Tags: facebook*

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  1. Seconda domanda: Cambridge Analytica segnala come propri casi di successo il ruolo consulenziale avuto per la Brexit e le presidenziali USA del 2016. Questo vuol dire che la propaganda computazionale data-based ha successo prevalentemente con i movimenti populisti? Qui entriamo nella fantapolitica, ma è possibile provare a ragionare sulla questione. Se fosse vero che il populismo è più sensibile ad una comunicazione semplice e mirata, vorrebbe dire che la mente di chi vota conservatore sia diversa dalla mente di chi vota liberale. Chi ha sollevato la questione è il linguista George Lakoff che nel suo libro “Moral Politics” ha ipotizzato che i conservatori hanno un modello familiare rigoroso, in cui i valori sono fondati su autodisciplina e lavoro duro, mentre i liberali hanno un modello familiare partecipativo, in cui i valori sono basati sul prendersi cura gli uni con gli altri.
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  2. In seguito alla pubblicazione del documento stilato di comune accordo tra INE e Facebook, resta fuor di dubbio che l'azienda fondatrice della nota piattaforma social non abbia nessun obbligo formale, e non mostrerebbe neanche l'intenzione di combattere le cosiddette “fake news”, argomento molto discusso negli ultimi giorni.

    Dobbiamo anche ricordare che non lontano dal Messico, in Honduras, il Congresso sta discutendo su una proposta di legge che tenta di frenare la diffusione di notizie false, inerenti anche all'ambito elettorale, con modalità poco trasparenti.
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  3. Who is doing the targeting?

    Albright: It really depends on the platform and the news event. Just the extensiveness of the far right around the election: I can’t talk about that right this second, but I can say that, very recently, what I’ve tended to see from a linking perspective and a network perspective is that the left, and even to some degree center-left news organizations and journalists, are really kind of isolated in their own bubble, whereas the right have very much populated most of the social media resources and use YouTube extensively. This study I did over the weekend shows the depth of the content and how much reach they have. I mean, they’re everywhere; it’s almost ubiquitous. They’re ambient in the media information ecosystem. It’s really interesting from a polarization standpoint as well, because self-identified liberals and self-identified conservatives have different patterns in unfriending people and in not friending people who have the opposite of their ideology.

    From those initial maps of the ad tech and hyperlink ecosystem of the election-related partisan news realm, I dove into every platform. For example, I did a huge study on YouTube last year. It led me to almost 80,000 fake videos that were being auto-scripted and batch-uploaded to YouTube. They were all keyword-stuffed. Very few of them had even a small number of views, so what these really were was about impact — these were a gaming system. My guess is that they were meant to skew autocomplete or search suggestions in YouTube. It couldn’t have been about monetization because the videos had very few views the sheer volume wouldn’t have made sense with YouTube’s business model.

    Someone had set up a script that detected social signals off of Twitter. It would go out and scrape related news articles, pull the text back in, and read it out in a computer voice, a Siri-type voice. It would pull images from Google Images, create a slideshow, package that up and wrap it, upload it to YouTube, hashtag it and load it with keywords. There were so many of these and they were going up so fast that as I was pulling data from the YouTube API dozens more would go up.

    I worked with The Washington Post on a project where I dug into Twitter and got, for the last week leading up to the election, a more or less complete set of Twitter data for a group of hashtags. I found what were arguably the top five most influential bots through that last week, and we found that the top one was not a completely automated account, it was a person.

    The Washington Post’s Craig Timberg » looked around and actually found this person and contacted him and he agreed to an interview at his house. It was just unbelievable. It turns out that this guy was almost 70, almost blind.

    From Timberg’s piece: “Sobieski’s two accounts…tweet more than 1,000 times a day using ‘schedulers’ that work through stacks of his own pre-written posts in repetitive loops. With retweets and other forms of sharing, these posts reach the feeds of millions of other accounts, including those of such conservative luminaries as Fox News’s Sean Hannity, GOP strategist Karl Rove and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), according to researcher Jonathan Albright…’Life isn’t fair,’ Sobieski said with a smile. ‘Twitter in a way is like a meritocracy. You rise to the level of your ability….People who succeed are just the people who work hard.'” »

    The most dangerous accounts, the most influential accounts, are often accounts that are supplemented with human input, and also a human identity that’s very strong and possibly already established before the elections come in.

    I mean, I do hold that it’s not okay to come in and try to influence someone’s election; when I look at these YouTube videos, I think: Someone has to be funding this. In the case of the YouTube research, though, I looked at this more from a systems/politics perspective.

    We have a problem that’s greater than the one-off abuse of technologies to manipulate elections. This thing is parasitic. It’s growing in size. The last week and a half are some of the worst things I’ve ever seen, just in terms of the trending. YouTube is having to manually go in and take these videos out. YouTube’s search suggestions, especially in the context of fact-checking, are completely counter-productive. I think Russia is a side effect of our larger problems.

    Why is it getting worse?

    Albright: There are more people online, they’re spending more time online, there’s more content, people are becoming more polarized, algorithms are getting better, the amount of data that platforms have is increasing over time.

    I think one of the biggest things that’s missing from political science research is that it usually doesn’t consider the amount of time that people spend online. Between the 2012 election and the 2016 election, smartphone use went up by more than 25 percent. Many people spend all of their waking time somehow connected.

    This is where psychology really needs to come in. There’s been very little psychology work done looking at this from an engagement perspective, looking at the effect of seeing things in the News Feed but not clicking out. Very few people actually click out of Facebook. We really need social psychology, we really need humanities work to come in and pick up the really important pieces. What are the effects of someone seeing vile or conspiracy news headlines in their News Feed from their friends all day?

    Owen: This is so depressing.
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  4. ‘Whatever the causes of political polarisation today, it is not social media or the internet.

    ‘If anything, most people use the internet to broaden their media horizons. We found evidence that people actively look to confirm the information that they read online, in a multitude of ways. They mainly do this by using a search engine to find offline media and validate political information. In the process they often encounter opinions that differ from their own and as a result whether they stumbled across the content passively or use their own initiative to search for answers while double checking their “facts”, some changed their own opinion on certain issues.’

    The research shows that respondents used an average of four different media sources, and had accounts on three different social media platforms. The more media outlets people used, the more they tended to avoid echo chambers.

    While age, income, ethnicity nor gender were found to significantly influence the likelihood of being in an echo chamber, political interest significantly did. Those with a keen political interest were most likely to be opinion leaders who others turn to for political information. Compared with the less politically inclined, these people were found to be media junkies, who consumed political content wherever they could find it, and as a result of this diversity they were less likely to be in an echo chamber.

    Dr Elizabeth Dubois, co-author and Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, said: ‘Our results show that most people are not in a political echo chamber. The people at risk are those who depend on only a single medium for political news and who are not politically interested: about 8% of the population. However, because of their lack of political engagement, their opinions are less formative and their influence on others is likely to be comparatively small.’
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  5. Four companies dominate our daily lives unlike any other in human history: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. We love our nifty phones and just-a-click-away services, but these behemoths enjoy unfettered economic domination and hoard riches on a scale not seen since the monopolies of the gilded age. The only logical conclusion? We must bust up big tech.
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  6. Ecco, quella che evidenzia Riccardo Scandellari è proprio una differenza del linguaggio che caratterizza le giovani generazioni, più propense alla forma di contenuto video, quindi al visual content. Una caratteristica che spiegherebbe meglio questa “fuga da Facebook” dei più giovani che si spostano verso piattaforme che fanno del contenuto visivo la propria ragion d’essere.

    Questo è un dato che certamente non metterà in difficoltà Facebook che, nonostante tutto, continuerà a crescere ancora, negli Usa quanto in altri paesi, ma è indicativo di come, per i giovani, la scelta dello strumento venga determinata dalla tipologia del contenuto che questa permetta di usare. Un approccio diverso rispetto a quelle delle generazioni “più anziane”, che spesso inseguono la piattaforma lasciandosi trasportare dalle caratteristiche che offre.
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  7. Young Americans no longer use Facebook

    The over 55 crowd are lining up to go to Facebook, which means its the death bell for Facebook ever remaining relevant to advertizers as its usage will decrease YOY in pretty large amounts here in North America. There’s no point in targeting users on the advertising platform if they don’t even sign in, right?

    Facebook is thus built on a big lie, that’s it’s actually still relevant.

    “Facebook is for old people” is a mantra that invariably is only going to get worse as the Newsfeed becomes irrelevant there for brands and marketers.

    Even back in 2015, only 14% Of teens said Facebook was the most important social network.

    What’s more, usage among 18–24 year-olds is predicted to fall, as well, by 5.8%.

    It really does not matter how many “users” Facebook has globally, the penetration among key demographics in North America is what really matters. If Twitter is an actual barometer on real-time events and collective sentiment, Facebook is that place you go to meet your grandmother who lives in another country.

    With actual peer circles and with streaks, Snapchat is a much more persuasive app for teens than Instagram, that is better known for celebrities.
    Over 55s flock to Facebook as teenagers leave in droves for Snapchat

    With consumers more careful of smartphone addiction and notification spam and algorithms in feeds manipulating us, 2018 might be the year consumers kill Facebook. Facebook pivoting away from the Newsfeed is an ugly sign that the era of “likes” and personal sharing is nearly dead.

    Have you considered a digital detox from social media apps in 2018?
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  8. As problematic as Facebook has become, it represents only one component of a much broader shift into a new human connectivity that is both omnipresent (consider the smartphone) and hypermediated—passing through and massaged by layer upon layer of machinery carefully hidden from view. The upshot is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine what in our interactions is simply human and what is machine-generated. It is becoming difficult to know what is real.

    Before the agents of this new unreality finish this first phase of their work and then disappear completely from view to complete it, we have a brief opportunity to identify and catalogue the processes shaping our drift to a new world in which reality is both relative and carefully constructed by others, for their ends. Any catalogue must include at least these four items:

    the monetisation of propaganda as ‘fake news’;
    the use of machine learning to develop user profiles accurately measuring and modelling our emotional states;
    the rise of neuromarketing, targeting highly tailored messages that nudge us to act in ways serving the ends of others;
    a new technology, ‘augmented reality’, which will push us to sever all links with the evidence of our senses.

    The fake news stories floated past as jetsam on Facebook’s ‘newsfeed’, that continuous stream of shared content drawn from a user’s Facebook’s contacts, a stream generated by everything everyone else posts or shares. A decade ago that newsfeed had a raw, unfiltered quality, the notion that everyone was doing everything, but as Facebook has matured it has engaged increasingly opaque ‘algorithms’ to curate (or censor) the newsfeed, producing something that feels much more comfortable and familiar.

    This seems like a useful feature to have, but the taming of the newsfeed comes with a consequence: Facebook’s billions of users compose their world view from what flows through their feeds. Consider the number of people on public transport—or any public place—staring into their smartphones, reviewing their feeds, marvelling at the doings of their friends, reading articles posted by family members, sharing video clips or the latest celebrity outrages. It’s an activity now so routine we ignore its omnipresence.

    Curating that newsfeed shapes what Facebook’s users learn about the world. Some of that content is controlled by the user’s ‘likes’, but a larger part is derived from Facebook’s deep analysis of a user’s behaviour. Facebook uses ‘cookies’ (invisible bits of data hidden within a user’s web browser) to track the behaviour of its users even when they’re not on the Facebook site—and even when they’re not users of Facebook. Facebook knows where its users spend time on the web, and how much time they spend there. All of that allows Facebook to tailor a newsfeed to echo the interests of each user. There’s no magic to it, beyond endless surveillance.

    What is clear is that Facebook has the power to sway the moods of billions of users. Feed people a steady diet of playful puppy videos and they’re likely to be in a happier mood than people fed images of war. Over the last two years, that capacity to manage mood has been monetised through the sharing of fake news and political feeds atuned to reader preference: you can also make people happy by confirming their biases.

    We all like to believe we’re in the right, and when we get some sign from the universe at large that we are correct, we feel better about ourselves. That’s how the curated newsfeed became wedded to the world of profitable propaganda.

    Adding a little art to brighten an other-wise dull wall seems like an unalloyed good, but only if one completely ignores bad actors. What if that blank canvas gets painted with hate speech? What if, perchance, the homes of ‘undesirables’ are singled out with graffiti that only bad actors can see? What happens when every gathering place for any oppressed community gets invisibly ‘tagged’? In short, what happens when bad actors use Facebook’s augmented reality to amplify their own capacity to act badly?

    But that’s Zuckerberg: he seems to believe his creations will only be used to bring out the best in people. He seems to believe his gigantic sharing network would never be used to incite mob violence. Just as he seems to claim that Facebook’s capacity to collect and profile the moods of its users should never be monetised—but, given that presentation unearthed by the Australian, Facebook tells a different story to advertisers.

    Regulating Facebook enshrines its position as the data-gathering and profile-building organisation, while keeping it plugged into and responsive to the needs of national powers. Before anyone takes steps that would cement Facebook in our social lives for the foreseeable future, it may be better to consider how this situation arose, and whether—given what we now know—there might be an opportunity to do things differently.
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  9. “Facebook has never had on their report card, in my opinion, true social outcomes,” McGinn says. “From a business perspective, Facebook has done phenomenally well. Facebook is a cash cow. But from a social perspective, those metrics could be inversely related. The more Facebook builds profit, the more it’s at the expense of the American people.”
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2018-02-07)
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  10. Stories, which are short photo slideshows or collections of videos, are on track to overtake regular news feed posts as the most common form of social sharing across apps, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-02-01)
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