Social Media Gods Run Amok

I’ve often compared social media, and Twitter particularly, to Plato’s Ring of Gyges—for good reason. Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and the rest of the Twitter developers took full advantage of mankind’s flawed human nature.

  • Want popularity (more followers! Like button!)? Fake accounts can help you cheat your way to it with unearned likes, retweets, replies, and followers.

  • Want to make it look like your product is loved? Fake accounts can help you cheat your way to it with unearned adoration. Quantity over quality.

  • Want your political perspective to be pushed virally? Fake accounts can help you cheat your way to it through amplification and trolling.

Rational debate? Bah! Who want’s that?

And people don’t check. They don’t check information presented as fact; they don’t even check to see if the accounts are fake. Yet, 40% - 60% of the platform is exactly that—fake.

When warned—people often flatly ignore the warnings or, worse, they make excuses for interacting with known fake accounts. Because, even fake popularity is more appealing than the diligent effort required to attain that kind of popularity in the real world. MUST. AMPLIFY. AT. ALL. COSTS.

Twitter, it seems, is more than happy to profit from this appeal to some of humanities worst inclinations. Otherwise, why build the platform as they did? Why delay getting rid of all fake accounts?

Russia is equally happy to take advantage of our flawed nature. If you think for two seconds Russia wasn’t betting on how shallow and character-less we are, you are fooling yourself. Mueller’s Report emphasizes my point. See Volume 1 (PDF).

Russia’s continuing attack on the US is one attack with two prongs. One prong is through social media & private data manipulation. The other is through hacking, manipulation of our election systems, & more abuse of private data. One attack; Two approaches.

Twitter won’t even rid the platform of “model”/”Romance” bots who spew political propaganda. And the model bots are an infinitesimally small amount of the propaganda accounts on Twitter.

The grotesquely minute actions Twitter has taken to protect the users of their platform is simply more evidence that they have no qualms perpetuating the worst in mankind.

And nobody is holding them accountable.

The temptations Twitter offers are, apparently, too great.

In the Ring of Gyges, Socrates made the point that anyone who would NOT try to get away with an immoral deed if they knew they could get away with it would be viewed as a fool by the rest of mankind. Socrates was, it strongly appears, correct.

By Virginia Murr

Originally posted on @Verba_et_Vertus on May 3, 2019 (with minor edits for platform change).