Big Tech: Adulting Arrives But A Global Challenge Proved Stronger Than Silicon Shirkers

March 29, 2020

Interesting item from NBC News: “Coronavirus Misinformation Makes Neutrality a Distant Memory for Tech Companies.” DarkCyber thinks the the write up should have used the phrase “finally adulting,” but, alas, the real news story states:

Most major consumer technology platforms embraced the idea that they were neutral players, leaving the flow of information up to users. Now, facing the prospect that hoaxes or misinformation could worsen a global pandemic, tech platforms are taking control of the information ecosystem like never before. It’s a shift that may finally dispose of the idea that Big Tech provides a “neutral platform” where the most-liked idea wins, even if it’s a conspiracy theory.

The recursive nature of the click loops creates some interesting phenomena. Among the outcomes is the myth of Silicon Valley bros, the mantra “Ask for forgiveness, not permission,” and the duplicity of executives explaining how their ad-fueled money systems have chopped through the fabric of society like a laser cutter in an off shore running shoe factory.

The write up includes some good quotes; for example:

“Neutrality — there’s no such thing as that, because taking a neutral stance on an issue of public health consequence isn’t neutral,” said Whitney Phillips, a professor of communication at Syracuse University who researches online harassment and disinformation. “Choosing to be neutral is a position,” she said. “It’s to say, ‘I am not getting involved because I do not believe it is worth getting involved.’ It is internally inconsistent. It is illogical. It doesn’t work as an idea. “So these tech platforms can claim neutrality all they want, but they have never been neutral from the very outset,” she added.

Okay, interesting. One question:

Why has it taken a real news outfit such a long time to focus on a problem?


We wanted a free mouse pad.

The problem is that undoing the digital damage may be a more difficult job than some anticipate.

Adulting permits a number of behaviors. Example: Falling off the responsibility wagon. Perhaps a recovery program is needed for dataholics?

Stephen E Arnold, March 29, 2020


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta