Delete your Facebook account

Don't read this, just delete your Facebook account.

Violet Blue:

New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose spotted that the "top 10 stories on Facebook over the past 24 hours" were all from Fox News, "Blue Lives Matter," and similar sources.

Meaning: the slant of all stories in FB's "top 10" (surfaced to the masses) were pro-police and Trump's agenda. Roose documented that FB's daily specials were "about Trump declaring antifa a terrorist group," he wrote. "One is a feel-good story about a trucker cleaning up after vandals, another is about an officer calmly listening to protesters, one is about violence against law enforcement," tweeted Roose. "If Facebook was your sole news source," he correctly noted, "and you saw only the most popular links on the platform, you'd think that what happened this weekend was a violent, unprovoked attack on law enforcement by a left-wing terror group."

jwz:

If you work for Facebook, you are a white supremacist.

If you have a "friend" who works at Facebook, cut them out of your life, like you would your racist cousin.

You can do it. I believe in you.

'Oh', you say, 'well, I'm unhappy about the way Facebook behave even though I'm addicted to it, and look, it's obvious that deleting my account makes no real practical difference, and I am addicted, so, well, I'll just keep my account. It's just one more cigarette, after all. And, really, there's millions of people, what does my vote count for? Will it, really, make any difference if I vote? No, of course not: why should I bother?'. And suddenly: Trump.

Thinking like this is called 'one-bit thinking', and it is both wrong and extremely harmful. One-bit thinking kills people: stop it.

Every person who stops having a Facebook account reduces their ability to track them, and everyone else, by some amount, and that amount is not zero.

Define a function T(n) which is their ability to track people as a function of the number of people who delete their accounts, from some baseline (say today). Then there's a corresponding ΔT(n) = T(0) - T(n): the change in their ability to track people as a function of n. Three things are obvious:

  • ΔT(0) = 0;
  • there is an N such that ΔT(N) = T(0) – they can no longer track non-users if they are bankrupt for instance;
  • and ΔT(n) is essentially strictly monotonic, and in particular ΔT(n) doesn't remain constant up to some critical value of n and then fall off a cliff, which is what the one-bit thinker believes.

ΔT is certainly not linear – it's probably closer to some exponential thing – but it is monotonic decreasing. That means that ΔT(1) is a small negative number. It may be ever so small, but it is not zero: each person who deletes their Facebook account hurts Facebook's ability to track everyone, including them, and thus also hurts Facebook a little bit.

This should be so obvious it doesn't need saying: obviously Facebook's ability to track non-users declines as the size of their network of users declines.

It also should be obvious just by looking at Facebook's behaviour even if you can't do the maths: if it makes no odds to them whether or not you have an account, why are they so keen for you to have an account?. After all, accounts are free to users but they cost Facebook something to provide, so they must be getting some benefit from each person who has an account.

Each person who deletes their account hurts Facebook a little bit, and makes everyone's life a little bit as a result. It may be only a little bit, but it is not zero.

Stop supporting white supremecists and just delete your Facebook account. Do it now: not tomorrow, not in due course, now.


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