Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built

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“The largest supercomputers in the world are inside of two companies — Google and Facebook — and where are we pointing them?” Mr. Harris said. “We’re pointing them at people’s brains, at children.”

“Facebook appeals to your lizard brain — primarily fear and anger,” he said. “And with smartphones, they’ve got you for every waking moment.”

He said the people who made these products could stop them before they did more harm.

“This is an opportunity for me to correct a wrong,” Mr. McNamee said.



Logan Paul controversy highlights the carelessness of online celebrity in the YouTube era

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On the last day of 2017, YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video of a dead body in Aokigahara, more commonly known as Japan’s “suicide forest.” The vlog followed Paul and his friends as they encountered the body of a man who, like hundreds of others, had taken his own life in the popular tourist destination. In between Paul’s comments about the seriousness of suicide, the camera zooms in on various parts of the body, while Paul occasionally cracks jokes or laughs. “I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history,” Paul said in the original video — a statement that proved true, though likely not in the way he had imagined.

The backlash to the video has been swift, with media outlets, celebrities, and other YouTubers fiercely criticizing the decision to upload the video. Paul has since taken down the vlog, and issued an apology statement and video in response to the criticism.

Unlike Hollywood celebs, who typically have PR firms to help them navigate their interactions with the public, or journalists, who (ideally) have well-established editorial and ethical guidelines, the appeal of many YouTubers lies in their perceived authenticity and off-the-cuff reactions. When your brand is built on boundary-pushing stunts and a rapid (even daily) production cycle with little oversight, it’s easy for good judgment to fall by the wayside.

Is the backlash against social media coming?

is the backlash against social media coming?

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Snapchat has ruined relationships. Facebook has ruined the world, society, life itself. Instagram has ruined originality in restaurant cooking, the internet, creativity, our self- esteem, photography, fashion and much more besides. In 2014 the Telegraph reported that Britain’s animal shelters were “full to bursting” with black cats, abandoned because they don’t look good in selfies. Meanwhile other things have been somehow desecrated or endangered by our desire to take selfies in front of them: from Holocaust memorials, to the Tour de France, to that unfortunate baby dolphin that washed up on an Argentinian beach.

While these networks are great at connecting us with one another and what’s happening in the world, they paradoxically also encourage us to distance ourselves physically from real life. These days many of us live at one remove from reality. Everybody is always on their phones, even at important social occasions, even on dates. I struggle to watch long movies or football matches because it’s too tempting to look at my phone – it’s so alluring that it even distracts me from other forms of entertainment I enjoy. Our lives have become about consuming content.

In the past the pressure to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty came primarily from the fashion, entertainment and advertising industries, but now it increasingly comes from ourselves.