Me, IG & Misinformation.

“Meta is helping build a future where people have more ways to play and connect in the metaverse. Welcome to the next chapter of social connection.” according to their website.

According to Meta “Combating Misinformation: How we’re stopping false news from spreading, removing content that violates our policies, and giving people more information so they can decide what to read, trust and share.”

For the record, I misattributed a quote to Winston Churchill, that historians believe Churchill did not say on my IG page @thinking4tomorrow. I own my mistake. It was an honest mistake, I had no intention to be misleading. My IG page is for inspiration, not scholarship.

Let’s sort out a few definitions.

Misinformation is defined as “false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.”

Disinformation is defined as ” false information which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.

Misattribution is defined as a transitive verb. : to incorrectly indicate the cause, origin, or creator of (something).

On March 13th of this year, I posted this on my IG account for “@Thinking 4 Tomorrow“.

This is a note I found in my inbox @IG on Wednesday of this week.

When I clicked on the button, I found more information as to my dreaded spread of “false information”. I am not curing cancer with a new spurious treatment, I am inspiring people with quotes. I never intended to deceive or mislead.

I investigated further. There is no substantive evidence that Churchill made this remark. The saying is listed in the comprehensive quotation collection “Churchill by Himself” in a special appendix called “Red Herrings: False Attributions”.

Meta’s independent fact-checkers appear to be correct.

Okay. I have been corrected. I own my mistake. But…..so what? Is this where IG/Meta is putting its energy and resources? How did a quote on my IG page rise to the level of misinformation worthy of platform censorship?

Allow me to add a little “disinformation, misinformation and misattribution” context to our discussion with an interview with Noam Chomsky. His contributions to linguistics and related fields, including cognitive psychology and the philosophies of mind and language, initiated and sustained the “cognitive revolution.” Chomsky also gained a worldwide following as a political dissident for his analyses of the pernicious influence of economic elites on U.S. domestic politics, foreign policy, and intellectual culture. I disagreed with Chomsky on occasion, without being disagreeable. He is known to relish debate and promote free speech at all costs.

Noam Chomsky

The New Yorker ran an article by By Isaac Chotiner on October 30, 2020 “Noam Chomsky Believes Trump Is “the Worst Criminal in Human History”. The author chose a highly effective question-and-answer format.

CHOTINER: I think the biggest controversy you ever had was probably the Faurisson affair. That fits into, I guess, what I said about you being willing to answer e-mails and letters and sign petitions or so on. Do you have any regrets about that and how that played out? [Four decades ago, Chomsky repeatedly defended the free-speech rights of Robert Faurisson, a French professor of literature and a Holocaust denier.]

CHOMSKY: No, I have no regrets about standing up for freedom of speech and opposing the Stalinist-style laws in France—which say that the state, the holy state, has the right to determine historical truth and to punish deviation from what it asserts. I have no reservations about opposing that.

CHOTINER: You signed the Harper’s letter about free speech and “cancel culture.” What did you make of that letter?

CHOMSKY: That letter was so anodyne and insignificant; that I barely noticed it. The only interesting thing about that letter is its reaction to it. The reaction was extraordinary. It showed that the problem is far greater than I thought it was.

CHOTINER: Say more.

CHOMSKY: The problem was that people were outraged that somebody should make an anodyne statement, a simple statement, saying we should have some commitment to freedom of speech, even views we don’t like. I thought that’s the kind of thing people say to each other in their sleep. But apparently many people said, “No, can’t say that too dangerous”—all kinds of crazed interpretations. Some of the interpretations were really wild. A lot of the protest was about the people who signed it. How can you sign a statement when such-and-such a person signs it? It takes thirty seconds of thought to understand that if you accept that principle, there are no statements, for very simple reasons. You’ve got plenty of statements to sign. Do you know who else is going to sign it? If the question of who else signs a statement is a criterion for signing it, then nobody in their right mind ever signs anything. Just that simple point of logic couldn’t fit the people who were so outraged that someone should say it’s not a good idea to shut people up.

With Chomsky, we are talking about defending free speech against censorship even with those we disagree with. Let me go further.

In a recent article entitled “How War in Ukraine Roiled Facebook and Instagram” By Ryan MacMike Isaacand Sheera Frenkel in the New York Times the authors suggested that IG, Facebook, or Meta might have bigger fish to fry than misattribution of an inspirational IG post.

Meta has made more than half a dozen content policy revisions since Russia invaded Ukraine last month. The company has permitted posts about the conflict that it would normally have taken down — including some calling for the death of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and violence against Russian soldiers — before changing its mind or drawing up new guidelines, the people said.

Meta has weathered international strife before — including the genocide of a Muslim minority in Myanmar last decade and skirmishes between India and Pakistan — with varying degrees of success. Now the largest conflict on the European continent since World War II has become a litmus test of whether the company has learned to police its platforms during major global crises — and so far, it appears to remain a work in progress.

All the ingredients of the Russia-Ukraine conflict have been around for a long time: the calls for violence, the disinformation, the propaganda from state media,” said David Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and a former special rapporteur to the United Nations. “What I find mystifying was that they didn’t have a game plan to deal with it.”

Meta does not have a game plan to deal with the Russia-Ukraine war because they are mismanaged and its investors know it. IG’s overreaction to my misattribution is a case in point. Take a look at the chart below of Facebook (Meta) stock since its IPO.

Meta’s value has been cut in half since its highs. Mismanagement is the reason for the sharp drop in its stock price. And mismanagement is why TikTok is kicking IG’s butt. My insignificant interaction with IG’s censors is not relevant but it is symptomatic of bigger issues plaguing the IG & Facebook platforms.

I only wish the IG censors could have nailed my egregious act earlier in the year, so I could have made a little money betting against Meta’s stock.

Until next time. Travel safe.

Published by Robert Q Watson

During my first six decades on this earth, I lived life at great heights often on the razor’s edge. Consequently, I have enjoyed incredible successes and endured mind-numbing failures. Truthfully, I have had a hell of a view.

2 thoughts on “Me, IG & Misinformation.

  1. “…it is symptomatic of bigger issues plaguing the IG & Facebook platforms.” Exactly. You are right, Robert. Your honest mistake, which anyone could make, is far from the problem.

    Like

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