I listen to the Wall Street Journal's podcast, "The Journal", and they did a series on Facebook's internal research a few weeks ago. One of the episodes is about how they changed the algorithm to increase ~engagement~. And how this also increased misinformation, trolling, and flamewars.

Because nothing is more ~engaging~ than flamewars.

One of the steps FB's internal researchers recommended to cut down on misinformation was to remove the re-share button. (They didn't, of course, because ~engagement~.)

But it reminded me of how I went through almost every person that I follow on Twitter and turned of RTs in an effort to make Twitter more usable for me.

Twitter is still hard to use for me.

Really glad I found some friends who are active in the fediverse. 💖

I do know that part of what makes fediverse less toxic is that fediverse is distributed and ad-free. There is no single, for-profit conglomerate with a financial incentive to manipulate the user base to improve their ~analytics~.

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But the problem that Facebook exacerbated was not created by Facebook, or any other social media platform. Controversy has always gotten the most time and attention.

I am fascinated by efforts to moderate this human impulse, especially on a platform-wide level. "Don't feed the trolls."

I don't think the big social media giants have the upper-management will to solve the issue. They make money off a userbase of angry, doomscrolling addicts. Why change a profitable formula?

But individuals at these companies are motivated to try, for one reason or another, and it's interesting to hear what they come up with anyway. Even if it doesn't get deployed, only leaked to the press.

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Wandering Shop

The Wandering Shop is a Mastodon instance initially geared for the science fiction and fantasy community but open to anyone. We want our 'local' timeline to have the feel of a coffee shop at a good convention: tables full of friendly conversation on a wide variety of topics. We welcome everyone who wants to participate, so long as you're willing to abide by our code of conduct.