There were so many points worth discussing in this month’s issue-lead in that it was hard to choose. That is until Gizmodo published a story in which former Facebook employees claimed that they routinely played with the ‘trending’ section in order to suppress political trends that were unpopular with Facebook management. It doesn’t matter how your individual politics breaks or whether you believe that their manipulations actually swayed public opinion or not. What matters is that Facebook lied to its user community telling them that the topics that appeared in the ‘trending’ section reflected what an impersonal, dispassionate algorithm determined the bulk of the user base was interested in, not what a handful of manipulators thought was best for people to read.
And to those out there who believe that it really doesn’t matter – no one is swayed by the trending section – note that Facebook believed it worked; why else would they do it. And, even if their actions did no damage, isn’t it the intention that matters? If a person, call him X, stalks another, call him Z, with intention to kill the latter and fails at the last moment due to something out of his control, surely X is still guilty of a moral transgression. Just because Z remained alive doesn’t change X’s intention nor X’s guilt.
And finally, it is naïve to believe that manipulating the messages that we see has no effect on what we think or feel. After all, isn’t that exactly how advertising works and why we have laws on the books about truth in advertising? Can we really believe that advertisers pay billions each year for something that is ineffectual?
We at Blog Wyrm would like our readers to consider whether they really want to continue on Facebook. Yes, there are lots of nice things that Facebook enables but is it really worth it if the management is playing with its user base, manipulating what is seen and read?
Well, enough said about this sad affair. We can promise that here at Blog Wyrm we never manipulate our readers. Inform them – always; Persuade them – sometimes. Lie to them – never.
Speaking of persuading, this month’s Common Cents compares the two Koreas, South and North, from the ground up. From this comparison, we draw the conclusion that the free market system is the best system for providing prosperity and development for the greatest number of people.
Under the Hood extends the wave analysis to cold, magnetized plasmas. In this column, the first of two parts, the basic structural analysis is fleshed out and some general conclusions about plasma waves are determined.
Last month, About Comics covered that iconoclastic comic series from the 1980s, The Badger. This month’s review centers on the new and possibly improved mini-series of the same name.
What connects Watergate, investigative journalism, and snow fall together? Why propositional logic of course. Come join this month’s installment of Aristotle to Digital where the nature of cause and effect and what can be inferred from what are discussed and dissected.