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#1 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-April-25, 15:36

I was just trying to imagine myself coming home and saying to Becky "I just bought Twittter". She says "Oh, how much was it?" And I say "44 billion dollars". What does she say next?

Of course I don't have 44 billion. But still.

We don't second guess each other, but that's when we buy a pair of shoes.
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#2 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-April-25, 17:16

No wonder you can afford new shoes. You just saved $44 billion by not buying Twitter.
If you don't buy BBO you might be able to afford ________?


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#3 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-April-25, 17:45

View Postkenberg, on 2022-April-25, 15:36, said:

"I just bought Twitter".



On to Netflix!! It's getting cheaper by the day.

#4 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-April-25, 17:50

You may want to check out Disney too. It's not looking too peppy either.

#5 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-April-26, 08:03

I immediately deleted my Twitter account - yeah, that’ll teach him.
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#6 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2022-April-27, 06:05

View Postkenberg, on 2022-April-25, 15:36, said:

I was just trying to imagine myself coming home and saying to Becky "I just bought Twittter". She says "Oh, how much was it?" And I say "44 billion dollars". What does she say next?

Of course I don't have 44 billion. But still.

We don't second guess each other, but that's when we buy a pair of shoes.


My guess: "Dinner is ready in five minutes..." :) (My ex-wife said exactly that after I bought a new car.)
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#7 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-April-27, 07:17

Some Matt Yglesias takes on Elon's Twitter acquisition:

Quote

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is a Black Hole of Discourse that has engulfed the entire media, and I’m no exception. It touches on so many things — climate, space travel, economics, media — that I couldn’t really work my thoughts into a coherent whole. But it’s my blog and I can be incoherent if I want, so here are some thoughts in scattered epigrammatic style:

The transformation of Elon Musk into a hated figure in American progressive circles is fundamentally odd. We’re talking about a guy whose fortune is built on electric cars and solar panels and whose big aspiration is going to Mars. These are not classically areas where American liberals have clashed with business.

Musk’s own politics seem to have shifted in tandem. In 2021, he made only a few political contributions, all to the RNC or WinRed. But in 2018 he was a classic bipartisan rich guy, maxing out to the DCCC and the RNCC. In the 2016 cycle and earlier, he seems to have given mostly to national Democrats but also to a lot of (mostly Republican) state-level Texas politicians. Back in 2012 Musk was an Obama donor, and Mitt Romney was slamming Tesla as a “loser” company propped up by the Obama administration’s misguided policies.

Twitter users on the whole are younger, richer, better-educated, and more left-wing than the American population as a whole.

Among Democrats, Twitter users are way more left-wing and politically engaged than Democrats as a whole. This Twitter gap, combined with the fact that Musk sincerely loves tweeting, I think explains a lot about the transformation in political perceptions of him.

The Elon Musk Discourse seems to me to largely take place in a universe where the United States is close to enacting a stiff wealth tax and achieving Japanese levels of mass transit ridership. In that universe, Elon Musk — an incredibly rich guy who sells cars for a living and clearly doesn’t like mass transit — would absolutely be a tier-one obstacle to progressive goals.

In the real world, the U.S. transit mode share is something like five percent and falling. Congress just enacted a historically generous federal investment in mass transit, so building national political support for transit spending is actually not a problem. To improve transit we need to actually raise the quality of the investments that we make and improve land use so that when trains are built, there’s a critical mass of people who live near the station.

The concept of “free speech” on Twitter strikes me as inherently problematic due to the platform’s reliance on algorithmic amplification and suppression of certain tweets. There are completely valid and understandable business reasons for operating that way, but free speech is fundamentally about neutrality with regard to content, and the fact is that Twitter is not a neutral platform, not a dumb pipe, and not a utility-type information-disseminator. I would in some sense like them to operate that way, but they don’t. And given that they don’t, the question of what they do and don’t promote is a valid thing to scrutinize.

Twitter is also a private company (and absolutely not a monopoly), thus it has no legal or constitutional obligation to be neutral. There is a question of how free is the speech on the platform, but it’s not a question of the legal concept of Americans’ right to freedom of speech.

The fundamental problem with uncensored, algorithmically-amplified speech is that you are de facto putting a thumb on the scale in favor of misinformation. If 99 out of 100 journalists get the story right, then they are all competing with one another for visibility whereas the one guy who makes a mistake ends up with a more distinctive story and will secure above-average engagement.

When the consensus on something is wrong, of course, this fundamental anti-consensus feature of algorithmic social media is great. Back in January and February of 2020 when the expert consensus downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19 and the utility of masks, Twitter’s anti-consensus features helped me to obtain better information.

Situations where the consensus is wrong and outsiders and truth-tellers puncture the bubble are very high-salience and memorable. But most of the time the consensus opinion is both correct and banal (Comet Ping Pong is a restaurant with pretty good pizza), while the dissident view is batshit insane (Comet Ping Pong is the secret headquarters of a cabal of child molesters). An information platform that pairs algorithmic amplification with zero-censorship will relentlessly promote insanity while eroding financial incentives for accurate journalism.

The problem with content moderation as a solution to misinformation is that to do it properly, the company would need to build an entire top-to-bottom stack for gathering and evaluating information on every conceivable topic of interest. That’s really hard! The absolute best, most honest, and most forthright media institutions in the world make errors. They also generally have the humility to only cover a limited range of issue space. The idea that Twitter could effectively ascertain what is true and what is untrue on every topic simultaneously not only in English but also in Arabic and Portuguese is absurd.

In practice, Twitter seems to do exactly what any group of people would do, which is implement its moderation directives in a biased way. It’s a U.S. company whose employees are mostly on the left, so it pays more attention to stuff in English and about the United States and it tends to take a more generous view of left-wing people’s conduct than right-wing people’s conduct.

Most people assume, I think rightly, that a vision of Twitter more oriented toward “free speech” would mean reinstating a bunch of right-wing scumbags.

Many people seem to assume that this would be good for right-wing politics. I am skeptical. Twitter’s decision to clamp down on Nazis while letting the hammer-and-sickle crew run wild does not strike me as providing the Democratic Party with any kind of concrete advantages in political competition. If anything, it’s the opposite. Political movements benefit from policing their own extremes, but that’s difficult to do in practice. The fact that Twitter does it for them is good for Republicans.

The ultimate example of this is Trump. Throughout his presidency other Republicans urged him to tweet less, but he wouldn’t. Then after 1/6, Twitter kicked him off, and that’s been great for Republicans! I thought Joe Biden should have called for his reinstatement as a gesture of bipartisanship in the State of the Union. The last thing Kevin McCarthy wants to do is admit that he likes Trump being offline.

The most plausible worry about Musk buying Twitter is that it’ll be a time-suck. A lot of people describe Twitter as a “hellsite,” but as anyone who follows me knows, I personally really enjoy it. Musk seems to as well. But it’s a huge distraction! I tweet more than I should, Musk tweets more than he should, and basically all high-volume users are using it more than we should. If he actually owns Twitter, then it’s easy to see that becoming a huge distraction from more important pursuits like rockets and electric cars. Let’s colonize Mars!

Tesla does a lot of business in China, both in terms of sales and manufacturing. Companies that do business in China tend to help the PRC export its censorship norms to the West. Elon Musk has been pretty vocal in his criticisms of Covid-19 NPIs in the United States but silent about much more draconian measures implemented in China. He surely doesn’t want to impose the kind of pro-Chinese self-censorship that he practices on the entire Twitter userbase. But he probably doesn’t enjoy imposing it on himself either. Stuff happens.

In general, one should probably worry more about business titans creating a situation of too little free speech rather than too much.

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#8 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-April-27, 13:11

View PostLBengtsson, on 2022-April-27, 06:05, said:

My guess: "Dinner is ready in five minutes..." :) (My ex-wife said exactly that after I bought a new car.)


Very possibly you are right.

Ken
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#9 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 03:47

View PostLBengtsson, on 2022-April-27, 06:05, said:

My guess: "Dinner is ready in five minutes..." :) (My ex-wife said exactly that after I bought a new car.)

Mine once failed to notice that I was sitting on a new bicycle, let alone imagine that it cost more than the car (it was the same colour as the old one).
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#10 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 04:36

View Postpescetom, on 2022-April-28, 03:47, said:

Mine once failed to notice that I was sitting on a new bicycle, let alone imagine that it cost more than the car (it was the same colour as the old one).


There's so much left to the imagination in that sentence I don't know where to begin.
What colour was your second wife?
Were you eating dinner on the bicycle?
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#11 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 12:24

I am trusting everyone to understand that my original post expressed my inability to understand buying something for 44 billion, not my inability to understand Becky.

Matt Yglesias has a number of interesting thoughts. One that had also occurred to me: "The problem with content moderation as a solution to misinformation is that to do it properly, the company would need to build an entire top-to-bottom stack for gathering and evaluating information on every conceivable topic of interest. "

I have thought for a while that the following could help, if it is technologically feasible: No Tweets from bots. And all tweeters must fully identify themselves. No user names. So we would have: I, Ken Berg, the Ken Berg born in Minneapolis on Jan 1, 1939, that Ken Berg, believe ... where the ... can be pretty much any stupid thing I believe. Anyone violating this would be banned, maybe for a year the first time and for ten years the next time. It would not stop people from saying ridiculous things, very possibly some things that I believe are at least a bit weird, but at least people could see who was saying it write it off as just that idiot Ken Berg spouting his nonsense.

Some beliefs are just plain wrong. St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota, Minneapolis is not the capital of Minnesota. But many of the most important matters are less than certain. Kids, many of them, do better with in-person classes. And they need to interact with other kids. Kids should be protected from covid. We solve this how? Not by having them drink bleach, ok, but still, just what should we do?

Anyway, we need discussion, and we have always thought, or I have always thought, this means we let people say really stupid things we just learn to listen to better informed sources.

How does this work in the age of Twitter? Beats me. I don't tweet, I don't follow anyone on Twitter. But I get a senior discount at Burger King. Probably there is a high correlation between getting a senior discount at Burger King and not tweeting.
Ken
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#12 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 13:17

View Postkenberg, on 2022-April-28, 12:24, said:

I have thought for a while that the following could help, if it is technologically feasible: No Tweets from bots. And all tweeters must fully identify themselves.

Looks like Elon agrees with you: https://screenrant.c...verified-check/
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#13 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 14:39

Of course he does. Because that can't hurt him, and it can protect him. At least partially by threatening to go all Devin Nunes on cows people.

Sure he can be brigaded just like random streamer from Seattle. But he can afford people to run interference on it, and if necessary, protection if the random threats become more than just words, that "random streamer" can't.

Real Name policies *always* protect the currently powerful and the societal status quo. *Because* they always have the threat of real life backing them up - so the fragile in RL are now (more) fragile on That Site. And oddly enough, the people pushing for Real Name policies, because they are protected IRL, can't see where - or don't care where, or it's a feature rather than a bug - it might not be quite as safe for others as them.

And having looked at the disgusting and ... things I have seen with people's names proudly attached to them, it's *very clear* that it doesn't stop bad behaviour. Just, you know, the "wrong sort" of bad behaviour, or perhaps the "wrong sort" of bad behaviourists...
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#14 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 15:22

View Postmycroft, on 2022-April-28, 14:39, said:

Of course he does. Because that can't hurt him, and it can protect him. At least partially by threatening to go all Devin Nunes on cows people.

Sure he can be brigaded just like random streamer from Seattle. But he can afford people to run interference on it, and if necessary, protection if the random threats become more than just words, that "random streamer" can't.

Real Name policies *always* protect the currently powerful and the societal status quo. *Because* they always have the threat of real life backing them up - so the fragile in RL are now (more) fragile on That Site. And oddly enough, the people pushing for Real Name policies, because they are protected IRL, can't see where - or don't care where, or it's a feature rather than a bug - it might not be quite as safe for others as them.

And having looked at the disgusting and ... things I have seen with people's names proudly attached to them, it's *very clear* that it doesn't stop bad behaviour. Just, you know, the "wrong sort" of bad behaviour, or perhaps the "wrong sort" of bad behaviourists...


Ok, but what is the alternative? Telling people "You can't say that" does not really stop people from saying that. If anything, it draws attention to whatever "that" is. And if people can't say "that" then later, when it becomes clear that "that" is idiotic, the person can say, truthfully, I never said "that". At least they did not say "that" on Twitter if they were not allowed to.

I am cautious about believing what doctors tell me, I hope to never have to depend on what a lawyer tells me, and there are many people out there who I would not believe if they told me today is Wednesday. Well, it's Thursday. but not because they said so.

I am not claiming that I have a solution. But I am wary of having some board of experts silencing people who disagree with them. Aren't you? Isn't everyone? When I was young, most of the info I got was from people that I knew. I learned to be wary, and I learned to pretty much ignore what some people said. Now it is more complicated.

If someone says that my views are simply a way of protecting my privilege I disagree. There are many people I disagree with about many things. We will all live through it. I say what I think, I say who I am, I like it that way.


Ken
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#15 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 16:19

Interesting topic. Where to start.

Just to pick up this Matt Yglesias person on one thing. Twitter is not at present a private company. One of the things Mr Musk is considering is taking a listed company private, and all that entails

That's for starters. There are so many issues in this discussion and so many misleading comments already in the thread it would take me a long time to address them (I may try)

I am a long time Twitter user, enjoy the platform, enjoy Mr Dorsey's vision of a platform built around conversation

I have many concerns about many of the trends I have observed on all platforms and all political forums over recent years in silencing alternative points of view and claiming there is something called the truth that should be given precedence - that is frightening

Its also amusing who is regarded as left/right, progressive/reactionary, authoritarian/libertarian etc

I have become increasing frightened by the apparent algorithmic/impersonal nature of a platform that is so ignorant it censors rhetorical comments, takes them out of context of conversations and ignores intelligent and reasonable appeals. It doesn't understand or respect different cultures. So many platforms are becoming impersonal. Not the people on it, not the users, not the CEOs, but the tech obsession with algorithms and some of the ignoramuses seemingly working for the platforms. Like having some nobody edit the Lancet sometimes - apologies for making that analogy but I hope it works.

Where to start. I also have concerns about the power of big-techs, the obsession with crypto, the way they seem to like playing games with our lives, and thinking they run the world. Why trust people wanting to setup some so called alternative decentralized currency under their control. Against the people of the world

Another thing - anonymity. Mr Musk (in that link above) is simply discussing Twitter Blue and Verified accounts and their special responsibilities/restrictions. I hope he is not going after anonymity. Many people are fighting serious struggles against huge power and anonymity and the relative/apparent/possibly illusory safety of using an alias to fight big power is kind of important for some

I have concerns about Mr Musk on various other things but as far as I can see he has just been a CEO who has successfully got many ignorant so-called progressives and Greenies pushing Tesla products

Also, as with most things in this world if you don't understand something you have to be more careful about expressing points of view :)
etc. etc.
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#16 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 17:28

The Facebook algorithms are more problematic than Twitter’s free speech stance.
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#17 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 19:24

The real answer is that you hire enough moderators to keep things under control. But, of course, that scales badly (and for "New Media" companies, costs too much, even at low scale).

You also do the crustpunk bartender thing. But of course, this kind of stuff, at least until it "wins", drives engagement, and engagement drives ad dollars. So, there's no incentive. Once it wins, of course, you get Gab and Telegram (and Leopards Eating My Face entries, because there has to be *somebody* to bully).

You can actually fix the algorithms so that "gang promotion" can't trend anything with just 50 concerted people, and the same 50 people gangreporting doesn't automatically trigger suspensions.

Yes, there are "more true" and "less true", but you can put a warning on actual factual "flat-earth level" debunked lies.

Basically, you have to care more about the people than the money. Which 21st century capitalism makes hard to do. And which I think is very very hard in general, especially when what the people are saying is "your comfort is causing pain".

Of course, soon it may be "you have to care about the people more than The Person", which has *always* been hard to do.
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#18 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 21:53

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-April-28, 17:28, said:

The Facebook algorithms are more problematic than Twitter’s free speech stance.


Nice attempt at diverting from the topic
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#19 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 22:08

View Postmycroft, on 2022-April-28, 19:24, said:

The real answer is that you hire enough moderators to keep things under control. But, of course, that scales badly (and for "New Media" companies, costs too much, even at low scale).

You also do the crustpunk bartender thing. But of course, this kind of stuff, at least until it "wins", drives engagement, and engagement drives ad dollars. So, there's no incentive. Once it wins, of course, you get Gab and Telegram (and Leopards Eating My Face entries, because there has to be *somebody* to bully).

You can actually fix the algorithms so that "gang promotion" can't trend anything with just 50 concerted people, and the same 50 people gangreporting doesn't automatically trigger suspensions.

Yes, there are "more true" and "less true", but you can put a warning on actual factual "flat-earth level" debunked lies.

Basically, you have to care more about the people than the money. Which 21st century capitalism makes hard to do. And which I think is very very hard in general, especially when what the people are saying is "your comfort is causing pain".

Of course, soon it may be "you have to care about the people more than The Person", which has *always* been hard to do.


Is/are(?) the people not made up of Persons? Or would that be "People"?

If anyone thinks (and many seem to) that the CEO (or the boards even) of any major corporation care about anything other than their corporation then their shareholders may get upset :) There is a lot of ****washing in business

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#20 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-April-28, 22:42

If you do not know who "The Person" is in that comment, and why it might not be equivalent to "the people", ...

I agree with you about boards in general. However, at least for Twitter, that might change very quickly in specific. It's not like he's known for his care for his corporations except as they can be used as a reflection of himself in the past. I'm *guessing* that's actually the inspiration for the original post, in fact.
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