Mind Blown

With tech companies testifying on Capitol Hill for the second straight day, The New Yorker’s Stephen Marche pieces together a theory of why the US is so susceptible to social-media distortion. I’m not sure there’s a clear answer, but this is an interesting examination of the question; and at this moment in time, there are few questions more profound. “The parameters of social-media conflict are difficult to grasp because Facebook posts seem irrelevant when compared to war or geopolitics—one is an online amusement, diversion, and sometime news source, while the other is life and death. But Marshall McLuhan predicted that the Third World War would be ‘a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation,’ and that’s exactly what it has turned out to be. America seems more vulnerable than other developed countries to the kind of distortion that Facebook and Twitter bring to news and politics. Arguably, the social-media distortion affects America more profoundly than other countries because of the very specific, even unique, way that Americans make meaning.”

+ Facebook Now Says Russian Disinfo Reached 150 Million Americans.

+ Recode: These are some of the tweets and Facebook ads Russia used to try and influence the 2016 presidential election. (One of the key things to note is that most of the efforts were aimed at voter suppression.)

+ One thing that makes it easier to influence Americans is that we’re all hanging out in the same places at the same time. Here’s Andre Staltz with a very interesting look at the consolidation of internet attention: The Web Began Dying In 2014, Here’s How. “It looks like nothing has changed, but Google and Facebook now have direct influence over 70%

+ of internet traffic.” A lot of the other 30% is pooled among news sites. And, aside from my links, they get most of their internet traffic from Google and Facebook.

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