technology

Former Facebook spunk compares social media techniques to those of the tobacco industry

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In front of Congress on Thursday, September 24, former Facebook monetization manager Tim Kendall was open about the company and its behind the scenes. Whoever was in charge of making money for Facebook told US lawmakers that the company was inspired by the strategy of the tobacco industry. ” We took a page from the strategy Big Tobacco and we have worked to make our offer so addictive. ” The goal ? ” Capture all the attention humanly possible […] right from the start.

The “I like” instead of menthol

Tim Kendall further explains his analogy with the tobacco industry: “ Initially, the tobacco companies were just looking to make nicotine more potent, but ultimately that wasn’t enough to grow the business as quickly as they wanted. So they added sugar and menthol to the cigarettes so that you can hold the smoke in your lungs longer. At Facebook, we added updates on status, photo tagging and likes, which made status and reputation a priority and laid the groundwork for a crisis of. adolescent mental health. “In short, everything has been studied to make us completely addicted to the network.

Always more

Coming back to the heart of the subject of the investigation – the proliferation of extremist and conspiratorial theories on Facebook – the ex-director abounds: ” Allow disinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news […] acted as the bronchodilators of Big Tobacco, allowing cigarette smoke to cover more area of ​​the lungs. But this inflammatory content alone was not enough. To continue to grow our user base and, in particular, their time and attention paid to Facebook, they needed more.

They then bet everything on ” commitment », Explains Tim Kendall. ” We initially used engagement as a sort of proxy for the benefit of the user. But we also began to realize that engagement could also mean that [les utilisateurs] were sufficiently sucked [par le réseau] to the point of no longer being able to work for their own interest in the long term by leaving the platform […] We started to see real consequences, but they weren’t given much weight. The commitment […] always won. Concretely, “the voice of anger, hatred” and discord brings in more interactions and money than “peace, morals and justice”.

“I don’t think it can change”

As long as it leads to profits, why give it up? ” There is no incentive to stop [le contenu toxique] while there is an incredible incentive to continue », Continues Tim Kendall. ” I just don’t believe that’s going to change unless there are financial, civil or criminal penalties associated with the harm they cause. Without law enforcement, they’re going to continue to be embarrassed by mistakes, and they’re going to talk about empty platitudes … But I don’t believe anything systemic is going to change … The incentives to keep status quo are just too lucrative at the moment.

I regret », He repents today. This isn’t the first ex-Facebook to lambast the company and its methods. The co-founder of the network, Chris Hugues called for “dismantling” of Facebook in May 2019. Six months ago, former founding members published an open letter challenging Mark Zuckerberg to moderate Donald Trump’s remarks.

Source : Ars Technica [[[[PDF]




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