Inside the hive mind that works—and holds lessons for Big Tech

It about incentives.

What Wikipedia illustrates is that the problems with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms aren’t that they are social or that they’re populated by user-generated content. It’s their business models. All three are for-profit companies that make their money through micro-targeted advertising, which means they have strong incentives to show users content that will keep them on their platform for as long as possible and keep them coming back. Content that confirms users’ beliefs or stokes their preexisting resentments can be good for business. That only overlaps with the truth some of the time.


And there’s this too. Not only do they feed you confirmation biased content they know every step you take.

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We know big tech is into making money but how do you explain Twitter for example, taking away the attraction of President Trump’s incessant tweeting for his (I’m guessing here) 70-80 million followers and causing your own company’s stock to plummet $ billions?

I know the answer. They want more than money.

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Quick google search:

Trump was banned in 2021.

What’s the scale on the x axis?

The choice of graph are at the top - I picked 6 months.

Here’s without the x-axis label cut off.

Ban was 8 Jan:


It doesn’t answer my question as to why Twitter would sacrifice Trump’s consumers unless you suggest it knew banning him would massively improve the share price.

Would the price be higher still with Trump?

Using this graph:


Using the most current price this graph just shows steady growth when smoothed out.


Twitter gave their reasons when they banned him. You just refuse to accept things. A common failing to P45’s followers.

You’re just trying to save face. You posited a theory. The evidence didn’t fit the facts. So you retroactively changed your theory. Since there is no way to prove your theory, you declare victory. Jugheadian science at its best.


While all news / info outlets are motivated by their profits which are now so precisely calculated by algorithms, a primary root cause of the misinformation is the lack of US Government transparency, Whenever the citizenship does not get a clear understanding of events it spawns misinformation which develops a life of it’s own. Both Dems and GOP actively participate in creating a shielded view of truth and has been that way for decades.IE- Bush’s Patriot Act altered information completely and was backed by both sides of the aisle, and re-endorsed by Obama. The idea that there is a political party that are actual cannibals has less chance of taking hold if Government information performed better than an algorithim based report. Twitter, FB, Instagram are amplifiers of this phenomen, but not the root. They are as calculated and profit based as CNN or FOX. All of these outlets, like our government, operate equally on the commission of info as well as the omission of info.

Neither the New York Times or Wikipedia are bastions of truth-telling. The NYT is perishingly close to imploding but has enough power & public reputation never actually to implode. But this retraction, the1619 project, and Don McNeil’s agitprop confession make me wonder. It’s looking cruel, unprofessional, and silly. And despicable.

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Not all. There are BBC and other public broadcasters that is not.

Great. I can see the graph. I want the reasons. Difficult, I know, but graphs don’t answer my questions. Stock prices follow markets, but markets follow sentiment.

Twitter fell after the ban - indisputable. But rose beyond that later. If bug tech can eject millions of once happy users at a stroke, why would Twitter assume it would benefit their business based on your op?

I need words, not graphs. I don’t know and I doubt anybody does but try an explanation.

They didn’t eject millions, just one.

Wrong number - they banned 70,000 accounts

You’ve deliberately missed the point again.

Your op averred that by giving content that users like, the company can better micro-manage advertising to individuals and increase revenue. Are we agreed so far?

So 80 million users liked following Trump. Twitter banned Trump. Result 80 million users perhaps not totally gone but less happy, less active, less interested, less available for advertising exposure, less revenue.

Why is it in the interests of Twitter to do that? I haven’t heard a word of explanation based on your op’s thesis. If you don’t know (I suspect you don’t - I don’t) just say so. Stock markets are not scientifically decided.

My view is that Twitter wants power. It assumes the money will roll in regardless because it’s a virtual monopoly. It’s demonstrated it can ban a properly elected president in one country - and, it seems, not suffer other than short-term pain. Other nations are watching aghast. They are likewise threatened by this monster and are acting to pass laws to control it.

Will they ban the Kardashians and not suffer?

Give me your view please, not some other website’s.

Where’s the data on this? It seems highly unlikely that the number of people that voted for him are highly correlated to distaste for Twitter. Even less so that many will be still be carrying a torch for Trump 12 months from now. I myself was a Twitter follower of Trump. Many of us felt compelled to watch him like a hawk. We’re happy that we no longer have that tiresome chore.

Sleeping like a baby. Thank you for asking. So no data? Just a WAG of a homemade theory? Twitter seems fine. Trump? Not so much.

One of the main points in the article linked to in the OP is that Wikipedia is frequently a good source for many topics. That’s because of the crowd-sourced methods used as well as the process used to edit.

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In many ways Wikipedia is the perfect solution to the issue raised in that other thread, about verifying the source of information: Just throw human minds at the problem, and it goes away. Sadly, this solution doesn’t scale to address the problem as faced by social media in a wider context.

I believe the permanent solution involves a high level AI in an open source implementation of some sort. There was a really good talk about it somewhere, I think by one of the bellingcat guys, but I can’t find it back now; I’ll keep looking. It remains to be seen if and when such a tool is made available, since the investment to get there is non-trivial, and ownership could give someone a lot of power.