COVID Trolls

Context
So some guy I don't even know shares a FaceBook rant on individual freedom and COVID. "So what?", you say. Well... FaceBook algorithms made an AI decision to share it with me and a lot more data points. The algorithms elicit reactions, in this case from me! That's what algorithms are taught to learn to do; yes they are learning; that's what AI does but withing controlled parameters (for now). Interaction with content via other "users" (addictive stuff this), is what "social" media is about. This  kind of managed interaction is commercially advantageous for Mr. Zuckerberg and his fellow shareholders, it is also dangerous in times of pandemic (in fact it is dangerous anyway because it too is viral). 

Yes the pandemic, believe "it" (or not)? 

If FaceBook cared about "society"or even human health; then filters would be put in place to block fake news about a real epidemic. Wait isn't this what Zuckerberg said he would do after the Cambridge Analytica scandal? By filtering the post there would be less inadvertent sharing with me via  algorithmic promotion, it would be nipped in the bud, with an R<1 it would die out. In a viral sense it would be "socially" isolated, the host would be silenced and the virus would not spread.

But that is not what "social media" does. "Social" media is not "societal". The algorithms that choose the content to share with billions of people are not designed to build society, they're designed to go viral (to drive exponential interaction) as this drives popularity, data and so, profits.

"Social" media, like all media, has little or nothing to do with subscription cost (free or not, it never is). The logic behind the media isn't social it is a directed viral vector. On one level it is a popularity contest to sell stuff. We are that stuff. By capturing our attention FaceBook can sell that surveillance, hence the term surveillance capitalism. FaceBook sells eyeballs. It's algorithms are ever more sophisticated viral advertising, learning from us one the one hand and surveillance capitalism on the other; it turns us into big data. 

Like all media social media wants to be read. From a commercial sense  it is scribbling on the back of advertisements, but much worse that that it monitors our interest in the advertisement and it teaches the advertisements to be loved by us (or hated) doesn't matter! Social media is there to elicit a response.

Filters, though they might kill fake news, would result in less interaction not more! Less interaction is less profit because it implies less time on FaceBook, it means less advertising, less data. The shareholders can't have that can they? Not in a profit-driven model!  Instead of filters to kill fake news the algorithms in FaceBook learn to  recognise the success of the shared content back up the chain of the share. They see the content driving up interactivity so they push it viral and filter out some boring news story instead! 

It works! I have had just about enough of these fools so I tell them to shut up but try to do it in an educating if not quite educated way. I react!Here was my attempt at stopping this information from going viral, from a software perspective it probably did quite the opposite...

Dear Sir, (Ed. they’re almost always guys, angry white guys)

You know when you see Mr. Trump on US TV saying “You’re Fake News!” to a journalist, people whose job it is to find out the truth, real investigative journalists? Well you are speaking to one and no I’m not a doctor or a medicine expert either. In Trump’s case when he uses that phrase that means he’s scared of the question or the insinuation so he reacts angrily. Whatever they’re investigating, he wants to keep them quiet.

This is not a perfect analogy but run with me on this for a minute if you please. In this case let’s turn this around ; I am a journalist (yes a real one not one who wants to persuade somebody to believe something for money I have no axe to grind but I’m particularly interested in this topic for obvious reasons) and you, in this imperfect analogy, are Mr. Trump Though you may not be calling Fake News directly, you are scared (and you are right to be). But in your case instead of accepting that this thing might be dangerous to you you react, you are angry! But you can’t be angry at a virus (viruses don’t listen if you shout at them or claim they don’t exist) viruses cannot be bullied. So whom to vent at? You don’t want to be angry about yourself and you want to mask your fear (maybe you dislike your new government)? So what do you do?

You get angry at the “system”, the “government”. Blame “them” (instead of a natural virus) or blame some dark conspiratorial web for making that virus, blame China, blame the UN, blame Bill Fucking Gates, blame whomever?

You react! You start to try to believe that you are free. Free to run around catching a spreading a disease you know nothing about, because it doesn’t exist, right?… Doesn’t that feel better now you’ve negated your fear, you’re not only immune you’re smarter than everyone else, you know that “they” are trying to con you, trying to take away your freedom but you’re immune to them like you’ve just made yourself immune to what frightens you because now of course it doesn’t exist. Right? In that you are very similar to Mr. Trump you’re both cowards afraid of the truth so you manipulate a falsehood to feel immune from the truth. You spread bullshit information; you are a virus of fake news!

Sorry to tell you this Mr whomever-you-are (probably not exactly an expert on viral conspiracy) theories but there is nothing you can do to deal with “my loss” (someone close to me died of COVID) take back your “sorry for your loss” and instead I beg you think about this. There is something you can do to deal with a plague; you can stop spreading stupid “information” (yeah that “Fake News” thing) and you can try not to get sick or spread it to someone else.

And if you are so fucking bored that you read this kind of shit then why not volunteer to drive an ambulance or work on testing or bring food for an elderly neighbour that they can’t get from a supermarket. Call people for contact tracing, whatever. Do something useful or at least fucking educate yourself or shut up.

PS: This is the shit being “Shared”.
In this particular case the algorithm scored big:
this was shared 70 times and commented on only 30 times
(including my comment)…

β€œWe are all adults here… we’re friends… we’re family, so let’s love, accept and respect each other… we may have different views and opinions, but we’re still the same people inside.Ultimately, we all want the same thing… our basic human rights, to be healthy, happy and enjoy a quality of life… so we all have the same goal in mind, even though we may sometimes disagree on how to achieve it.πŸ“·We have now been robbed of 6 months of our lives… that’s 6 months we will never get back… we are systematically being stripped of our basic rights and freedoms… the proof is emerging that we have been lied to and deceived by our elected (and non-elected) leaders…I believe it’s time to exercise our right to say “No”πŸ“· I am concerned that people are being labelled conspiracy theorists, simply because they question certain government, corporate and industrial motives, or because they question the arbitrary laws that revoke our basic human rights.πŸ“· I do not consent to the Government making decisions about my health. They were elected to serve, not control me.πŸ“· I do not consent to living in a police state.πŸ“· I do not consent to the extreme censorship that is taking place on social media platforms toward doctors, scientists and activists, who present and uphold valid data that challenges the ‘official narrative’ the media would have us believe. This concerns me far more than the virus.πŸ“· I do not consent to the tracking and tracing of citizens.πŸ“· I do not consent to Government making decisions without a democratic process.πŸ“· I do not consent to Politicians, or any other individuals, who are compromised by having a lucrative ‘financial interest’ in the Pharmaceutical Industry, making decisions about my health and wellbeing.πŸ“· I do not consent to being told that all these decisions are for my own safety.πŸ“·I do not consent to censoring free speech under the guise of protecting me from the spread of misinformation.πŸ“· I do not consent to the closing of small Irish businesses while multi-million dollar companies remain open.πŸ“· I do not consent to being labelled an ‘anti-vaxxer’, simply because I have concerns about MANDATORY, enforced vaccines or rushed procedures, without proper protocols – especially high risk ones, with limited testing that are deemed highly profitable to the most questionable of interests.πŸ“·I do not consent to the amount of division and hatred that is being encouraged between friends and families, simply for upholding opposing beliefs, or for speaking openly about what THEY believe. πŸ“·πŸ“· I do not consent to the idea that pharmaceuticals and vaccines are the ONLY way to prevent or heal from illness… the outright dismissal of good nutrition and natural prevention and therapies is highly questionable from my perspective.πŸ“· I do not consent to the media only covering fraudulent and misleading ‘case’ counts, or grossly exaggerated death counts, when the survival rate is immensely higher. Fear cripples immunity, so why aren’t we talking about the excellent (99.9%) recovery rates, successful treatments and therapies?πŸ“· I do not consent to the lack of care and consideration for ‘non-Covid’ patients, who have been denied access to essential treatments, consultations and surgeries for Cancer, Cardio-vascular and other life threatening conditions. Their lives matter too!!!πŸ“· I don’t consent to ‘House Arrests’ and Lock Downs… staying home doesn’t protect against domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, starvation and suicide; all of which are costing many more lives than the virus.Here’s what I DO consent to:πŸ“· Being a free and critical thinker.πŸ“· A parent, who is protecting the future of all children.πŸ“· An individual who cares about tomorrow… someone who understands the connection between the health of our planet and our own healthπŸ“·A caring person, who will never stop fighting injustice and tyranny… or questioning and condemning the lies and manipulation of the Government and the Media.πŸ“· We all come into this world with nothing and we’ll leave with nothing… the bit in the middle is called LIFE… life is a precious gift from our Maker… none of us know how long that gift will last, so make the most of every second, every minute and every hour of every day… live, love, take chances, not orders… be kind, be tolerant and be happy… don’t waste another second waiting for things to change… BE THE CHANGE πŸ“·πŸ“·πŸ“·πŸ“·πŸ“·πŸ“·If you agree, please copy and paste, to show your support for this stand we must take, for the sake of our freedom and the freedom of future generations and for our once great country”

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