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comment by galen
galen  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How WhatsApp Destroyed A Village

Immediately reminded me of the Blue Whale challenge, a VK-based hoax that led to alleged suicides, arrests, and moral panic across Russia.

    And what happens when an incitement to violence can be shared instantly with hundreds of people who can each share it with hundreds more?

Compare also RTLM, a Rwandan radio station that played a central role in the propagation of genocidal calls to action. I'd argue that whatever communication technology prevails can (and sadly probably will) be abused to incite violence. This is not a WhatsApp-specific problem.

veen  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It’s not a technology-specific problem, I completely agree. But I don’t think communications methods are entirely neutral either. The design of the app or website or whatever plays a big role in how people interact with it, and that responsibility does lay with the company or organization, up to a reasonable point. I’m just not entirely sure where that point is.

kleinbl00  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Here's the problem:

    In attempting to fulfill Facebook’s current mission — to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” — Zuckerberg and his team of Silicon Valley–based executives failed to foresee its malignant applications: misinformation, propaganda, rumor, hate.

They didn't fail to foresee. They failed to be responsible. There's a world of difference between "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together" and "to build community and bring the world closer together."

Facebook was created so that Harvard boys could rate Harvard girls without the girls knowing. This whole "empower community" thing is a speculative side-benefit of the core mission of social media apps, which is monetizing jealousy. By saying, "well, people could use it for good if they wanted" those collecting the checks absolve themselves of all responsibility for any actions or behavior other than "good" (for which they can claim credit).

Meanwhile, the organizations tasked with enforcing "good" have no more handle on the platform than anybody else. Generally they have a lot less.

And here we are.

katakowsj  ·  220 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Agreed. That, and...

    The videos, whose origins are impossible to trace because of WhatsApp’s strong encryption, had been making the rounds in WhatsApp groups in India months before the incident in Rainpada.

Since when do we take the word of any reporter that has absolutely no stake in the game? Encryption absolves the reporter of any culpability. What the hell?