There was another thunder snow squall on the Internet this morning called “#ReleaseThe Memo” (Twitter hashtag), concerning supposed attempts (as explained in this memo) that the FBI investigation of Trump’s connections to the Russians “et al” is itself a sham.
And if classified, releasing it would be illegal, and President Trump has yet to declassify it.
That’s the background of “#ReleasetheMemo” was explained by Jane Coaston on Vox.
But then there is the matter of a supposed Russian bot that pumped Facebook and Twitter so that conservative supporters would demand releasing the memo, as explained in some detail by Ali Breland on “The Hill” and many other sources.
Then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Tom Schiff (CA) sent a memo to CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Tom Dorsey of Twitter, wording it like a cease-and-desist letter. “You’ve been served”. I guess I’m too small fry as a blogger to get involved in this, but for a moment I imagined a process server in my own condo lobby, as if the afterbirth of last night’s dreaming. (Sometimes I dream about things that happen the next day, rather like Blade Runner.) The social media companies are supposed to answer by Jan. 26. The concerns in the memo concern free accounts as well as the paid ads that have gotten attention in the past.
Seriously, this is another jab at social media companies (which could expand later to Internet hosting companies, for example) to try to hold them responsible for what users do. That’s the whole Section 230 debate right now, for example (Backpage has been settling down, by the way; legacy post). Moreover, in the context of the election and our democracy, it has to do with the supposed deliberate manipulation of public opinion (propaganda) by foreign agents manipulating social media feeds to aim for users who they know are extremely “tribal” in nature and who lack the critical thinking skills or inclinations to recognize questionable material. What’s interesting, again, is that until after the 2016 elections, us “elites” cared personally very little about what those in Hillary’s “Basket of Deplorables” thought. (Oh, I remember my father’s warning at the end of 1961 after my college expulsion: “From now on, you have to worry about what everyone thinks”).
Just a little over a week ago, Facebook announced it was making changes to its newsfeed algorithms to de-emphasize passive news “watching” and encourage more personal interactions among “friends”. I’m not sure what to make of this. Do “they” want users to be more open to running other people’s fundraisers on their pages (I don’t) or to respond to personalized calls for help (more use of the sharing economy, like “HomeFundMe” let alone “GoFundMe”), which I don’t do much of (outside of some independent film projects that I follow). Do they want more flirting? (I get reminded of people’s birthdays and invitations to “wave back”). I guess, “I Hate Speed-Dating” (that may become a movie). Maybe they want more activity in the way of personal invitations to events and protests — but these can easily generate chain letter problems. FB needs to define what it means by engagement. Detailed comments on others’ posts may count for something.
Facebook may have moderated this plan a bit, with recent plans to conduct surveys of which news suppliers users find most credible.
Oh,, and by the way, President Trump (“Poopiepants” in some Facebook circles) has asked staffers who they voted for. Not OK.
(Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2018, at 4:14 PM EST)