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24 Sep 2023
@aarondgoldman:matrix.orgAaron GoldmanThe feeds.03:50:51
@meri:radical.directorymeri Rich, specific content semantics makes creating content easier. Eg I am going to share my Instagram story on close friends and I know exactly how it will appear, who it will appear to and for how long. Limitations help creativity 03:55:18
@meri:radical.directorymeri Social networks definitely make discovery easier 03:55:34
In reply to @aarondgoldman:matrix.org
I think the social network overtook blogs because the feeds were just better. Google is not as good at giving you content to read as Facebook is. The web is losing because discovery is broken.
I strongly disagree. They overtook because they were optimised for engagement. But we're in a new age now where that same system is being highly abused and will lead to something else overtaking social media and I'm betting it will be something with a greater barrier to entry and less discoverability.
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicSomething that would increase trust and confidence in the new medium.04:01:46
@meri:radical.directorymeriMaybe in other words, how we define ‘discovery’ can encode a lot of values. For example the values of corporations who want to maximise engagement and sell attention to advertisers. Vs discovery that’s actually about what users want04:04:48
@meri:radical.directorymeriBut there is overlap which is why social media corporations can make it worth it for users to give their attention away04:06:30
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicThis is exactly why I had that long poll. It's not that simple. corporations wanting to maximise engagement are the least of our worries today. Governments, companies, individuals using bots and sock puppets to influence entire population is kinda the issue of the past 10 years that we've been completely blind to. The way social media is designed today makes that very easy and the barrier to entry is very small.04:10:34
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicEngagement to sell a product is one thing, but influencing policies, stock markets, wars, public opinion, elections is what is happening every single day.04:12:02
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicWe're so concerned about network security here. Lets say a cyber war, right? But there is also a "Like War" going on right now.04:15:52
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicIf we think about cyber war as the hacking of networks then the Like War is its twin. It's the hacking of people on the networks.04:16:05
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicBy driving ideas viral trough a mix of likes, shares and lies.04:16:15
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicAs a free speech absolutist, I'm having a hard time envisioning a fix for this vulnerability of the Internet. I've been thinking about it for days now and I just can't see it...04:19:34
@aarondgoldman:matrix.orgAaron GoldmanIt's not the Internet it's us. Society is a story we tell each other. Some families convinced whole nations that they ruled my divine mandate. The only way to control a nation is with a story whether that control is a theocracy, a royal family, a continuous revolution, or democracy where the people are the sovereign. Humans are the animals that cooperate by common story not common ancestry.04:27:24
@aarondgoldman:matrix.orgAaron GoldmanBe careful the tails you tell.04:27:46
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicAgreed but the scale and reach today is unprecedented, we've combined the ability to spread out information and get feedback to analyse in real time at scale. It's not like putting out a book to speak to masses or talking on a phone to have 2 way communication with an individual.04:34:12
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicThis will be moderated as off-topic but I'll just quickly share some info so that you don't think I'm paranoid. So US has around 331.9 million inhabitants. It has been found that Russia tried to influence that population by using human bots. 2752 bots as identified by the US to be exact. Here's the link to the list of bots from the report: https://democrats-intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/exhibit_b.pdf So If you thought 2752 bots was enough to create havoc in the USA, then imagine how much havoc can over 14000 Serbian human bots can create in Serbia (to keep Vucic in power) and in the Balkan region (to spread the Serbo/Russian propaganda and stir up trouble). Here's the leaked list of all their bots (sock puppets), those are mostly people from the SNS political party and people employed by the government, local municipalities, teachers etc. They were all instructed to spread propaganda, misinformation, disinformation on the regular basis and they all did it to keep their government jobs and positions. It all came to light when a woman was sexually abused by a bot farm boss and vented on Facebook that prompted media to investigate and confirm everything as well as some insiders leaking their bot lists (confirmed): https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=23D5F79A293C09DC!114&ithint=file%2Cxlsx&authkey=!AOXI8BbKYKo9DXY This has had a huge impact on our lives in the Balkan region for years now. Nothing happened to the perpetrators. The international media coverage was non existent. I'm wondering if I'm insane or the world is insane for not covering this? We're almost at a pre war state, it's spilling into the streets, people are drawing graffiti with military and ultra nationalists slogans. Same thing as in the 90s before it all started. That's social media and networks for you :/ I'm sorry Ian, I know it's off topic, but It affects the entire web and it will affect the Freenet, there's no doubt about it so I had to write it. </off-topic>04:55:53
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicIf somebody here lives in Maryland, US. There is a conference hosted by the US Naval Institute which, by looking at the speakers, I presume will be about this exact issue. If you have time and are interested in the subject, please go and tell me about it later :) https://www.usni.org/events/critical-thinking-our-greatest-weapon-winning-tomorrows-war05:03:26
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Franssenus adversaries running most of the bots seems a false narrative05:05:09
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicI'm not claiming that. Probably all governments, but there are also private companies offering it as a service. But threatening 14k real people and forcing them to spread propaganda is unlikely to happen in the US without someone immediately blowing the whistle. Here it happened tho, many used their real accounts, photos etc.05:08:17
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Franssenmost bots are scammers05:08:50
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Franssennext i have seen is us state aligned05:09:19
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Fransseni think web of trust solves it well05:09:44
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicAny links?05:10:02
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Franssenon?05:10:19
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Franssenthere is papers on web of trust05:10:52
@stevenfranssen:matrix.orgSteven Fransseni can think of mark nadal talking on it05:11:15
@kristijan.zic:matrix.orgKristijanZicAs I understand the web of trust, it proves the authenticity of the source. It doesn't really address the abuse of virality. I wonder if one could have sock puppets that would actively try to propagate more some type of content and keep it on the network while other content slowly falls out.05:17:28
@bvul5:matrix.orgbvul5 true, every country, political party is paying private companies and for thousands of bots for public opinion and trolling and now they are paying to private spyware companies eg-NSO, to spy on their own opposition, journalists, activists etc and also Social media and messengers is their next target to censor 05:49:37

I’d say authoritarian governments and corporate elites use of propaganda, misinformation, etc is really serious and also, it’s not really a new thing nor limited to the scope of particular technologies. So I feel like it’s a bit beyond the scope of what this project can address, though I’m sure it could be used in useful ways.

A project I found interesting on addressing disinformation is called the Underlay which is meant to be a global distributed public knowledge graph. But I don’t know if it’s actively being developed anymore


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