the movement for accountability

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/25/facebook-frances-haugen-molly-russell-teen-suicide-social-media-uk/

There are a couple of sentences that I really like.

I was involuntarily drafted into this long, arduous movement for accountability.

It reminds me of the Stanford rape victim, dumpster, letter. That is #1 in the genre. Write something that is so good it is noticed.

My perspective on this one gets in the way as I understand better than most how research in big companies works, how decisions are made, what is proprietary, and even what is government classified or accessible. Peripherally, it also sheds light on Twitter.

Anyone can see “engagement-based rankings” every day on the internet. Youtube suggests more videos and the Washington Post and New York Times offer more articles. You can see how the content gets more varied and possibly more opinionated and even radical if that is allowed. If you participate or log in it becomes easier and linked with other things. It can all be tracked and manipulated–the goal is more, more, more.

In an online world where “platforms” can be copied, knowing how to do this is obviously important. In fact, it is a super-duper skill if you know how to do it with a database like that of Meta. It is, also obviously, proprietary.

Data a company collects from research is confidential, as is customer data and internal algorithms. That cannot be legislated or prosecuted. The last paragraph of this otherwise excellent op-ed does not make sense. Even if Meta were to voluntarily offer every data file and research report it ever possessed, who is going to review that morass of customer, consumer, billing, opinion, post, etc. data? And what exactly are they supposed to glean from it?

This is where people who read (e.g., Trump) are at a disadvantage. Frances Haugen’s testimony, those who are looking into it, and those who write about it perform a valuable service. It is complex. There is no easy solution. Perhaps an equally serious but amorphous clue lies in the USPSTF recommendation that everyone under 65 undergo anxiety screening.

I remain ignorant: I don’t know what happens when you type “how to commit suicide” into Google or YouTube. Nonetheless, I am quite sure the public service announcement at the bottom of the Ian Russell piece appears. I suspect companies like Meta are learning to monitor such phrases closely.

Meta stock, and others, are getting crushed. One solution is, don’t use it. Another is, parents can help when a teen sequesters themself to use social media and perform “self-harm” (is is attributed to Molly Russell).

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