How fast the world has changed

As I am starting to blog, I am taking a course on openness with P2PU. This is helping me think of how to quickly and most efficiently reclaim my domain. For this, I have been looking back at the few notes I have posted around on Facebook. Actually, you can too if you have a Facebook account, as I have just made them viewable to every facebook user. This way, if you are new here, you can get a quick sense of what I am about. Incidentally, due to a little known item in the Facebook privacy policy, this means that all the comments are now public as well (i.e. my friends gave the rights to their comments to Facebook, I gave the right to my original posts to Facebook, and finally Facebook decides to correlate privacy of comments to the privacy settings of the original post). I suppose every platform owner has to make lots of those decisions, which eventually shape the service.

In any case, one of the notes struck me. It was just a link, actually, to a 2008 New York Times story about an unfortunate Walmart employee who was trampled to death on Black Friday. The angle is that bad things happen in the world, and sometimes this can end up on the internet, filmed on crappy cell phone cameras. And then we have to tell kids about all that violence. The undertone of the piece is that we were just starting to grapple with that problem back then. A friend of mine commented and asked for my opinion. The original note is here, with a contemporary screenshot below.


Close to six years later, we are still facing the same problems, of course. Internet is more violent and more invasive than ever. Any platform owner knows the value of good filters to curate content for its users. This content curation can be done jointly by machines and humans, leading to risks of algorithmic bias still misunderstood (Facebook, Twitter). It can also be done exclusively by humans, operating under strict rules. For both posts and comments. This is the model applied by metafilter, leading to high quality output but a relatively weak business model, unfortunately still vulnerable to algorithmic whims.

So you're saying that people tried to use the economies of scale of the internet to disrupt the conventional and somewhat hidebound traditional methods and then it turns out that certain things requiring human eyeballs and judgment do not actually scale along with this stuff and the lesson is that you need to keep people in the mix in not just token ways even if this interferes with your bottom line...? I know that song!
-- Metafilter user and former moderator jessamyn

In any case, eight years after this Facebook note, the world still turns around. People get married, have babies, raise their children. And most people still use Facebook.