Here's the repo if anyone is interested. I still use it to this day but haven't worked on it in a while cuz I'm learning rust.
I suspect that's where instagram is aiming, and they probably see a point nearing where that'll be forced on them by european government(s) attempting to reduce the amount of high profile 'social media' suicide.
An optional opt-in system like your implementation is great, but sadly doesn't tackle that problem.
Social media is both seen as contributory to rising suicide rates among youth, and integrated into suicide attempts (eg live broadcast)
On sites like this one, I don't cast a lot of votes up or down with one exception. If I post a comment, I upvote every single reply for two reasons. One, I'm happy that somebody chose to reply and two, it helps me keep track of new replies. It might be a misuse of the voting system here, but as far as I can see, there isn't a better way of spotting replies.
There’s an adblock filter for comments which works pretty well. This is thematically similar.
I'm definitely not installing an extension just for this.
I also think the security will be better on my extension. You have to give greasemonkey edit permissions for all websites whereas I have a PR in the works where you only grant permission to the sites you want to disengage from. Even now it only asks for permissions to the subset of sites it modifies. Due to the nature of how web extension manifest permissioning works, greasemonkey can't offer this. If you look at their permission model it says "This add-on can: Access your data for all websites". IMO that's way more dangerous than your paranoia about a new extension with tight permissions.
That said, if Instagram is serious about not being evil, the only option is ultimately to secede from Facebook. As long as they are part of F Corp, all of these tactics designed to recapture the Big Tech moral high ground are doomed to fail.
The only way I could see this happening is if there were mass protests of Instagram employees demanding to be made independent. Kind of like the Google employee protests but potentially aided by some well-timed regulatory pressure. Not holding my breath on that, but it's a least a theoretical possibility, right?
2. "Leaking" a design prototype to Constine at TechCrunch is a very clever way to beta test a massive product decision like this.
They know that hiding Likes will cost them engagement, which means revenue, but if they get enough good press about it, it might get the masses to start trusting facebook more, which would allow them to explain away the lower revenue numbers and avoid a potential investor revolt. By leaking the feature before it's even released, they can gauge the reaction of the market. It's quite a clever scheme, really.
Anyway, barring some kind of miracle secession play, I'm sad to say that Instagram making these kinds of product decisions is like rearranging deck chairs on the ethical Titanic. But I'll give them an A for effort.
No employees told me anything about it before and after the tweet
Though it's unsure if Instagram purposely planted this to get me tweet about it (because that description sounds like a prepared statement) ;)
I suppose it's game-over if Instagram is that good at inception. :-)
I know how cynical that sounds, but I've seen too much from disinformation from Facebook execs to take anything from them remotely at face value, no pun intended. Anyway, there's no way to prove it, just speculation based on a feeling I had.
Speaking of which, I saw a tweet that you're interviewing at Facebook this week. Is that true?
Not that I would ever begrudge someone from trying to make it big in tech, but dang, I would hope someone with your skills would find an opportunity working for the resistance rather than the occupiers :-)
Yes, I am interviewing with Facebook. It's true. It'd be my first time actually stepping into the tech industry
What exactly is it about the platform that makes it so "evil"? Do we just think Zuckerberg is innately corrupt and trying to slip some sort of mastermind plan of internet domination without us noticing?
I understand and similarly dislike the idea that Facebook is aggregating statistics about its users and selling them to advertisers, but at the same time, do we honestly believe that the vast majority of people would rather subscribe to "get rid of ads and access to data"?
I don't use Facebook myself (despite having an account), but from my perspective, it just seems that society as a whole has simply decided to scapegoat Facebook and its "ecosystem". We seem to be trying to blame the company for the unwanted secondary effects of the rise of the internet and all the inter-connectivity that has come as a result.
A good example in my mind is WhatsApp. Facebook went ahead and had the whole messaging system E2EE, much to the applause of everybody. From this point on, even among security experts, WhatsApp was well regarded as a messaging platform - essentially only second to Signal. However, a little while ago, following the Brazilian elections, there was a massive uproar that "fake news" was being spread through WhatsApp and that Facebook hadn't done enough to intervene and stop this. Really? So now we are complaining that Facebook isn't reading and censoring messages accordingly?
Do people not remember those annoying e-mail chains back in the day - usually forwarded by some naive friend? Are we really to blame the medium? I feel people will always find ways to use the internet to spread misinformation.
Do we really think we can stem "fake news" by expecting Facebook to bear the responsibility for everything that is communicated on their platform(s)?
Lastly, are we truly confident that hamstringing Facebook with a "break-up" is really going to lead to a better future? Do I really want my kids to be using TikTok/WeChat/Telegram or some other foreign controlled platform over which my government has much less oversight?
While N companies being more evil doesn’t make X company not evil, employing tens of thousands of people while being significantly less evil is definitely relevant.
i'm not sure what you're trying to say here, does this make criticism of Facebook any less valid?
We really need to start discouraging the use of throwaway accounts for comments like this. One should be willing to stand by their beliefs and navigate the process of push-back with courage and honesty.
Themselves. People will attack others on the internet for having an unpopular opinion that differs from their own. If your username is attached to your real name, then sometimes it's safer to post risky comments on an alternate account, instead of your real account. This is similar to when you have a public account and private account.
Also you can't edit/delete comments after a couple hours, and
you can't delete them after someone replies to you.
I don't get it. I don't really see what it is I wrote that warranted getting "flagged". I just said I wasn't keen on maintaining an account and, with that, a HN reputation.
I'm assuming it's against the rules to copy/paste my comment again in response to someone else so I'll just leave it, but that kills the want to participate.
Ironically, I'd bet that had it been a Facebook algorithm moderating the content (instead of just anybody having the power to censure/flag) my comment would still stand - and in this case, that'd be more fair to "free speech".
We are quick to plaster a company as "evil" and yet mob rule worries me more.
I guess the only thing that I can say is that it may take a while before we have AI that is capable enough to distinguish baseless posts intended to stir people's emotions from those which may have merit but are emotionally engaging and controversial. In the interim, it seems like Facebook is trying to brute force solve this with human moderators - but again, perhaps not the most objective way of handling this and I wonder how they will tackle this long term.
(On a different note, I'm being throttled by HN for posting too fast, so sorry for the delay in response).
Off the top of my head I'd personally nominate
Ads on WhatsApp
Password breaches affecting both fb and ig
Forced homogenization of the product offering via Stories
Sleaziness around graph growth
An upcoming boondoggle of an integration between Fb Ig and WhatsApp identity systems supposedly to align them on strong privacy via end to end encryption
And personally I'd add the pursuit of end to end encryption at scale, which sounds like it'll lead to a disaster of moderation. (Ie don't count me in as the supporter of e2ee in the first place.)
> Do we really think we can stem "fake news" by expecting Facebook to bear the responsibility for everything that is communicated on their platform(s)?
I am not sure what the alternative you propose is. Dig your head deeper into sand?
> are we truly confident that hamstringing Facebook with a "break-up" is really going to lead to a better future? Do I really want my kids to be using TikTok/WeChat/Telegram or some other foreign controlled platform over which my government has much less oversight
I am not sure which is your government but it would probably have some power as long as we're talking about commercial operations, which tend to have some substantial presence in the jurisdictions where they're operating at scale. Or, even just blocking...
I was trying to edit my comment earlier to purposely extend on this point, but was unable to.
Would nobody agree that perhaps this problem stems from a perhaps larger underlying issue? Perhaps better education?
I'm someone who deleted their Facebook account.
In short, the reach and impact they have, given their proclivities, are not a net positive. When they make mistakes, or when they pursue questionable business practices, it has global impact.
That kind of power should be held by more accountable organizations, and with Zuck controlling more than 50% of the voting rights of the stock in FB, there's no chance.
At this point, they're tripping into a future, commensurate with the ignorance (or unconcern) of their user base, that I can't support.
If you're asking, "What do they do that's so bad?"... well, it's well documented.
Yes but only by law, which allows exceptions, notably law enforcement, national security, etc.
And I wasn't saying this causes fake news, but it does pose a moderation challenge when done at scale
Any form of communication will be used to spread misinformation, but this isn't email or town gossip. Facebook is actively pushing this stuff onto people as a direct result of choices they have made in designing their algorithms. Facebook has taken a problem that has always existed and actively made it much worse than it would be if Facebook didn't exist. At the very least that's worth thinking about.
Is it really so crazy to think that these companies should bear some responsibility for what happens on their platforms? I know the longstanding tech world answer to this has been a resounding yes, but I don't think it's that simple. It shouldn't be okay to build a product designed to suck people in and then wash your hands of any and all consequences.
I don't think breaking up Facebook (whatever that means) will do anything useful, but I do sympathize with the criticisms.
That being said, I've seen some powerful arguments against facebook already: the newsfeed algorithm, for example, is my most important one. It should be required, by law, to be a dumb feed.
Outside of that we have to look at the evil companies that you speak of otherwise, and why we don't speak out against them, and I would draw that the reality and rules that society lives under are distorted by the existence of social media, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, many changes need to occur, however I argue the things that make facebook addictive (getting likes), and thus valuable, are the things that encourage the worst societal behaviors and extremism, making it impossible enough for society to compromise enough to do something about those bad actors. You demonstrate the power of getting likes by the fact that you used a throwaway account for your comment.
I don't think that social media can effectively work unless it is stripped of the profit motive.
Re: the newsfeed algorithm, like I just replied to
jeromegv, I agree and think promoting emotionally engaging posts, no matter the content (which I think we all sort of agree seems to be the way Facebook operates), is obviously problematic. Whether dumb (a.k.a. "rank by new") is the way to go, I don't know. Might just favor the loudest/most talkative, but perhaps you're right.
Also I never made the claim that TikTok/WeChat/Telegram were evil. My point with that statement was more like that proverb: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know".
Using a throwaway account makes sense if you're sharing secrets or making yourself vulnerable. Creating one to share an unpopular opinion (presumably, to avoid the terrible risk of... having a few strangers downvote you on the internet?) makes you lose credibility.
> What exactly is it about the platform that makes it so "evil"? Do we just think Zuckerberg is innately corrupt and trying to slip some sort of mastermind plan of internet domination without us noticing?
Um... yes. Have you not noticed a pattern of bad behavior coming from them for the last, 15 years or so?
> Lastly, are we truly confident that hamstringing Facebook with a "break-up" is really going to lead to a better future?
Um... Yes. The root of this problem is a lack of integrity amplified by no accountability and monopolistic power. Break up the monopoly, and things will improve. We're not going to magically fix human nature overnight, but there will be room for competitors with a different vision will at least have a chance to gain traction. Right now they have no chance.
Of all tech giants, Facebook is incredibly easy to break up because they have multiple major products with seperate branding that could easily compete with each other. I'm still rooting for that possibility, because Instagram is not going to leave on their own.
The article makes the opposite argument:
> Many users delete posts that don’t immediately get ‘enough’ Likes or post to their fake ‘Finstagram’ accounts if they don’t think they’ll be proud of the hearts they collect. Hiding Like counts might get users posting more since they’ll be less self-conscious.
Or it's a cynical move to remove any user input as to what you actually see on your feed.
The way instagram frames this is sort of healthier, but I can't imagine Facebook doing this just for social good.
Encouraging reposts is one of the big reasons the internet isn't fun anymore.
The push model of content consumption needs a lot of fixes to live up to the pull model of content exploration
The weird wacky web full of discovery is long dead. We need to rebuild it and undo the missteps that killed it
Many individual / independent creators 100% rely on the ability to reach others and people generally respond to the flock of many people liking / sharing a single post of some kind. I don't think it's fair to negate this as being useful.
We with generally much better paying jobs to stress / work life balance ratio within the tech industry have the privilege of not having to worry about such things being taken away and literally taking our paychecks away as well.
Besides, having a broken labor market is a pretty poor reason for intentionally perpetuating a broken internet
At the time of this writing the comment I’m responding to is grayed out. Presumably due to downvotes from people not agreeing with the sentiment.
I probably don’t agree to it either, but I find the perspective brought into the discussion to be a good contribution.
I see this quite often, and actually tend to spend most of my votes “rescuing” comments, that at least shouldn’t be suppressed just for being unpopular.
There is a kind of bias at play where dissenting opinions are held to a much higher standard of quality and thus having a higher chance for being censored.
So I’ve been thinking if there should be a separation of quality and sentiment votes. Perhaps it would prevent some accidental censoring.
Writing this it occurs to me that the bias would probably still be there though. So a more qualitative approach perhaps. One could imagine some mechanism by which the poster is allowed to iterate on the comment, based on feedback, before final judgement.
what if Instagram let you see only your page metrics, but nobody elses?
But I completely agree with you. The argument against the removal of those visible metrics on twitter sounds like an argument for toxicity, even if it is cloaked in a jab against big corp accounts.
It feels like the system is hiding information from me that I would find interesting and that I could use to reason about the world.
I would find it even more interesting if not only the upvotes would be public but also who upvoted.
And for downvotes it could be an interesting experiment to make a statement mandatory explaining why one downvoted.
(This comment got 5 upvotes so far)
Exposing who would just further encourage tit for tat.
Does not eliminate that behavior, but it does very significantly reduce it to almost a non issue.
I tend to skim, and when I find something compelling, I power through where the subs do little about those things.
Some subs do cultivate better, longer form writing, and or less of the Reddit "BS."
And, I vary too. It's not always annoying. Mixed in there are some real zingers. Love those.
Ordering on HN by vote count works, and would continue to work invisible to all. The few places it breaks - the political, the climate change discussions etc, are where there may be more voting for tribal reasons.
I do wish it took more than a single downvote to "grey" a comment. First of all, a single vote doesn't mean much statistically, and shouldn't change the color of text. Secondly, some stuff is just controversial. I've had comments go -2, +5, 3, down and back up.
aside: I think ones comment history plays a role in the threshold to grey. For new accounts it’s -1, but that decreases for older accounts. Some magic combo of karma sum average and/or mean, probably?
Next they need to remove following and follower count.
I would, though, like if the person you’re replying to could give you a public upvote to signal a friendly end to a conversation.
Knowing who upvoted seems like a fight-starter.
The old Slashdot system gave the user a choice of upvote and downvote reasons - and the reader could assign their own multiplier! So you could decide that "funny" merited -1 rather than the default +1.
I've never seen that anywhere else.
I remember back in the day that the vote count were public, and there was a lot of resistance to the change. For me, while on a micro-scale I feel like I'm missing information, I agree that on a macro-scale it's a net positive for the community.
Being influenced at all by numbers where there is no accountability for site owners of their origins seems increasingly like a bad idea.
That said, I am trying to think how this feature of 'hiding likes' can also be tampered with because that is human nature
But Instagram is like an Ocean of content, there is no clear boundaries between topics, it's an endless stream of content and events happening in parallel, AND the algorithms are known to be opaque. So the information of number of Likes are valuable to relate to other events which happened in the past. This also applies to Twitter.
By the way, we can see the total votes on the front page of Hacker News, because it helps to put things in perspective according to past events.
Instagram should hide the numbers of like in messages in the discussion of picture, but IMHO they should keep at least the order of magnitude of Likes under the pictures. ("10s Likes", "100s Likes", "1k Likes", etc)
You are not wrong. The info was very useful. One could get a map of users and a real sense of their politics, preferences, etc...
I did, and learned a TON about online dialog. Knowledge I have put to use elsewhere to great effect.
But the cost! Damn. The truth is that data generates an insane amount of meta. You name it. Cliques, brigades, retribution, beauty contests, the works!
My guess would be a higher quality discussion, but a less addictive ui.
Sometimes the behavioral impact matter more than full transparency. I definitely think it contributes to HN being higher quality than reddit for example. People say things for the sake of it not to gather 100 meme points
Ir seems like it would be a really rich dataset. On the simple side of the analysis is simply what it did to the vote counts. Did they stay the same, or go down? What happened to the ratio? On the more complex side you could do some semantic analysis to see if the comments have changed in character at all.
I feel like it does a great job of stopping the focus on karma. People who write bad comments still get downvoted/flagged/treated appropriately but everybody else doesn't feel they must write a comment with karma in mind.
I am not to be trusted with such a capability.
Nor is anyone else on here.
What gets lost in the whole "get rid of like counts" argument is that doing so generally speaking just helps those who are well-known and really makes it more tough for others to get there.
Many individual creators rely on likes, shares, reposts, w/e to drive their reach. Without a replacement that provides the same ability for the individual to gain that same reach this sort of change just hurts them.
Sadly, people do care about how many others found something interesting as a reason for whether they should pay attention to it or not, so something like this can literally take money out of people's hands that make pretty honest livings at what they do (such as webcomic artists) and makes it even more tough for them to just get while working for themselves.
If you merely use it privately with your friends, not showing likes takes pressure and awkwardness out of it imho.
You need to provide content through something that you own yourself. Instagram and other social platforms can help you promote your business but making these platform as source of living is shooting yourself in the foot.
a) own their content 100% that they make on their own sites
b) definitely rely on social networking / media applications for driving a fanbase.
>Hiding Like counts could reduce herd mentality, where people just Like what’s already got tons of Likes. It could reduce the sense of competition on Instagram, since users won’t compare their own counts with those of more popular friends or superstar creators.
How sad it is that we've gotten to a point in society, where our valuations are determined by fake points on the internet.
>And it could encourage creators to post what feels most authentic rather than trying to rack of Likes for everyone to see.
How is that a bad thing? Am I missing something, here?
ig aggregates content based on how you interact with posts
Deconstruct what you wrote, in other circumstances why do you think there is a benefit to liking something that hasn't been liked before
You already have expanded the call to action of affirming your resonation with a post to something that transcends that action - meaning you aren't clicking the like button solely because you like the post - you decide to click it based on completely irrelevant unrelated factors (just like everyone else has), but you act like other people must be acting strange
I might be wrong here— it's been a while since I see a video in the app.
This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Followers cab be bought cheaply and easily, they have nothing to do with distinguishing "great cibtent creators" (whatever that phrase may mean on Instagram, where a great work of art will always get less likes than a booblisp).
This is not particular to Instagram. It seems to have been the preference even before the internet was created.
Instagram’s position is that they are testing whether hiding your post accounts from others is sufficient to stop people from agonizing over how many likes their posts have. I am glad that they are testing this, but I do not think it will be sufficient.
Humans are incentivized to chase high scores in all respects, especially when the score is an integer ranging from zero to infinity. Hiding counts from others, but showing them to the user, may remove a certain degree of external pressure. However the innate drive to increase that integer count will continue to pressure users into taking actions based on the count. This keeps the core addictive loop of “post, check counts, agonize, repeat” intact, and will ensure that Instagram suffers no drop in engagement due to treating the core addictiveness of their platform.
For those users that are subject to social pressure, the high score problem will also continue to be a source of obsession over approval by their followers. Social influence is extremely difficult to measure directly, and many people actively read the leaves of events in their lives to try and discern their standing in the eyes of others. Integer counts such as “likes” and “replies” feed directly into this obsessiveness, providing an inscrutable figure that obviously carries meaning if only sufficient time and energy are invested in consideration of it. This creates a second loop of addiction, which is often confused with the first.
Removing all positive 0..N integer counts will be the only way to treat the addictive loops of today’s social media, and doing so would crater precisely the advertising-centric metric that they all depend so critically on: Engagement.
People will be finally able to secretely like each others and the cicle of life will go on.
Too bad i'm starting to be too old
I am rather thankful that I'm starting to be too old for this bs.
But maybe it'll work the other way around and give smaller accounts better, sigh, engagement?
"Hiding Like counts could reduce herd mentality, where people just Like what’s already got tons of Likes."
"Hiding Like counts might get users posting more since they’ll be less self-conscious."
"Narcissism, envy spiraling, and low self-image can all stem from staring at Like counts."
Are there any sources for these claims?
And are they the expressed reasons for this?
In Instagram's app itself, the feature is elaborated as follow:
> We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.
source tweet: https://twitter.com/wongmjane/status/1118970853654290432
Instagram then stated to the press they are:
> exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about