We all have a side we hide, it does not matter how you live and how outspoken you are. It is a truth that we have seen in movies, TV Series and other media. In this I like the outspoken truth of the series House the best: ‘Everybody lies!‘ This is not some extreme form of expressionism; it is the truth in many ways. Whether we are in denial or whether we outspokenly remain silent on the matter, we lie!
Now do not think of this in a too negative a light, marketing is all about lying and they call it specific presentation. Whether this is the launch of the Samsung S8, the upcoming Xbox Scorpio, the iPhone 7, there is misrepresentation which shows itself as non-mentioned facts for now.
Is a known fact, remaining unmentioned a lie?
That is no just at the heart of the matter, it is what makes it worse than it already is. An example is seen in software corporations that state ‘We do not expect any issues with the software upgrade’. Is it a lie? Consider that any change will introduce new unknown factors, so as such, is the person not speaking a party line that is wishful thinking, and as such is it a lie?
You might at this point wonder where this is going, so here we get to “Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling ‘insecure’ and ‘worthless’” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/01/facebook-advertising-data-insecure-teens), when you consider that a person (especially a teen) needs psychological assessment to ascertain whether insecurity comes from mere angst or whether there are underlying issues, we need to become very careful when anyone offers an algorithm to ascertain that. Big data is nowhere near any level of certainty in this matter. You see, with data and especially with big data the decades old expression ‘Garbage in, Garbage out‘ applies and the ability to sift through these mountains of data per person requires a level of scrutiny that software cannot provide and more important, that data becomes useless if there is no ‘beyond the data box view’. This is not some cheap Mark Zuckerberg app called ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ which is basically to the better degree harmless entertainment. This is to set a psychological classification on a group of people who tends to be least secure of themselves in their entire lifespan. In all this the quote “Facebook, which has faced severe criticism in the past over research in which it sought to alter the emotions of users, without their consent, provided somewhat contradictory statements in response to the story in the wake of its publication on Sunday” makes it even a worse joke. Consider in addition the dangers that Facebook no opens with “In its original statement to the Australian, Facebook apologized and said it had “opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight”“, which is a joke when you consider that the researchers must have had access to data that only the deepest insiders on DBA cloud levels could have had. To get anything that is even close to the minimum level of reliability the researchers did not just have access to the data, they required assistance from the database system engineers to get anything useful out of that collected mountain of data and that is per person. So, basically I cannot get a job because Australia is in a wave of intentional age discrimination and Facebook casually assists in a system that “can monitor posts and photos in real time to determine when young people feel “stressed”, “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless” and a “failure”“, which impacts the job market even further, yet requires accurate parsed data going back many months.
Consider the reality here. to get a Facebook account, you need to be over 13, which means that 3 years of a teenager history is not available. In addition, these kids go through puberty between 10-17 (depending on gender and additional factors), so not only do you need the track of a person, you need to know how a person is socially (not socially networked) is connected to peers, parents and siblings. That data is not available. Now consider that interactions and events that are geographically locked are also an influence. I am not talking about an extreme example like the Columbine disaster, the mere effect of a traffic accident that can start more than angst and in that data will always be missing and more dangerously, data can be wrongly categorised which could result in red flags of psychosomatic interactions, that whilst the person was never there. How many pictures are there in your social media account, which were accidentally wrongly tagged? All basic elements that will give a shift in any assessment that will lead the algorithm down the wrong track. So when we read: “a Facebook Australia executive dismissed the report and criticized the reporter who broke the story, saying the article was “written by a journalist who writes inflammatory articles … every Monday”“, we need to ask a few additional questions. The dangers of social media data that I have been warning about for at least 3 years is now showing us additional dangers of software misrepresenting social media data and could have dire imprints on the actions of anyone using social media and the repercussions of their future down the track. The quote “Facebook declined to rule out whether similar research on the emotional vulnerability of teenagers had been conducted for advertises in markets outside of Australia” could imply that the teenagers that are already getting shot at American High Schools and colleges will soon have additional worries as they approach their exams with all levels of angst. So when we consider on how ‘Facebook has detailed information on mood shifts based on “internal Facebook data” that is not available to the public’ the social media users will have to worry on what data they have and more important has Facebook been collecting and matching other outside data sources to get anywhere near the minimum dataset to get even the smallest of insight.
As I stated before: ‘garbage in, garbage out’, in that I can add that in the past some lovely lady asked me on Facebook if I wanted to fuck her. I know she would never offer it to begin with, so the reliable issue was that someone has quickly grabbed her phone and he offered in her place that her vagina was open for #censored activity#. So at that point, how could Facebook see her as stupid or silly, or even worse: a nymphomaniac? The article has more than a few issues, but in that they should be placed at the doors of Facebook, because with the revelation of data abuse we clearly see announced, there is a growing danger with the Facebook classification system, whether actual, factual or psychological.
Sam Levin at the Guardian is asking the right questions, yet I think that this is not going far enough. I think that the events when we include the ’emotional contagion’ issues that happened some time ago. The fact that is ignored that all this was only possible to the slightest degree by seeding the database with data collections and hidden markers that facilitated the creation of mental properties to collect. A data system cannot facilitate for this without adding hundreds of elements that were never visible and I am not merely talking about the date and time of posting. It required levels of geographical location and social background data that is not part of the Facebook social media system. I wonder if the Guardian article will renew the questions on both European and Commonwealth levels as this American company seems to be swimming in a sea that might ignore this, but it can only do that as long as we are unaware. In this I reckon that it becomes imperative that the Australian political engine makes official enquiries with the two top Australian executives, David Fernandez and Andy Sinn. In this we get one additional part that is very much a danger, if we accept the quote: “The presentation, which the Australian has not published, was reportedly written for one of Australia’s top banks and stated that the company has a database of its young users – 1.9 million high schoolers, 1.5 million tertiary students and 3 million young workers“, which now implies that banks are setting a person’s psychological profile into classifications. This is not merely discriminatory, it implies that we could all end up being seen as bankable or not, so in that it goes beyond mere insurances and credit ratings, the dangers of our freedom of speech and expression will now result in a possible credit rating and job eligibility. How is that fair on any 15 to 19 year old person trying to get anywhere in this world?
In final part, it is the excuse by Facebook on making this a mere ‘process failure‘, if there are enough pieces of evidence (and that seems to be the case), it is a complete ‘institutional failure‘ and in that the Guardian/Australian article might just be the beginning of a real ugly side of social media that will hit the mainstream media on a global scale soon enough.
So how vulnerable are you and is exploitation of that side of you acceptable to you?