Facebook Considered Harmful By Walrus.


I believe I have found the enabler of the coming civil war.


Thank you, Chairpersons Pallone and Schakowsky, for inviting me to speak today.
When I started working in technology, my hope was to build products that brought people together in new and productive ways. I wanted to improve the world we all lived in.Instead, the social media services that I and others have built over the past 15 years have served to tear people apart with alarming speed and intensity.

I feel ashamed by this outcome. And I am deeply concerned. And to that end, I am compelled to talk to you about what we can do to limit further damage—and maybe even undo some of it.

My path in technology started at Facebook where I was the first Director of Monetization. I thought my job was to figure out the business model for the company, and presumably one that sought to balance the needs of its stakeholders — its advertisers, its users and its employees. Instead, we sought to mine as much attention as humanly possible and turn into historically unprecedented profits.

To do this, we didn’t simply create something useful and fun. We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset.

Tobacco companies initially just sought to make nicotine more potent. But eventually that wasn’t enough to grow the business as fast as they wanted. And so they added sugar and menthol to cigarettes so you could hold the smoke in your lungs for longer periods. At Facebook, we added status updates, photo tagging, and likes, which made status and reputation primary and laid the groundwork for a teenage mental health crisis.

Allowing for misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news to flourish were like Big Tobacco’s bronchodilators, which allowed the cigarette smoke to cover more surface area of the lungs. But that incendiary content alone wasn’t enough. To continue to grow the user base and in particular, the amount of time and attention users would surrender to Facebook, they needed more.

Tobacco companies added ammonia to cigarettes to increase the speed with which nicotine traveled to the brain. Extreme, incendiary content—think shocking images, graphic videos, and headlines that incite outrage—sowed tribalism and division. And this result has been unprecedented engagement – and profits.

Facebook’s ability to deliver this incendiary content to the right person, at the right time, in the exact right way… that is their ammonia.

Social media preys on the most primal parts of your brain. The algorithm maximizes your attention by hitting you repeatedly with content that triggers your strongest emotions— it aims to provoke, shock, and enrage.

When you see something you agree with, you feel compelled to defend it. When you see something you don’t agree with, you feel compelled to attack it. People on the other side of the issue have the same impulses. The cycle continues with the algorithm in the middle happily dealing arms to both sides in an endless war of words and misinformation. All the while, the technology is getting smarter and better at provoking a response from you.

These algorithms have brought out the worst in us. They’ve literally rewired our brains so that we’re detached from reality and immersed in tribalism.
This is not by accident. It’s an algorithmically optimized playbook to maximize user attention — and profits.

And there are limited checks and balances.

In 2016, internal analysis at Facebook found 64% of all extremist group joins were due to their own recommendation tools. Yet repeated attempts to counteract this problem were ignored or shut down…………..

……….When it comes to misinformation, these companies hide behind the First Amendment and say they stand for free speech. At the same time, their algorithms continually choose whose voice is actually heard. In truth, it is not free speech they revere. Instead, Facebook and their cohorts worship at the altar of engagement and cast all other concerns aside, raising the voices of division, anger, hate and misinformation to drown out the voices of truth, justice, morality, and peace.

House Committee On Energy And Commerce

Testimony of Tim Kendall, 24 September 2020


I have been slow to see it, but I think in hindsight it’s going to be obvious. Google, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other (Anti) social media are the enablers of the coming Second American civil war. As Kendall claims,  we have been polarised for profit.

Think about it. Doesn’t everyone have at least one acquaintance who is rabidly anti – something who vents on Facebook? It matters not what the subject is; vaccination, animal testing, trans fats, pedophiles, the unpleasant waking thoughts of ordinarily normal polite people are detected and amplified by social media and transmitted around the world in seconds. How else does a stupid autistic teenager like Greta Thunberg get an audience?

This is what is termed in electronics as a feed back loop – infinite amplification of a tiny bit of noise into further noise that is again amplified into a howling scream until the machine destroys itself. This is what is driving Antifa and the left to greater and greater excesses, first of political correctness, then into cancel culture and now into riot and vandalism. It ain’t Marxism that’s doing this, it’s Facebook. I don’t see the protesters carrying Das Kapital or the little red book.

In my opinion, this was done initially for harmless profit, it’s now done for political power. The owners have discovered the strength of their AI’s ability to manipulate humans and, like all fallible creatures, decided to use it for what they consider to be noble ends – the perfection of humanity according to their own stars. Hence the amplifier knob of the left is turned up and the right is turned down. They also realize now that they are riding the tiger. Left alone, the general public and  Congress will eventually wake up to what has happened and break up or chain up the vicious amplifiers of social discord. That is what the defunct “fairness doctrine” was about. We need it back.

However it’s clear that the genie is out of the bottle and the world is going to receive an object lesson in the powers of electronic suggestion as America goads itself into a bloody civil war. It is also obvious that President Xi’s surveillance state is another example of the malign use of social media.

Don’t post this on Facebook.


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18 Responses to Facebook Considered Harmful By Walrus.


    All the Powers of Darkness are busy at work in various Social Media platforms to bring down the Islamic Republic of Iran.
    This has been going on for years, with Print media being first to assault the ramparts of the Shia Fortress.
    The Golem is now turning on against its creators – it seems to me.

  2. Diana Croissant says:

    I agree with your thoughts regarding Facebook. MySpace was even worse, and it was a good thing when it was closed.
    I don’t use Facebook. I use email to communicate with close friends, usually one person at a time. Heck, I don’t carry a cell phone–except for prepaid cell phones to be used in an emergency when I take a trip.
    I can’t describe the problems social media causes among young people.
    I remember Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage” {1967}in which he predicted the “re-tribalization of of society through new means of communicating and of joining groups. Many dismissed his theory. I thinktime has proved him right.

  3. fakebot says:

    Given Iran’s rhetoric towards Israel and the moronic ramblings from people like Ahmadinejad, Iran was lucky to have some like President Obama. And their threats to assassinate Americans lately doesn’t help any either.
    Here Obama was better than Trump, despite some of his own missteps, but Trump has a Moby Dick type obsession with Iran. It’s more dangerous than the one Bush Jr had with Saddam. So long as there are people in the administration who can “guide” Trump to avoid making a serious mistake vis-a-vis Iran, I’ll sleep easier at night. But knowing the Iranians clerics, they might richly deserve what they get in the end.
    As dangerous Trump can be, this is no endorsement of Biden. A Biden presidency would take Russia more head on, setting us on a clearer path towards a new Cold War. I’d rather avoid that from happening again much like I’d rather avoid a war with Iran.
    Sadly, these are the choices come November.

  4. Fred says:

    It only took 12 Russian Trolls to defeat the $1billion campaign of HRC. Of course “extremist groups” are out there, so says sworn testimony before the “House Committee On Energy And Commerce”. Thank goodness 32 year incumbent chairman Frank Pallone Jr. of NJ was doing something about then when the first “peacefull protest” managed to burn down Minneapolis over the murder drug induced death of George Floyd. (Whose funeral vigils were safe to attend, unlike Eastern services at Church.)
    “This is what is driving Antifa and the left to greater and greater excesses, first of political correctness, then into cancel culture and now into riot and vandalism.”
    Wrong. The utopian marxist idology is what is driving them, social media algothrythms may amplify a message, but it doesn’t create it. You sound as bad as TTG telling us to look at what ‘extremists’ did to 4Chan.
    The fairness doctrine was an FCC regulation pertaining to broadcasts over the public airwaves that are held in trust via licensing from the federal government. It isn’t applicable here as these companies have legislative protections making them non-broadcasters according to the regulators and courts.That’s certainly going to change as they continue to censor, mostly against ‘conservatives’.

  5. walrus says:

    There are plenty of ideologies out there, not just marxism, for example the whole “green agenda” to the Amish, to the agnostics all the way to the flat earthers.
    What is different this time is that you have a huge and highly effective world wide high power social media amplifier tuned to the left wing at present. We have never had such a concentrated, laser like, propaganda weapon before with the possible exception of the Bible or Koran. There are no checks and balances curtailing this weapon and none are going to be developed in time to stop civil war.
    This is the stuff of violent and bloody civil or religious war. Be aware that the social media weapon is causing indiscriminate damage outside the USA. I see it here if I look for it – so called rational people who believe the Russians helped Trump steal the election, that he is a rapist, all manner of untruths! Because of social media they are buying into all sorts of malicious agendas without being aware of it.

  6. A Portuguese Man says:

    This thesis ignores the fact that leftist agitation-propaganda as a technique existed well before any digital “social network”. Of course, there were newspapers. But in that case, if there were any re-wiring going on, then it would’ve happened a long time ago…
    Salazar once said that communism is both a faith and a technique.
    My opinion is that the American capitalist lifestyle proved to be an effective counter to the communist faith, but American democracy revealed itself impotent against the technique. Most, if not all democracies, to be fair.

  7. Fred says:

    “propaganda weapon before with the possible exception of the Bible or Koran.”
    you’ll have to explain why you think either of those are propaganda weapons.
    I’m aware that social media amplifies the message, that’s how 2 years of unrelenting “russia collusion” helped get democrats control of the House of Representatives. As the facts have come out, painfully during the House hearings, and more painfully still (for the left) by Sydney Powel’s legal colonoscopy on Judge Sullivan in the Flynn case (today’s news is even more evidence of Obama’s guilt), people are realizing the alleged elites aren’t, the MSM has been deceptive, and social media has worked to amplify their deceptions. See the phrase”mostly peacefull” – now the slogan of all Trump’s campaign events.
    That old white guy, PT Barnum, was right. You can’t full all the people all the time, and oh, look at those polls, looks like with less than 38 days to go to the election the CYA for what is left of media and polling firms credibility is happening. Trump up over Biden in Florida, Burisma’s best dad can’t handle a news conference via zoom, and Covid isn’t the black Death. But it gets even better. Governor Desantis has issued another EO negating penalties for social distancing violations are gone. “Free at last, free at last” as the old saying goes.
    I’m equally aware that China’s manipulation of social media via their social credit scoring system is a major factor in allowing them further control of their own population. Why the hell do we have 400,000 of their citizens in our univesities when our own citizens get wait listed and shunted off to “America Sucks and always has” indoctrination class? But that’s another tale for another day.
    “There are no checks and balances curtailing this weapon” I reccomend rational thinking. Then “vote the bastard’s out” this time, ’cause you won’t get another chance if you don’t.

  8. Vegetius says:

    The globalists are terrified because they have clearly lost control the narrative. Antifa and BLM are their useful idiots.
    The people who are most willing to resist the destruction of national soverignty were mostly banned from the mainstream platforms in 2017-2018 and are now on Gab, Bitchute and Telegram. Trump and the principled consituional conservatives did not lift a finger.
    It should be clear by now that Hannity and Co will grab their ankles before actually challenging the people who are trying to wreck the country. Ben Shapiro will whine about oxymorons like “Judeo-Christian principles” and the “proposition nation” right up until his flight to Tel Aviv takes off.
    It remains to be seen if Republicans actually understand what is happening, or will be able to overcome their terror of the globalist media to resist.
    If the center does not hold – and under our current uniparty leadership there is zero reason to expect that it will – and there is no appetite for the imposition of marital law, you may have to ask yourself a question.
    Are you going to go with the blue-haired he/she shrieking about the patriarchy and pushing pedophilia and open borders, or are you going to go with the well-armed young man who plays video games, wonders why Pat Buchanan was never President, and thinks Hitler did nothing wrong except failing to launch Barbarossa a few weeks earlier?

  9. Societal Illusions says:

    With the bad comes the good. in my view, that is the problem of facebook; that and a captured codependent and interconnected political class, media class, and academic class, paid for by a dominant corporate class that sets the tone. Those with power provide little protection to those not a contributing party or controller of the operation.
    Sustainability, Service and valor have not only been left behind, but are actively ridiculed. Conspicuous corruption is minimized or ignored.
    I see those who use facebook in an inclusive and positive way. It’s a shame to throw the baby out with the bath water, but we vote with our spending and attention choices. In aggregate, individual choices matter.
    As such, I will be removing my support for this beast.

  10. Babak makkinejad says:

    I, in turn, look to the day when all of those claimants to esoteric knowledge, which, they claim, uniquely qualifies them for leadership, are thoroughly expunged from the US Federal, State, County, and city governments – a.k.a. Lawyers.

  11. Serge says:

    Until then, it’s a very good investment IMO for those willing and able to take advantage. Easy 20% gains in the short term.

  12. Eric Newhill says:

    Sure, IT guys and their masters are manipulating the meat robots’ via biochemical stimulations and classical and operant operant conditioning, but why are people getting worked up by defending Marxism and antiAmerican sentiment in the first place? How did those ideas become ensconced in the popular psyche? Getting Pavlov’s dog to salivate is one thing, getting it to salivate over seditious concepts is another entirely.

  13. Artemesia says:

    A Portuguese Man wrote: “This thesis ignores the fact that leftist agitation-propaganda as a technique existed well before any digital “social network”. ”
    Propaganda is certainly not a new phenomenon: years ago I read a defender of the use of propaganda explain that “the Roman church uses propaganda to teach its faith to its young.” Indeed, in my youth Roman Catholicism had the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
    I don’t know the history of use of propaganda before WWI, but I know that Woodrow Wilson created the Creel Commission – Committee on Public Information, to encourage Americans to acquiesce to US engagement in a European war that Americans were otherwise loathe to join. The Creel Committee used, among other things, Four Minute Men — deployed on soap boxes on street corners and other gathering places throughout the country to harangue any crowd that could be gathered.
    The CPI has never really been disbanded: to gin up the war spirit for WWII, FDR used radio and, according to Cora Sol Goldstein in Capturing the German Eye, Warner Brothers and other Hollywood studios became, in effect, part of FDR’s administration in their mission of inciting hatred of “the Hun” to agitate for war.
    The Persian Gulf war was televised: Americans were cognitively manipulated to be impressed with the accuracy with which American fighters bombed Iraq.
    Marshall McLuhan is re-interpreted: From religious indoctrination to soap-box orators to radio, movies and television to today’s internet/Facebook et al— the message of one Entity seeking to define another Entity as an undesirable Other who must be made to suffer for the benefit of a more deserving Entity — is eternal; only the method of delivering that message has changed.
    But as long as the masses can be made to think that tinkering with the Media will somehow improve the fundamental human failures and sins and crimes within the Messages, then the core problem will never be resolved.
    PS I haven’t had a TV for nearly a decade; I don’t use Facebook and I’m totally flummoxed by Twitter. Nobody is forced to use these outlets: I don’t understand why people pay thousands every year to be assaulted with inanities. The American people have ultimate power: UNPLUG! TUNE OUT!
    There are numerous alternatives, tho I really, really miss the HD simulcasts of Metropolitan opera to my local theater.
    One more thing: public libraries, at least my public library system, has incrementally become an active participant in the leftist, Marxist?? social engineering project that elevates the “rights” and grievances of transgenders/LGBTQIA+ & myriad other identity groups above the sensitivities and values of taxpaying citizens like me who built and support those institutions and who just want a quiet place to find a book that is NOT propaganda — as so much of current ‘history’ and popular fiction is.

  14. Babak makkinejad says:

    For your amusement:
    From Grauniad of the UK
    Forwarded by John: I neither endorse nor approve his comment.
    “What I don’t understand, really, is, if every man becomes a woman and every woman becomes a man, I mean, truthfully, you’re gonna have as many men and women as you started off with, so, what have you gained? I don’t get it,” commented Trevor Leaks, a plumber from Gloucester, in the West of England, who was being interviewed on Radio Gloucester (The World We Live In, 9.45am every day, Monday to Friday). “I’m happy with Brenda, the wife, and am not considering becoming a woman. Besides, Brenda is not a lesbian, as far as I know. It’d be odd if she told me she wanted to become a man! I must say it would cause complications to our marriage, and I’d have to consider my position carefully, as I think you’d say in a case like this. I mean, I married her ’cause of her boobs, not because she’d have something in between her legs. That’s the difference.”
    “The above shows how unreformed, prejudiced, bigoted, intolerant and unreconstructed a man such as Trevor can be,” commented Georgina Panties-Toots, an expert on trans-gender relationships based in Kensington (formerly known as George Panties-Toots), in London. “A lot more education will be required to make the likes of Trevor realise how reactionary and passé their social views are, and how offensive, and, quite frankly, how disgusting and repellent and f*cking awful! He deserves to be castrated and shot!!! See how it feels, mate! I know!!!”
    PS When we have Brexit, COVID 19 and the biggest economic crisis to hit the world since the Great Depression of 1929, I really, really think it does make sense to worry about <1% (we hope) of the population in such a manner. Every day. Several times a day. On air. In print. On line.
    So you see, even when you think you’re in a hetero relationship, the truth is you’re as queer as a coot!

  15. Mathias Alexander says:

    “Yet repeated attempts to counteract this problem were ignored or shut down…………..”
    Ignored and shut down by who exactly?

  16. Matthew says:

    A more detailed explanation is contained in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” Well worth watching.

  17. English Outsider says:

    You really ought to have put a warning on those sites, Babak. I opened the links you gave straight after the Colonel’s article on the ex-Papal Nuncio’s undelivered Breakfast Speech. I don’t know if there’s a term “Culture Shock” but I’m still recovering from it.
    When the Guardian goes oleaginous like that the Iron Law of Survival says “Run!” Not pull the unwary into the horror with you.
    But thanks for the links. I suppose.
    On more serious matters, the “Powers of Darkness” you mention have a lot on their plate at the moment. Living in the End Times of the suicide cult that Western civilisation has become is sometimes, well, wearing.

  18. blue peacock says:

    “Ignored and shut down by who exactly?”
    If you watch the Netflix documentary that Mathew suggested above and Jack had recommended some days ago, it provides you the answer.
    Bottom line the C-Suite want no change. This has become such a money machine for them and note that both Google and Facebook have a super-majority voting class of stock owned Page-Brin and Zuckerberg respectively.
    The oligarchy has won not just in Big Tech but in Big Pharma, Big Defense, Big Ag and in every other major market sector. They own & control the political system too. George Carlin was right!

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