"we should be working not just to pay the bills, but to make sure we don’t create software that we will one day regret", I like the term #ethicalDebt, software engineers think a lot about technical debt when building software but we should not forget the ethical debt of what we build. thenewstack.io/tech-ethics-new #software #engineering #ethics

@bjoern “when Mark Zuckerberg was making Facebook in his dorm room bedroom, he probably wasn’t trying to make this dopamine-inducing tool”

Yes he was. He called his users “dumb fucks”. Can we please stop perpetuating this myth and giving the people who knowingly created this mess a pass with this “oops, they just wanted to make things better but ended up making things worse and accidentally becoming billionaires” narrative.

VC/startups/the Silicon Valley model is unethical.

@aral @bjoern As far as I remember Facebook was originally created so that Zuck could stalk his college contemporaries in a voyeuristic manner. So it originates from a place of creepyness.

Facebook's arc was so predictable from the off. It was all there to see. That is why I tire of the decade-too-late centrist takes on the dangers of Facebook from embedded journals that have been riding the FB convoy for years and still now feel compelled to warn their readers against the extremism of looking for alternatives or smear FOSS types & decentralists, often barely making a living, as Mr Robot style weirdos.
@bob @bjoern

@krozruch @aral @bob @bjoern That othering means that free software proponents have to cut themselves off from reaching people to use safe platforms, which only feeds the loop.

There's also a lack of concern from users. I can tell all the horror stories I want, but they still think it's just how things are. Especially because the platforms are free. No one pays for "unnecessary" services.

@kcnightfang @krozruch @aral @bob @bjoern

Don't know whether any of you would/could gain anything from the following, regardless I present the article:

"List of problems endemic to social media"


The last bullet-item currently on the list:

"• Apathy: The meta-problem. 90% of users don't care enough about the above problems to switch to better systems."

@FerdiZ @bjoern @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang

The problem is not so much apathy as network effect. Real People (TM) have said things to me in the past like:

"Why would I move to a social network where none of my friends are?"

It's not that they don't care about privacy. If you ask them to give you their credit card number or to remove their curtains they'll say "no". It's more a case that if you want to be with your friends then you have to accept what the social networks are.

I hear this comparisons often and also used it in the past. Meanwhile I come to the conclusion that it is something you can't compare. Whether it is rational or not, people have a strong privacy feeling if it is about their friends, neighbors, etc who could know something private about them but not if something as anonymous as algorithm analysis it...
@FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang

@bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @krozruch @kcnightfang Maybe that would change if more people knew that the Auschwitz tattoos originated from the tracking numbers used by IBM mainframes. villagevoice.com/2002/10/08/th

@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang The more I think about these issues the more I see that marketing works well to make invisible what those who have the money and networks wish to keep invisible, and manipulate the image both of a given product and those who would offer up valid criticisms of it. I feel the impact of some of this regularly because, being autistic, some of the clever smears of FOSS types and "edgy" SM by proprietary firms of all kinds works very effectively against me..

@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang I sometimes suspect that in the Czech Republic and other post-communist countries, the privacy arguments Bob comes across have not made so much headway and I absolutely accept that among those communities (typically the ex-pats I work with), the network effect is the main barrier, but I think there is as much PR power going into this area at every level as there ever was with tobacco and oil, and it is working at all of the above levels to various effect.


@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang For the federation perhaps the best kind of approach could be one of federated constructive dissent whereby we each take our own experience and knowledge and work on whichever part of the problem we are best placed to take on whether it is on the level of tooling or outreach. Each of us will have a slightly different reading but that would be a problem only if we had to agree on a single putative monolithic solution to what we are each of us confronting.

@krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ
I agree that the network effect is the main barrier. It's what keeps me on Facebook. And for social media that's very true. I was thinking more of infrastructure like email and cloud storage and VPNs.

I think people would care about privacy if they felt like it was in their control, and right now it's just not a factor. Also, companies have used data to make things "convenient"

@krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ
Once a company is big enough it becomes seen as more "trustworthy" in proportion to the decrease in how much we should probably trust it.

I'm just thinking out loud, and I'm still caught up in all these things. The problem is structural, and consumer choices aren't sufficient to solve it. I think there's good work to be done, there has to be multiple approaches.

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