Facebook is irresponsible, Zuckerberg deserves to rot in hell


You know, I’m sitting here in a pandemic unvaccinated because the need exceeds the supply, and I’m willing to defer to the priorities of the society I live in and will wait until my opportunity rolls around. I am confident, because I know how vaccines and the immune system work, that vaccination is the solution that will end the restrictions on travel and personal interactions. I also know, because I’ve read the empirical studies, that masks are a good stopgap to slow the spread of the virus. I also know and trust the authorities, like Tara C. Smith and Anthony Fauci, who have made a career of studying infectious disease.

These are reasonable, informed attitudes to take toward our situation. I suspect that the majority of readers here share my ideas. These ideas are not up for debate; the question of whether the germ theory of disease was valid was resolved long ago, there’s confirmed scientific evidence behind them, and if you want to question them, you’d better be a verified expert who has gathered an immense amount of observation and experiment to back up your challenge.

And then there are the goddamned idiots who get everything they know from circle jerks on Facebook. They translated their ignorance into a mob action at Dodger Stadium, actively preventing other people from getting vaccinated.

My rage is boundless. It’s bad enough that these assholes want to run around spewing viruses on everyone, that they defy the need to take basic precautions to limit the spread, and that they are upset because those precautions interfere with the need to get their precious Fifi to the dog-groomers, but now they’re forcing everyone else to not take the best preventive action we can do? Don’t they realize that the only effective way to end the lockdown that has limited movement and social events, and to get rid of the masks that annoy them, is for a majority of the populace to get that quick little shot?

No, they don’t. Because they get all their information from their equally ignorant friends and family on Facebook.

The anti-vaccine protest that temporarily cut off access to a mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium was organized on Facebook through a page that promotes debunked claims about the coronavirus pandemic, masks and immunization.

The Facebook page, “Shop Mask Free Los Angeles,” issued a call last week to gather Saturday at the baseball park. Health authorities have been administering shots to as many as 8,000 people a day at the site, one of the largest vaccination centers in the country. Such venues form a critical component of the effort to corral the pandemic, which has lashed Los Angeles County so brutally in recent weeks that oxygen for patients has been in short supply.

The online activity illustrates the extent to which Facebook remains a critical organizing tool of the anti-vaccine movement, despite the company’s repeated vows to curb coronavirus misinformation. It also shows how social networking services could foster more confrontational tactics by those committed to false ideas about the dangers of immunization as the mass vaccination effort ramps up.

Jesus, but I hate Facebook. I’m still on it myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, but let’s face reality: Facebook is a giant information-harvesting operation that sells all the information it gathers to other big corporations and political organizations. That it allows me to contact an aunt I haven’t seen in 20 years, or see pictures of my nieces and nephews new babies, isn’t their business model. They’re there to monitor my personal information to sell to the highest bidder. I’ve signed up for alternatives like MeWe or Mastodon (I did not sign up for Parler or Gab, for obvious reasons), but they don’t have the critical mass, and there’s no point unless all the others I want to follow sign up as well.

Facebook does not care about misinformation or privacy or propaganda. All of the assholes got their marching orders from a Facebook page that spread to other Facebook pages that have been continuously spreading lies throughout the pandemic.

The page itself has only about 3,000 followers, but the notice about what it termed a “PROTEST/MARCH” at the mass vaccination site was shared extensively in Facebook groups and on pages fixated on false ideas about masks, such as that they restrict breathing and that the Constitution forbids mandating their use. Names of the online forums include “Anti-Mask REVOLUTION!” and “Unmask California.”

The technology giant committed at the end of last year to enhancing its policies against coronavirus-related misinformation. That included a pledge to remove misinformation about the safety, efficacy, ingredients and side effects of coronavirus vaccines.

In a sign of gaps in the company’s enforcement, however, the “About” section of the anti-mask page promoting the Saturday protest included a link to a website devoted to the baseless “Plandemic” narrative accusing shadowy elites of enriching themselves by engineering the coronavirus and a vaccine for it.

Yeah, sure, Facebook is “committed” to ending the spread of misinformation, just like Twitter was so committed to ending political dishonesty that they waited until the last week of his presidency to cancel Trump’s account. There is no investment in truth and accuracy anywhere in the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram business model. They’re all about drawing in users by feeding them what they want, and if they want poison, so be it. Poison is profit for Facebook, so trusting them to do the right thing is folly.

If social media are things the public finds useful, then what needs to be done is to regulate the fuck out of Facebook, put in punishments with teeth in them for spreading misinformation, and make the company executives directly accountable for the harm they do.

Not that that will ever happen. We’re just going to wallow in the shit the goddamn idiots make.

Comments

  1. ajbjasus says

    One of the few bright spots in the UKs handling of COVID, is the vaccination programme, which is giving genuine optimism.

    However at the care home my mother in law is in 30% of frontline workers have refused the jab. One even boasted to my wife about it.

    Now my sister in law tells me she fully sympathises if the people refusing have yet to have children. When I asked her why, she had no coherent reason, apart from a vague mmr, “oh isn’t it dangerous” Schlick.

    Progress is not always taking us forward, I fear.

  2. JoeBuddha says

    Social Media: Big Mistake or Bad Idea.
    Seriously. Used to be that these nutters would stay quiet or just act out and be ignored. Now, they can find each other and organize into avalanches of teh stupid. Pre-social media, the attack on Congress wouldn’t have happened. I think this unexpected side effect is going to take a lot of adjustment before we can get back to a functioning democracy, and it’s going to take a very long time.

  3. robro says

    Jesus, but I hate Facebook. I’m still on it myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, but let’s face reality: Facebook is a giant information-harvesting operation that sells all the information it gathers to other big corporations and political organizations.

    You, and I, are the product, of course. I have been searching for an alternative to FB for some time to have the positives and get rid of the negatives. The one bright light might be the push to make FB take responsibility for monitoring activity of their members. That’s going to be hit-and-miss, but they could use the ML technologies that let them target ads to better identify who’s engaging in social disruption. The other is to let us have more say in what’s being done with our data, our interests, our activity. Zuck complains that will hurt the small businesses that depend on targeted advertising but I’m sure he means his business. I’ve never bought anything from an ad on FB.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    …and that they are upset because those precautions interfere with the need to get their precious Fifi to the dog-groomers…

    I wish it were just that. However, the pandemic-deniers I’m running into believe that the mask-ordinances, quarantines, and lockdowns are all part of a nefarious Satanic, (((globialist)))* scheme to cow it’s citizens into Big Government compliance, crash ‘Murica’s great capitalist economy, and kill us/sterilize us/ implant us with Bill Gates’ Mark-of-the-Beast-tracking nano chips all to bring about the communist New World Order. That’s not just on Zuckerberg and his indifferent greed, that’s on fascists and grifters like Alex Jones and other’s like him.

    Sorry civil libertarians, but I think we’re finally hit the actual limits of free speech where allowing people the liberty to express their opinions will destroy civilization. It’s time for some censorship and some arrests.

    *Please not the use of triple parentheses is entirely ironic.

  5. blf says

    When I saw the report of the genocidal manics at Dodger Stadium, my first reaction was “Illinois nazis. I hate Illinois nazis”. Wrong state, but you get the idea… and the people trying to get to the vaccination centre were in cars, albeit from memory there isn’t a convenient bridge to jump off of.

    As an aside, it’s widely reported the loonies were told not to wear hair furor maga kit so as to not put the sheeple trying to get vaccinated off their lies.

  6. raven says

    And then there are the goddamned idiots …

    They are plague rats.
    Also, members of the Friends of Covid-19 Virus fan clubs.
    There are a lot of them around.

    Thanks to several non-responsible people, I’ve just finished another 14 day quarantine.
    It went well since I’m still alive.

    Jesus, but I hate Facebook. I’m still on it myself,…

    I’m not. Facebook kicked me off because they don’t allow nym accounts. Because of death threats, I can’t use anything but nyms.
    I don’t really care though. For some reason, the vast majority of people I know who are my age, aren’t on Facebook either.

  7. stroppy says

    I’m still on it myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, but let’s face reality

    Stay in touch with your friends and family, said the spider to the fly. I don’t know about the tradeoff there, seems like an attractive nuisance to me. Anybody I want to stay in touch with, I can do by preFB means without advertising my presence to assholes I’d rather avoid.

    I.
    Hate.
    FaceBook.

  8. blf says

    I’m still on it [factsbork] myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family

    Telephone.

  9. raven says

    Intent to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Rises to 60% as Confidence …www.pewresearch.org › … › COVID-19 & Science

    Still about two-in-ten U.S. adults are “pretty certain” they won’t get the vaccine … December 3, 2020 …

    The number of people who won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine in the USA is reported to be 20-40%.

    I’m not too concerned about them though.
    .1. That number is likely to drop as the vaccination campaigns keep going.
    The number of people who can move around without worrying about being killed will go up.
    As will the number of people who were vaccinated without having 666 tattooed on their forehead, being possessed by demons, or carrying around magic computer chips that do whatever.
    At least some people are going to do the risk-reward calculation.

    .2. They will get vaccinated anyway, whether they want to or not.
    The Covid-19 virus is very infectious more infectious mutants are taking over rapidly, and it is everywhere.
    Sooner or later, the unvaccinated are going to get it.
    They will then have all the advantages of being immunized except one.
    They are going to get sick, have a 10% risk of permanent disability, and a 1-2% chance of dying.

  10. madtom1999 says

    We have an idiot and incompetent government here. The xmas relaxation has lead us to have the highest death rate in the world and now we have 100 cases or so of a new mutation. Similar to the S.Africa one, and seemingly immune to antibodies produced from having boring old covid so you get to get it all over again. Seems the vaccines so far still work on it but for how long?

  11. consciousness razor says

    Jesus, but I hate Facebook. I’m still on it myself, because it remains the one way I can maintain contact with far-flung friends and family, but let’s face reality: Facebook is a giant information-harvesting operation that sells all the information it gathers to other big corporations and political organizations. That it allows me to contact an aunt I haven’t seen in 20 years, or see pictures of my nieces and nephews new babies, isn’t their business model. They’re there to monitor my personal information to sell to the highest bidder. I’ve signed up for alternatives like MeWe or Mastodon (I did not sign up for Parler or Gab, for obvious reasons), but they don’t have the critical mass, and there’s no point unless all the others I want to follow sign up as well.

    And what’s your business model? You’ve complained about them for I don’t know how many years, but pharyngula still has the facebook.net javascript (which I have blocked).

    I’ve mentioned it myself several times before, to no avail, but whatever. Just … why? Do you think they need your help? They don’t.

  12. jenorafeuer says

    @JoeBuddha:
    I’ve been saying for years that the Internet is great at community-building, because it can allow people with common interests from all over to find each other. It’s just not picky enough about what types of communities get built.

  13. says

    Now if I was dictator for life I would move the vaccination elsewhere, round up the protesters and corral them in the stadium then pump coronavirus through the air conditioning. When the last of the covidiots are removed from the gene pool I would sterilise the scene by burning the stadium down. Nothing like a good mass cremation to save on grave space.

  14. davidc1 says

    In the days before the interweb ,wackaloons were limited to the TV and Radio to show everyone what loons they were .
    In 1991 one of the first wackaloons david icke was laughed at when he was on a British talk show ,he said he was the godhead ,or some sort of head .
    Don’t know what the answer is to all the on line morons out there ,taking the piss doesn’t seem to bother them .
    I am on too many faceache sites ,mainly to do with my hobbies ,one to do with the Far Side ,Terry Pratchett .
    Also a site for former and present London Despatch riders ,like what i was .
    One the last one ,someone will mention something i had forgotten ,then it all comes back ,for example someone mentioned Laurence Corner Army Surplus .I had forgotten about that ,great place for all sorts of stuff .
    https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/laurence-corner-army-surplus

    Maybe a total ban on political sites and wackaloon conspiracy sites .

    Just to give a idea of faceache’s idea of censorship ,i got a three day ban for calling someone a poor deluded fool ,also they cover up the swastikas on model aircraft .Go figure ,as you amuricans say

  15. davidc1 says

    @1 I understand the reason it is working ok is that johnson and the rest of the twat faced twats in his govt are not involved in it .
    I read somewhere the lockdown is going to end in mid March .just in time for the Cheltenham races .

  16. Rich Woods says

    @davidc1 #16:

    I read somewhere the lockdown is going to end in mid March .just in time for the Cheltenham races .

    After the Covid spike last year’s Gold Cup Week induced here, I can tell you that there’s not much support in the town for the festival going ahead this year. Anyway, the UK vaccination programme isn’t due to complete providing a first dose to everyone in the highest risk categories (including those aged 50+) until late March, and given that it’ll take two to four weeks after that for immunity to develop in the last of those vaccinated, even our current useless government isn’t so stupid as to pretend that lockdown could be lifted that soon. At least I don’t think they could be that stupid. Probably.

  17. brucegee1962 says

    Why were there no arrests made? And don’t mess around with penny-ante “obstructing a right-of-way” charges. Hit them with “attempted murder.” It’s justified.
    If I was on a jury, and one of these idjits was standing in front of me on any charge whatsoever, I would eagerly vote to convict.

  18. Craig says

    In 2007, I joined Facebook after ignoring the early calls for/from other Ivy League alumni to join. Reviewing my records, I was on less than 22 minutes before deciding that it was too intrusive and not worth my damn time. I have never regretted that decision.

  19. answersingenitals says

    The type of social media regulation you are demanding works very well in other countries, like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and now Myanmar where their people are well protected from ‘misinformation’. One man’s information is another man’s blasphemy, so be careful what you wish for.

    Facebook is the lubricant, not the engine! (If you figure out what that means, let me know. But it does sound profound and insightful.) Does that make Zuckerberg just an overpaid grease monkey?

    @2, JoeBuddha “Pre-social media, the attack on Congress wouldn’t have happened.”

    Pre-social media there were many marches on Washington: farmers protesting farm price support levels, truckers protesting fuel price, suffragettes demanding voter right. There were also well organized race and labor riots (company goons vs. unionists). I grew up during the McCarthy/Red-Scare/Walter-Winchell/House-Unamerican-Activities-Committee era so the crap going on now is not that new or original and maybe now the worst.

  20. chrislawson says

    @23–

    Nope, Facebook is most definitely part of the engine. Sure it didn’t invent misinformation or conspiracy theories, but it’s not a disinterested agency like the Post Office which delivers mail blindly to stated addresses for a delivery fee. Facebook actively spies on user communications, sells personal information to malicious actors, manipulates information flow, and inhibits error-correction. All to deliver more profit to a small group already amongst the wealthiest in human history.

  21. AstrySol says

    @23
    Of course Facebook is part of the engine: this happens wherever human instincts are profitable and there’s no regulation, but only laissez-faire capitalism.

    When it happened to drugs, we got Bayer inventing and selling Heroin(tm);
    When it happened to food, we got trans-fat; when that was regulated, we got sugar-laden “trans-fat free” food;
    When it happened to tobacco, well you know what we got; when tobacco was regulated but e-cig were not, we got Juul;
    When it comes to misinformation and FUD, we got Facebook.

  22. says

    If you are not paying, you are not the customer, you are the commodity.
    Rush Limbaugh once said his job is not in the news business, his job is in titillating the viewers so they will keep their eyes glued to the screen during commercials. The same way Facebook raison d’etre is keeping people clicking. Conspiracy theories and feeling superior works better than outrage which works better than sex and kitten videos.
    That’s why I am wary of online cancel culture – I don’t have problem with cancelling people but I do not think that angry mob fueled by twitter algorithm designed solely to increase the number of tweets is the best way to judge any issue.
    I have a lot of doubts if we will be able to vaccinate everybody before resistance wears off, if we will keep total number of cases limited enough to dodge new strains that are super killers or vaccine resistant, so I think you are really optimistic.
    I think the strategy that is most common (let’s start from oldest people and go down) may not be optimal. If vaccine stops the spread (big if) than vaccinating potential superspreaders would be much better solution not only by preventing exposing seniors but also by limiting the number of new strains (by limiting the number of new cases).
    But there is so much unknowns there it is hard to say anything. I just think that the optimal solution depends strongly on the speed of vaccination process – the slower it is, the more important limiting the spread is. And no government seems to take real vaccination speed into account.

  23. John Morales says

    Gorzki:

    If you are not paying, you are not the customer, you are the commodity.

    So, since media companies don’t pay for their users, therefore they are the commodity?

    OK, joking. But you present a false dichotomy; I’ve been on FB since 2011, and have yet to post on my wall. However, it’s handy for the purposes of reading stuff on that platform.

    The same way Facebook raison d’etre is keeping people clicking.

    Nope. You’re confusing means with ends, the corollary with the conclusion.
    They’re there to make money; keeping people clicking is how they achieve that goal.

    FWIW, I’ve had a FB account since 2011 — and I’ve yet to post on my wall or click on an advertisement (well, once or twice by accident, but obs I immediately left it). And, obviously, I don’t use my real name there!

    Thing is, it makes it convenient to see stuff that’s only on FB.
    I suppose they can commoditise what links I follow, all dozen or so per year.

    (And, also obviously, I don’t enable the domain facebook.net, which this very site wants me to do — see above)

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