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Old October 5th, 2021, 06:16 PM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 567
The Dark Side of Facebook

The foregoing is a cautionary tale not for the faint of heart.

The recent Wall Street Journal story that Facebook knew that Instagram has had a negative impact on teenage girls' esteem and behavior did not seem too surprising.

So I wondered what Mark Zuckerberg would say at Congressional hearings about that (not that I like, trust or even use Facebook which seems to consist mostly of insipid games, intrusive nags, fake news feeds and impossible to control settings).

My gut was telling me that there was a plausible chicken/egg cause/effect vicious cycle problem, in that girls who already have low self esteem seek out reinforcement of what depresses them to prove to themselves they aren't crazy or alone in their thoughts/fears, ie, a species of attractive nuisance like Utopia and other shows the parents' groups vehemently oppose, and of course they get depressed because that is exactly what they were looking for. Being depressed is better than being insane.

So I planned to take a gander at the leak https://s.wsj.net/public/resources/d...-instagram.pdf using as a null hypothesis the notion that what I would find is a lack of proof about what causes what and where it starts. Did girls start lowering their esteem when they started looking at IG, or were they deliberately reinforcing existing low esteem by looking at IG, just as drunks drink to make themselves forget they are drunks?

That's when I found out everything in the leak was complete bull****. There's no story at all. It is more or less fake news except for the telling nature of it being junk science.

The second page tells the tale. Facebook used a variety of survey methods but the total sample was just 32 girls ages 13-21 amongst an approximate US population of 16 million. https://www.statista.com/statistics/...y-sex-and-age/

So there's absolutely nothing to say about anyone who lives anyplace but here.

Almost half the girls -- all the in person interviewees -- were from a single, fairly isolated, location, San Ramon, CA, a place that is diverse but whose diversity is not a match for the general US population as it has more than 1/3 Asian ancestry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Ramon,_California though we are not told if the interviewed group reflected diversity from the national or local demographics.

But what I did find is that San Ramon happens to be an easy 45 minute drive from Facebook's HQ across the San Mateo Bridge, so it seems like the research plan involved maximizing the convenience of the researchers rather than randomizing the sample.

The memos do not make mention of the presence of real social scientists or statisticians in the work. There's no assessment of confidence intervals, distributions or anything else that might show up in a legit academic paper, though there's also no indication anyone at the WSJ had the faintest idea that the research was problematic and unreliable either. IMHO, it seems like they behaved like journalists in a lot of places who do not let facts get in the way of the story.

It bears repeating: though the results seem plausible on their face, the study is complete bull**** and the reporting of the study is complete bull****. It is the kind of anecdotal research used by Nicki Minaj about her cousin's friend's boyfriend's scrotum and the overhyped reportage by biased, ignorant journalists that invites millions to disbelieve the press and die by refusing vaxes, invading the Capitol to stop a non-existent steal, and so on.

Junk science and the ensuing echo chamber are a continuing slo-mo mofo disaster and those who pursue it have a special place in Hell reserved for them.

FWIW, what was Zuckerberg going to say at a hearing? That his own research is unreliable? That it was tentative? Was he going to avoid being laughed out of the building with that?

Worse yet, someone over at Congress should have realized that the leaked materials was preliminary at best on the way to commissioning real research. Instead, they chose to make political points out of science and math they don't understand but are perfectly willing to pontificate about.

This turned out bad for everyone, and believe me, I say that while deploring what Facebook is and what social media is generally.

Stay safe and keep ducking those variants ...

Last edited by Total Noob; October 5th, 2021 at 06:20 PM.
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Old October 6th, 2021, 08:29 AM
Ned Seagoon's Avatar
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
O/S: Windows 10 Home
Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Age: 79
Posts: 3,469
The original concept of Facebook, allowing family and friends to keep in touch, seems a good idea, quite wholesome, however monetarising the whole concept by allowing business to advertise, coupled with the harvesting of data, particularly personal preferences, to facilitate push advertising, certainly has turned the whole idea into a very dark realm.

The information in the above post makes it even more so.

I don't, and never have held an account. Sad to say my kids and grandkids do, as does almost everyone else I talk to, including businesses I make an inquiry with, "Find it on our Facebook page." Which results in a strange look when I reply, "I don't have Facebook."
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Old October 7th, 2021, 04:35 AM
The Dude The Dude is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6,091
Facebook is aweful but I did read Donny got his account unlocked!!

I wonder if Twitter will let him back also??
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