The term "misinformation" might conjure images of conspiracy forums and Russian bots. But on Instagram and TikTok, anti-vaccine messaging is more likely to come from photogenic Crossfitters, herbalists, new-age spiritualists, and wellness influencers.…
This is part of why content moderation alone can't solve social media's "misinfo" problems, and why I'm skeptical of claims about the impact of the "Disinformation Dozen." A ton of the misleading info people get is coming from "micro-influencers" who are "just asking questions."
@AshleyFetters @GerritD Fair point, we can't say exactly the relative importance of wellness vs. political influencers on a given platform. I suspect the former have an outsize impact on Instagram and TikTok, whereas the latter are more at home on FB, Twitter, and Fox News.

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More from @WillOremus

18 Aug
Facebook is launching its own answer to @kevinroose's popular @FacebooksTop10 account.
@kevinroose @FacebooksTop10 Facebook has long complained that @FacebooksTop10, dominated by right-wing sources such as Dan Bongino & Daily Wire, represents a skewed picture of what's popular on its platform. I wrote about this debate in depth last year:…
For his part, @kevinroose has long called on Facebook to release more data to back up its claims. It looks like Facebook is now doing that. How satisfying that data turns out to be, it's not clear yet. The concern would be FB cherry-picking the metrics that suit its interests.
Read 8 tweets
17 Aug
This is provocative, erudite, historically informed, and worth reading for anyone who thinks about "disinfo."

I think it's also deeply unsatisfying and I have a couple of specific critiques. But the questions it raises are ones that deserve raising.…
Off the bat, @Bernstein absolutely nails the unspoken, unexamined assumptions of a lot of the less-sophisticated hand-wringing over our "broken" modern information sphere. It has never not been broken.…
This is perceptive on a sort of symbiosis between Facebook and its loudest critics: Both rely on the premise that social media is an effective persuasion machine. Is it really? (This piece hints at "no," though I think the boring true answer is "it depends / hard to say.")
Read 9 tweets
22 Jul
Facebook and YouTube spent a year fighting covid misinformation. It's still spreading, @rachelerman & @GerritD report.…
@rachelerman @GerritD How are people evading social media's vaccine misinfo policies? One way is coded language, like calling the vaccine "Maxine" and the dangers of "dancing" with her. One FB group called "Dance Party" has 40k members.… by @BrandyZadrozny & @oneunderscore__
@rachelerman @GerritD @BrandyZadrozny @oneunderscore__ Stories like this-and the price we're all paying for the antivaxx movements that incubated & spread on FB/YT-should put to rest the notion that content moderation alone is the answer.

Without structural reform, platforms will always be misinfo machines.
Read 4 tweets
21 Jul
We hear a lot about the magic of TikTok's "for you" algorithm. This brilliantly done @WSJ video is a great introduction to how it actually works. Like most algorithms, the answer involves a lot less magic than it might seem.…
@WSJ A few quick thoughts: First, the algorithm isn't quite as "secretive" as @wsj makes it out to be. In fact, a lot of the mechanics addressed in the video were laid out by TikTok itself in a blog post last year:…
@WSJ Second, even as @wsj successfully deconstructs and demystifies the algorithm, its focus on depression-related content risks making it seem a bit more sinister than it typically is. While there are caveats, one could come away thinking TikTok is mostly MAGA and suicide content.
Read 7 tweets
13 Jul
I'm back in hazy, steamy, downtown Wilmington for day 2 of Elon Musk's testimony in a Delaware chancery court trial. He's accused by some Tesla shareholders of buying a struggling solar company run by his cousin, which Musk partly owned, for more than it was worth.
This am the plaintiffs' lawyer pressed Musk as to whether he played a role in negotiating the acquisition price of SolarCity. Musk at first said "not materially so, no." Baron displayed notes from a banker showing Musk at one point proposed a sale price of $28.50 per share.
Baron appeared to show fairly clearly this am (imo) that Musk personally pressed both SolarCity & Tesla to accelerate the deal before SolarCity ran out of cash--including shortening the due diligence period by Tesla's bankers.
Read 29 tweets
12 Jul
I'm in a chancery court in Wilmington, Delaware this morning for @elonmusk's testimony defending Tesla's 2016 acquisition of SolarCity for $2.6B. Musk chaired both companies at the time; some Tesla investors allege the deal amounted to a bailout of SolarCity.
@elonmusk Plaintiffs' attorney Randy Baron started his questioning of Musk by playing clips of Musk saying in prior depositions that the lawsuit was "wasting everyone's time," and that the next few quarters would vindicate the SolarCity deal. The next few quarters, we now know, did not.
@elonmusk Musk is arguing that the reason SolarCity's growth didn't take off as planned following the acquisition is that Tesla ended up in crisis to meet deadlines on the Model 3, and had to shift focus. And then the reason it didn't take off after *that* is because of the pandemic.
Read 14 tweets

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