Facebook vs the World

It's quite annoying for me to see that the attacks on media and social companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter) are reaching new levels.

The trio were called to be grilled by Congress. Former Facebook president and pirate extraodinaire Sean Parker wouldn't use Facebook. Chamath Palihapitiya claims it destroys the way society works.

Sure, Facebook caters to validation. It's not new, it just scales over the bragging over beer. Instead of approving winks and glances you get likes.

But does it rip society apart? Well, it does change the way human interaction works. It does that in the same way any new technology ransacks the previously established status quo. TV over radio, radio over newspapers, Kindle over printed books, email over posted letters. It is indeed destructive for the way things used to work, but nothing gets completely uprooted.

What we do need, however, are new skills on dealing with it.

People have used communication channels to corrupt people since forever. Both Germany and the US used to drop propagandistic flyers during World Wars to sway the enemy over. Russia almost turned propaganda into art with its far reaching machine speading manipulation inside and outside of its borders. Western tabloids are doing much of the same. Nowadays they altogether explot Facebook.

Defence? Definitely not asking the medium to police itself. Aside from being a matter of trust, it's generally stupid. You don't ask the Postal Service to stop serving people that lie. You don't ask Vodafone or Verizon to stop providing service to the KKK. Particularly when you also define manipulation as something coming from abroad.

It's difficult to ask Facebook and Twitter to block accounts spreading manipulation when gasp you have Donal Trump lying to people on Twitter. Hillary Clinton herself manipulated and lied online and offline to throw Bernie Sanders off the race. Half the Republican and far-right affiliated accounts should be then thrown off the Internet entirely.

What about spam? People get manipulative crap in their inboxes all the time and I'm not talking just about Nigerian princes and their formidable fortunes that they want to share with me. I'm getting voting advice from Republicans even through I have nothing to do with the US elections.

What about tabloids and their 'studies show that ...' articles? Unless you link to the peer-reviewed publication of the study as well as the peer-reviewed publication of the study's confirmed results, it's a lie.

So what's my solution? Education. Make 'critical thinking' and 'research' mandatory subjects, not some weird classes one can get on Coursera or Udemy. I don't care if I'm reading crap published by Russians, Nigerians, Fox News (see what I did there?) or 'zee Germans', if it's crap I'll ignore it, expel the person sharing it from my list of friends and pay a witch to curse their username forever.