Hate Sells category archive
At Psychology Today Blogs, Charles Johnston looks at the dynamic–and the dilemma–posed by “social” media and the disinformation superhighway. A snippet; follow the link for the rest:
By offering electronic substitutes for real fulfillment, our likes and clicks mimic the mechanisms of addiction (addictive substances work by providing the feedback that accompanies feelings like pleasure or power while requiring none of the vulnerability demanded for the real thing). It has been a dirty secret of high teach companies that they were optimizing programs for these addictions effects, but we would see the effect even without their efforts. Simple optimization depends on hijacking our attention—an necessity that is multiplied many times over by the fact that sites are advertising driven. Addiction is a much more reliable way to get attention than providing content that actually benefits us. A related consequence is that social media algorithms inherently create distortion and “fake news.” It has been well documented that the soap opera of sensationalized contend (sic) (and outright lies) is much more likely to attract eyeballs—and more likely to trigger search algorithms—than real news.
Arash Javanbakht, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, explores how “social” media’s algorithms, designed to keep us eternally engaged in ephemera, lead us down the disinformation superhighway. A nugget:
The artificial intelligence behind these platforms determines what you see based on your social media and web activity, including your engagement with pages and ads. For example, on Twitter you may follow the politicians you like. Twitter algorithms quickly respond and show you more posts and people related to that political leaning. The more you like, follow and share, the faster you find yourself moving in that political direction. There is, however, this nuance: Those algorithms tracking you are often triggered by your negative emotions, typically impulsivity or anger.
As a result, the algorithms amplify the negative and then spread it by sharing it among groups.
Scot Maxwell reports on how Florida is allowing public funds to pay for private prejudice under the guise of “freedom of religion.”
The editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun considers reasons why the Republican Party strives to gut out the vote and argues that the root of them lies in its decision to become the party of only some of the people. Indeed, they argue that the party is no longer in any classical way “conservative”; it’s not interested in conserving anything.
They list several factors leading to their conclusion.
- Going back decades, the GOP’s overall campaign strategies have pitted Americans against each other by dividing the population into “us” versus “them” — us being white voters, them being voters of color.
- Today, the Republican Party must suppress votes because it’s a minority — and is one by choice.
- The GOP understands that “us” is a minority group led by an even smaller minority — certain big-money interests . . . .
- The GOP’s absolute refusal to try to create a bigger tent by listening to the needs of a larger population — and therefore court them — means one thing: It doesn’t want to represent anyone other than its narrow leadership.
- The corollary of this is that the modern GOP wants to silence everyone else.
Their reasoning echoes a point that I have made many times in these electrons: Richard Nixon’s odious “southern strategy” has come full circle. The Republican Party is now the party of the Secesh.
Follow the link for a detailed discussion of each of those factors and for the Sun’s larger conclusions.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Christine Louise Hohlbaum reflects on the power that we have ceded to technology companies. It is a particularly timely article amongst the swirl of lies and conspiracy theories surrounding the upcoming election.
Here’s a snippet:
(Salesforce CEO Marc–ed.) Benioff claims: “We need to do nothing short of reimagining the social contract for the twenty-first century.” (page 50*) Tech was born to do good. In its evolution, it has started to wreak havoc that is imperiling our democracy. Through false political ads, filter bubbles that reinforce people’s beliefs instead of exposing them to a wide variety of ideas, and a troublesome twenty-six word provision (Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act of 1996) originally intended to protect internet platforms from liability and to incentivize effective moderation of content (and has thus become a free-for-all in which no one is held accountable), we are in dire straits.
*The citation is from Which Side of History?, a recently published collection of essays.
Nigel Barber looks at how “social” media is being exploited to promote authoritarianism. One his examples is Myanmar’s oppression of the Rohingya; follow the link for more examples:
Not being Internet-savvy, Myanmar residents were inclined to believe whatever they read as though it had been edited like a reputable newspaper.
Their Facebook feeds contained many false and hateful narratives about the Rohingya, their atrocities committed against Buddhists, and their ties to Islamic terrorism. The Facebook algorithm amplified these hate-filled rants, offering a breeding ground for fake news hostile to the Rohinga..
Facebook was aware of the problem but opted not to hire sufficient staff in the country to set about removing some of the inflammatory false narratives.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Steve Taylor explores the “abdication syndrome,” which refers to persons’ choosing to abdicate their autonomy to a charismatic leader or guru. He suggests that it can help understand the fanatic devotion of Donald Trump’s base, even as his behavior demonstrates repeatedly that he doesn’t have a clue about how government, politics, or international relations (let alone integrity or morality) work. Here’s a bit; the rest is worth a look:
It is tempting to apply the ‘abdication syndrome’ to Donald Trump. Perhaps this helps to explain his appeal to a sizeable proportion of the American electorate. Those who describe Trump’s following as a ‘personality cult’ are correct in the sense that he behaves like a narcissistic guru who craves the adoration of his disciples. And in turn, he provides his disciples with an illusion of responsibility and control. Despite his seemingly narcissistic personality, Trump’s supporters believe that he has their best interests at heart and that he loves them and their country. As with a corrupt guru, it doesn’t matter how incompetently he performs, or how immorally he acts; nothing will affect their devotion. His followers either explain away or deny his incompetence and corruption, in order to preserve their image of him as an infallible father figure.
At The Seattle Times, One of organizers of the #StopHateForProfit campaign to boycott Facebook to encourage it to clean up its act writes that Mark Zuckerberg just doesn’t get it.
Earlier this month, I joined the leaders of ADL, Color Of Change and the NAACP at a meeting with Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs. We came away disappointed by their indifference to our demands — and shocked by their apathy toward those who are on the receiving end of online hate.
Our meeting made one thing clear: Zuckerberg has an extremely limited understanding of systemic racism and the ways it has infiltrated his company.