Level1 News March 27 2018: #DeleteLevel1Techs | Level One Techs


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://level1techs.com/video/level1-news-march-27-2018-deletelevel1techs

Zuck is a Cuck. There.


I just finished the episode and have to say that while i agreed with the sentiment in large part, you had some issues with the content itself.

Firstly, Reddit is not owned by Conde Nast. Its owned by Advanced publications, which owns both Reddit and Conde Nast. The difference is a bit of a fine line, but it isn’t as cut and dry as a parent company saying “wink wink, lets quietly cost a competitors social network some accounts and drive them to reddit.” Its much more likely their editors saw that the Facebook hate was trending, and jumped on the bandwagon for clicks.

Secondly, you can delete facebook if you know the direct link:


No need to contact customer support.

Thirdly, you bring up the cooperation between facebook and the Obama campaign, and compare it directly to what CA has done for the Trump campaign. I think its Wendall who makes a pointed statement that you wont see that in the mainstream media, which is incorrect. if you search for some variation of “cambridge analytical and Obama campaign” :


You can see that many sites in the mainstream press are talking about it. If you go to NPR, a left leaning but largely neutral source, they interview Obamas digital campaign manager who explains their access to facebook data :


You can see that Obamas campaign itself asked explicitly for followers of Obama to share their friends list. When this was shared, they then correlated that data with DNC voting rolls and sent a message back to the that person about which friends they should contact. That was the end of their use.

The above is nothing like what CA did with the data. First, it pretended to be an academic study to the participants, unassociated with any campaign. It collected friends list data silently. Next, it correlated data from the RNC, equfiax, etc to build exact psychological profiles of each other facebook users, and used a sequence of A/B test adds to target, by the CEOs own admissions, subconscious fears. The same CEO admired the ads didn’t even have to be true, as long as emotion they generated was. Even ignoring CA coordinating with hackers, bribing election officials, and generating blackmail material on candidates with Ukraine hookers( which the CEO admitted to investigative journalists), surely you can see how one group has far exceeded the other in pointed and vicious use of the data it acquired? Surely we can agree that while Clinton fucked her campaign up in many directions, she lost 3 swing states by less than a total of 40,000 votes, and those votes might have been swayed just by this targeted propaganda?

Fourth, CA is part owned by Robert Mercer:

Who also funded Breitbart until recently, and is the reason Steve Bannon and Kelly Ann Conway joined the Trump campaign. He is also involved with Brexit. This not just a company that prefers to work for the RNC. It is a deeply integrated part of it.

Lastly, I know as tech folk its hard not to be exasperated that people have finally realized what “if you aren’t paying for a service, you are the service” means, but frankly, it comes off a bit condescending to say “duh guys.” Having your data sold has no analog in the normal world. People cant walk up to a data broker, hand over their lives, and get reimbursed for it. Its not something that is easy to conceptualize, especially if you are a layman who doesnt understand what that data is. This facebook “breach” is the one of the first visceral, real world examples of targeted data use on a platform that is a touchstone tech in a billion peoples lives. They are outraged because they finally get it. Again, I understand why “WHAT DID YOU EXPECT” is appealing here, but its the same issue when you’re working at a business and you finally lose that business critical server that you warned “Business Bob” about 15 times. It would be gratifying to say in the moment “NO SHIT BOB, I TOLD YOU SO” , but it makes you look small. Take the high ground, stop patting yourself on the back, and help people understand better. You get less schadenfreude, but you end up with more respect for yourself, and from those people around you.

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Well, having your data to begin with used to be illegal in some countries. In Sweden, it is still illegal to keep register over political opinions, sexuality, syndicate membership, etc. Political parties do get to keep register of their members for obvious reasons.

Now what happens when you willingly/compulsively keep handing over that data to Facebook for public display? Even if coerced by law to remove such data, how could they ever comply? The only way would have to be to shut down the service (which I of course think they should, but that is a personal opinion).

Not trying to correct you, just to add a perspective on the legality of things. I agree with what you’re saying overall.

One thing is, I’m not convinced the L1 are so much into “I told you so”. They’ve been really going way out of their way for years (if we also think of Tek Syndicate) telling so to the people with varied success. I don’t think there is a way they haven’t told it. The most important matter though is where do we go from here, which I believe is what you’ve also said.

tranferred to Let's talk solutions. Privacy, data, computation, AI, platform, distribution etc


Thank you for the reply.

Now what happens when you willingly/compulsively keep handing over that data to Facebook for public display? Even if coerced by law to remove such data, how could they ever comply? The only way would have to be to shut down the service (which I of course think they should, but that is a personal opinion).

I believe the EU has “right to be forgotten” laws that force a company to purge whatever data they have on you upon written request. I know Google has a voluntary option in the US under:

You can purge data from individual services, or your entire account. This is a good step in the right direction from another data harvesting giant.

I would expect Facebook to either provide a similar “wipe any data submitted under my account, or related to me” option that Google does so. Having a “right to be forgotten” law in the US would be an excellent step in mitigating some of these abuses of the data they have on us.

I’ll take your “I told you” comment to heart. This exasperation is something I feel, and I see in my peers at times, but its almost always destructive. It can be really crushing to be constantly ignored about critical business issues, so sometimes people in the field lord these moments over non technical peers. Its ugly, and bad for their careers. I may have been reading into their frustration, as its a common emotion in these cases

Correct. And from 2018-05-25 also the new GDPR law, which stipulates that you can get to know all the identifying data a company has on you, and then also request they delete all such data, under threat of better specified draconic fines to the companies who fail to comply. The main difference between the “right to be forgotten” and the GDPR part of the “right to be forgotten” (it is a bigger law with several other parts too) is the specified maximum fines.

For example, under GDPR, Facebook, Google, etc. could be sued for 20% of global revenue for being negligent on purpose, year in and year out. Which they have been. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d think that Facebook coming clean now is a way to avoid this fine. And no one would feel sorry for them after all the sins commited.

I believe that, in implementing compliance to GDPR, the same functionality to be forgotten will become ready to make available in non-EU countries, no doubt including North Americas. Now, whether it will become actually available to the end user in US - one may hope so. That would make it a golden standard for the (at least would-be) democratic countries.

EDIT: Also, GDPR is supposedly extraterritorial (by virtue of trade agreements). The “right to be forgotten” isn’t. We’ll have to see how that pans out in the end.

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I will leave this here to respond a bit more in depth later. https://personalised-communication.net/eric-schmidt-advising-the-dnc-on-political-microtargeting/

Oversimplifying a bit, but one has to wonder about at least the stark differences in position candidate Obama had vs president Obama’s execution wrt whistle blowing, warrantless spying, tech policy, etc.

Given the differences between the Obama campaign and reality, and Eric Schmidt’s language there in support of the DNC, it’s hard to see a tangible distinction in behavior on either side of the aisle. Looks like manipulation no matter how you slice it…

More later.

A (hopefully good) advice is - details can be nailed later. Just keep dropping fact-checked stuff, reason about it, salt it with opinions to provoke some thought. We don’t need to agree on solutions, but we need to see the problems, and we need to get thinking about them, to get being aware about them. Good facts give good discussions.

Obama was no champion of privacy in office, thats a surety. Snowden showed us that in every shade of the rainbow.

In the campaigns? There is no comparison to the depth that Trump went to previous candidates, or even to Clinton. CA was directed and weaponized propaganda, used and generated on a person to person level. Thats a new bar that has never been stepped over in a presidential campaign.

The unsettling part of the above NPR article I listed, is that the previous Obama digital campaign manager doesn’t see an issue with the extend of CA mining, just the methods. I expect CA is the new bar of using for sale/harvested data, but hopefully this blow up makes people both more defensive, leads to some “CYA” business practices, and over all stronger data laws in the US.

Attributes the change in Facebook policy re the social graph API access to the Obama campaigns abuses.

Our whistleblower article indicated they added the data to the dnc voterfile also?? Which the npr interview glosses over…

And further colatted the data for running highly targeted tv ads … To those influenceable friends…

In a lot of ways it sure seems like Obama’s use of technology here made him a viable and competitive candidate in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. One person’s psyops is another person’s efficient use of campaign dollars and tech to influence easily influenced voters I guess? Fake news on Facebook etc was not a problem until the most recent presidential election? It doesn’t seem like it’s really that cut and dried to me. And there is a lot of blood on everyone’s hands who works in this space. Im having trouble seeing innocent use of technology to reach a wider audience anywhere I dig deep enough…

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I’d hardly call it “abuse”. The article states that the people at Facebook noticed due to there normally not being such use of the API in that manner. They just weren’t prepared for it at that time.

Calling it “abuse” doesn’t seem right.

Also, I can’t find any mention in the article of Facebook later changing their policy… The word “policy” appears 1 time in the text, unrelated to Facebook. The word “Facebook” appears 13 times, no mention of policy changes anywhere near it.

They might have, I just can’t find it in the article.

I think the main thing that’s got people scared is the idea that Cambridge Analytica basically employed “advanced AI” to do the work for them.

Like, check this article from August 2017: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/artificial-intelligence-democracy-elections-trump-brexit-clinton-a7883911.html

Why didn’t this topic peak when that article came out, why wait till now, I wonder?

Political campaigns trying to get a feel for what people want so they can address that, sure, that’s normal. People can process that, even if they might not always appreciate it.

Getting an army of AI to do it for you, at a scale and depth that is previously unseen(as it’s being reported)? That scares people.

Also, concrete numbers help in scaring people. “50 million” means something. “A lot” doesn’t.

I think the reaction to this is more than just people disliking it won Trump the election, it’s also the “AI changed how we think Oh god the robots are controlling our mind” kinda fear.

I’ll try a counter-point here for the sake of being thorough on the topic.

Facebook did nothing wrong. At least, they did nothing they weren’t very open about doing in fine print. So, what is the actual problem we are talking about here?

Cambridge Analytica did nothing wrong (assuming UK does not have a specific law about collecting US voter data?), except for the Facebook license breach. So, what is the actual problem we are talking about here?

I only mention this because people keep getting it wrong, just like Wendell did in this vid.

It’s not the BBC, BBC 4 or BBC Channel 4 that’s made these reports. It’s just “Channel 4”. They are an independent channel, and have their own independent news. Completely different corporation. Yes they are public owned, but they are not the BBC. They also fund themselves through advertising, not public money.

Just trying to give credit to the right people.

It’s interesting that people are figuring out that they are in many ways instrumental in the campaign funding of their opposition. This seems to be what everyone is freaking out about. “They used my data to fund the Trump campaign?”. What’s even more interesting is that many other companies have been involved in similar situations. The flow of capital pretty much has a mind of its’ own. Finance is whimsical in many respects. There’s really no way to prevent one’s earnings from funding campaigns that one doesn’t support. There are just too many variables to sort after the fact.

Corporations have fiduciary responsibility to their investors that makes their politics come second. This makes even the situations where there are fewer variables more difficult. This is as easy to map out as " the personal data of left leaning individuals went toward a pool of data that was sold and used to help the Trump campaign ". It can be much more complicated than that though; but still very much instrumental.

There however is something that is being overlooked over and over again. There are all of these excuses for the recent failures of the left. All of these excuses are just that. Money and data didn’t elect the POTUS. That’s not how reality works. People are not that malleable with information and discourse. Changes in social direction come from more general perceptions associated with things like resource abundance and fairness of distribution. These are the base, game theoretical behaviors that are so deeply ingrained in us that we don’t even think about them. We behave in a more impulsive manner when it comes to politics.

History is full of instances of countries becoming more conservative in leaner times and more liberal in times of plenty. The idea is that where resources are more abundant, there is more will to share; and where they are lean, there is more will to make excuses for not sharing. That is the economics of human behavior in a nut shell. This goes all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. When there was plenty, there was more will to share with non-breeders.

Right now there seems to be a movement to create a perception that there is a comparable divide between liberal and conservative individuals. Almost all media outlets are liberal in their leanings; even though the vast majority of US citizens are right-of-center. More recently there has apparently been a threshold where the citizens are more concerned about the country’s economic state. This is evident in the budgetary talking points. The fact that Trump was elected was because of the economic concerns. Bernie Sanders played that card; and probably could have beaten Trump; but Clinton blocked him and essentially threw the fight. That’s probably what actually happened.

Keep in mind, with almost all media outlets being left-of-center, the populous is still becoming more conservative. Upwards of 90% of the information processed in our brain is done entirely without conscious thought. This information then influences our “conscious” thought. It builds a perception that we then recon with consciously.

One thing to make note of is that the shrinking of the middle class is directly proportional to the increase in conservatism. Most left leaning people are going to be middle and upper middle class. Economics isn’t the only influence on political leanings; but it is the most influential. This reaction is game theoretical and impulsive. “Someone cheated me”. " This isn’t fair". “It must be made right”.

The media is clearly trying to create the perception that the left isn’t outnumbered. It’s a huge con that Sociology can debunk. It’s also bad news for a large number of college students. (college students == mainly middle class and upper middle class) The left is slowly disappearing because of the state of the economy.

This issue with Facebook is more of a non-issue than the media will allow. Excuses will continue until party platforms adjust to something more even… probably… maybe… hell, I don’t know.

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The CA problem biggest problem is violating campaign financing laws and god knows what else with their business model of bribing and entrapping politicians. The data stuff and manipulation of data is just the cherry on top. They’re like one of those types of shadowy corporations that should only ever exist in a Bond movie.

I find this backlash amazingly interesting. I always like to see FB getting some deserved flack but it is really intriguing to see how much people are shocked by this. They have been doing this openly for years no? The only wrong doing is just a breach of contract between CA and FB? I almost understand the FB people being confused in the sense “we have been doing this for so long. Why are we now getting flack for it?”

EDIT: BTW now the whatsapp founders are actually founders of the signal foundation. So currently they are definitely on the other side of the argument.

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The actual behaviors of Facebook doesn’t appear to be what people are taking issue with. The lack of understanding of the technology and it’s consequences prevents people from seeing the implications of the behaviors. When the “how it effects me” comes out, then the 5#!7storm begins. Then it’s the behavior itself that is targeted and not so much the policy. This may be why it’s being touted as a “data breach” instead of an unfavorable model. It seems as though the understanding of the implications of the business model is still not understood.

This may suggest that not only will no change occur, but also that forgiveness is a viable option. Again, it’s game theoretical… “someone cheated me”. This is opposed to the fact that the model will likely do it again.

There is a game theoretical model (Nash and Axelrod) called trusting tit for tat. It’s a combination of tit for tat (TFT “what comes around, goes around”) and forgiving tit for tat (FTFT “I’ll forgive you; if the cooperation returns”). This is to mitigate signal noise; where one may think they’ve been cheated, when they haven’t in actuality. This prevents a loop of indefinite lack of cooperation. When cooperation fails, an act of forgiveness is employed in the hopes that cooperation will return. If this is the case, then both parties can return to the TFT strategy and continue cooperating.

Another interesting development in Axelrod’s studies is the observation of what is referred to as the Pavlov strategy. This has nothing direct to do with Pavlov’s studies though. The nomenclature isn’t clear; but a Pavlov strategy is one that exploits. This is why Nash’s studies showed TFT to be the most successful strategy. You see, Pavlov can take advantage of FTFT. Every time that forgiveness is applied, it’s a one up for the opposition. Some just cannot be trusted. Facebook fits in this category.

What seems most likely here is that forgiveness will occur, Facebook is obviously not going to be charged with anything, and the public will forget in a short amount of time… as soon as the next excuse arises. It looks like a carrot on a stick to me; for the purpose of hiding the uneven divide.

I have never created a Facebook account and I never will. But yeah, a lot of this stuff isn’t new news and it has been pretty well known that Facebook collects user data and sells it to corporations/ entities/ governments for years.

Maybe Facebook will pull out of this business model because of the backlash that is happening right now, and start using all of those millions of facebook apps to mine for crypto?

You are nailing the social mechanisms of it. The awareness of business models (incentives) is thoroughly lacking in the general population, but also often in the people modelling the business. Perhaps ethics are necessary to understand the consequences. But how one would situate ethics in a non-person, an organization, seems to easily escape comprehension of those in position to do so.