The “Exxon knew” story is being ignored?

My previous post was about the recent release of a shocking report by researchers from Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, confirming Exxon has know for at least fifty years that their products were, are, and will continue causing planet wide warming.

I first saw the Exxon story late last night on Mastodon. This morning I checked Twitter, and was surprised-not-surprised to see no mention of it. It’s there if you search, but on the UK News feed and Trending there’s nothing.

It wasn’t so long ago Twitter was my first port of call for breaking stories. Now, the top thirty stories on the platform, go from Felix to Corbyn, with no mention of Exxon. That’s just wrong, and dangerous, and confirms the kind of dangerous bias, I for one, expected when Elon Musk took over Twitter.

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Mastodon rejects funding to preserve nonprofit status

As Twitter implodes under the weight of Elon Musk’s ego, Mastodon has grown significantly, making it very attractive to investors, who no doubt would pump tonnes of cash into the fediverse, and seek to centralise the decentralised. We should all tip our hats to Eugen Rochko the German software developer, who is the sole shareholder of Mastodon, for refusing the money, and keeping Mastodon open source.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2022/12/twitter-rival-mastodon-rejects-funding-to-preserve-nonprofit-status/

Facebook, Cambridge Analytics, and Brexit

This story from Reuters announcing “Facebook parent Meta to settle Cambridge Analytica scandal case for $725” million has me wondering. Can Facebook be sued for their part in securing a leave win in the Brexit referendum?

It is my understanding that Dominic Cummings and Vote Leave took the information Cambridge Analytica scraped from Facebook, built detailed profiles of users, then targeted them with advertising designed to nudge voters in the 2016 referendum.

For those who think Facebook’s reach and impact is negligible, just another silly social media platform, consider this. 17,410,742 people voted to leave the European Union, compared to the 16,141,241 who voted to remain. That’s a difference of 1,269,501 people. Vote Leave won by nudging the attitudes and opinions of at least, but probably more than, 1.25 million people. The thing is, that’s only 2.82% of the 45 million people it’s estimated use Facebook in the United Kingdom. I also think it significant that the total electorate, those who voted in the referendum, was only 1,501,241 more than the total number of UK Facebook users.

Personally, I think the platform allowed itself to be used by Cummings and Vote Leave to reach and influence enough of the electorate, personally and specifically, to swing the vote their way. Facebook certainly took the money and ran the adverts without worrying about intention or means. I also think the picture is more complicated than simply targeting Facebook users with adverts that confirm an individual’s prejudices and trigger their fears. They also used targeted advertising to convince the apathetic or complacent, that leave could never win, nothing ever changes, so why bother voting at all. Turnout for the referendum was 72.2%, comparatively high when seen against the 2019 General Election at 67.3%. That’s a difference of 4.9%. Significant, in a conspiratorial kind of way, when you realise Vote Leave only won with a majority of 4%.

If you don’t believe me, and why would you, could you, should you, watch Dominic Cummings explain in his own words, “Why Leave Won the Referendum”. He gave this talk at the Ogilvy Nudgestock event in 2017. Nudgestock calls itself a festival of “behavioural science and creativity” that provides “science-led evaluation and optimization of nudge strategies, ideas and campaigns designed to change perception and behaviour”.

All of this sounds to me like psychological warfare, employed against the population of the United Kingdom, for political and economic gain.

Does Twitter delete?

For the second time since I joined Twitter in 2010, I downloaded my archive. It’s horrible looking through all of those old posts. It’s embarrassing, cringe inducing, the way looking at old photographs makes me want to run away and hide.

The first time I requested my archive was about eighteen months ago, when I downloaded and deleted most of my timeline. To my surprise today’s download contained every post I’d ever made on the platform, again.

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I casually expected this archive to contain only the post made since the last purge.

I’m sure this breaks laws in the UK relating to GDPR?

This revelation does confirm one thing I’ve always know, but actively ignored, your presence on the internet is like a tattoo, it’s there forever!

Big Tech is failing

Jeremy Gilbert and Alex Williams in their Open Democracy article offer some insights into why they think “Big Tech is failing”.

The pair see two possible futures. “One is towards a green neosocialism… the other is a bleak fascist populism.”

For me both of these futures seem locked into tech giants. They’re not seeing that the platforms are part of the problem, part of the reason the latter is a possibility.

I think if you want a green future, if you want a future at all, the monopolies have to go.

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