disseminate its point beyond the headline.

    Lol.

    • _number8_@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      once musk jumped the gun and started openly making the site shittier without even bothering to justify it with UX positives, everyone else eagerly followed

  • Steeve@lemmy.ca
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    9 months ago

    Same as it ever was

    I’m actually willing to bet that people are more informed in general these days because of social media and the internet overall. Look at all the biased bullshit in the news, back before the internet you just had to believe whatever content you were being fed, something we still have to deal with for sure, but at least being slapped with propaganda from all sides is starting to make us suspicious of content in general.

    • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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      9 months ago

      I predate the internet and honestly I can’t remember people ever being so aggressively stupid. Social media has fucked them up.

      Sure, we’ve always had reactionaries shovelling Murdoch dogshit directly into their skulls, but they weren’t cults.

      • Steeve@lemmy.ca
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        9 months ago

        Yeah I mean instead you just had an entire country pretty much unanimously vote for Reagan economics that we’re still feeling the brutal effects of today while the dissenting voices were just entirely unheard.

        People are louder, they aren’t stupider. Shit, at least 2016 was split.

        • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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          9 months ago

          I don’t think that proves your point at all.

          When people elected Reagan, they saw an articulate, charismatic man offering easy to digest solutions that sounded plausible. They had no context to know that neoliberalism was bullshit that only made rich people richer with each successive failure.

          Any dissenting voices were (at best) saying “I don’t agree with their guess, so here is my guess instead”.

          Meanwhile, what do we have now? Donald fucking Trump. A man who is barely coherent. A man whose inherited wealth has shielded him not just from multiple dogshit business decisions, but extremely serious charges of being a traitor to his country. And of course, a staunch neoliberal in the modern “don’t say it out loud” movement.

          Every piece of information people needed to make a better choice was out there and freely available. There was no excuse for not knowing who he was or that his economic ideas had failed to deliver on their promises thousands of times the world over.

          But people continue to enthusiastically support him. They would kill and die for a man who is openly revolted by having to interact with them.

          Yes, they’re louder.

          But they’re stupider too.

          • Steeve@lemmy.ca
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            9 months ago

            Doesn’t that just show young people are informed to the point that American conservatives have to resort to general silliness and outrage to get their shitty base of mainly older generations to vote?

            I think you’re confusing the loud minority for the majority

            • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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              9 months ago

              Andrew Tate is a role model for millions of boys and young men.

              Okay, maybe they don’t have the context needed to understand that he’s just a rapist who is desperately trying to pretend his father’s abuse was love in disguise.

              But the man claimed he was the world’s first trillionaire. That’s the kind of lie a literal toddler would tell, yet grown men believed it.

              Are they the majority? No, probably not.

              But I can’t remember another group of people so deliberately, unapologetically stupid as modern reactionaries, nor a time where they’ve wielded so much power.

              • Steeve@lemmy.ca
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                9 months ago

                Are they the majority? No, probably not.

                No, hard stop. Not even fucking close. Your examples are confirmation bias.

                nor a time where they’ve wielded so much power.

                Do you not remember the Christian groups of the… 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s? They always have, you just weren’t informed via the internet about it.

                • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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                  9 months ago

                  No, hard stop. Not even fucking close.

                  Articulate the group of people you’re talking about then so we can actually discuss them, rather than you just insisting they’re everything you pinkie promise they were.

                  Because you’re awful confident about who they are, what their numbers are, what they believed and how much power they weilded without actually articulating who “they” are in any meaningful way.

      • Cannibal_MoshpitV3@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        The internet shows you what you are looking for. Rather than find several sources to make an informed argument, most people Google something along the lines of why their stupid opinion is correct.

        • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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          9 months ago

          I think that’s already giving them too much credit.

          Post an article to social media and internet pseudo-intellectuals will just uncritically adopt the top comment as their opinion, meaning they can be bought for literal pocket change.

          There are teenagers whose entire worldview has been lifted from memes. They’ll just casually abuse women because the PCM memes they read in between Overwatch pornography tell them to using pictures of Chad and Wojack, color coding everything like a book for toddlers.

          It’s the reprogramming scene from A Clockwork Orange, only people voluntarily pin their eyes open and the goal is to make them worse, not better.

      • btaf45@lemmy.world
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        9 months ago

        I predate the internet and honestly I can’t remember people ever being so aggressively stupid. Social media has fucked them up.

        Right wing hate radio was the main culprit.

        • PoliticalAgitator@lemm.ee
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          9 months ago

          I think all of these are refinements of the same sleazy, manipulative tactic that is growing more effective with each iteration.

          Newspapers pushing xenophobia is about as old as newspapers themselves. But you had to actually buy the newspaper then actively sit down and read it, which isn’t a great start if you want to build an army of deliberately misinformed idiots.

          Then we had your hate radio. Not only was it free, people could just let it passively wash over them, absorbing opinions like a sponge, unable to take a moment to think critically about what was just said, even if they cared to.

          But even the worst of them struggled to openly advocate white supremacy and genocide.

          That was left to extremists spreading xeroxed propaganda and they struggled to find an audience. They often targeted things like punk gigs, searching for an angry, disaffected group of young white men, instead finding a kick in the head from people who would be considered “woke” today.

          Fortunately for people with dogshit where their personality should be, 24 hour reactionary TV was here to escalate things. With its constant barrage of flashing lights and blaring stingers, it was a struggle to ignore for even a second.

          Bigotry was no longer just an opinion, it was full blown entertainment. But underneath it all the careful stage management and production value, you could see them seething at being unable to go mask off.

          The internet eventually became accessible enough that they found it and for a while, they were so excited. They could say whatever vile shit they wanted! Their friends and family would never find out! Nobody could punch them!

          But they had all the same pitfalls as the newspapers did. People needed to actively seek them out and people just weren’t typing “top ten reasons it’s cool to be a Nazi” into AskJeeves.

          Sites like Stormfront tried their old tricks, “raiding” other forums to spam propaganda, but it was so easy to mop up. They struggled to get their misinformation out there without making it clear it was just 12 people with 80 IQs on a warm who couldn’t regulate their emotions.

          Then social media arrived to give them everything they wanted, short of an ethnostate and a wife that was too scared to say no. It was passive, it was entertainment and you could say whatever horrific shit you wanted without worrying about repercussions in the form of violence or bad PR.

          It took them a while to figure things out at first. Initially they tried just openly admitting they were white supremacists but quickly found platforms wouldn’t tolerate that. And so the “alt-right” was invented and they insisted they weren’t neo-nazis, they just happened to have the same opinions, talking points, figureheads and tattoos.

          That plausible deniability took them to dizzying new heights. They were on the news! People were listening to their opinions and then not spitting on them! They were so confident, when “Unite the Right” came around, they tore off their masks, grabbed their tiki torches, paraded around with their swastika flags then killed an innocent woman for disagreeing with them in an act of domestic terrorism.

          Which is when they learned they’re not as bulletproof as they thought. They were immediately fired, disowned and deplatformed. But the lesson they learned wasn’t “don’t be genocide promoting fuckstains”, it was to always stay mask on, no matter what. To cling to that plausible deniability even in the face of the most damning evidence to the contrary.

          From that, the modern reactionary movement was born.

          You just use social media to feed them a constant stream of talking points, “jokes” and trigger words, denying it the whole time. They’ll self-select and signal boost their favourites, form their own little incestuous relationships and get pushed deeper into culthood, guided by the gentle hand of “the algorithm”.