Best Of The Web
“In response to charges of fake news and foreign interference in elections, Facebook executives lament that they were blindsided by how their platform has been misused and abused. Such surprise is either naive or a misdirection from a company that prided itself in understanding and monetizing human behaviors.
Unfortunately, Facebook has little control to change human behaviors that they exploit with their algorithms; and regulations will not eliminate the abuse and misinformation either.
Facebook has been a great platform for social interaction precisely because it plays upon our desires to connect and have purpose among our community. Facebook has brought people together with common interests, and long-lost friends have found one another to rebuild connections. The resulting good has been immense as Facebook has played a role in raising funds for various causes that have helped thousands.
Unfortunately, those same human desires and tendencies are a source for perpetuating abuse, hate, trolling, cyberbullying, misinformation, rumors, jealousy and misogyny. Sadly, social media is now a source of public health risk, with documented rises in depression and suicide rates.
At the crux of the problem are natural and well-understood human behaviors, including homophily and confirmation bias. Homophily is the tendency of individuals with similar beliefs (e.g., around cultural, political, race, or drug issues), social demographics and other characteristics to come together.
Facebook creates a natural environment for individuals to opt in with similar others while excluding those with contrarian views. The behaviors on social networks have popularized these terms: echo chambers, consumption treadmill, birds of a feather flock together, and the information cocoon/bubble.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."
" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."
"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."
A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.
"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."
"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"
"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"
Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."
"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."
"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."
"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."
"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."