Who Won the Week — 10/17/2021

Sorry, I’m a little late today, sometimes life gets in the way. Anyway…

The idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

I will be posting this prompt on Sunday mornings (my time). If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

My Who Won the Week winner this week is Frances Haugen.

Frances, a former Facebook product manager who was hired to help protect against election interference on Facebook, turned whistleblower and has testified before Congress as well sitting for a 60 Minutes interview.

In her testimony, Haugen told that the tech behemoth knows that outrage, anger, and conspiracy theories — what it internally calls “bad for the world” content — generate more emotion, engagement, and dopamine hits. “If they change the algorithm to be safer,” Haugen said, “people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, and Facebook will make less money.”

Haugen said that Facebook consistently chose to maximize its growth rather than implement safeguards on its platforms, just as it hid from the public and government officials internal research that illuminated the harms of Facebook products.

“During my time at Facebook, I came to realize a devastating truth: Almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook,” Haugen told Congress. “The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the U.S. government, and from governments around the world. The result has been more division, more harm, more lies, more threats and more combat. In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to actual violence that harms and even kills people,” she testified.

So thank you, Frances Haugen, for your courage to speak truth to power. Will it do any good? As Rachel Maddow says, “Watch this space.”

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Blogging Insights — Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress

Dr. Tanya has decided to change things up a bit for her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. Instead of using the Q&A format, she’s going to provide us with a quote about blogging or writing and ask us to express our opinion about said quote.

Here’s this week’s quote.

“Twitter is like a calling card. Facebook is like a phone call. Blogging is like a full-fledged conversation!”

I’m not sure I have much to say about this. I’ve never had a Twitter account because I never really saw the point. I do have a Facebook account (and an Instagram account as well) because my now fully grown children with families of their own use Facebook and Instagram — although Instagram more often — to post pictures of what’s going on in their lives. And even though my Facebook and Instagram accounts are active, I am not active on either. I never post anything of my own on them. I only read my kids’ posts.

So I have no opinion about whether Twitter is like a calling card or Facebook is like a phone call. But I definitely think that blogging — especially on WordPress with its active user community — is like having a conversation, some of which might be characterized as “full-fledged”; others, not so much…but conversations nonetheless.

One-Liner Wednesday — Hashtag

“The last time internet regulations were passed, a hashtag was that button you never pressed on a telephone.”

This quote showed up in a full page newspaper ad last week. The rest of the ad read…

It’s been 25 years since comprehensive internet regulations were passed. It’s time for an update.

We support updated internet regulations to set clear guidelines for addressing today’s challenges.

Do you know who ran this ad?


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

Free Speech

The other day I read a post from Melanie, over at Sparks From a Combustible Mind, which she wrote in response to a post from Sam “Goldie” Kirk at The Daily Flabbergast, which was titled, “Free Speech — For Me But Not For You.”

I read Melanie’s response and then I read the original post from this Sam “Goldie” person that prompted Melanie’s response. I suspect that my political perspectives are quite different from Goldie’s, a blogger whose posts I’d never read before. But I found her — at least I think Goldie is a her — interesting, especially since my weekly Provocative Question just last week asked, “Do you think Donald Trump should be allowed back on social media now that he’s no longer in office?”

In her post, Goldie asked four provocative questions about free speech:

  • Do you think freedom of speech is in jeopardy?
  • What do you think about people being banned on social media?
  • Do you see blocks as helpful or unnecessary?
  • What actions do you take to be able to continue sharing your opinions?

I answered her questions in a comment I left on her post:

Do you think freedom of speech is in jeopardy?

No. Freedom of speech, as long as it does not include hate speech, inciting or instigating violence, or being abusive, is not in jeopardy. It’s against the law to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, and that is essentially what Donald Trump has been doing since even before the election.

What do you think about people being banned on social media?

Most social media sites publish Terms of Service (TOS), and most such sites include in their TOS prohibitions against hate speech, inciting or instigating violence, or being abusive. Anyone who continually violates these TOS, as Donald Trump has, should be banned from using the site, be they just ordinary people like you and me, or heads of state.

Do you see blocks as helpful or unnecessary?

Because of my answers to the first two questions, I consider them to be appropriate.

What actions do you take to be able to continue sharing your opinions?

I’m not on Twitter, Facebook, or any other of the typical social media sites. I am on WordPress and I have never felt constrained when it comes to sharing my opinions and perspectives. But I don’t use hate speech in my posts, nor do I promote, incite, or instigate violence. So I’m good on that count.

*****

After reading my comment, Goldie asked four follow-up questions, which I thought, rather than responding in a comment, I’d do so in my own post. So here are her questions and my answers:

What do you consider “hate speech?” When can something be described as inciting violence?

Hate speech is any kind of communication in speech, writing, or behavior, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are. In other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender, or other identity factor.

As to inciting violence, “imminent lawless action” is a standard currently used to define what constitutes a “clear and present danger.” So if the speaker intends to incite a violation of the law that is both imminent and likely, that is inciting violence.

Seems pretty clear to me.

Do you see the Terms and Conditions as black and white rules, or with a lot of gray area?

First of all, I will admit that almost nobody actually reads the social media sites’ Terms of Service. That said, I looked up the Twitter TOS regarding hate speech and violence, respectively:

You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

You may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people. We also prohibit the glorification of violence. Healthy conversation is only possible when people feel safe from abuse and don’t resort to using violent language. For this reason, we have a policy against threatening violence on Twitter.

Are these TOS rules black and white, or with a lot of gray areas? You tell me.

Do you yourself block others? Why/why not?

No, the only sites I block are those that are purveyors of spam. I do not block others whose opinions, views, or perspectives are different from my own.

Why is it that you limit your social media use to only WP?

I never saw much point to Twitter and it has become, from what I’ve read about it, a pretty vile place. I do have Facebook and Instagram accounts, but I never post anything on them and keep them active only to see pictures and updates that my now adult kids post to Facebook and Instagram. WordPress keeps me busy.


Okay, folks, if anyone else would like to respond to Goldie’s questions — either her original freedom of speech questions or the ones she posed to me in response to my comment on her original post, have a go at it. You can comment here, write you own post and link back to this one. And you might also wish to link back to Goldie’s original post here.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #105

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Today’s provocative question is about Donald Trump and social media. Throughout his time in office, Trump has used social media to speak directly to Americans, to announce policies, to attack his critics, to lie, and to foster divisiveness. Since he lost the election in November, Trump has used Twitter and other social media sites to push unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and a “rigged” election, to claim he won the election by a landslide, to rant about how the election was stolen, to spread misinformation (i.e., lies), and to incite violence.After the Trump-inspired insurrection and deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol building two weeks ago by his army of MAGA-maniacs, social media sites Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a handful of other sites either permanently or temporarily suspended Donald Trump from posting on their sites.

Today, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Donald Trump will officially no longer be President of the United States. So my provocative question to you is this:

Do you think Donald Trump should be allowed back on social media now that he’s no longer in office?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.