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Facebook is the worst thing that's ever happened to the internet (twitter.com)
258 points by theBashShell 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 188 comments



Before Facebook, if I lost someone's contact information, and drifted outside of their social circle for a long enough time, chances were I would never ever see or speak to that person again.

Before Facebook, if people wanted to organize conversation and cooperation on an information technology platform, the options were to pay $X00-$X000 for a proprietary system, get lucky enough to know about mailing lists, have someone who knew sysadmin do it basically for free, or have everyone learn how to use something like IRC.

Social networking was an enormous pain in the ass. Facebook was the first platform that actually worked for people. Every subsequent social network took their cues from Facebook, it was a veritable sea change in the state of the Internet.

The problem here isn't Facebook, you'd be having these growing pains with any useful social networking technology platform. It's the unintended consequences of Facebook's universal accessibility. Anybody can use Facebook, and so everybody will. It's the story of technology all over again. Technology is invented, we have a honeymoon phase, then the real marriage begins. We're in the "just had a baby, now we need to get it to a year old so we can all relax" phase.

It'll get better.


> Before Facebook, if people wanted to organize conversation and cooperation on an information technology platform, the options were to pay $X00-$X000 for a proprietary system, get lucky enough to know about mailing lists, have someone who knew sysadmin do it basically for free, or have everyone learn how to use something like IRC.

There were like 20 years in between what you describe and Facebook's dominance.

Before Facebook there were thousands of thriving independent forums on wide varieties of topics. I spent large portions of my teenage years on them and got way more value out of them than I have out of any Facebook group.


Those forums were expensive. It wasn't until I had been contributing to them for years until I thought to ask just how much a vBulletin license cost. And phpBB was hard to administer, had security problems, which were exacerbated by the lack of experience of forum administrators. And you had to maintain hosting, which wasn't a trivial expense back in those days.


There were ample ad supported solutions that were pretty painless. Source: set up several invision free forums for my friends in 5th grade. Never touched a server and had no idea what we were doing, but used it constantly to stay in touch.


I'm not saying there weren't options. But you had to hear about them and learn how to use them, and then people would complain endlessly about your choices anyway.

Facebook democratized social networking.


I think the general feedback in these post are that people were using numerous tools in the decades before Facebook and they worked pretty well. I, myself, can concur what everyone's saying. I didn't have to set up a forum to chat with people who liked Tori Amos .... atforumz existed[1].

At that time I don't recall the social networks being about your local community, friends and family like Facebook is today. It was about people you would never have met - because that's what made the Internet magical at the time. It could easily have morphed into forums of friends and family - not that it would have rivaled Facebook but it could have met the need.

Socially speaking, I think the Internet is much less interesting now than it was 20 years ago.

[1] http://toriforum.proboards.com/thread/1138


Same with Facebook?


Before Facebook there were thousands of thriving independent forums on wide varieties of topics.

They solve different problems. Usenet of my youth provided way more value, both social and otherwise, to me than Facebook ever will. However Usenet would never have let me serendipitously reconnect with the good friend from high school I hadn't spoken to for over 10 years.

Facebook has the advantage of being a passive social network. If I stopped posting to Usenet (or twitter) for a month I essentially disappeared. With Facebook I don't have to do anything, people can still just as easily find and contact me if they want to.


The internet may get better, but it is not not guaranteed. And I predict that if it does it will be despite Facebook, not because of, or with it.

Social networking was NOT an enormous pain in the ass. Everybody had, and still has email - it was the gateway to the internet. Roughly since the beginning of the internet. And all the people that joined. Email got used in almost all of the ways that Facebook did.

In addition to email, there were ways to do "roughly" everything Facebook did with varying levels of difficulty - some roughly unobtainium for the "later billions" of people that Facebook drew - not just email based listservs, but USENET before that, self hostedweb forums starting in the 90's, Craigslist in the commercial space.

The problem IS Facebook (and in a different but related way, Google).

UNlike Craigslist (for example), Facebook is a public company. But it is not accountable to the public, as we've seen over and over again. It's users are a commodity and are not stakeholders in any meaningful way. But - even the shareholders are not. Zuck owns AND controls it almost entirely. And unlike Craig Newmark (who isn't perfect), Zuck appears to have been deeply flawed from the very beginning, and the poison of unearthly money and power have only made it worse.


email addresses were treated as disposable and temporary from how i remember it before gmail went mainstream.

providers came and went and custom domains for emails were extremely rare... at least in my circles


> email addresses were treated as disposable and temporary from how i remember it before gmail went mainstream.

Not at all. On the consumer level they were typically associated with your ISP account. So you'd get to be <version-of-your-name>@<isp-net.com>

My parents still have the email they set up with the minuscule local cable company in the early 2000's. That's only the second email they've ever had outside of the dialup provider email they had in the late 90's (when internet finally came to our small town)


Works fine until you move and change providers, or as in the case of many of my friends/colleagues, change email addresses due to spam, which is often related to signing up to services which eventually get hacked. I regularly get spam addressed to custom email addresses, one of the first times was adobe28593@mydomain.com.


What was so special about Gmail? Except for the user interface and mailbox size, Hotmail and Yahoo were just as good and people used them for a long time.


not sure, to be honest.

thats how it was in my circles until ~05-06. everyone kept switching emails and used a different address on each service/forum. until gmail came along. suddenly everyone used their gmail address for everything. and even that got phased out when facebook came along.


The big difference that I remember from gmail was the superior spam filter (other inboxes filled with spam quickly) and better security (everyone with a yahoo mail account had it compromised and started sending spam / virus laden links after a while).


I think the "have everyone learn how to use something like IRC" solution would have been a lot more feasible if the technology behind it (servers and clients) didn't stagnate and cater only to technophiles. Most of the concepts of Facebook were around already in UNIX, such as having your own mailbox in your own user account and being able to check it for new mail, wherever it was sent from. Imagine something like AOL in 1995 except instead of real-time chat and single-person email, it also had the few features of Facebook. They weren't missing the technology, they were just missing the imagination and the realization that connecting groups over longer term (followable status updates) was higher priority than connecting individuals over a longer term (email) or connecting groups in the immediate term (chat).


From my perspective, it's only gotten worse over time with FB. How do you explain the numerous privacy/data breaches, FB data being used to undermine democracy and spread disinformation, and its monopolistic practices preventing other "partners" from competing with the marriage.

To use your marriage analogy, this is a MESSED UP marriage. FB is like a spouse preventing you from even socializing with other people of their own gender if they even are a minor threat (i.e. Insta and Whats App getting bought up). FB is a partner who snoops on all your apps without permission. FB is a partner who manipulates your behavior with ads. What kind of marriage is this? Would you marry someone who has been the subject of numerous scandals?

In my view, FB's small upsides of meeting up with distant friends who I honestly don't care for, that's not even 50% recompense for its downsides for me.


FB is a partner who snoops on all your apps without permission.

Facebook is a partner who snoops on your Facebook without permission!


>Social networking was an enormous pain in the ass. Facebook was the first platform that actually worked for people. Every subsequent social network took their cues from Facebook, it was a veritable sea change in the state of the Internet.

Even today, Facebook and Linkedin are the only social networks where you have a decent chance of finding someone by searching their real name. It's very powerful.


> Before Facebook, if I lost someone's contact information, and drifted outside of their social circle for a long enough time, chances were I would never ever see or speak to that person again.

I was nodding along at this until I read your second paragraph, then had to go back. Apparently you think this was a bad thing?

Losing touch with people is natural. Having to explicitly sever a relationship is awkward. But without a natural pruning function, it's easy to end up with a thousand shallow relationships and not enough deep ones.


Imagine the guy that sat next to you in freshmen algebra class. Now imagine still having him on your 'friends list' 20 years later...

People are being hyper-socialized. Its not normal and no doubt causes people increased mental stress.


As someone that refuses to use a man-in-the-middle social platform without federation and without open interface protocols (email is fine in that respect as there are choices of provider and fully open protocols), Facebook and anything like it have only made my life worse.

It is amazing how lazy at socializing everyone is, how if you aren't on the platform they happen to be using you are an afterthought, if you're a thought at all.


Never had a fb account. I travel all the time.

I don't have any problem with networking or keeping in touch.

Those are artificial excuses to use a tool optimized and abused for faking ones life and lurking on others.


I agree much with your premise here. The capabilities that social media have provided are extremely valuable.

That said, I disagree with your conclusion. The issues that have come from Facebook and others are due to centralization, commodification of user data, the proliferation of echo chambers and advertising. Universal accessibility isn't the culprit, although that has generated issues on it's own as well.


Just out of curiosity, what capabilities do you think are extremely valuable? This isn't an attack or anything, I ask with sincerity.


This part could go with some rephrasing. Otherwise, first thing to come to mind is Twitter. Connecting directly to journalists and representatives, current events as they unfold in real-time, seem invaluable to me. Despite being in the era of the tweeting POTUS, and one where trust in the media is at a low, this still appears to be a net positive capability.


I disagree. While Facebook may have started that way, they actively took steps to "drive engagement" and get people hooked. They gamified social media for ad revenue and turned the platform into what it is today.

Had it stayed merely as a way for people to connect then I don't think they would be seeing nearly the same amount of backlash.


Facebook innovation was not to connect with friends (many other sites / services was doing it). Facebook innovation was the news feed: all friends news in a single time ordered infinite scrollable page. The value of facebook is how good it is to keep the newsfeed interesting.


Honestly, outside of the tech innovation, FB's biggest "in" was its exclusivity. - First, you HAD to have a Harvard .edu address. For a lot of the general public, Harvard is top of mind when people think 'elite' institution

- Next, they expanded it, but only to other US schools with .edu domains. That's when I joined, around 2005.

- Finally, they opened it up to the general public everywhere, and by that time they were almost a household name globally.


adding to that, i believe:

fb is one of the first social implementation of b.j. fogg's behavior model + and engineered addiction, and the subsequent commoditization of likes and shares


facebook

> fb is one of the first social implementation of b.j. fogg's behavior model + and engineered addiction, and the subsequent commoditization of likes and shares


Yes, the method of rollout was helpful in its adoption. The name recognition of the first institutions (first Harvard, then other Ivies and other selective schools) was helpful in hyping it. I don't think it was a household name in 2006 but the rate of adoption did help it garner attention from the press.

Not rushing into generating revenue helped. Handling scaling up well, compared to its social media competitors, helped.


We had a local social network that did that even before MySpace was a trend. Even phpbb had some skins that did made it more news feed like.

That was not exactly a Facebook thing really.


>Before Facebook, if I lost someone's contact information, and drifted outside of their social circle for a long enough time, chances were I would never ever see or speak to that person again.

And chances are you are never going to speak to that person again even if you are friends on facebook.

The only thing that facebook invented is how to increase user engagement by finding loopholes in our psychology and get us addicted to their products.

Facebook did not invent anything other than making this world more chaotic.


> Before Facebook, if I lost someone's contact information, and drifted outside of their social circle for a long enough time, chances were I would never ever see or speak to that person again.

Not really. Chances are, I knew someone who knew that person and could ask them for the contact information. Before Facebook, how do you think people coordinated class reunions decades after graduation, decades after having spoken with most of the people in their class? Sure, it's easier now, but it wasn't as difficult as you make it out to be.

> Before Facebook, if people wanted to organize conversation and cooperation on an information technology platform, the options were to pay $X00-$X000 for a proprietary system, get lucky enough to know about mailing lists, have someone who knew sysadmin do it basically for free, or have everyone learn how to use something like IRC.

Again, it really wasn't that hard. You found where the groups you wanted to hang out with were online. It wasn't restricted to mailing lists or IRC. There were forums, etc... And no, you never needed to know a sysadmin to do any of that. That's just silly.

> Social networking was an enormous pain in the ass.

No it wasn't. You talked to people through the channels you had available to you or, even better, in person!

All Facebook, and social media in general, has done is centralize all of that. I'd argue we're now seeing that such centralization isn't a good thing.

You're right that the problem isn't necessarily Facebook's fault, it's how people are using it and we're just not good at using it. However, I counter that Facebook knows this and is taking full advantage of it for their own benefit. They're purposely showing things to people that they know will get them riled up so they will comment and spend more time on the site. That's just unethical.

It will not get better as long as current management and thinking is leading Facebook.


While this may all be true, how do we prevent Facebook from becoming a "factory town"?

As more and more of our seemingly public discourse moves online, we are congregating in very much non-public spaces that have their own motives that are often at odds with the public good.

I know Facebook, Twitter and co. need to make money somehow, that's fine, but there's more to this..

How do we reconcile US-based for-profit corporations becoming the stewards of public discourse for an ever-growing part of the world's population?


Eeeehhh I don't think that's as guaranteed as you make it out to be. Surviving technologies had a honeymoon phase, a disillusionment, and then they even out into a plateau. Not all technologies are guaranteed to survive forever and end up like this though, there are many examples of things that just plain weren't worth it once the true costs were revealed.

It's fine to lose touch with people. Some people are meant to drift away as you move forward in life, you can't have everything all the time. Those people still drift away even with facebook, you just have this illusion that they're still in your life. Often you have to watch their bizarre posts as they get old and go nuts. Or some arbitrary algo hides them from you anyway, and you forget they are even in your friends list. This is just me, but I think I'd rather have the fuzzy memories of some high school friend and the closure; the certainty of knowing that chapter of life is done. If both of us can't be bothered to put forth the minimum required effort to keep in touch, so be it. Is it really of any value to have a purely symbolic attachment to this person forever? Look through your full friends list and contemplate this for a while.

It's not certain yet, but the social cost of facebook could potentially be enormous and damaging. In the end will it really prove worthwhile? Should we put up with the "real marriage" after the honeymoon? If it's a sufficiently rocky marriage--if it's a one-sided and abusive relationship--the rational thing to do is not to hold tight, ignore it and ride it out. The right thing to do is plan for divorce. I think this is yet to be determined, but I'm starting to lean towards the opinion that near-exclusively digital socialization was a mistake.


Before Facebook, if I lost someone's contact information, and drifted outside of their social circle for a long enough time, chances were I would never ever see or speak to that person again.

Bear with me here... Was that such a terrible thing? I always dreamed about reconnecting with old friends, and then I did, and many times reality did not live up.


More than that, it changed what a "friend" was. I remember the first time someone talked about having 5,000 "friends" on Facebook. It felt so bizarre hearing that and still does. It used to be your "friends" were the people you were close to and they knew your secrets, and talked to about things that mattered. Somehow Facebook made it so that your "friends" were people who connected with you on Facebook and who could view your feed and profile. A very bad thing for everyone IMO.


Words can have different meanings in different contexts. Being your friend IRL and being your "friend" on Facebook are very different. Many Facebook friends are what you might call "acquaintances" IRL. Plus there's all your family, immediate an extended, who aren't really truly your friends but are called such on Facebook.

BTW even IRL, knowing my secrets would be more indicative of close family and close friends, a wider circle of people can still be my friend without that level of intimacy.


I think you, like many, are confusing the impact of ubiquitous data on our mobile phones with Facebook. We are not more connected because Facebook. We are more connected because data pipes are everywhere and I can drink all the time.


> We're in the "just had a baby, now we need to get it to a year old so we can all relax" phase.

Complete with loud screaming, soiled diapers, puke on the shoulder, and so on.


This was the path all viable social networks were heading, than Facebook bought those willing to sell, Instagram & WhatsApp. So no, the problem is Facebook, in particular Facebook method of operation. Things would have been better if Instagram & WhatsApp did not sell to them or it was blocked by regulators. These companies would be serious competitors that operated differently.


That is exactly how I feel, we have something that can be used for good things and bad things. It's not surprising that people use it for bad things, and our inexperience in responsibly using these platforms enables this misuse.

However watch-out, things will get better when the baby turns 1, until about 13, then it will get worse... much worse!!!


Is this satire? It can’t be real.


An aspect of this which has not been very well engaged with is how people see Facebook and its products outside of America. A common response to this from pundits is that it's an American company and therefore American values and perspectives matter more (as if American perspectives are the definitively superior kind). Without question, Facebook-owned products have democratized communication in third world countries (like India for example) and empowered those people to take advantage of the internet and its convenience. There's more than can go into a HN comment here, but an example is street side stores that have hugely expanded their audience by taking orders on Whatsapp. It just wasn't accessible to do this before, and Facebook has made that happen.

At some level, much of the criticism of Facebook (especially DHH) don't even try to put into words what Facebook "breach" they're upset about. Is it Cambridge Analytica? Is it one of the drummed up NYT pieces? If you care about this problem, yelling and waiting for someone to break up Facebook isn't a solution. We need discourse to identity what realistic changes we as a community expect.


before facebook you were 14


> Before Facebook, if people wanted to organize conversation and cooperation on an information technology platform, the options were to pay $X00-$X000 for a proprietary system, get lucky enough to know about mailing lists, have someone who knew sysadmin do it basically for free, or have everyone learn how to use something like IRC.

Did you just drop off the planet between 1995 - 2005? Poor Myspace... everybody just forgot it ever existed. And AIM... ICQ... MSN... Yahoo... not to mention the endless forums on every single conceivable subject. Nobody I knew in the late 90s and early 2000s wasn't using AIM or some other comparable program. It wasn't hard to keep in touch with people.

Facebook didn't invent social networking. All it did was give people a platform to vomit out their every thought for all their friends to see at once.


I'm from that generation, all my friends were on MSN. That was the equivalent of Facebook at the time, everyone was there.

It was still not at all what Facebook is. I did school works on MSN but there was no history or always on conversations. We scheduled being on MSN to works on something. MSN was the equivalent of a room.

Facebook is the equivalent of a board, you put it there and you let people read it whenever they want, whenever they can. This is game changer. In University, most of the times, we didn't have to schedule time to works on it at the same time, it was and stayed in the Facebook conversation. It was actually quite rare that we were all on it at the same time.

Same goes for events organization. Never ever would I consider doing that on an IM. The difficulty of an events organization is finding time for all people to come together, you can't do that on an IM. Email could do that sure, but it's a clusterfuck, much more slow paced and people are much more prone to ignore them.

So yeah, IM was part of the solution but their ephemeral natures were a huge issue. Yes there were alternative, but they all came down with pretty issues themselves and one of the biggest, is simply that it wasn't used enough by others. I was barely able to convince people to switch from Facebook to Slack for school projects.


> and people are much more prone to ignore them

I think this is the key that separates Facebook from group emails. Facebook got people into the habit of checking something regularly, so regularly that you could expect that if you post something today, they'll see it within a few days. People never had that habit with email, which is a lot more like mail: you check it when you're waiting for something specific. But you check Facebook when you're bored and want to be entertained with short paragraphs or videos or by participating in gossip.


Your parents were on ICQ? And AIM? They set up a Myspace account?

Facebook is easy to use and accessible everywhere. This is coming from someone that hasn't had a Facebook account since 2009. GP makes great points and the title to this submission is pure clickbait.


When ICQ, AIM, MySpace etc were popular, the babyboomer generation was not really widely adapted to computers like they are today. I don't think Facebook has been the reason they eventually did, either -- my grandmother, for example, doesn't have Facebook, but e-mails and texts.


My whole family was on ICQ when I was a kid. This may not actually be true but my understanding back then was that ICQ was pretty popular internationally (most of my family lives outside of the US).


Yes, ICQ was popular just before the internet went full on mainstream, MSN and Yahoo messenger followed it up, followed by a brief Google chat and Skype stint and then a void filled up by the social networks and eventually the mobile messengers like WhatsApp.

MSN being killed is still so weird to me, I get that The Netherlands is a small country, but they had full 100% market dominance, after MSN got killed I bet some researcher could have seen people in The Netherlands just had a communication dip for a year or two.


My parents let me log into their AIM accounts, before I was old enough to get my own, and then we kept in touch. We moved to Yahoo messenger, and my Dad still keeps in touch with me via Hangouts. We migrate; instant messaging is an easy tech, and there's always something available to use, so we just grab whatever's convenient and go.


At MySpace's height, it was starting to penetrate the Baby Boomer market. It was heading the same direction that Facebook as able to achieve.


My parents being on Facebook is a con not a pro.


I was on AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Chat, as well as Friendster, Tribe.net, MySpace, and Orkut. True, Facebook didn't invent social networking, but it was significantly better than all of the others.

The messengers were different beasts; in fact, Facebook didn't get instant messaging for quite some time.

Facebook had two things going for it over the other early social networks - the UI was comparatively good, and they platform-ized early. Nowadays folks get angry about "apps that steal your data" but back in that era the apps were the interesting thing. Facebook itself didn't have an event planning system; you relied on third party apps for that.

Facebook also executed well in a way that the other platforms didn't. Friendster just outright failed to scale. But even the other platforms were stuck following the conceptual model of a dating website - they were all about customizing your "page". Zuckerberg gets credit for recognizing the value of a "feed of what your friends are up to" and shifting the core interaction, despite angry protests from entrenched users.

Saying "Facebook didn't invent social networking" is far too dismissive.


By saying "Facebook didn't invent social networking" the parent wasn't implying that Facebook didn't bring anything new. They were dismissing the idea that before Facebook you had to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to facilitate social activities over the internet. As a teenager using AIM in the 90s, I certainly wasn't shelling out thousands to talk with my friends every night.


I was there. I was 12 in 1995 and mostly accessed the Internet at school. In my teen years I eventually built my own computer and participated quite enthusiastically in the burgeoning social networking culture. That time spend became a core part of my identity.

But it was insular, normal people didn't care for it. Facebook was the first social network everybody used.


Just adding that this is very America centric. In my experience Facebook still is a niche product for teenagers and moms of all ages in central Europe.

The only platform that 'everbody' kinda fits may is Whatsapp, but then again there is Asia and Line/WeChat.


The websites I constantly use every single day:

  google.com
  maps.google.com
  youtube.com
  wikipedia.org
  weather.gov
  stackoverflow.com
For almost 20 years, I've been using Google for dozens of random searches every single day. Its utility to help me find information is unmatched. And Youtube -- even with the ads -- adds value to my life because of all the helpful tutorials and DIY content I can view for free.

On the other hand, I've never needed to create accounts for Facebook or LinkedIn. Unlike google/wikipedia/stackoverflow, I think of Facebook as my adversary that's reckless with personal data and harming me. I assume they are developing more unethical uses of personal data but we don't know about them yet because an ex-Facebook employee hasn't publicized them. The questionable ethics starts at the top with Mark Z.

I do think humanity would be served by a "real names" database by an entity we could trust to help us connect with each other. Unfortunately, that valuable info is currently held by an unethical company like Facebook. (My previous comment about this.[0]) They abuse their stewardship of the social graph which is why I adamantly avoid them.

Facebook was a bad actor even before all the revelations about Russian funded political ads to hijack the election.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18728061


I don't get this. Google tracks more of your data than Facebook and yet you are praising google and denouncing facebook?

Also the silliness about russian election meddling has got to stop. The "russians" also spent a few thousand on google/youtube too. A few thousand in ad spending isn't going to affect an election where billions are spent.

This seems to be a constant here for some odd reason. Facebook does X hence facebook is evil. Google does the same X hence google is good.

I've never had a facebook account and never will. Never had a linkedin. I don't use google search ( switched to DDG ), though I do use youtube ( but willing to switch whenever a viable alternative shows up.

To me they are all equally bad and equally good. They all provide a service for your data.


>Google tracks more of your data than Facebook

Yes, there are stories[0] that say they track more data but the difference is Facebook's track record for abuse. So far, I'm unaware of any harm Google has done with my history of search queries tied to my wifi MAC address (as another poster commented I should worry about).

>Google does the same X hence google is good.

No, I don't buy Google's "don't be evil" slogan.

>To me they are all equally bad and equally good.

I disagree. They are different in severity. I think Facebook in particular has repeatedly demonstrated a track record of unethical behavior. So far, I think the evidence shows Mark Z has a different set of ethics and principles than folks like Larry Page and Tim Cook.

This doesn't mean I give Google a free pass or that I'm not wary of them. So far, my "trade" with using Google's search engine seems fair and I will stop using them when proven otherwise. I can't say the same for Facebook.

[0] https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-has-more-of-your-personal-d...


You claim that Facebook has a record of abuse that google doesn't. What does facebook do that google doesn't do? You claim google's activity hasn't harmed you. How has facebook harmed you then?

Also, what evidence shows that Zuckerberg has different set of ethics and principles than Page or Tim Cook? You make general claims but you haven't provided any concrete examples. As far as I can tell, they are all equally greedy billionaires trying to make as much money as possible. Of the 3, Tim Cook probably has more to answer for considering Apple's long history in china and the use of sweatshops.

The only thing concrete you provided is a a wsj article which supports my argument. So I'm confused why you included that.


Also, what evidence shows that Zuckerberg has different set of ethics and principles than Page or Tim Cook?

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=list+of+mark+zuckerberg%27s+apolog...

here, answered that for you.


> I do think humanity would be served by a "real names" database by an entity we could trust to help us connect with each other. Unfortunately, that valuable info is currently held by an unethical company like Facebook. (My previous comment about this.[0]) They abuse their stewardship of the social graph which is why I adamantly avoid them.

You mean like the phone book?


I was looking for someone I knew in college (20 years ago) last night, who has a very common name, and I don't know where they live now. The value of the all-encompassing social network is that I should be able to narrow it down to only a handful of candidates based on their proximity to me in the social graph.


The Yellow Pages are still out there :)

They of course don't have unlisted cell phone numbers by default, so it's not of much use these days. Couldn't find myself in Toronto.

https://www.yellowpages.ca/

https://www.yellowpages.com/


I sympathize much with your stance on Facebook. However, I'm curious, what keeps Google from being an adversary in your perspective?


Google products and services tend to provide immediate and obvious value. Unlike the "connections" businesses where "value" is poorly defined and prone to change.


>what keeps Google from being an adversary in your perspective?

If you visit a country where you don't speak the native language, Google maps will help navigate through the country or city. Even help with public transport. Youtube helps with DIY videos or programming talks. I wouldn't have discovered Khan academy without google. And before you say DuckDuckGo is an alternative, i have DuckDuckGo installed and i prefix my query with "!g" around 90% of the time.


I guess you've never been to South Korea, where Google Maps is crippled by law. You have to use a domestic app like Navier if you want to get around.


I guess you haven't been to Prague or Berlin or Toronto or NYC or Chicago where it works perfectly. Sure, It doesn't work everywhere but chances are it will work in a given city and if it doesn't, you can fall back on some domestic app. Would Navier work in Toronto?


Facebook is harmful because it's reckless with your personal data, but Google is invaluable because of its utility and amazing results? It's able to provide those results because it steals your data, which it also abuses and sells. And as an alternative to YouTube, there are free public libraries with similar DIY books complete with pictures and drawings, but without stealing and selling your data.


>, but Google is invaluable because of its utility and amazing results? It's able to provide those results because it steals your data

What data from me does Google steal? I don't have a Google account. I can be anonymous at a Starbucks coffee shop and search google for "Paul Graham" and get back useful results. If they coalesce search queries on my home ip address, that's unavoidable and a tradeoff I knowingly make.

>And as an alternative to YouTube, there are free public libraries with similar DIY books

In the last month, I needed to replace a side mirror of a Lexus car and also disassemble a Moen faucet. No, my library does not have the manuals to show how to do it. But youtube did have the videos uploaded by nice people. Both of those procedures had tricky steps that weren't obvious and Youtube saved me hundreds of dollars in fees from car dealerships and plumbers.


> I can be anonymous at Starbucks coffee shop and search google

The "Google WiFi"?

> I assume they are developing more unethical uses of personal data

Why not make the same assumption about Google? They could jot down the MAC address of your device, and track you all over the place (not that they need to, since you already use Google maps).


>They could jot down the MAC address of your device, and track you

Yes but a wifi MAC address is not my real name. I'd be more concerned if Google bought a telecom company like AT&T/Verizon and linked phones' IMEI/ESN hardware numbers to search queries. The IMEI is absolutely linked to a real identity because it's the billing address of the person paying for the phone.

The MAC address correlation seems more useful for targeted ads rather than abusing personal real names data like Equifax & Facebook.


not only that you can forge a MAC address in a number of ways, such as configuration, or with a bridge, there are very tiny routers that fit in a cigarette pack or a coffee cup.


Why would they do that, It makes zero sense to assume they would do that and deliberately break their privacy policies.


Oh, but it somehow makes sense to assume the other way for Facebook?


Facebook (or really, Zuckerberg) has that track record.


I don't think they knowingly violate their privacy policies either.


They however provide a unique service and never failed to protect my data.

The only reason to use Facebook instead of anything else is the amount of people on there, it's not unique and also by far not better than other similar products.

It's hard to say the same about Googles services.


> Google is invaluable because of its utility and amazing results? It's able to provide those results because it steals your data, which it also abuses and sells.

I've been using DuckDuckGo lately and haven't noticed a drop in search quality.

But I've always maxed out Google privacy settings so maybe I don't know what I'm missing.


I laughed out loud when I saw (twitter.com) at the end of the title


I have to admit it is a bit funny but I didn't laugh.

This is me trying to read the message: https://tmp.shroom.party/twitter.ogv


Twitter is also in the running: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAIP6fI0NAI


This talk is fantastic. I hope everyone watches it.

I wonder how much better the world would be if Twitter itself posted this video or something like it, every year, once a year. It might be amazing.


Declared worst thing in the world...on the 2nd worst thing in the world.


I was going to say this but figured it would be downvoted, post-haste.


Ah, but the success of Facebook inspired and led to Twitter. So, while Twitter has perhaps done more harm, Facebook is responsible.


yeah, came here to reply "... said unironically via twitter"


I know, and cars are the worst thing to ever happen to the planet, synthesizers are the worst thing to ever happen to music, etc. Worst thing to happen to pundits? The inability to recognize the value of something to the common person beyond the negatives they focus upon.


Unfortunately, humans are susceptible to the desire for short term gains that produce long term problems (ex. from your comment: cars).

Products can have both utility and be a danger. It's possible to criticise something and still understand it's utility but simply feel that the danger is worse.

When the internal combustion engine was criticised as the worst invention of all time, it wasn't because people thought it wasn't useful, it was because it was insanely useful and incredibly bad for the environment.

In fact, there's little need to criticise things that aren't useful as very few people use them.


> It's possible to criticise something and still understand it's utility but simply feel that the danger is worse.

Sure so long as it's OK to come to a different conclusion. Since utility of these things are basically unquantifiable, an objectively correct answer cannot happen. All I ask is that those closest to the tech and the current anti-big-web-tech narrative recognize that the benefits differ by user group. Too often, it's presented as an obvious fact sans rebuttal that FB is overall a negative.


Right, I think DHH's comment could better be prefaced with "For me..."

Someone appearing to speak on my behalf with a position I don't agree with always bugs me too.


Facebook seems to be taking a lot of heat these days. But I wonder: what would actually "fix" the platform? As far as I can tell, the only "solution" is getting rid of Facebook. Obviously, FB doesn't agree. Short of destroying itself (and having a competitor instantly take its place), what should they do?

What can they do?

Proposed solutions to their various problems:

- Make the timeline less addictive, to prevent people overusing it. Won't work, as soon as facebook loses its relevance another, more addictive site will take its place (reddit, instagram). In any case, they've already tried this.

- Introduce moderation, to prevent abuse of the platform. They're already frantically hiring moderators--they cannot find enough people to moderate the platform. And competitors are emerging in any case (whatsapp and other messaging apps)

- Stop collecting data on people. Not going to happen, since they rely on this for revenue. Asking them to do this is like asking someone to violate their survival instinct. This has to happen from some force external to Facebook. And in any case, people's data is valuable, so saying "stop collecting data" is like saying "don't pick up $100 that you find on the ground."

I guess I'm trying to say that this problem is so much bigger than just Facebook. It's a problem with mankind that will prove to be more and more intractable as time goes on, regardless of who is a player and who is pointing fingers.


They should stop selling advertising and charge for API access to the social graph, both users and app developers. There should be a free tier with the core functionality for users.

This will realign Facebook's interests with the interests of their userbase.


That would solve the problem -- but now we are back at square one, because a free competitor will emerge to replace Facebook.

There are paid social networks out there. Nobody uses them.


I don't think this is a good solution. They would be going from metaphorically "selling" user data via ads to literally selling user data.


Is moderation on Facebook that large of a problem? I wonder if it’s possible to use the walled garden approach that Apple News does and apply that to Facebook: only distribute globally posts which have been moderated with a person. Moderation for local distribution shouldn’t be needed as people can self moderate at that level. It’ll be a two tier system.

Edit: Is it also possible to have better moderation by having an upvote downvote system? That seems to be how communities like Reddit and Hackernews scale.


It's a huge problem in non English speaking countries, like Myanmar. Overtly hateful speech remains up because Facebook cannot find enough people fluent in local languages to moderate.

Much more controversially, I think it's a problem in the English speaking world as well. A lot of disinformation could be removed from the platform with human moderators and the will to enforce. But again, even if we wanted to do that, there are big unanswered moral questions.


this guy is obsessed with Facebook, while justifying his presence on Twitter which has the exact same business model, with various excuses. He is a troll trying to generate clicks and visibility. That's all.

If he really was serious about hating the free social network / paid for by targeted advertising model, he would have gotten off Twitter. But he has a lot of followers there and it's an effective marketing tool for him.


Twitter is terrible, but at least it's honest. There's no pretence of privacy through vague "controls". If Facebook just said: "Anything you post to Facebook is public, except PMs", it would be a lot more palatable. Instead it's a bait-and-switch, where Facebook lets you think some information is private, but uses it for its own purposes as if it's public.

Edit: Also consider that Twitter doesn't enforce a real-name policy. This means you can often maintain your own anonymity/privacy on Twitter simply by not using your real name.


I'd be curious to hear what people think are the top 3, because I feel like Twitter and Instagram are strong contenders. Or if indeed Twitter belongs in the top spot.


I would place Twitter at number one.

I can very easily remove Facebook from my life. Even though I still have an account, I can easily restrict it to only using Messenger for group chats and maybe checking the feed for less than 1 minute every few days (my usage statistics can confirm this).

With Twitter, I am constantly bombarded with people soapboxing their opinions, trying to start arguments, virtue-signalling, trying to force group outrage, witch-hunting... all manner of things. Even news articles have started using Twitter as sources. Its ridiculous.

I can't get away from it, despite not even having a Twitter account.


> With Twitter, I am constantly bombarded with people soapboxing their opinions, trying to start arguments, virtue-signalling, trying to force group outrage, witch-hunting... all manner of things. Even news articles have started using Twitter as sources. Its ridiculous.

What stops you from removing Twitter from your life just as easily as Facebook?


The 2 worst thing to happen to the internet is too much advertising and data collection services masquerading as free products.


In order: 1. Techno-snobbery (e.g. this tweet) 2. Spam (to the point of justifying email centralization) 3. html/css/js over-complication (to the point of unreasonable implementation requirements)


1. Government surveillance

2. Misguided government regulation

3. Corporate greed

Honorable mention goes to malware.


I have to play a bit of devil's advocate for malware. I see the constant arms race between the red and blue teams as a sort of immunization process for our technical infrastructure. Where there are weaknesses, someone will exploit them. Then someone will shore them up. Over time, I would argue malware (technically, the response to it, but there needs to be some instigating agent) improves the health of our technical infrastructure. Like how forest fires are necessary to the forest ecosystem.

I expect the same will be the case for BGP hijacking. There'll be some high-profile hack (higher profile than the ones that have already happened) and finally people will get the hint and implement secure BGP like when everybody was in a panic over Heartbleed and Spectre.


With Twitter I can pretty easily block/unfollow/etc people. I can also ban words. I use Twitter to follow interesting people.

On Facebook I want to follow friends, but I can't mute topics, which means I get a ton of crab.

People complain about Twitter because they don't block enough, or because they can't stand the idea that some people out there have different opinions than they do; which will cause them a ton of grief, but if you can't figure out how to use a tool, does that make it a bad tool?


Google is the worst by far. Page rank has horribly distorted the content and structure. It affects the way people write and think e.g. I have to reuse my title in post for google ranking! I have to include these keywords! I can’t link because I want to keep my “juice”. I’d guess a majority of all content on the internet is fake, created to manipulate page rankings. And that’s just the beginning, people believe a 30 second video needs to be stretched to at least 10 minutes because that’s want YouTube wants to rank in search. Amp? At least many of Facebooks worst features are locked inside their own garden. The page rank effect follows me into real life! I get emails every day, and even periodic phone calls from people trying to pay me to put their content on my site just so they can get back links.


In what world is this not the case? One without a search engine at all?

Any world where a search engine exists, people are going to try to do what ranks best. I would argue the world is better with a search engine (and these side effects) than without one.


Your page ranks not because it is inherently good content, but by how many people link to it and how they link to it (link text). So it creates externalities.


- Mandatory javascript.

- Spam and online ads (same thing really)

- Free platforms monetized by analytics.


I'd rate it a grab bag of google, twitter, and InstaFaceSnap.

If you forced me to choose just one that was the absolute worst, I'd probably choose Google. Google is definitely the "patient zero" or the "Typhoid Mary".


* spam e-mails

* JavaScript on web pages

* Flash


I guess it depends on metrics. It feel like Facebook/Google showed everybody else the gold mine that is sucking up as much user data as possible and fusing that data with other companies. That is probably the #1 worst thing about the internet and its effect on regular life today.

However, with work at it, I think it is possible to leave both the Facebook/Google bubble.

If that is #1, #2 is definitely what Twitter has done to distort the news cycle and cause "social media" storms. Twitter seems to make it much easier for that to happen, and worse, you will never get the full story from Twitter. And the worst part? you don't even have to have a Twitter account to be subject to that.


I'm a Facebook advertiser. I can attest that there's lot of good products where the only cost effective and scalable way to reach your target market is through Facebook. Want to reach teachers with a time saving app? FB is the best way. Want to offer a SaaS tool to small businesses? FB is the best way to get it in front of them. Etc.

FB ads don't have 0 utility for consumers. A lot of products just couldn't reach the people who want them without it.


Every single FB I have seen has either been pointless or a product that is directly insulting me.

Facebook allows you to mark ads as interesting, but unfortunately I can't mark ads as insulting, or just a bad product.

The irony is that I have money and an interest in gadgets, but I don't think I have ever seen an ad for them. Did see an ad for the local bus company though, because they wanted to "reach those 18 or above and living in $COUNTRY", aka marketing can't set up a Facebook campaign.

Then they suggest I get my masters at the university I already had one from, which they know because I put it into my profile...


Sure this is just personal preference however Facebook always was a huge waste of money if I sold anything worth while (like my SaaS und stuff) however it worked kinda great to sell cheap China reimports and other shit like that.

Not to mention that it gets more expensive and less effective every year. And all those 'bugs' where clicks count from the wrong countries and all the other horrible stuff the Facebook adverser forum is filled with.


It's possible to lose or make money on any channel, but here's a chart of where you can target different types of audiences: https://www.kevinlordbarry.com/uploads/3/6/5/4/3654649/marke...

FB is the only online player with any significant scale in that bottom right quadrant. And that's pretty much the ballgame for putting products in front of specific audiences.


Well I moved on with them locking my last account last year. Agreed it's not as easy to discover different platforms for different ad projects but I do definitly get a lot more for my money now.

I would argue Facebook is the easiest but I doubt its the most efficient in any way.

Edit:// before anyone thinks locked means I did something unethical. No they locked it because I travelled to different countries and I wasn't able to open it again. After I spend thousands of dollars on ads they didn't help.


Top reply:

>What do you think of Facebook-owned products? IG started out like a mobile Flickr in the early days, a place for personal creativity and documentation, but now has become an ad-filled place to peacock, gather likes, and promote. I wonder about the psychological impact on people.

His response:

>Plenty of studies have confirmed that Instagram is having a terrible effect on the psychology of many people. Also, Instagram gave us The Influencer. That's gotta be up there in the top 10 of worst gifts to the world.

TIL that apparently IG used to be a mobile Flickr. But even if that line of thought advanced, would it not have still turned into "an ad-filled place to peacock, gather likes, and promote" personal creativity and documentation?


I somewhat disagree with his assessment of influencers. Can they be annoying? Yes. Are they providing real value for companies to be able to connect with tribes of people? Yes. The influencer has single handedly upended the advertisement industry and taken money away from traditional media is a big way. I think it's given more jobs to people who don't work on Madison Avenue and maybe don't have technical skills, but can connect with a large audience of people.


I'm guessing most people who don't like influencers would rather have newspapers than provide more value to companies and create an industry for people whose main talent is popularity.


And only the most popular stories are noticed. The backstories for many of these people aren't often told:

https://nypost.com/2018/03/03/my-quest-for-instagram-stardom...

I don't understand what value they really provide to the public. They almost exist to inspire envy.


I disagree but not downvoting because I think you raise a valid point and it's worth discussing. To me, the reason it's more than just "annoying" is that it encourages one-dimensional, superficial idols that will end up having an outsized impact on shaping a generation's values and notions of success. This is essentially an extension of celebrity worship, which existed long before Instagram. The difference is that Instagram is basically "democratizing" celebrity, lowering the barrier to entry and yielding an explosion of these types of icons, while simultaneously delivering them in a remarkably efficient manner that acts as a lever for reach and impact.


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Is it not real value for companies to be able to connect with tribes of people that then may become the biggest proponents of your product?

Take fashion, a very tribal concept where each subculture has their own take on it. If you're a fashion brand wouldn't you want to find a way to reach the subculture you're a part of?

As much as you might want to deny it, marketing matters and more of it is coming online because more people are going online more often. It's just shifting to where the people are.

It's easy to dismiss ideas or the way people express them. But if you're going to do it, contribute a complete thought that has value and moves the conversation forward instead of just dropping a "Listen to yourself holy shit". This isn't Reddit.


Been there, done that. However things changed, a lot. If you are not constantly posting (and pushing and click baiting) your posts won't be very visible anymore.

The way to get in front of your audience on Facebook is money and that is rather expensive and due to amount of ads users have to experience these days only minimally effective.

There are millions of websites, thousands at least specific to any niche, that are happy to take your ad money and provide you with highly effektiv and targetted traffic.

This is not only cheaper and more effective but does help the actual Web by financing content providers.


> The way to get in front of your audience on Facebook is money and that is rather expensive and due to amount of ads users have to experience these days only minimally effective.

You're missing the fact that Facebook's Ad platform has made it possible for small businesses and niche products to afford effective advertising at scale.

Previously that was a privilege available to only the wealthiest corporations that could afford to take out an ad in the newspaper or a slot on television both of which required a high minimum spend and had limited inventory.

With targeted advertising at scale, small businesses with limited budgets can run ads that are shown to only the users they care about. It's more effective, for far less money than what was previously available.

This also enables new challengers like Dollar Shave Club to compete effectively with giant established incumbents like Gilette.

> There are millions of websites, thousands at least specific to any niche, that are happy to take your ad money and provide you with highly effektiv and targetted traffic.

So now you're in the business of managing several different accounts with differing, often incompatible features, with wildly varying levels of efficiency and requirements. Not to mention your customer data is spread out across various silos and in various formats.

Or, you can go to Facebook and reach a million people instantly across their properties through a single advertising interface. You get industry standard reporting and metrics along with the fact that you can target exactly who you want without wasting money.

I simply don't think you're giving Facebook enough credit here. They have a phenomenal value proposition and you have to understand it in order to compete with it.


> Previously that was a privilege available to only the wealthiest corporations that could afford to take out an ad in the newspaper or a slot on television both of which required a high minimum spend and had limited inventory.

> With targeted advertising at scale, small businesses with limited budgets can run ads that are shown to only the users they care about. It's more effective, for far less money than what was previously available.

So more or less like Adsense? Or any other Web based ad company? I mean I totally get your point but scalable targetted ads is nether new nor exclusive to Facebook.

The huge difference is Adsense for example limits the visible ads to less than is normal on Facebook.

> So now you're in the business of managing several different accounts with differing, often incompatible features, with wildly varying levels of efficiency and requirements. Not to mention your customer data is spread out across various silos and in various formats.

This is assuming there aren't dozens of platforms doing exactly that already. Adsense too gives you targeting but you help the content creators while doing so.

Facebook is a interesting ad platform. However if you add that they are the only ones on that level that don't even pay their content creators it's simply to expensive. And as said before kinda unethical in my POV.


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> Oh and it's funny you think this site is any different from any of the other cess pits out there.

You're the one who's coming into this forum and contributing negativity. You're just taking a shit in public and doing it for all to see. Most people here at least take the care to articulate their thoughts even if they have strong (or sometimes even misguided) opinions or ideas.

"Just listen to yourself holy shit" has never been a type of comment that's been welcome here, and you won't last long with that kind of attitude.

Contribute substance, otherwise don't engage at all. No one needs to see your garbage, irrelevant thoughts if you're not even going to take the time to give your own thoughts the respect and articulation they deserve.

Your comment is already dead, and that proves my point.


I love engaging with brands!!


I used to use it to put 1:1 crops up of the photos I took because it simply seemed like a pleasant little place to leave my memories.

I ended up deleting most of my social media accounts this year, starting with Instagram, the moment I noticed that I keep getting drawn in by a rush of excitement after I uploaded each photo and kept checking for notifications.

A lot of these social media sites require high levels of awareness and self-control to use responsibly, in my opinion. I myself struggle with that.


It is possible to be ad-filled without the peacocking or like gathering or promoting. The addition and promotion of social features is a choice that aligns with various KPIs but has huge negative externalities


I see influencers as a net negative for society but in terms of getting people to actually engage with advertised products, it's pretty brilliant. Before Instagram, a brand would put out ads with a rotating cast of "characters" (i.e. models, actors) that got people to think "I want to be more like that person and buying this will help", which worked, but lacked a real connection with the "characters". Instagram inverted that model and allows you to follow the characters, become more connected, interact with them, and follow their "tastes". The legacy equivalent would be something like sponsorships for pro athletes, but they've expanded it into domains like fashion, cookware, etc. while adding the interactive component.


Sorta, it had filters you could add to pictures iirc was the biggest thing going for IG. I can't recall if those came from the getgo or after the fact it looked like Flickr.


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Heh I only joined Instagram for my wife (then a would-be girlfriend) at the time. I do like finding funny videos on it, but otherwise I hardly post. Sometimes I use it to chat with some friends, but if I had them all elsewhere I'd outright delete it.


Facebook hijacked friendships/acquaintances and made us talk to each other in a different way that we would have in person. That's my primary beef against them.

As for the internet, they've consistently closed off integrations so as to become a closed platform that benefits from the internet but does not give back:

- APIs closed

- Integrations with other services: closed

- Hyperlinks to posts: hard to find for sharing and bookmarking.

They've become the new AOL (the kid on the block that doesn't play with others unless they have a toy he wants to steal from them).

Having said this, the closed platform may end up being a blessing in disguise, making it easier to cut off facebook from habits altogether.


You know - my wife and I were talking about Facebook the other day and the role it plays in 'the way society acts' these days.

We came to the conclusion that the vast majority of feeds are filled with posts from sites that other like-minded people also have in their feeds. This causes the comments on those posts on your feed to mostly be filled with people whose feelings align with your own.

I think that's dangerous, maybe mainly because the general population doesn't realize this. Everyone, no matter how 'distorted' their views are - feels vindicated in those views.

Every time I feel like removing my Facebook, I just take a few steps back and only use it to stay in touch with family and/or friends that I have moved away from - which soon morphs back into the constant checking for new posts and then reading those comments, which tend to align and solidify my own feelings.

I think the world would be a better place without Facebook - and I also think the world would be worse off in some regards without it. In either event, if Facebook vanished tomorrow, I wouldn't complain.


Bubbles are real, but not only on Facebook. People will watch TV stations that have content that aligns with their world view. They'll read news papers that do the same. Listen to people who say things they like. This isn't strictly Facebook issue.


news and news feeds align with and are pestilently allied with FB


> We came to the conclusion that the vast majority of feeds are filled with posts from sites that other like-minded people also have in their feeds. This causes the comments on those posts on your feed to mostly be filled with people whose feelings align with your own.

This is pretty well-trodden territory, cf. 'filter bubbles'.


I think about this a lot; the inverse might be slightly true in terms of who we should be connecting to, or maybe it's about the frequency of new and diverse connections and how those introductions are done? Even before Facebook I think most people generally kept within their group of like-minded people. It has gotten worse now because we are very much divided physically by where we live, what jobs people hold, where kids go to school, etc.

I used to believe in the original Facebook mission -- connecting the world. I've worked remotely my entire life so I've had the opportunity to work with people all over the world from different cultures and backgrounds. It's given me a great perspective on humanity that I think a lot of people could benefit from, especially the ones that are in small towns (like I was) and don't venture out much beyond their borders in their life. But the internet allowed those connections to take place for me, not Facebook. We don't need Facebook to do any of these things, we just need to embrace the power of the internet.

Facebook brought together a lot of people from very different groups with very different opinions about the world and just slammed them together in an informal way, an awkward way. I have uncles that I find to be abhorrent and I had no interest in connecting to them before Facebook in any way, but Facebook thinks because we have genetic connection, that must mean we want to have a social connection, right? And they push those connections extremely hard.

I hate being "one of those people" but I deactivated my FB account early this month and it will be deleted in early February. I've definitely felt better without it, even though I know I'm missing some things. But if anything, it's encouraged me to be more proactive in reaching out to the people I actually want to keep up-to-date with, either via text message or real life meetings. It has also pushed me to blog more, and I appreciate that it's on a site I control and own, not for Facebook to manipulate and de-prioritize.


FB is the most insidious echochamber. it reverberates so intensely, that any abberent waveslengths of thought are saturated and harmonically amplified to match the echo, and its a tuned echo chamber.

All of the fixes, and improvements are simply retuning maneuvers to match the propaganda of the day, I wholeheartedly believe that cuckerborg will go down in history as one of the most despicable thought criminals of this existence.


The worst thing to have ever happened is the monetization of clicks. It's killed journalism. And by proxy it's created echo chambers where people only seek validation of their existing beliefs.


This was a issue way before clicks got invented though...it’s basic human nature


Second only to Twitter (which is the platform where this was published).


My vote would be for Javascript, but that's only because I'm optimistic and think Facebook might still be torn apart.


DHH's comment is another example of what I call one-bit reasoning: everything is either wonderful or terrible.

Facebook's features have had far-reaching effects and it's not that easy to classify them as positive or negative. Getting in touch with people is easier. Thoughtlessly sending things to all your "friends" is probably too easy, but there are also announcements you do want to read.


Twitter is the prime place for hot takes like DHH's. And his making this post is only part making us aware of this issue, and more his further building his own brand as a tech influencer. All about personal incentives. Basically, the whole system's fucked.


I personally loved the first years of fb even if I never been a social network person.

Now I think that company ( in terms of fb product) should focus how to be still facebook of the first years with innovations.

Because right now my traction to use facebook is just read news or to follow some companies that I like.


Sensationalism.

FB is a tool. Their mistake was deciding to mix politics into an app people liked for family/friend connections by trying and succeeding to increase monitization/engagement:

The News Feed

(I stopped using FB after the news feed started dominating my engagment in 2016)


I don't understand the hero worship that goes on with DHH. He seems to make some blunt, uninformed and lacking arguments and people take it as gospel. (His offhand tweet is on the front page of hacker news).

Is facebook the worse? It's bad, and there have been many things it's done badly. I would say there are far worse actors on the internet. (I.e. mpaa, agressive marketers etc) People have been screaming from the rooftops during the whole time. Many of the worse-case predictions have come true (considering the info leak/cambridge etc). However they're far from the only one doing that.

They've really brought on the walled garden there. That imo has been the worse. It's no surprise that you're getting all these negative effects when there is no competition. Thankfully they haven't taken the full-on paid censor.

We're lacking in rights about our data and ways to stand up to this.


Where exactly is the substance of this argument? I don't disagree or agree, but this is just bare invective hurled into a world looking to agree. I don't see anything justified or rigorously argued and most of the follow up basically asks for exactly that.

I'm not quite sure why, but DHH has chosen "antagonizing and negative" as his calling card. It seems to be working out, as he's the go-to guy that has enough street cred to be negative about high-growth VC fueled startups.


The only generic platform I need to keep up with friends and family is WhatsApp.

I wish WhatsApp IPO’d instead of selling out to FB. Good for consumers. Founders would have made more money too.


100% disagree. My older relatives use Facebook to reconnect with old pals and love sharing family pictures and conversing over messenger. It’d be difficult to find them otherwise. I’m personally not on Facebook because I cringe on what people post but to say it’s the worst thing on the internet is pretty ignorant


Would be nice with some more explanation. But I guess that is part of what is lacking on social media.


I don't have a Facebook account and I admire DHH, but a lot of the criticism of Facebook seems over the top. Most people don't care about similar actions done by other companies (at least not at the same level), and don't seem to take much real action to mitigate the harms they see from Facebook. I think much of the criticism is a form of signaling, rather than an expression of a real belief.


Is Twitter the second worst? It has emphasized our decreasing attention span to the point where we now have "world leaders" communicating in short, meaningless blurbs.


That's a bold thing to write... on Twitter.


You're downvoted. Maybe because of your snarky tone, but I think you have a point. Twitter is a cesspool with all of the same problems as Facebook.


It has problems, certainly, but not all the same. A bunch that don't apply:

* Twitter has always been easier to avoid (more people/groups/places expect you to have a Facebook account if you want to know about stuff)

* real-name policy

* Anything related to payment, due to not selling anything to end users, e.g. the recent story about charges caused by kids https://www.revealnews.org/blog/a-judge-unsealed-a-trove-of-...

On the other hand, Twitter is more public, which brings issues not so much on Facebook.


Maybe that's related to Twitter starting as a Rails project, so in the eyes of this particular tweeter, it may at least get an asterisk.


In what sense did Facebook ‘happen’? People chose to join; they weren’t forced to. Facebook qua social network is a valuable tool for many people.

Now you can perhaps make the case that their effort to monetize was an unethical bait-and-switch. Get people on the service, then keep them engaged via promotion of provocative and unhealthy behaviors, which ultimately fuels an advertising money-printing machine the likes of which we’ve never seen before, save Google.


People forgot Orkut? I have made so many friends and some are still close to me. :)


"Facebook is the worst thing that's ever happened to the internet" -Twitter


Facebook brought us React and GraphQL (dont't know if ReasonML is an important enough technology to count). I despise Facebook as a social network; but as a technological company, it's clearly not the worst that happened to _the Internet_.


He says from Twitter, which is waving "what about me? I'm awful too!"

My runner up is Youtube, now infested with piles of crap, and when finding something decent it's infested with ads. What an innovation! It's now just like cable TV!


I still get a fair amount of value out of Youtube, personally.

But yeah, you definitely have to wear some goggles to see through the noise.

---

My rules for youtube:

* Don't read the comments

* Don't participate in the comments

* Ignore many of the suggestions—they tend toward right-wing extremist and conspiracy theory ramblings

* Stick to music, favoured clips from shows (I do love that I can watch some old Mitchell and Webb Look), DIY/How-Tos, old lectures and interviews (Feynman's are fantastic), and the like.

---

Grievances:

* The aforementioned suggestions that I keep up on my extremist ideology lessons and conspiracy theories about Clinton and her child slave moon base on Mars

* I now know what Peppa Pig is, kind of.


> Ignore many of the suggestions—they tend toward right-wing extremist and conspiracy theory ramblings

Interesting, the suggestions I get are mostly sailing vlogs, featuring scantily clad ladies. I sarcastically wonder why...


Looks like I'll have to just start randomly clicking on videos like that to skew the suggestions.

I have no idea why I'm getting the kinds of suggestions I am. Thankfully they're an increasing minority as I get more music these days. And Trailer Park Boys haha.


Ironic that someone is saying this from Twitter, which is worse.


Posted on the second worst thing to ever happen to the internet


Sure, but Ruby on Rails has to be in the top ten.


Why? I get that it might not be the ideal framework, but that's a long way from being one of the worst things that's ever happened to the internet. (Or are you just trolling?)


And this is coming from the creator of Rails.


The problem is human nature, not Facebook.


A modest declaration. FB, and some of its properties, is worser than this.


I dont want to offend anyone but DHH turned himself from a technologist into an annoying SJW with the holier than thou attitude.

Seriously that guy is big mouth about this and that but instead of contributing something meaningful he is just spewing non sense all the time.


Clearly DHH wasn't around when AOL dumped it's user base onto a community that was previously gated by having to actually learn something about computing in order to get connected. P.S. - Get off my lawn;)


Agreed if you expand that to social media in general.


It's funny how DHH is constantly bashing Google or Facebook, but we never hear him about Amazon (because Amazon invested in his company, Basecamp).


So he's talking about the Web not the Internet. Counter argument, the web was never that great to begin with and maybe let's stop pretending that some large companies we all don't like for whatever reason are responsible? Social media is opt-in. It is not a requirement to use the Internet and communicate effectively with it. If you hate it so much, start a new web. But then you quickly realize the Web is what it is due much more to economics associated with it than anything else.


Unfortunately, with trackers such as the Like button embedded in every web page and shadow profiles, social media is definitely not opt-in.




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