Facebook knows everything about their users, tracking them everywhere they go on the web and beyond

TheGuardian.com – How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy

“The sad truth is that Facebook and Google have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. And this has come at a cost to our health.

In an interview this week with Axios, Facebook’s original president, Sean Parker, admitted that the company intentionally sought to addict users and expressed regret at the damage being inflicted on children.

This admission, by one of the architects of Facebook, comes on the heels of last week’s hearings by Congressional committees about Russian interference in the 2016 election, where the general counsels of Facebook, Alphabet (parent of Google and YouTube), and Twitter attempted to deflect responsibility for manipulation of their platforms.
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The term “addiction” is no exaggeration. The average consumer checks his or her smartphone 150 times a day, making more than 2,000 swipes and touches. The applications they use most frequently are owned by Facebook and Alphabet, and the usage of those products is still increasing.

In terms of scale, Facebook and YouTube are similar to Christianity and Islam respectively. More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month, 1.3 billion check in every day. More than 1.5 billion people use YouTube. Other services owned by these companies also have user populations of 1 billion or more.

Facebook and Alphabet are huge because users are willing to trade privacy and openness for “convenient and free.” Content creators resisted at first, but user demand forced them to surrender control and profits to Facebook and Alphabet.

The sad truth is that Facebook and Alphabet have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. They have consciously combined persuasive techniques developed by propagandists and the gambling industry with technology in ways that threaten public health and democracy. The issue, however, is not social networking or search. It is advertising business models. Let me explain.

From the earliest days of tabloid newspapers, publishers realized the power of exploiting human emotions. To win a battle for attention, publishers must give users “what they want,” content that appeals to emotions, rather than intellect. Substance cannot compete with sensation, which must be amplified constantly, lest consumers get distracted and move on.

“If it bleeds, it leads” has guided editorial choices for more than 150 years, but has only become a threat to society in the past decade, since the introduction of smartphones. Media delivery platforms like newspapers, television, books, and even computers are persuasive, but people only engage with them for a few hours each day and every person receives the same content.

Today’s battle for attention is not a fair fight. Every competitor exploits the same techniques, but Facebook and Alphabet have prohibitive advantages: personalization and smartphones. Unlike older media, Facebook and Alphabet know essentially everything about their users, tracking them everywhere they go on the web and often beyond.

By making every experience free and easy, Facebook and Alphabet became gatekeepers on the internet, giving them levels of control and profitability previously unknown in media. They exploit data to customize each user’s experience and siphon profits from content creators. Thanks to smartphones, the battle for attention now takes place on a single platform that is available every waking moment. Competitors to Facebook and Alphabet do not have a prayer.

Facebook and Alphabet monetize content through advertising that is targeted more precisely than has ever been possible before. The platforms create “filter bubbles” around each user, confirming pre-existing beliefs and often creating the illusion that everyone shares the same views. Platforms do this because it is profitable. The downside of filter bubbles is that beliefs become more rigid and extreme. Users are less open to new ideas and even to facts.

Of the millions of pieces of content that Facebook can show each user at a given time, they choose the handful most likely to maximize profits. If it were not for the advertising business model, Facebook might choose content that informs, inspires, or enriches users. Instead, the user experience on Facebook is dominated by appeals to fear and anger. This would be bad enough, but reality is worse.

Any advertiser can get access to any Facebook user over unsupervised, automated systems. Five million advertisers do so every month. The Russians took advantage of this first to sow discord among Americans and then to interfere in the 2016 election. Other bad actors exploited Facebook in other areas. One company surveilled protest groups and marketed that data to police departments.

Financial institutions were investigated for using Facebook advertising tools to discriminate on the basis of race. Facebook is not the only problem. Alphabet provides Chromebooks to elementary schools with the objective of capturing the attention, and perhaps even behavioral data, about children. At the same time, Alphabet’s YouTube Kids is a site filled with inappropriate content that creates addiction in children far too young to resist.

While optimizing for profit is understandable and generally appropriate, Facebook and Alphabet have caused harm that requires serious discussion and remediation.

Facebook and Alphabet assert they are not media companies and therefore are not responsible for what third parties do on their platforms. While that position might be reasonable from start-ups, it is not appropriate from companies who control seven of the top 10 platforms on the internet and exhibit the behaviors of monopolies.

Society regulates products that create addiction. We have laws to prevent discrimination and election manipulation. None of these regulations and laws has yet been applied to Facebook and Google. The time has come.”

AP – Facebook exploits a “vulnerability in human psychology” to addict its users.

NEW YORK (AP) – “Facebook exploits a “vulnerability in human psychology” to addict its users, Sean Parker, the company’s first president, said in a public forum last month. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook vice president who joined the company in 2007, recently told an audience at Stanford that the company is “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

And Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and early investor in both Facebook and Google, wrote that both companies “threaten public health and democracy” in an August USA Today op-ed .

It has been a rough year for the tech industry, especially social media companies. It opened with concerns about fake news and “filter bubbles” that can shield people from contrary beliefs, segued into pressure on Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on trolling and online harassment, and culminated with congressional hearings into Russian agents’ alleged use of their platforms to meddle with the 2016 presidential election .

All of that, of course, came against a steady drumbeat of tweets from President Donald Trump, who used the service to praise his allies and castigate his foes, often in inflammatory fashion.

But the unkindest cut of all may have come from three people who helped build Facebook in its early days. In early November, Parker told the news site Axios that Facebook was built to answer the question, “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” He called its stream of comments, “likes” and reactions a “social validation feedback loop that exploits how human brains work.”

A few days later, McNamee wrote another essay for the Guardian in which he argued that Facebook and Google have used “persuasive techniques developed by propagandists and the gambling industry,” combining them with modern technology to maximize their profits while pushing “appeals to fear and anger” and other material that reinforces filter bubbles and addictive behavior.

Palihapitiya piled on too, saying at a Stanford Graduate School of Business talk last month that he feels “tremendous guilt” about helping create tools that have widened social divisions. He recommended that people take a break from social media.

Facebook, in an emailed comment, said it is “working hard to improve,” and noted that it’s not the same company it was when Palihapitiya, who left six years ago, worked there.

“We’ve done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we’re using it to inform our product development,” the company’s statement read. “We are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.”

Not all early investors are critical. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman acknowledged in an interview concerns around how social media systems are causing what he called “lightly addictive behavior.” But, he added, “that’s also been true of television, that’s also been true of sugar.”

Members can leave reactions and comments on Blog Posts using an internal system!

How many websites out there use Facebook for comments under their web log posts? How many accounts have you had to create at third party entities to enable you to post comments below original posts on your favorite website? How many sites do you have to Login with Facebook and you do it because its easier?

What you may not realize because nobody reads the fine print, is that they track everything you do no matter where you are. They sell your browser and site activity to the highest bidder, in addition to using it to sell you stuff. This site employs none of those things. Nor will it ever.

We have solved this problem here. Take a close look below this blog post. Our new system allows users to comment below blog posts using your existing social network account here, not Facebook or Disqus. This removes one more layer of dependency on outside networks and their constantly changing liberal terms, policies and API’s. Give it a try below. 🙂

Why hasn’t my account been approved yet? Why can’t I login?

When registering at this site, the first step is email verification. This website sends you an email with a verification link in it that you have to click on to enable registration. This is required for email messages and notifications sent from and through the website for social networking.

If you have not received your verification email, you’re mail server may have put it in your junk mail. Check your junk mail, and while you’re there add admin@firearmsfriendly.com to your web-mail contacts. If not there, you can have the website send you a new one.

When we initially rolled out the site it triggered mail servers to reject emails due to volume. Yours may have been one of them. But that has been solved and they should now go through.

If you’re still having trouble, you may want to try another email address at a different server. Registration will only allow a username to be used once. If you are unable to re-register, send a message through the contact form using the email address that is not allowing our emails through. I will delete the other pending registration so you can use a different email address with that username.

So you got blocked from Facebook for sharing gun links again?

If this is your first time getting blocked for posting gun links or even politically conservative, pictures or memes at uber liberal Facebook, welcome to the cell block and congratulations!

We know you’re probably only here because the liberal trolls that Facebook has allowed to take over has gotten you blocked and maybe you’re looking for an alternative. The FBSJWLLT (Facebook Social Justice Warriors League of Liberal Trolls) feel it is their duty to reform you before allowing your further participation in their socialist mind control programming network.

Like me, you may have been blocked for posting gun links to external sites, or even because you’re simply a conservative thinker and shared someone elses post. Maybe you just have thick skin and posted something humorous that wasn’t to their liking. Take it from me, I’ve done them all. Not on purpose might I add, I simply have modestly a popular facebook page and a significant voice to people who agree. And they don’t like it.

After several shorter stints and then onto a third one month jail term for sharing external links to guns for sale at another one of my sites, I decided its time to build us a better website.

Register, login and try out this new site. We hope by the time your jail term is over, you decide to stick around and just tell Facebook goodbye forever.

Thanks for stopping by,

Randy (Admin) 🙂