Episode 9 - Fixing Facebook and Lindy's Law
Today I answer the question of how I would handle moderation for Facebook and Twitter - and I break down the problems that they're facing and why. Don't hold your breath expecting them to try out my proposal! I also discuss Lindy's Law, which is a helpful rule of thumb in technological and social forecasting. As popularized by @nntaleb, it's another tool in your toolkit for understanding the world.
On Lindy's Law (also called the Lindy Effect but I like alliteration) is the wikipedia article. And Nassim Taleb's article on Medium from last year explaining it in more detail from last year and how it fits in with his anti-fragile concept. Some of it can be applied to the predictions and conversation I had with Dennis Crowley in Episode 7. It also related to the lifecycle of social networks as described in Episode 6.
An article from The Verge on YouTube demonizing channels, apparently algorithmically - but I still think there's a substantial chance human error was involved and a smaller but significant change of malicious intent by some actor (could be internal or external to YouTube). An here's an explanation of Diamond and Silk being demonized by Facebook.
This Mother Jones article suggests that someone should build a checkin app for racism. They get this idea from a sci-fi book called Gnomon. Reminds me of a controversial app called SketchFactor from a few years ago.
I mentioned that the article may or may not be satire. This has been pointed out to me as an example of Poe's Law, another concept we might dive into more.
And finally, here's Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before congress. Most of it related to Cambrigde Analyica and the use of data which I covered in Episode 6, but some of it talks about the disinformation campaign of the Russian Bots. The media coverage is going to demand "strong action" but will they step back and think about the complexity and subjectivity of the problem they are trying to solve?
On the importance of unexpectedness for recommender systems, check out this research paper from my NYU Professor Alex Tuzhilin and Panos Adamopoulos. I believe the same principle applies towards the people we'd like to be interacting with online.
As always, email firstname.lastname@example.org for anything related to the show.