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Posted by: janeeliot ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 02:58AM

For anyone interested, this from the Daily Beast: Inside the Secret Facebook War For Mormon Hearts and Minds.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-secret-facebook-war-for-mormon-hearts-and-minds?ref=home


Can't say I'm a fan of the method, but then leaving hasn't caused me great pain.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:27AM

I despite Facebook and Zuckerberg and his colleagues for depriving people of their privacy and exposing them to manipulation by domestic and foreign commercial and political operatives. The damage the Facebook people have done is vastly greater than the total value of their company and their collective bank accounts.

That said, when I started reading the story I couldn't help but feel excitement to see the damage to the church. Good stuff. I even felt impelled to send a donation, although that was of course impossible now that the system has been shut down.

Towards the end of the article, though, my more rational mind regained control and I could not differentiate between what this ex-Mormon is doing on the one hand and, on the other, what the LDS church and even Russia are inflicting on innocent people. I fear that, for me, this is a situation in which the ends don't justify the means. The world would be a better place if Facebook and the other ad-selling social media were obliterated.

Thank you, janeeliot, for the link and for the opportunity to think through these complexities.

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Posted by: 3X ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 08:37AM

+1

I also "despite" Zuckerberg, Sandberg, etc ...

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 12:47PM

Did I mispel something?

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Posted by: nomonomo ( )
Date: February 13, 2019 10:57AM


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Posted by: janeeliot ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:07PM

That's a nice unpacking of what one goes through reading the article. I, too, was of two minds about it.

I think it's going to be tempting for some, but ultimately -- creepy.

I think it does raise complicated issues -- very complicated -- and open ended. One I saw was if we need others to share our point of view to have a relationship with them, aren't we -- still being very Mormon? How about accepting others as different, not an extension of us? Do we have to have people understand what we have gone through, how we think and feel? Isn't it enough for us to understand ourselves our changes?

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Posted by: Weird ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:58AM

Social media is a waste of a life.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 10:13AM

So keeping in touch with family and friends is a waste?

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 12:56PM

It depends on your friends. Some people just want a lot of “likes”. Playing people-pleaser with a bogus online persona is a lovely method of pointless ego inflation. You should try it sometime.

Although it’s curious that a guy so lacking in social skills, pretty much a high-functioning autistic, is leading a social media platform. Maybe he’s genuinely blind to the downside.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2019 01:05PM by babyloncansuckit.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 01:11PM

Does anyone remember the 90s? How aggravating it was to see the church doing nothing in cyberspace? When were these guys going to get with it? Well, they did. Now they know where to put their dirty ill-gotten money.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:00PM

babyloncansuckit Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It depends on your friends...


Which is why you can block them.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 08:53AM

Uh oh ...

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Posted by: You Too? ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 09:47AM

Wow.

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Posted by: Lowpriest ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 11:26AM

The LDS church talks from both sides of its mouth.

While telling people to take a break from social media, the mormon church continues to buy advertising on it.

For people with opposing views to use social media to offer a competing message is a measured response. I wish that I had thought to do this and that I had the resources to buy ads. Unfortunately, all of my discretionary funds were used to pay tithing.

Seriously, we should acknowledge that we are in the middle of a culture war. It's not just the mormons, either. We have so many voices competing for the hearts and minds of the people that the clamor it creates has become background noise for our lives.

Still, I am fine with competing targeted ads on social media, because a culture war fought in social media is preferable to one fought anywhere else.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 01:23PM

That's a bit like saying the zoo should let all the animals out of their cages and then allow the deer to "compete" with the big predators.

There is no way ex-Mormons or consumers can compete fairly with the LDS Church, governments, and big corporations with their vast budgets, psychologists, and software engineers. Look what happened to this little Facebook enterprise with its few thousand targeted adds: it was shut down. Consider also what happened in the 2016 election while voters and regulators went their blissful way. People don't even know when they are being manipulated.

Given the power imbalance, saying the little guy should compete with the big guys is essentially to give up on privacy and even emotional independence.

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Posted by: Lowpriest ( )
Date: February 11, 2019 02:43PM

I see this as a question of fairness, not capability. The LDS church has the right to target people on social media. There is simply no stopping this.

The article asked what happens when ads go the other way. Is it fair for exmos to target current LDS members with ads on social media?

Yes it is fair.

The fact that exmos do not have the resources of the LDS church is true, but it should not prevent people from doing whatever they can manange.

My point is that the LDS church is always perfectly happy to lie and to use its billions of dollars to get into thw heads of its members and the rest of the world. However, when others fight back, suddenly the topic is off limits and the poor LDS people are being bullied by social media? That's baloney.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 11, 2019 03:13PM

> The LDS church has the right to target
> people on social media. There is simply no
> stopping this.

The fact that an entity has the unstoppable power to do something does not mean it has "the right" to do so. This is true both in the sense that might does not make right and because society changes laws to prevent abuses all the time.


-------------
> The article asked what happens when ads go the
> other way. Is it fair for exmos to target current
> LDS members with ads on social media?
>
> Yes it is fair.

Agreed. But that's like saying the rabbit should be free to fight back against the wolf. If the zoo thinks there is value in having prey animals, it has to go beyond saying all animals have equal rights to fight. In your context, the country has to decide if it wants to protect Mormons, ex-Mormons, children, and potential Mormons from powerful Mormon manipulation.


------------------
>
> The fact that exmos do not have the resources of
> the LDS church is true, but it should not prevent
> people from doing whatever they can manange.

That is incorrect. The entire legal code is designed to limit the power of the powerful to control the weak. The appropriate controls over social media giants is a crucial matter for democracies, and basically everyone agrees that some level of regulation is necessary. Your statement seems to assert that such regulation is unwarranted and that wolves and rabbits should be free to compete on a free and equal (?) basis.


----------------
> My point is that the LDS church is always
> perfectly happy to lie and to use its billions of
> dollars to get into thw heads of its members and
> the rest of the world. However, when others fight
> back, suddenly the topic is off limits and the
> poor LDS people are being bullied by social media?
> That's baloney.

Yes, but no one is saying that ex-Mormons should be controlled. The issue is that if you let everyone complete in a system that is rigged in favor of the stronger party, defending the right of the weak to fight back is inadequate. Much stronger measures are needed, and in the meantime anything suggesting the present system is legitimate just empowers the elite.

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Posted by: Lowpriest ( )
Date: February 12, 2019 11:32AM

What would the alternative be?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 12, 2019 11:42AM

I'm making this up as I go along, so grain of salt.

I would first establish the legal principle that the individual has exclusive rights to his own data. Facebook and others cannot use your friends and your viewing habits to create a picture of you to sell without explicit periodic permission. You choose, and can revoke, both what they collect and how they use it. You could say, "no churches" or "no Russians" or "no political organizations" and they would be legally required to respect your view.

Society could also go at it from the other angle: setting limits to what the giants can never do. The law could say Facebook cannot provide raw data to any other company and that it cannot cooperate with any governments without a US supboena. It could also, unlike now, be held responsible for allowing publication of defamatory material.

I don't know if these or more thoughtful schemes would "solve" the problems, bu it they would help. The key is that society cannot allow itself to be taken over by people who have no right to your data and no social conscience. If the effect is to curtail Facebook's value radically, so be it. Ultimately it could become a subscription service where people literally pay to be in close and constant contact with their friends.

Isn't that, after all, the original vision?

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Posted by: janeeliot ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:38PM

I was a bit amused by the poster who hated social media. Uhm -- you mean -- like -- online boards?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 03:45PM

Online boards like RfM are like phone calls among friends or voluntarily meeting at a coffee shop. They don't sell your personal information or use software and psychologists to manipulate you. Facebook is a combination of robocalls and Big Brother.

There's a profound difference.

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Posted by: janeeliot ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 04:44PM

My point is merely that RfM IS social media. Period.

Some might prefer one medium to another, but all are social media.

Personally, I like Facebook. Colors! Art! Cute puppy pics! Politics! Nothing is "off topic" because the world is the topic. But I am not trying to persuade anyone to like Facebook -- or Twitter or Instagram. People like what they like. They learn to navigate in worlds they love -- however treacherous.

But then even as a child I was secular, not religious. I guess I am just of the world, as well as in it.

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Posted by: Historian ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 04:47PM

With your narrow definition of social media.... I guess it is....

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 04:52PM

No, I agree with you and JE that RfM (and even email) is a form of social media. I just think that for the purposes of this discussion, RfM and other boards are fundamentally different from Facebook and the other institutional manipulators.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 06:07PM

For me the distinction is if the owner of the media collects our personal information to sell for the purpose of advertising to us.

To my knowledge, CZ does not sell our information to outside sources who then bombard us with target advertisement or worse.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 10, 2019 06:42PM

I agree but would add another category of "evil" social media.

The first is those who harvest and exploit personal information for commercial purposes.

The second is those who use personal information for political purposes.

The two categories overlap, of course, in the form of Facebook and some of the other big media outfits that provide the scale, and irresponsibility, to make themselves useful to the exploitative.

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Posted by: janeeliot ( )
Date: February 14, 2019 12:45AM

I am not looking for a fight about the definition of social media -- there are much more interesting issues in the roller coaster article -- but I did want to point out it is not MY definition -- it is simply the definition. When you are socializing online and not in person, it's social media.

It was not my take on the article that FACEBOOK was the bad guy -- for me it was much deeper than that. And it's fascinating to me that my very Mormon sister ALSO distrusts Facebook -- perhaps for the same reasons I like it -- Facebook is like the world -- which yes, is treacherous, but also profoundly rewarding -- much more so than hiding from the world -- as so many in Mormonism do.

Hemingway said: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, sh*t detector.” I like it -- but I think you need one for more than writing -- for politics, for reading, for social structures such as religions, for socializing -- just for life -- on or off line.

My Mormon sister might be afraid of finding out things on Facebook about the world she is not prepared to handle. But apparently that is not all one has to fear. . .

And surely there is more to talk about here than Facebook -- do we need to get through to our Mormon friends and family and make them see our point of view? Would that make our relationships better, less tangled? My instinct is to say no, but I could be wrong. Perhaps every case is different.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 14, 2019 01:02AM

Facebook is NOT like the world: that is the problem.

Facebook realized that it could get more traffic if it fed people exactly what they wanted to hear. It accordingly follows a person's posts and refers her to news sources and people who are like her. The "world" on Facebook is thus a little echo chamber, or rather a series of little echo chambers in which different groups are exposed to precisely the things they want to believe about the world.

On top of that, Facebook then sells each little world to advertisers so that they can offer its denizens more of what they want. The model works. Advertisers earn much higher returns on their ads because they are designed specifically for the little communities. Politicians and political movements do the same thing: they find groups of voters and provide precisely the sort of ego-reinforcing information necessary to earn those people's votes.

In the case of the Russians and others, the political manipulators stoke both sides of an issue: sending liberal activists and conservative activists to the same place for demonstration, pitting minorities against the majority, etc., in order to increase the odds of political confrontation and violence.

Facebook is not "the world." It is cynical manipulation of individuals' hopes and desires, fears and hatreds. It is a threat to larger communities in the interests of smaller, insulated, parochial communities. Facebook is an illustration of what Hemingway was worried about.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: February 18, 2019 04:48PM

No surprise, but I find this UK parliamentary report about right. It was compiled, furthermore, after expert analysis and repeated editing and revision. The contrast with the US Congressional hearings--Senator Hatch, we sell ads--couldn't be starker.

In short, the abuses of privacy and the manipulation of users' opinions in order to generate more attention and hence higher ad revenues was not an aberration, as Zuckerberg disingenuously claimed, but an "intrinsic" part of the Facebook business model. As evidenced in the 2016 campaign interventions, domestic and foreign, Facebook and other data-mining social media, represent a fundamental threat to personal privacy and to democratic government.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/18/facebook-fake-news-investigation-report-regulation-privacy-law-dcms

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