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Re: Facebook

Several commenters suggested I post this piece about how the Russians invaded Facebook in 2016 and I am happy to oblige.

But there are a couple of things I want to point out. First, not to toot my own horn or anything but I’ve been warning people about the ability to game Facebook since 2008 or 2009. You only had to see what happened to DailyKos in 2007-8 to know how social media can be used to influence people. It’s worse whereever there is a “like” button on the page. Why? Because when you express an opinion that a malefactor wants and he “likes” you, it’s like a shot of dopamine to your neural reward system. You become like Sally Fields receiving her first Oscar. Before you know it, you’re throwing words like “neoliberal” and “corporatist” around without any idea what they mean. Go ahead, *somebody* on this blog define those words for me. You can’t. They are meaningless. But because you get liked when you use them, suddenly they take on a life of their own.

Second, you have no idea who your “friends” are. Again, not to toot my own horn but back in 2008 during the Democratic convention in Denver, this blog logged 52,000 unique page hits in one day. We have almost 13 million unique page hits since 2008. Now that might pale in comparison to Eschaton or Digby but back then we were hot spit. And I was getting hundreds of friend requests on Facebook. I have a Facebook account but I never use it. But even if I did, I don’t know 99% of the people who wanted to friend me on Facebook. And yet they would have the capacity to send me messages and post on my wall and influence me and my legitimate friends. Um, no. I saw what happened in 2008 when everyone lost their minds over Obama. I wasn’t going to let my unmonitored Facebook page be party to more undue influence.

If you have a Facebook account and you use it to post pics of your family and organize get togethers, great, knock yourself out. Eventually, you’ll start getting silly news articles and get liked for expressing an opinion and before you know it, you’ll think Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile sex ring out of a pizza joint. I sat next to a woman at a wedding in October 2016 who told me with a straight face that Hillary and Bill had murdered dozens of their political opponents and even some of their friends, like the Clintons had their own Chappaqua flavored Ton Ton Macoute. I can only imagine what they look like. Middle aged, a little frumpy, hiding ice picks in the deep pockets of their Mao jackets.

It was useless to tell this woman to get a grip. People are herd animals. The organized entities who put this crap on Facebook and carefully cultivate their targets know what they are doing. They know how much education you have and how likely you are to question your sources and know exactly how to flatter you and make you feel included in a big group of warm fuzzy people who think just like you do. They love bomb you like crazy and before you know it, you think that Hillary Clinton is just as bad as Donald Trump.

I warned people about Facebook but since I’ve been exiled to the Oort belt of the lefty blogosphere for saying in 2008 that Barack Obama was a corporate ladder climbing shmoozer who would be an ineffective and weak president, my voice doesn’t have the reach it used to.

I probably should have upped my presence on Facebook.