16 votes

The Fragmentation of Truth

9 comments

  1. patience_limited
    Link
    Debating whether this belongs in ~news, since it's not topical, or ~tech, since it deals primarily with YouTube and associated recommendations as news sources. Nonetheless, it's a useful analysis...

    Debating whether this belongs in ~news, since it's not topical, or ~tech, since it deals primarily with YouTube and associated recommendations as news sources.

    Nonetheless, it's a useful analysis of the risks and vulnerabilities of present-day news consumption tools.

    3 votes
  2. DonQuixote
    Link
    This is one of the most informative articles I've read lately. Naturally, I didn't watch the video, because who knows where it would have gone after that. On YouTube, PewDiePie and PragerU are...

    This is one of the most informative articles I've read lately. Naturally, I didn't watch the video, because who knows where it would have gone after that. On YouTube, PewDiePie and PragerU are things I've explored independently, but its interesting to see how the forum is manipulated.

    2 votes
  3. annadane
    Link
    It would be wonderful to return to the yt of old where discovery was real and possible. Now, the topical thing is to, well, recommend topical videos. No one fucking asked for it! Do not shove...

    It would be wonderful to return to the yt of old where discovery was real and possible. Now, the topical thing is to, well, recommend topical videos. No one fucking asked for it! Do not shove things down our throats. Do not forget what made you great to begin with.

    2 votes
  4. [2]
    bbvnvlt
    Link
    Video version of the talk here. This is the YouTube link, the video interface that the article linked to didn't work properly for me (no full screen).

    Video version of the talk here. This is the YouTube link, the video interface that the article linked to didn't work properly for me (no full screen).

    2 votes
    1. bbvnvlt
      Link Parent
      After actually watching: The concept of 'data voids' and how they can be exploited gave me a new way of looking at the influence and potential effects of platforms such as youtube. Interesting....

      After actually watching:

      The concept of 'data voids' and how they can be exploited gave me a new way of looking at the influence and potential effects of platforms such as youtube. Interesting.

      What I appreciate in Boyd's work is that it is informed by actual on-the-ground ethnography studying how people use tech like phones, messaging, google search, etc, in real life. I've read her It's Complicated, a study of how teens use smartphones. And in this talk, for instance, the example (shortly after 32:00 or so) of American voters Googling different candidates in an election, not to click on the results, but to put the results next to each other and only look at what sort of headlines turn up about each candidate, trusting that Google gives them info 'from all sides'. Wow.

      6 votes
  5. Deimos
    Link
    Thanks, I watched this last night and thought it was quite interesting. I felt like it was a little scattered though, it jumped through a lot of topics pretty quickly and didn't spend much time...

    Thanks, I watched this last night and thought it was quite interesting. I felt like it was a little scattered though, it jumped through a lot of topics pretty quickly and didn't spend much time talking about potential solutions or anything.

    Most of what she went through wasn't particularly new to people that pay attention to internet platforms, but I think the "data voids" section had some interesting points in it. Specifically, I thought the section about the difference in vocabulary between more serious sources and the conspiracy/extremist ones was a really good point, since it means that people searching using the vocabulary from one "side" will tend to find even more content biased towards it, which just seems to confirm it even further instead of helping show other viewpoints.

    2 votes
  6. [3]
    mundane_and_naive
    Link
    Anyone can help me understand what the author is referring to here? I'm quite ignorant on economics and history in general.

    Major tech, however, was designed as a response to the takeover culture of the 1980s. That’s one of the reasons you see these controls over stocks, these attempts to not let hedge funds and private equity gain control.

    Anyone can help me understand what the author is referring to here? I'm quite ignorant on economics and history in general.

    1 vote
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Many of the major tech companies have set up their stock in such a way that even though they're selling shares to outside investors and/or the public, the shares purchased by those people come...

      Many of the major tech companies have set up their stock in such a way that even though they're selling shares to outside investors and/or the public, the shares purchased by those people come with much lower voting power (none sometimes?), meaning that those owners don't have any significant ability to affect company decisions.

      In a pretty standard structure, if someone owns 51% of a company's stock, that effectively means that they control the company. Voting power is based on how much of the stock you own, so if you own 51%, you can win any vote that needs a simple majority, even if literally every other shareholder votes against you.

      A lot of tech company founders didn't like this idea that they could lose control of "their" company, so they set up their companies so there are different "classes" of stock that have different amounts of voting power, and only sell the weaker types. Here's an article about Facebook's structure, a couple of the most relevant details:

      Facebook has what’s called a “dual class” structure of “Class A” shares and “Class B” shares. The Class A shares are what everyday investors on the regular stock market have access to, and they’re one vote per share. The Class B shares, however, are controlled by Zuckerberg and just a small group of insiders. And every Class B share gets 10 votes.

      That means that whatever shareholders are voting on — typically at Facebook’s annual meeting, usually in May — Zuckerberg and those closest to him are always going to win out. Bob Pisani at CNBC estimated earlier this year that Zuckerberg and the group of insiders control almost 70 percent of all voting shares in Facebook. Zuckerberg alone controls about 60 percent.

      That CNBC link says that the "Zuckerberg and those closest to him" group only owns 18% of the shares, but they have 70% of the voting power. Since he still has 60% personally, he basically just makes every decision for Facebook, and there's nothing that the rest of the shareholders can do. They can never force him out unwillingly as CEO. Someone could buy every single other share of Facebook (~85% of the shares, which right now would cost about 435 billion dollars), and still wouldn't be able to override Mark Zuckerberg's personal vote. There's no way for anyone to ever take control of the company unless he sells enough of his shares to lose a majority of the voting power, which there's not really any reason for him to do.

      Lots of the other tech companies are set up this way too. It's very different from "typical" corporate structure, but a lot of investors don't seem to care (or don't even know that it's set up this way). Like that quote says, it's mostly targeted at the large hedge funds and private equity firms that are able to take over companies by becoming a majority owner of their stock.

      4 votes
    2. thundergolfer
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      A famous example is what happened to Jim Clark at his company Silicon Graphics, Inc in the 1980s. Jim felt that investors screwed him out of money and control, and he got so mad about it that it...

      A famous example is what happened to Jim Clark at his company Silicon Graphics, Inc in the 1980s. Jim felt that investors screwed him out of money and control, and he got so mad about it that it completely changed his relationship with private equity investors and subsequently how his next company, Netscape, was financially structured.

      Apparently other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were shocked at how Clark took on the private equity investors and won so much control and money for himself and his engineers. What Clark did managed to shift the balance of power in Silicon Valley and influence future entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg and Dell (IIRC).

      Source: This is all detailed in the book The New New Thing. Worth a read.

      2 votes