Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[dupe] Instagram Threatened Removal of Verified Status for Posting Snapchat Content (beebom.com)
406 points by thescribbblr 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments



Cribbed from a WSJ article which was discussed at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21048093.


> Links asking someone to add you on another service aren’t supported on Instagram

That's some weasel-wording right there. "Not supported" makes it sound like this is a feature they'd need to code that they haven't gotten around to yet. It's not -- they needed to take the time to explicitly block something that would otherwise work by default.

Phrasing it as "Links asking someone to add you on another service are not allowed on Instagram" would be more honest, but also make it obvious what they're doing. So instead, they go out of their way to phrase it as something out of their control rather than as a deliberate policy.


It's also using passive voice.

Consider: "We will terminate your verified status for adding links to one of our competitor's sites."


When someone is lying, the passive voice is a very common choice of words.

(Source: I took a forensic linguistics course as part of a comp. linguistics program. One of the case studies we looked at was lying-- the data sets were comparing legal cases where documents were available that contradicted testimony, like the Enron case.)

Edit: Here's a research paper that talks about it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4981627/


> When someone is lying, the passive voice is a very common choice of words.

The passive voice was used to write this sentence.


In your comment, yes; In my comment, no. You can use the passive voice detector to examine it: https://datayze.com/passive-voice-detector.php

Fun fact: That detector uses zombies!


Where can I read more on this?


I don't remember the source of the material when I took the class, but it's been built upon since then. Here's one example that used the Enron corpus:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4981627/


A masters program in forensics..


The elephant in the room here is that big tech companies regular break laws, mostly with impunity. In many countries with a sane legal system (not sure if the USA is one of those), it is forbidden by law to arbitrarily discriminate consumers. That is, treat them differently for things they do that are neither an explicit breach of contract, nor illegal behaviour. I don't know enough of US law to say if this applies in the USA also, but companies like these ought to be publicly prosecuted for this elsewhere. The real problem is that big tech companies have vast resources (including economical and political influence) and all kind of (international) legal tricks up their sleeves, shielding them from the legal scrutiny they deserve. However, the clock is ticking. At some point, the net will close around them.


What law is being broken? This is their platform to do with as they please. Nobody has a contractual agreement whereby Facebook agrees to host any and all content. They can be as partial and capricious as they desire. That is the price for abandoning open protocols.


"it is forbidden by law to arbitrarily discriminate consumers" (in many countries with a sane legal system)

It is a common and stubborn misconception that laws like these somehow do not apply to big (international) tech companies. It is more the product of cultural acceptance of a reality that has existed for long time. Maybe you are right about this, within the USA. But than that would say more about the legal reality within the USA, rather than globally.


There's a lot of unstated meaning wrapped up in "arbitrarily" there. You can obviously treat customers differently based on whether they pay or not, and you can obviously have terms that say what you can and can't post on the platform (and apply moderation accordingly). Otherwise you couldn't maintain any kind of forum or communication platform.

Saying you can't post links to other services may be distasteful, but shouldn't be illegal in any reasonable legal jurisdiction.


As I said: "treat them differently for things they do that are neither an explicit breach of contract, nor illegal behaviour"

In other words: these rules need to be explicitly stated in whatever contract consumer and provider agreed on.

These rules also need to be universally enforced. Rules that are (intentionally or not) written in such a way that they lend themselves for arbitrary application (that is, not equally amongst all consumers) are legally unenforcible. Therefore should be considered null and void. Which then leaves the service provider without any legal justification for their actions under contract law. That's at least how it works in many places, at least outside the USA.


More to the point: if you provide a service (or product) to the general public, you have to accept that people will user it as they see fit.

If you want to limit the ways your service (or product) can be used, you can do so by explicitly arranging these limitations through a contract. Things that are already (otherwise) illegal do not have to be included in this arrangement (hopefully for obvious reasons).

Whatever is not explicitly forbidden by either law or contract, are not valid grounds for treating consumers differently.

Sadly, and mostly for historical and cultural reasons (and law enforcers not paying attention for a long time), it is often assumed that these rules do not apply to big service providers (and software producers alike). However, I have never found any legal basis for why such companies should be treated any different than any other one.


So, if they have a line "You're not able to post links to other services in your profile" in the agreement, then everything would be ok?


In principle: yes. That is, as long as the agreement is not in violation of other rules/laws. Considering the role a service has in society and its market position, such a rule could e.g. violate anti trust law. But that's a different matter, and up to a court to decide.

Are instagram users consumers or consumed? Isn’t the consumer the ad purchaser?


Instragram offers their services to the general public, which makes the users of these services consumers. That is, if these are not businesses.

That Instagram uses the information gathered from providing these services for different services provided to another type of client (businesses, since consumers are officially not allowed to do business), does not change that.

But it could mean that Intragram is breaking laws that protect consumers (or citizens in general) from abusive practises. For example invasion of privacy (in particular surveillance), which is in many countries a privilege/monopoly limited to governments (just as use of violence).

When social media companies declared that privacy is dead, they essentially said that they do not acknowledge this monopoly/privilege of governments. This has been reality for some time, which is why many people got used to it and have accepted it as normal. However, just as criminals can claim that laws do not apply to them, the claims of social media companies might not have any legal basis. Maybe they have in the USA (I really do not know), but they sure appear to not have it in other parts of the world.


For example: Do you think that Cloudflare should have been forced to keep offering its service to 8chan?


Isn't inviting folks to add you on another service how most of the scam / paid date etc folks operate? I used to get messages from random women asking me to add them on other services a fair bit.


Even assuming that's a valid reason to restrict a competitor, the phrasing is still deceptive.

If Instagram stands by their decision to block third-party links, then they should phrase it as, "we block third-party links", not "they're not currently supported."


Sure. (I mean, probably; I'm not an expert.) And if Instagram came out and said that that was not allowed then this point would be moot. The objection (in this subthread) isn't that they're banning the behavior, it's that they're being dishonest about it.


>paid date

Well that's one way to phrase it.


That's a narrow view of the word "support." Her father doesn't support her meth addiction.


That comment was saying that technical support is the natural understanding, and that this lack of clarity makes it a weasel-word. This is especially true since there are more straightforward alternatives such as the one that was given.


original point doesn't dispute that it is a 'narrow view', however, but that they are playing on ambiguity within the wider connotations since the nominal meaning in a tech context is 'support techically' rather than 'morally','ethically', etc.


...and then when users start to put up such links they show you the real meaning of the phrase. At first sight it is "everything is allowed, just some things are not supported (yet)", but the real meaning is "linking to competitors is not allowed".


While I agree with the technical criticism you level, I think the more important thing is whether the truth of the matter is:

1. "Links asking someone to add you on another service are not allowed on Instagram."

or

2. "Links asking someone to add you on a service not owned by Facebook are not allowed on Instagram."

"Support" vs "allowed" seems to me to be a distraction from the universality of that policy.


This “verified” nonsense is silly. Twitter knew who Assange was but refused to “verify” him.

They should change what they call verified to another label like “goodie two-shoes” instead. As it is is a complete misnomer. It’s basically used to get users to behave a certain way and if they don’t conform they don’t get verified or if they are verified it gets revoked.


"Verified" ceased to be meaningful as actual verification as soon as "unverified" became a thing.

I think making it a brand-coloured tick conveyed too much of a positive message so people took it as an endorsement, leading to pressure to "unverify" if that person did or said something bad.

Given that action, the "verified" tick then becomes an even stronger signal of endorsement.

Perhaps it would be better to call them "Partners" like on Twitch and make it an explicit contract with revenue kickback.


They have painted themselves into a corner with this feature. They cannot call it "partners" because you cannot claim to have a partnership with, say, the US Navy and the President of Iran (both "ticked" in Twitter) nor give them revenue kickbacks, and yet, it's not really an ID verification if you "de-verify" people for their political or commercial stance. AFAIK Twitter is so confused by this conundrum that they just froze the "tick" program (or so they claim).

Of course they could abandon all pretenses and just call it "ticked" accounts without saying what it means at all...


And those who lose that status, for whatever reason, will be the "ticked off" accounts.


I can think of one use case for de-verifying: when someone's account seems to have been hacked.


Ok, but when you lose your drivers’ license (or your “friend” “borrows” it) you don’t get your license suspended...

Your case would imply there is a confirmation interval... which I don’t think is the case.


Your passport is "unverified" when you report it stolen.


> I think making it a brand-coloured tick conveyed too much of a positive message so people took it as an endorsement

YouTube's check mark is a tiny unassuming grey thing, and they're going through the exact same process right now where they claim it's being construed as an endorsement.


I think it's being construed as an endorsement because they seem to be using it as an endorsement. Almost every platform has a very opaque process for how one gets verified, and it seems you need to have 100,000+ followers or be deemed to be important in the society to get your humanity verified.

I researched this for the 2018 Reverse Hackathon run by HackMentalHealth and found that in 2015, approximately 0.05% of Twitter accounts were verified (source: https://medium.com/@Haje/who-are-twitter-s-verified-users-af...). The source above has an even deeper breakdown on the verified users' backgrounds.

If they don't want it to be construed as an endorsement, they could let any user not only apply for verification, but actually verify their identity behind their accounts. Not force, but allow it. This could shift the percentage of verified accounts up to the point where they're not part of an exclusive 0.05% club.

If they keep at it 0.05% of the accounts that they deem to be worthy of being verified, then it sure seems like an intentional endorsement.

(my article: https://medium.com/hackmentalhealth/why-twitter-should-verif...)


Youtube recently decided to change their requirements to become verified. They emailed existing verified users that they no longer meet these requirements and therefore will loose the "verified" status.

Completely insane.


For what it’s worth, my understanding is they were actually trying to fix the situation but users conceptualize being “verified” as a sign of status and so got upset. A lot of YouTubers are currently “verified” for whom there is no risk of mistaking them for a clone account. The only real point is for YouTube to verify the channels of actual celebrities who will get lots of copycats and are known off the platform.


But if your ID has been "verified", why would you all of a sudden no longer be verified unless the verification was fraudulent?

To verify yourself on instagram etc. you need to submit identification etc. . Once you have done that there should be no reason to take that away from you if valid.

You are still you unless maybe you get married and your name changes which could require a re-verification and if the policy was changed that you don't qualify for verification it would be fair for you to be no longer verified.


> But if your ID has been "verified", why would you all of a sudden no longer be verified unless the verification was fraudulent?

From what I understands, the previous verification was merely reaching 100k, nothing more. I wouldn't call that fraudulent, but considering many people may expect it to means that their identity was actually verified by Youtube (and not that they simply reached a milestone in subscription), I wouldn't call that being verified.

> To verify yourself on instagram etc. you need to submit identification etc. . Once you have done that there should be no reason to take that away from you if valid.

I agree, but we aren't talking about Instagram now, but Youtube.


On YouTube can you set your name to anything, including the name of another channel. This leads to accounts with the same name and profile picture as the actual channel commenting on any popular video. These accounts typically have no subscribers as they are not channels of actual creators. Having 100K subscribers proves you are an actual channel with fans who will want to know if a comment posted under that name is the actual content creator.


> Having 100K subscribers proves you are an actual channel with fans who will want to know if a comment posted under that name is the actual content creator.

There's 2 issues here. First it doesn't means the subscribers are actually legit. You could see from time to time channel that can lose hundred thousands subscribers in a day because Youtube purged a bunch of fake accounts. It's harder to see now that Youtube abbreviate the subscriber count, but I remember, it wasn't something constant, it was sporadic.

Second, it's only true if the name is original. More and more channels reach the 100k everyday, it's just going to be harder and harder to make sure none of them try to impersonate someone else. If that stay the only thing needed to be "verified", you'll get someone that will get that "verified" status even though he isn't the one he is saying he is, that's just the good old Murphy's law for you.

As I said, verify tag make people believe that you have actually been verified. It does makes sense that you change your politic so that you actually verify people...


It's about what people know you from. If people know you from off platform, and they go to YouTube to see that same person, I can verify that. If your main platform is YouTube, then obviously you are you by definition, and verification carries no information.

Basically, if you were tasked with verifying KFC, you could check that the KFC on YouTube is indeed the fast food chain. If you were tasked with verifying PewDiePie, then what are you verifying?


I think the benefit of verifying someone nobody has heard of is that you know that they have submitted identification documents to YouTube, and are less likely to be scamming you, and could be sued.

I would certainly trust a verified user more for that reason.


What have they done wrong?

I searched and seems like the previous politic was to simply give the verified status if you reached 100k subscribers without any others verification. How is that verified in any way? Is that verification was merely to state that at least 100k people clicked a button? That would makes it a pretty bad verified status and pretty far from what anyone may expect it to verify. Considering Youtube only remove bots from time to time, it may not even be true.

They were never verified in the first place, removing them makes sense.


MXR mods had this exact problem on youtube.


Worse a musician I followed on Instagram got hacked. There's no way to report "This account has been hacked." or any sort of custom report. I had to pick a random one which was then denied. I don't understand why they don't have sane security settings for verified accounts, otherwise what's the point. The musicians a Christian to had gone to jail and used to do drugs and speaks out against those things, the person who took it over has 666 on their name and other inappropriate things which is adding salt to the wound.

If your account can get hacked and never retrieved, what's it worth being verified?


> They should change what they call verified to another label like “goodie two-shoes” instead.

I agree with your main point. On a tangent: I'm not sure "goodie two-shoes" is quite the right term.

I would argue that by helping to expose illegal actions by the U.S. government, Assange was a poster child for "goodies two-shoes".


I kind of get your point, but generally speaking a goodie two-shoes doesn’t rock the boat and is more of a pleaser (to authority).


Consider also https://twitter.com/AlbertEinstein

It's not a long-dead scientist, but is still verified as such.


That is really disgusting that they are verifying dead people. Even though his estate authorized it, seems like a betrayal of his legacy to allow someone else to present their speech from him.

I hope the US soon passes legislation banning impersonation of the dead unless they explicitly authorized that use while alive.

Similarly Erica Garner's account is verified and was taken over by one of her friends after her death. Some controversy after account tweeted things in direct contradiction to what Garner said while alive.


It says it’s managed by his estate—it seems fine to me?


I disagree. I mean, it's fine that Einstein's estate is tweeting under his name, but that shouldn't satisfy Twitter's definition of verification. Verification means:

The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. [0]

It's not authentically Albert Einstein (which is objective), nor do I see how his estate posting science news from who-knows-where is of public interest (this is subjective, and there is enough grey area that it makes for a weak policy).

If an account is verified, Twitter should also explain why. This explanation could be in the users' bio.

0 - https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/twitter-ve...


"verified" has essentially become the social media equivalent of airline companies' "preferred members".


When will Twitter re-open verifying? It's been closed for 2 years...


Crummy Buzzfeed content drones with 5000 followers are getting verified.

Verification ticks are just a badge of being well connected, and approved. And having your tick removed is a way of saying that you have stepped out of line.


That's what worries me about verified. It's just a form of nepotism at the end of the day and they certainly prefer certain niches (Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the media industry, etc..) over others.


Also seems verified is fairly correlated with certain political ideologies - kind of feels like twitter is trying to direct conversation without taking responsibility for bias.


That sounds like the usual persecution complex of the anti establishment/alt right. If that where the case, Twitter would be very shitty at such job, since countless of them are verified. Notably including alex jones up to his ban.


Journalists of major publications and celebrities are pretty evenly verified. Maybe it's just the circles I follow, but I encounter a lot of random 'liberal centrist with a podcast who has written 2 op eds'-types that seem to be more famous on twitter than anywhere else.


People with the right connections are getting verified.


They still do it when they want to.


It's open, it's just that they no longer accept public requests.


The checkmark status should be like that.

It should be like an voluntary stricter license with arbitrary conditions set on content creators.

They just need to articulate what those conditions are.

The lack of being direct is what is hurting them here, and also not communicating what “verified” actually means, because it doesnt mean “you are popular and important” it just means “you are an aspiring LA model or aspiring SF tech CEO that both perform for Saudi money”


Maybe "Trusted" could be be a better alternative to "Verified".


If a President were caught in a lie, would the "Trusted" status be removed? If not, what would the "Trusted" status even mean?


“Lie” is too strict. Everyone is caught making false statements. Everyone would get “distrusted.”


> Everyone is caught making false statements

That is too postmodern for my tastes. I would strongly argue that one can speak without making false statements, and would be very much in favor of some sort of fact-checking badge on social media. It would be difficult, but I really believe it would be worth it.


Who watches the watchers?

So far pretty much every fact checking organization, regardless of original intent, eventually succumbs to the temptation to bend their fact checking to their ideological preference.

There is no social media company that has the credibility to even be taken seriously as a impartial arbiter of fact.


Yet everyone does not like equally, not by a longshot. We have sites like snopes and polifact. Maybe not perfect, but better than postmodern nonsense like "there is no truth".


This elevation of the credibility of snopes and politifact would make it more damaging when they choose to editorialize.

People who share political ideologies with these sites tend to overestimate their accuracy and underestimate their displayed bias.


Or, you know, the truth leans heavily on one side, considering that there's not a single one even remotely relevant fact checking organization on the other one.


I assure you, if you believe this, you're being frequently misled.

Don't get me wrong, I think these sources are more accurate than many journalistic institutions, but they are not infallible or completely unbiased.


Did I claim that they were unbiased or did I claim that the concepts like truth, facts, and research lean heavily towards one side?


Authenticated?


Why not just "Influential" since that is all people really care about.


All this nonsense started with online agitators from Breitbart. Instead of having the gumption to just ban people like @nero, they instead unverified him for some reason. Probably because he was making money for them.


Ban him for what?


"verified" means "good citizen of the platform"


Alternatively “top revenue generator, except where we disagree with them, except when we make special exceptions”.


To me it means "person full of their own self importance".


That might be necessary, but it's not sufficient; there are many users who are not "verified" who are very convinced of their own importance;)


Agreed, but a check mark confirms it for me.

Removing links to other platforms is anti-competitive full stop. Threatening de-verification due to links is even worse.

This is the behavior of monopolists. The FTC and existing anti-trust organizations would do well to return to their jobs and take a look at these practices broadly across the tech industry.


Absolutely! I'm surprised you're the first one to call this out.

In my mind this is how these companies see their platforms plucked from their hands and spun off as independent companies.

This is incredibly unfair to users. It's a sign that these platforms have become a mafia protection racket.

It's not just as if they're saying "If you consider the competition, you'll lose everything." They're actually doing this.

Wow.


The very first sentence of the OP article calls this out.


I want to see discussion here on HN as this is a special community that has participation from some of the brightest and most influential engineers, lawyers, -- many disciplines and backgrounds -- in the world.

This should absolutely be a topic of discussion amongst us.

Do we, as individuals with leverage and influence, support these actions? And if not, what can we do to help change the status quo and insure this doesn't happen again so easily?

Crafting a response or opinion piece to submit to lawmakers and the FTC could hold a lot of power, especially if it is undersigned by many of us in the field.


> Removing links to other platforms is anti-competitive full stop. Threatening de-verification due to links is even worse.

> This is the behavior of monopolists. The FTC and existing anti-trust organizations would do well to return to their jobs and take a look at these practices broadly across the tech industry.

While I am inclined to agree with you, is it anti-competitive to remove phone numbers, etc from apps like Wag or Rover or Airbnb to prevent external communication outside the app?

I personally don't like that but don't think it's monopolistic. Wondering if the two are related somehow.


I think there is a distinction to be made between removing a direct contact to a person using your platform, and removing a link to another competing platform to different content. (If you're linking to the same listing on another platform that's probably something a user agreement would have to deal with)

For example, if you said "check out our other listing on VRBO" in your AirBnB profile, but they were not the same listing - and AirBnB scrubbed your link, I would argue that would be anti-competitive behavior for a large player in the marketplace to remove the link. Why did they edit your content? Was it Spam? Was it against the rules? The only reason to remove it was to remove the competition from the other platform.

I acknowledge that the user acquisition pipeline / discovery chain for sales / rentals is very valuable and these platforms want to maintain the chain so they make their money. That said - you can't have your cake and eat it, and becoming a large player and exhibiting these behaviors has historically been a problem.

I also acknowledge that real moderation of these types of links is a problem. The "easy" answer that happens to benefit the company is removal of all of those links, but that reasoning seems flimsy.

If you're a major player in a market space with huge network effects and you remove links that your users have posted (in-line with your user agreement on your website), that's anti-competitive behavior that has typically not been looked well upon in the United States.


> If you're a major player in a market space with huge network effects and you remove links that your users have posted (in-line with your user agreement on your website), that's anti-competitive behavior that has typically not been looked well upon in the United States.

Are you aware of any case law that reflects that sentiment as it applies to link removal? It sounds like you have a specific case or two in mind.


I think most of the scam / paid date / etc folks ask you to add them on other platforms. I guess this will now be permitted "full stop"?


They hid links, hash tags, and other content referencing SnapChat. I didn't read anything in the article related to reducing scams. I'm also not sure that it would be credible to happen to block Snapchat just for scams. Are they blocking all links, or just to their social media competitors, for example. But this is a good point. Moderation is damned near impossible here, but it's suspicious to apply this to your competitors content including hash tags and verified profiles.


Isn't instagram participation voluntary and free of charge? Monopoly over what? Everyone is free to move to another platform or start his own.


> participation voluntary and free of charge

If you want distribution of your thoughts, you have to use the walled garden controlled by giants.

> Everyone is free to move to another platform or start his own.

The reality is that you can't. Not without billions of dollars of funding.

Social networks should be regulated. They can't own the platform and make moves to crush others by threatening to downgrade your voice and participation.


I distribute my thoughts using email. I have not hit it's scalability limits yet. I cry when I think that in some future I will have to be under some proprietary platform control to distribute my thoughts.

> The reality is that you can't.

The reality is that is was solved a while ago, the solution is rss and email.

Instagram instead offers popularity and nice photo filters and colored ticks on avatars. Which are nothing in common with distributing thoughts.


> The reality is that is was solved a while ago, the solution is rss and email.

You are in a very small minority when compared to the average internet user. This is the same attitude that advocates for IRC and Jabber when modern alternatives have taken over due to user friendliness, network power, and corporate ownership/management.

It's not to say these platforms don't have problems (they do), or that a non-open model is preferable (it's certainly not ideal).

> Instagram instead offers popularity and nice photo filters and colored ticks on avatars. Which are nothing in common with distributing thoughts.

We can't ignore that the Internet has moved on from our technical solutions since the rest of the world got online. If we want it to remain open, it's up to us to help reign things back in through legislation when we see such blatantly gross abuses such as this.

If you keep pointing to RSS as the solution while simultaneously discounting all of the moves that are being made by the big players, RSS will wither and die and you will be left with nothing.

Platform control. Regulatory capture. Impenetrable new "standards". DRM. Dropped support for HTTP, RSS, semantic HTML, ad blocking, video...

Just imagine what the Internet will look like in twenty years and tell me that doesn't worry you.


> I distribute my thoughts using email.

I kind of get the feeling you don't target younger people? I wonder if you would also, in case you for some reason couldn't cell phones, find that totally fine, since landlines are the superior solution.

At the end of the day companies and politicians both have to go where people are, even if we find the platforms used despicable.


I despise this argument & your parent said monopolist behaviour. You can't just ignore the network/cool kid phenomenon when considering social networks; they're all trying to lock you into their own platform, and while you're right that they cannot be described as a full fledged monopoly they are trying their darndest to behave like one and disincentivise diversification.


The adjective you're looking for is "anti-competitive"


What I think is the problem is the terminology. 'Verified' makes it sound like there is some identity checking going on. It is nonsense to say that because someone is posting on 2 platforms, they suddenly aren't who they say they are. If you use the term 'affiliate' or 'partner' it is a different story. If you are posting on 2 or more platforms, it is logical for all involved platforms to not feel like partners anymore.


Call me paranoid but it seems increasingly that Big Tech uses all their avenues to force conformity. The message is that if you don't do what we want, bad things start happening. It can happen anytime anywhere and you wont necessarily know why. It's about encouraging a helpless, submissive, fearful mentality.

Maybe they'll no longer show you as verified. Maybe your posts will be demoted a bit in the feed. Maybe you now longer show up when people search for you. Maybe your sub becomes quarantined for an obviously for an obviously false reason (facts don't matter). Maybe you see more captchas. Maybe pages start loading more slowly for you. Maybe for your subscribers. Maybe you wont be able to show ads. Maybe it's the comments that get revoked. Maybe your account gets frozen and all your funds stolen.

Most (all?) of those are actual things happening right now.


> it seems increasingly that Big Tech uses all their avenues to force conformity.

because these big tech companies are all dependent on advertising revenue, and thus converge to advertiser friendly behaviour.


Nothing much to do with ads in this case. If Insta cost money to use, Insta would still not want people leaving for Snap.


Of course they wouldn't, but it's a question of who their customers are – hint: not their users (even the "verified" ones).


exactly. the ad-based model skews incentives.


"Call me paranoid but it seems increasingly that Big Tech uses all their avenues to force conformity. The message is that if you don't do what we want, bad things start happening. It can happen anytime anywhere and you wont necessarily know why. It's about encouraging a helpless, submissive, fearful mentality."

Just like is done here on HN through its rules and enforcement of such, with maybe the exception of not knowing why. It still encourages a submissive, fearful mentality. Well, not for me, because I really DGAF and will continue to speak as I see fit. I can't speak to the gonadal fortitude of the rest of HN commenters.


Just using private browsing and UBO makes you see more reCaptchas from google and sites using it


Or to paraphrase: Company getting vast majority of its money from advertising and tracking, actively hampers experience of people who block advertising and trackers.


It sucks for those 'influencers', but how are they surprised? Aren't they in on the marketing game? The chose this fake job themselves right? You don't see Conan O'Brien as a main act on 2 TV networks at the same time, because that is not how the advertisement game works.

Instead of investing time and effort in online identities, we should invest in our offline identities. Investing in your local community, friends, family, etc is a lot more secure than some online persona on a platform you have zero control over.

An alternative would be to invest time and effort in decentralised platforms like mastodon, but even there you'd be dependent on the whims of the masses and thus advertisers. And even then, what do you have at the end of the day? Some virtual kudos and likes from people you would avoid in real life? Money if you are lucky.


Double-speak is def a problem and is not unique to tech. Maybe just the principal agent problem in disguise https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal%E2%80%93agent_proble...


Not that I agree with this practice, but I've heard from people who stream on twitch that if you are streaming on their platform, you cannot stream to you-tube, d-live or other platforms and keep the affiliate/partner status which allows viewers to subscribe and donate via twitch currency to you.

You may stream to multiple platforms at once, however you lose your ability to be verified on twitch by being an affiliate/partner.

I see more and more of the large platforms taking this route and removing the verified/special perks for being on that particular platform if you are not keeping your content exclusive to them, in an attempt to keep the largest market share/content creators.

In the end I think this will only drive the more independent creators to adopt smaller and more open platforms and the big platforms that are left will be an echo chamber more than ever.


AFAIK this only applies to partners who sign a contract with Twitch, but I assume there's some wiggle room, like in the revenue sharing. Affiliates are only forbidden from streaming on Twitch and other platforms simultaneously [0]

[0]: https://help.twitch.tv/s/article/twitch-affiliate-program-fa... (Q. What do you mean by exclusivity for “Live Twitch Content”?)


They are afraid of other platforms, because they know their business will take a serious hit if there's ever serious competition. The cut they take off of subscriptions and donations is absolutely shady and unjustifiable.

Add to that the long list of twitch "anti-features" and they're on a good course to become to Quora of streaming sites. Can't wait for just lurking to become "members only".

Twitch would die in a heartbeat if they allowed multi-streaming (streaming to multiple platforms at the same time).

Their product is too easily replicated and most people don't care about the platform - they follow their favorite content creators.


> In the end I think this will only drive the more independent creators to adopt smaller and more open platforms and the big platforms that are left will be an echo chamber more than ever.

In an ideal world: Yes. In our world? Hm,... My intuition says "no".


yes, but calling something "partner" or affiliate" is not the same as calling "verified"


> Not that I agree with this practice, but ...

http://www.beresources.co.uk/everything-before-but-is-bullsh...


> Apologies to those of a sensitive nature for the graphicness (is that a word?) of the headline. However, it is true.

The meaning of this excerpt would be exactly the same if the word "but" were used instead of "however" (which is, I suspect, why it was worded in this clumsy way - to avoid "but"). Are we to conclude that the author doesn't actually give a shit about the "graphicness" of the headline?


what?


The article is titled "Everything before ‘BUT’ is Bullshit." Basically, if you say but, whatever preceded it is bullshit.

It calls people out for using it.

So, when the author writes: "Apologies to those of a sensitive nature for the graphicness (is that a word?) of the headline. However, it is true.", it shows they aren't actually apologizing. Why? Because the word "however" could be changed with "but" and it would effectively be the same thing.

Basically, that statement in the article is, according to the article, bullshit and combative.


Twitter started this whole thing. Originally, IIRC, "Verified" meant exactly that. You look at a twitter account of a Celebrity or CEO or poltician, and the blue check meant it was really them.

Now it means it's really them _and_ they haven't said or done anything that the wrong people find offensive. Comedians get de-verified (or kicked off) for offending people if they offend the wrong people. (While others who do equally horrible things -- like when Spike Lee tweeted the address of a completely innocent and uninvolved person asking people to harass and threaten them, he was not removed or de-verified https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/spike-lees-defense... )


And twitter started this whole thing because they were getting complaints from celebs and being sued by Tony LaRussa for account impersonation.

I wonder if these networks even want people’s humanity verified on each account, seems like it would kill growth numbers. When Facebook started, most accounts were unofficially verified to be humans, as it was only open to people who had a .edu email address, which were mostly verified and given out by universities to real people. Then they opened it up and boom Facebook grew to ridiculous numbers.

I’m waiting for one of the social networks to let anyone verify their humanity, Bumble does it, not sure why Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, and the others cant give this option. Maybe they don’t want to?



It’s really them and they don’t belong to KKK?


This somewhat related but Instagram has started doing some shady shit, for starters if you browse without an account they now cover the page with a sign up splash.

The one that really grinds my gears is that I made an Instagram to follow some artists I really enjoyed browsing, and for whatever reason their algorithm flagged me, and so they deactivated my account. In order to reactivate my account they requested a picture of myself holding a paper with the ID code provided in the email (which I refused to do). When I tried asking why I was deactivated I was simply given a canned respond requesting that I give them a picture of myself with the code proving that I am indeed a real human being.


Was it a new account? If so, the same thing happened to me; I created an account on Sunday to follow some photographers and my account immediately got disabled - before I could even login for the first time!


It was! Same day I made the account, all I did was follow people, never posted myself.


So, it seems, they were telling you that you need to verify your humanity to get your account back. But if you did verify it, do you think they would have given you a “verified” status?


Every now and then there are these news, where platform owners "abuse" their power on the platform to do something in their favor. I remember an example where HN discussed about how "Amazon's choice" doesn't mean that it's a good product, it's likely just a product which generates a lot of revenue for amazon.

It should be of no surprise that plaform owners will behave in this way. I think the way forward should be protocols over platforms. ActivityPub over social networks. Matrix over instant messengers.

Protocols are empowering. In the earlier days of the web there were many different protocols for different things people wanted to do, such as SMTP, FTP, HTTP etc.


Yes! So much this!

You can choose your email provider, or your cell phone carrier, and no matter who you choose, you'll still be able to email and text/call others (regardless of who _they_ choose).

But you can't choose a new Facebook provider. There's no recourse if a given platform is behaving badly, and the network effect just reinforces their hold on users.

Open protocols free users to make choices about providers and foster competition based on the service provided instead of having to "choose" to go where the people already are.


Coming from a Facebook owned company is this really of surprise to anyone?


Next: you talked about WePay, so we burned all your Libra.


I’ve been waiting a long time for these platforms to let any of us human users verify our human identities. Not sure if they actually want to.

Who wants to help me build a platform with only verified (you are the human you say you are) users?


Not the first guy I hear saying this. Happened to a friend too. Probably not threatened... but "told"


why would they not do it after they mic almost everything that snapchat comes out with?


What is posting Snapchat?


The title got truncated due to character limit - "posting Snapchat content"


Snapchat content so things like posting screenshots or advertising their Snapchat handle.


I would assume it is posting pics and/or video from Snapchat sessions.


Ahh... Facebook again.


LOL the title should just be something like, "when stupid gets even more stupid"


One upon a time an evil file might be called 'vader' or 'skynet'. Now harry potter fans are senior enough to decide on project names. I feel old.


I think it's also that the "he who shall not be named" aspect here isn't shared by Vader or skynet


As Vader was a cover name for annikin. Iconic evil characters are all pretty similar. Jedi are essentially space wizards.


There is always Hastur; Him Who Is Not to be Named. Oh shit, I did it!




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: