Mashable- You know what's never a good look? Delivering the patented Zuckerberg blank stare to questions about the well-being of kids.
Big Tech CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter had to answer questions about disinformation on social media in a virtual congressional hearing Thursday. As has been the case with every other hearing, questions ran the gamut from nuanced and on-topic inquiries about the events that led up to the capitol riots, to conspiracy-theory informed accusations like how Facebook was empowering border smugglers.
Zuckerberg faced questioning from a few members of Congress about how children and teens use Facebook's platforms — Instagram in particular. Members on both sides of the aisle wanted to know what Facebook is doing to keep kids safe, safeguard their private information, and, ya know, not profit off of a potential budding social media addiction.
He delivered detailed, bold statements like: "Helping people stay connected with friends and learn about different content online is broadly positive."
Kids on Instagram was a hot topic because BuzzFeed broke the news last week that the popular photo-sharing app is working on a platform for children under the age of 13. Currently, in accordance with Childhood Online Protection Act (COPA), users have to be over 13 to use Instagram.
Parents groups are concerned about the development and have been asking Facebook for a long time to do more about social media addiction, bullying, and the ways time spent on social media negatively impact mental health.
Instagram for under 13 year olds? How did nobody else think of this sooner?
Leave it to Zuck to give the world what it didn't know it needed right?
Honestly, what's the worst that could happen?
Real talk- Is there anybody more out of touch, that gives less fucks about humanity than Mark Zuckerberg?
I say without the slightest bit of hesitation, unequivocally no.
But you can't blame him.
The guy is an android.
He isn't one of us so why should he give a shit about us, our well-being, and our collective mental state?
A few months ago I blogged about The Social Dilemma and what a horror show it was.
The scariest part of the documentary wasn't necessarily the perspectives presented in it, but who was presenting them-
You pretty much have all of the creative forces and brains behind these apps telling us point-blank how their initial intent was noble, but once profits became the focus, the train went off the tracks a long long time ago.
It's so extreme that these individuals have banned their families from using the apps whatsoever. Which really says a lot.
Tim Kendall, the former president of Pinterest, narrates an incident when he couldn't get off his phone after coming back home from work. He was going to work during the day and building something he was then falling prey to at night. “I couldn't help myself," he says.
That's a feeling most of us are familiar with — not being president of a tech-giant, but of catching ourselves falling prey to the pull of social media and technology, but not being able to help it. The constant scrolling and the dopamine rush every time we see a new notification is something our entire generation is all too familiar with.
Real deal brains and doctors analyzing it from a monkey brain perspective-
They have Harvard doctors that go into the science behind it and break down the dopamine rush and need for belonging that's ingrained into our basic human nature and a tribal ancestry that many of us are completely unaware of. But all of us fall prey to. To no fault of our own. We're human. But these social media apps exploit the fuck out of that.
Harris explains the three main goals in technology companies. The engagement goal, to keep you scrolling; the growth goal, to keep you coming back; and the advertisement goal – the one that pays the bills. These goals are backed by algorithms, that know what they need to show you.
The timing of this documentary is both tragic and marvelous. COVID-19 has pushed us all to embrace technology more than ever. How else would we talk to friends, check up on relatives, keep up with the news, attend lectures, and last but probably the most important –doomscroll?
So sure, The Social Dilemma raises important questions, but do we have to take immediate action right now, when technology is one of the few strings holding us all together? Then again, coronavirus has significantly accelerated the spread of fake news, and mediums like WhatsApp and Facebook are being used to spread misinformation. Simultaneous utopia and dystopia, that's what social media offers.
And really depressing raw data
The real low point of the documentary comes when they go into detail about the damage this is all doing to this current generation of adolescents that haven't known a world "pre-social media" like the rest of us have.
It's so fucking sad.
Especially when they produce cold hard evidence of the rise in bullying and suicide rates being directly correlated to all of this.
This shit is literally killing our kids. And robbing them of what should be happy childhoods.
The fact young girls often look up and compare themselves to nobodies and fitness models on Instagram, because that's what Instagram literally tells them to, more than they do women of actual accomplishment, is a major problem.
The fact that a social media platform for kids under the age of 13 is not only about to become a reality, but that somebody like Zuckerberg would envision and dream something up like this in the first place is mind-boggling. The fact that our moronic congressmen and congresswomen then postured with a hearing over this, so that down the road when this turns into the dumpster fire it inevitably will, they can point and show they did their "due diligence". And round and round we go.
Please stop this ride I want to get off.