You might not like it

This morning I got confronted with an article so in my face it literally made me stagger. This article came from the brilliance of a YouTube element called ‘Veritasium’, it was all about the dangers of Facebook, moreover, the dangers of actual investing in Facebook. Of course the hilarious part that I read this on Facebook, so we see a slightly additional view when we consider winking at social media. Yet, before I start we must not forget to show divine humour by emulating the platypus. If Pig Latin is a reconstructed language and we see the Dutch expression of Fisherman’s Latin as ‘catching that really big fish’, is Veritasium a new elemental truth or a truth in mere reconstructed elemental words?

The article is about the concept of buying ‘likes’. The link is here (at and I can tell you now that it is worth seeing from beginning to end. The movie takes 9 minutes and it gives you the low down on buying likes and more important the dangers of pushing your visibility.

Now it is best for the reader to see the video, because the speaker does so in a very eloquent way and the only way to get his point across is to quote his entire article, which no longer makes this MY article.

I have seen these issues before, why do we need to ‘like’ things? I do, there are a few likes on my list, I see some advertisement on Facebook and as such, I have no real issue with the advertisement part. It is the price for a free Facebook. Yet, why would you want to pay for more likes? It seems that apart from it costing you money, the video shows that paying for likes is ultimately bad for business. This is only the top of the equation.

The video is calling into question other issues too. The fact that one issue made them shed 83,000,000 fake accounts, one might wonder how many fakes there really are on Facebook. The second is that the linked algorithm is also in question. If we consider the data linked here, then we see a different issue, which links them all.

  1. How are bought likes regarded, especially in the approach towards a percentage of linked advertisements through connected friends?
  2. How can we get actual advertisement pushing flagged towards an engaging audience (which shows growth and possible commitment), while we know that bought likes will never be engaging likes.
  3. How is the data cleaned to show a better mapping of audience versus engagement as well as geography versus interest?

The last point is not just linked over the two issues, we see in the video that there are profiles in the system that are there to like ‘everything’, not in a Zen way, but in a way to mask fake accounts, which gives another matter regarding the algorithms and how they could likely be fooled by those who understand the system.

Yet this is not just about Facebook, we should now also look at the medium that gave us this treasure, namely YouTube. You see, YouTube is all about creating hypes, vibes and types. It is the last of these three that have been a worry for some time and there is no indication that this will stop anytime soon. So, what happened? It started a few months ago, I was looking for a game trailer and there it was right in front of me, the movie Silent Hill. Now, as I am between apartments, I have no access to my DVD collection, so watching this one was heaps fun. I was just a little upset that a Blu-ray was never released of this movie. So, as the month progressed I started to dig into this phenomenon as this seems to be a copyright violation. As I started to dig deeper into this, I noticed a league of movies, some extremely recent all watchable. Even 2014 movies like Godzilla and the new X-Men movies were on YouTube. Now, there is at times a massive drop in quality and 1-2 were clearly filmed in a cinema, but the movies are there. But it is not all that clear. In some cases there are hundreds of copies yet none of them have a movie, they just have a link to click on, or the weird text ‘this movie was deleted by YouTube’ (if that is so, why is the file and the entry still there), so YouTube is used in a growing league of non-trusting reasons. Yet, is the approach for marketing or criminal reasons? That is also the issue, because it tends to skew the people who go there and the reason why they went there. I can very much understand that there are scores of Bollywood movies there, but are they any less a case of copyright infringements?

How does the YouTube issue relate to the Facebook issue? It seems to me that the second is an automated form of getting people to do for the click farm so that they go undetected for a lot longer. Consider the effort it takes to add 100 copies of a film, people might want to see and they all go to a link (for implied free download), we now have a person losing possibly up to 15 seconds, whilst they at that point are facilitating the work of a click farm. The farm remains less detected, whilst the farm gets 100% of the revenue from the click. Now consider that when these movies come out over tens of millions will try a few links, so these farms get all those attempts for a mere 100 uploads, it seems like this is easy money. So as we consider that Google, Yahoo, MSN and others are now trying to battle these farms more and more, yet the fact that YouTube (a Google child) seems to have kept the backdoor open, should be a massive issue, because this puppy tends to go straight to Facebook and Google+, which leaves the impression that people were mopping the floor whilst the tap remains running. So nobody is going anywhere fast.

As such my question now becomes, how anyone can proclaim that keeping the status quo in these matters is nothing less than running backwards on a highway patrolled by blind drivers. So, here is the kicker, how come Google has been unsuccessful to stop such levels of copyright infringement? In my view there are two options, they either are unwilling or unable to do so, unable means that they are not clever enough and that their system of facilitation is there to keep them non-accountable, if it is unwilling, then we see another version where their lives (Facebook and Google) revolves around bandwidth, which gives us the old Telco revenue issue. It is all about the money!

You might not like that reality, but it is a reality we all helped create. What a difference an algorithm makes!


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Filed under IT, Law, Media

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