TikTok, Drugs, Congress, and Monopoly

So ketamine is a dangerous drug. Alright, but what about alcohol? So TikTok is a national security threat. Alright, what about Meta? The declaration that one thing is unreconcilably bad and the other good or at least substantially less bad is based on little to no data. In the congressional hearings about TikTok, most complaints from the U.S. ruling class apply to all social media platforms. The main complaints also apply to all major internet companies monetized from collecting consumer data. The claims of TikTok being a national security threat are much the same arbitrary arguments as what drugs are made illegal. Ketamine, is an order of magnitude less harmful than alcohol. If you want to argue that fact, first check with any emergency medicine doctor or read the analyses of the Drug harms in the U.K paper, but I digress. My claim for TikTok is that it’s pretty much the same U.S. national security risk as Facebook and Google. That TikTok is a Chinese company may pose some security risks to U.S. interests not posed by other popular apps. Shoshana Wodinsky created a list of all the unique crimes the company was accused of committing during the, to use a line from Reason Magazine, masturbatory display of political theater. Very few accusations are unique to TikTok. But, to the extent that members of congress know about data brokers, I assume they feel the U.S. data brokers’ selling lists of all the closeted gay people, with cancer, taking anti depressants in Kentucky…TikTok, Drugs, Congress, and Monopoly

Stephen King’s Happiness Is A Twitter Success Metric

As a writer, Stephen King is famous, prolific, and respected. He’s published over 70 novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. ‘Salem’s Lot is casually referenced in verse by Eminem. Neil Gaiman said he read King’s On Writing and began removing adverbs from a draft of American Gods. Famously slow writer George R. R. Martin once jokingly asked King how he wrote books so fast. Fast or otherwise, King doesn’t need to write anymore. Conservatively King’s net worth means he could never work another moment of his life, and he’s already enshrined as a legend. Harper Lee is universally considered a great American novelist. Most can name her entire two book bibliography in one breath. Certainly, few joke that they require reminders films they love are based on her work. At this point, King writes because he wants to write. He has a book coming out in September of 2023. And for over nine years, he’s used Twitter frequently, if not daily. In other words, Stephen King, a wealthy, household-name author, has written for free on Twitter for nearly a decade. Twitter Needs A Creator Class Twitter is not a traditional publisher. But bird website shares a business model similar to that of all ads supported publishers. A circle that requires creators, advertisers, and consumers. If content isn’t attracting consumers reach drops. If reach drops advertisers leave. If advertisers go away, the publication dies. All for the want of a horseshoe nail. For better or likely for worse that’s the grim reality…Stephen King’s Happiness Is A Twitter Success Metric

A Blue Check On A Pike Warns Us Not To Give Up The Web

The internet, once a hand full of websites, grew rapidly. In July 2008, Google announced it had an index of 1 trillion URLs. Nearly 15 years later, the internet is larger but, in some ways, still a handful of websites. I frequently lament Meta and Alphabet swallowing the web. In a post about TikTok, an app with over 1 billion monthly active users, itself representing a large site that makes the internet feel small, I complained forums and directories are gone. A kind of gentrification for the web where the cool message board is now on Facebook and independent blogs are concentrated on a few platforms owned by companies that can act out in petty ways. In most revenue share models, a large platform, Medium, Twitch, YouTube, and so forth, collect payments from ads or subscriptions and split profit with creators forming a not-technically-an-employee-but-still-kind-of-anemployee-with-extra-steps relationship. A relationship where someone may not work for [platform], but [platform] can suspend income or even remove that non-employee-etcetera’s work or access to the platform without warning or reason. Platform Control I don’t think social media is a utility that must be regulated and forced to act with neutrality. Except for actual utilities, housing, and certain banking and adjacent technologies, that sort of regulation would be undesirable. I don’t want Daily Kos prohibited by law from removing Alex Jones from the comment section. I also don’t like the world where people work for platforms creating content units with no substantive legal protection. It’s bad when companies can…A Blue Check On A Pike Warns Us Not To Give Up The Web

Twitter Is Blocking Substack Links

This is both petty, and an epic a self shooting of the foot. A vast amount of Twitters most active users are writing on Substack. Giving them less reason to use a Twitter when it is already in a quality decline is so stupid. Twitter is blocking Substack links – here’s how to get around itBy: Roger Feeley-Lussier, April 7, 2023, knowtechie.com The post Twitter Is Blocking Substack Links appeared first on Mason Pelt.Twitter Is Blocking Substack Links

AI Is Answering HARO Queries

It’s me, the AI will wreck online search guy, and this story by Julia Pugachevsky for Insider is the boldest and most BS use of AI for marketing I’ve ever seen. The AI responded to a help a reporter out query, faked being a cancer survivor and asked for links from the publication. I interviewed a breast-cancer survivor who wanted me to tell her story. She was actually an AI. By: Julia Pugachevsky, April 5, 2023, Insider.com The post AI Is Answering HARO Queries appeared first on Mason Pelt.AI Is Answering HARO Queries

NPR Will Stop Tweeting Until Twitter Removes “State-affiliated” Label

NPR, National Public Radio, with it’s incredibly popular podcasts, and well actual radio broadcasts has perhaps the least need of Twitter of any news outlet in the world. And as I’ve said many times Twitter is not a traffic driver. For most media orgs Twitter is under 3% of total traffic. I know Musk disagrees, but he’s wrong. NPR says it won’t tweet from @NPR until Twitter removes false “state-affiliated” labelBy: Sarah Scire, April 7, 2023, niemanlab.org Added context A few days ago Twitter added a US state-affiliated media label to NPR’s Twitter account. NPR gets about 1% of funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting via competitive grants. The label is normally used for outlets like Sputnik that are actually controlled by a nations media. Weirdly Stars and Stripes a paper run by United States Department of Defense does not have a US state-affiliated media label. Also per Techdirt NPR was Twitter’s example of what is not to be labeled ‘state-affiliated media” until after Twitter rolled out the change. The post NPR Will Stop Tweeting Until Twitter Removes “State-affiliated” Label appeared first on Mason Pelt.NPR Will Stop Tweeting Until Twitter Removes “State-affiliated” Label

Duluth NAACP Asks Prosecutor To Drop Charges Against A Felon Who Turned In A Gun

In the United States legal system far to much is left to prosecutorial discretion, and this is a mind-numbing example. Please read the full article, here’s the lede. “An officer told Steven Cooper he “did the right thing” by turning in his deceased brother’s handgun. But the convicted felon is now being prosecuted for handling the weapon.“ Duluth NAACP demands dismissal of man’s gun chargeBy: Tom Olsen, April 6, 2023, duluthnewstribune.com The post Duluth NAACP Asks Prosecutor To Drop Charges Against A Felon Who Turned In A Gun appeared first on Mason Pelt.Duluth NAACP Asks Prosecutor To Drop Charges Against A Felon Who Turned In A Gun

Don’t Use Social Logins

A lesson from my recent non-announced-suspension from Twitter is not to use social login for anything. Sites that I forgot I registered for via Twitter now require jumping through hoops to access. Some other take aways from my accounts limbo state are explained in the article, A Blue Check On A Pike Warns Us Not To Give Up The Web The post Don’t Use Social Logins appeared first on Mason Pelt.Don’t Use Social Logins

Elon Musk Is Fighting Substack (And Twitter)

Elon Musk is a man child, who both wants to be loved, and avoids positive press like it’s actually going to hurt him. For some reason Twitter (acquired by Musk out of a combination of lack of impulse control, and failed bad faith legal arguments) is flagging links to Substack as potentially harmful right now. In a far less justifiable move than prior Twitter management’s decision to take similar measures for a single New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter has prevented different types of on platform engagement with Substack’s account, and links to Substack. This is an irony that is bad for Twitter, but probably good for Substack. Mike Wehner wrote up a great piece about the layers of hypocrisy and stupidity in Musk’s move on his Substack powered newsletter. Sidebar: Elon Musk’s War on SubstackBy: Mike Wehner, April 8, 2023, substack.com / Of Interest From the article, “Twitter acquired Revue [a newsletter product] in early 2021 but the decision to axe it felt (at the time and especially in light of recent events) hasty. Revue wasn’t changing the world by any means, but it was an easy and straightforward way for journalists, writers, and thinkers to share their work with their followers. But Musk was desperate to make his mark on Twitter after completing its acquisition just a month earlier and, whether he believed it or not, he took the stance that Revue wasn’t worth the trouble.” The post Elon Musk Is Fighting Substack (And Twitter)…Elon Musk Is Fighting Substack (And Twitter)

Yes ChatGPT Lies

I’ve published well over 5,000 words about ChatGPT getting things wrong. In one article ChatGPT gave me the wrong date and title for a blog post about a Neil Gaiman novel. I know it’s wrong because Gaiman responded to me with a link to the correct post. In another article I wrote about ChatGPT source laundering an article from a small blog, and attributing the source to the United Nations. The only reason I could prove ChatGPT plagiarized and obfuscated the source, is because the blog’s author made a factual error. Large language model’s are essentially built from plagiarizing text that humans wrote, and humans lie, get facts wrong, and are generally unreliable. I also ranted a bit about the fact that AI generated content will eventually start getting pulled into generative chat AIs. Blackhat SEOs and large media companies like CNET creating webpages with AI written content will make it impossible for the AI’s creators to filter for only human written words. Why ChatGPT and Bing Chat are so good at making things upBy: Benj Edwards, April 6, 2023, arstechnica.com The article from Ars Technica covers some far more harmful examples of AI created misinformation. An Australian mayor who allegedly found that ChatGPT said he went to prison for bribery, and a “law professor who discovered that ChatGPT had placed him on a list of legal scholars who had sexually harassed someone.” This and other reports have sparked a linguistic debate about calling Chat GPT a liar. Techmeme has…Yes ChatGPT Lies