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Like other dangerous ideas that QAnon conspiracy It’s difficult to eradicate online. But it’s not impossible.
QAnon is a vast and incorrect set of theories that powerful institutions are controlled by pedophile cannibals who crack down on President Trump. It’s a chameleon too. Backers use legitimate reasons like Protect children or Promote wellbeing Approach newcomers and then involve them in their unusual ideas.
QAnon followers tailored their ideas on Facebook, which initially moved slowly to appeal to the movement. Facebook announced in August that it was restricting QAnon activities, but so far it is Actions did not achieve muchwrote my colleagues Sheera Frenkel and Tiffany Hsu.
I spoke with Sheera about how much blame Facebook has earned for spreading this dangerous conspiracy and what we can learn from the Internet companies’ previous crackdown on terrorist recruitment.
Shira: Why not Facebook? recent actions against the QAnon conspiracy worked?
Sheera: It’s tough. People don’t want to feel like they are being harassed, monitored, or censored. And false conspiracies are related to real activism like protecting children.
Imagine a mom posting on a Facebook parenting group for help finding a tutor and someone replies with an article about criminal record teachers being hired in schools. Two days later she could be in a QAnon group reading false claims about child exploitation. She didn’t look for QAnon content.
How does Facebook deal with that?
What should Do Facebook via QAnon?
The one idea we keep hearing is that Facebook is preventing its automated recommendation systems from suggesting groups that support QAnon and other conspiracies.
Otherwise every expert has a different opinion.
One I spoke to said Facebook had to decide if it would take a hard line against all conspiracies. Another scientist said it would be more productive to slowly reduce the spread of QAnon-related information on Facebook and give people exposed to QAnon material clear information about why it is wrong and dangerous.
Let me play the devil’s advocate: if a small but growing number of people firmly believe in this conspiracy, should Facebook try to stop it even if we know it is wrong?
First, QAnon beliefs have been linked Violence in the real world.
In addition, Facebook wants a “healthy community”. Does it think these conspiracies are part of it?
How much debt does Facebook earn for QAnon’s growth?
When Facebook changed its focus to encourage people to be interested in smaller, more intimate groups, it happened inadvertently created safe havens for people to discuss how to spread QAnon theories.
Facebook has to wonder if it has a responsibility to fuel QAnon and ponder the ramifications.
Have internet companies managed to slow the spread of ideas related to QAnon?
Reddit was ground zero for QAnon until then banned an entire section of the website devoted to the conspiracy There are still QAnon articles on Reddit, but most of the content has been moved to another location – including Facebook.
Could things have been different with conspiracies on Facebook?
I wonder how different our world would be if Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter worked with Reddit to take coordinated and effective action against QAnon. That’s what companies did in 2015 when the Islamic State used social media to attract new followers. You could see that almost in real time ISIS lost much of its ability to recruit online.
In my view, this was the clearest example of Internet companies – when they were motivated – taking action to remove a dangerous group that was ubiquitous on their websites. This action was supported by the White House, and the internet companies felt they had the power to show an overwhelming show of force.
However, now the tech companies disagree on what to do with QAnon and they have no clear direction from the administration. We have unseen condemnation of QAnon from the White Houselet alone support for social media companies to limit their spread.
Tip of the week
A Plan B if your favorite app disappears
Brian X. Chen, The New York Times personal technology columnist, has an alternative when an app we want is no longer available in the official app store. However, this option carries risks.
In August, the Fortnite video game disappeared due to one Business dispute between the owner of the game and Apple and Google.
If the desired apps are obtained from official download channels, there is another option. But it’s not for everyone.
For people with Android phones, there is a process called “Page loads”To install apps that are not available in official app stores. Apple iPhone users can also install unauthorized apps, but it’s such a tricky process that I recommend against it.
First, a disclaimer: apps downloaded by people with Android phones from the official Google Play app store are scanned for security vulnerabilities and prevent malware from infecting your phone. If you install apps outside the App Store, you bypass this security mechanism. Do this at your own risk.
Android users need to do the following to install apps from the Chrome web browser:
From here, do a web search for the application file you are looking for and download it from the website.
Another warning: make sure you download what you are looking for. Sometimes fake and dangerous software is disguised as an official version of an app.
Good luck and be careful.
Before we go …
The TikTok drama was pretty pointless. The White House threatened to ban TikTok to protect Americans. But what happened instead was a politically appropriate business agreement My colleagues Erin Griffith and David McCabe wrote on Oracle, Walmart, TikTok’s Chinese owner, and the Trump administration. The participants too Do not see what they have agreed on at eye level.
Also David E. Sanger of the Times wrote that this agreement did not resolve security concerns about the Chinese government possibly acting through TikTok, nor answered how the US government should handle foreign technology.
Are you looking forward to the “Ad Tech Stack” ?! Steve Lohr from The Times explained that Google has bought companies for decades that have given the company a role in many of the steps in buying and selling online ads. That Google business is now a focus of antitrust investigation, and some legal experts have wondered if there should be more restrictions on big tech companies buying smaller businesses.
Keep an eye on the virus alert apps: MIT Technology Review creates a Coronavirus alert apps database Introduced by the health authorities. It provides information on how clear the apps are about the information they collect and how they work.
I have to hold back from placing red pandas here every day. They are the best. Here, Lin eats apples from the Cincinnati Zoo and bananas. Did you know that red pandas have half opposite thumbs ?!
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