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This is about the best thing I've read in a good while - and I read for a living. Massive respect.

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Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

I completely deleted my Facebook account in 2015 and am astounded that anyone still uses it at all. Zuckerberg totally ruined Instagram as well. It was the number 1 platform for artists to show and sell their work. That is, until Zuckerberg bought it and decided that, like with FB, the algorithm would decide what you get to see. Many artists were suddenly in a position of their engagement and therefore their incomes (not generally huge in the first place) plummetting. Now everyone is scrambling to make reels to please the algorithm - idiotic short form video content that no one asked for on Instagram. Same with youtube - it is now prioritising short form content which seems to mean videos under 1 or 2 minutes in length. Used to be on youtube that if you followed someone and clicked on notifications you'd get an email letting you know they had posted. Now, it might show you videos from those you follow, but they will stay in your home feed only briefly. I find myself going to my subscriptions and scrolling through to find videos from creators I like. No matter how many times I tell the algorithm that I'm not interested in plastic doll 20-somethings extolling their make up techniques they still continue to pop up from time to time. I wish we could go back to 2009 when the internet was still fun.

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A really terrific explanation of how it all went bad for Facebook. Thank you for writing this. The only useful part of the site left is the groups function -- and even that is likely just a matter of time.

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Sears went down for lots of reasons, but mostly because it was like asking horse and buggy businesses to dominate in the new industry called cars 100 years ago. The decline wasn't sudden either, been a long long time since Sears sold 30% of the stuff in America. 40 years ago they were just another anchor store among several in the malls. Pretty much every store that depended on malls is kaput.

I thought it was a terrific rant, but Gioia confuses wealth on paper, mostly meaning stocks in your own company without diversifying, with actual wealth. That's why it's a mystery when everyone lists folks like Musk as the richest people in the world, while he's panicking about interest payments on Twitter's debt. The titans of industry of yore had cash and gold in the bank, bought tons of real estate. A lot of the new billionaires are mirages of the stock market and other markers. Sammy Best Friend just the latest example. He probably tried to find a bank to convert his tokens or whatever the hell his FTX wealth was measured by into actual dollars.

Facebook really sucks, everything Gioia mentioned is true, and so much more. I'm personally not interested in TikTok I trust the Chinese like I trust my worst enemy. The real question then becomes with all their incompetence why nobody has arisen to compete with them and replace them.

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Excellent. I have so many things to say, but in a way you said them, in your eloquent way.. I have experience, having not only owned my own little store, but my parents did as well. Although they were two different industries, what these huge companies do is to set their prices 5% below cost for example, and put their competitors out of business, since they have the liquid cash to sustain losses. Then, they slowly inflate their price, but stop at the moment it's no longer (more) profitable. I would just add that it seems 99% of our communication is not face-to-face, which I believe leads to dehumanization. Usually when strangers pass, they might smile, some say hello, but it's very, very rare to be met with hostility. But online, the feeling of anonymity and not having the fear of repercussion allows one to vent all their life's frustrations to a random person on the internet, and then "the social space" becomes a place like my tiny living room, where millions are shouting, so the ones who are talking logically and peacefully will never be heard. I struggle with how much I want to express myself, and how, because of my self-consciousness (usually to spare feelings) and the added pressure of having money for food in the richest country in history, although it sure doesn't look this way with about eight guys having more money than the bottom 100 million, unless it's changed since -- billionaires are making a killing (and killing) from this pandemic.

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Great insights Ted. I would add that the model you describe, which we see operating not only in web platforms but also in various retail sectors, has become the modus operandi of politicians and government as well. They take on a God-like role and do whatever they please, ignoring the wishes of the public who elected them to carry out those wishes. They no longer serve the public, but merely seek to rule.

We must remember that the people are many, and we still hold the power....as long as we don't keep giving it away. Then there will come a point when it's too late to protest.

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Ted, are you still on Facebook? I never joined, nor do I have an Instagram account. I wouldn’t want someone who screwed his early partners to have access to any of my info, or control of my headlines. Zuck is the Bernie Madoff of social media. But it’s worse… Cambridge Analytica? He screwed the whole country.

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Terrific piece. I thought Facebook was kind of fun at first, and now I think it is monstrous, dangerous and destructive. I tried to promote a concert recently, and it was really hard to figure out how to do it. I finally got it set up on a page, and the shilling for “promotion” started. Never enough.

I ran away...still running. Done with it.

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"It still manages to keep me in touch with a few close family members and friends—and I don’t dismiss the value of that. "

Seriously ? You talk as If there is NO way to communicate on this planet other than ...

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Hey there! Remember when I said I wish I could just shoot you $20 to thank you for this article? I see they've added a pledge button! If you will add it to this post, or help me understand how to use it, I will make good on my promise. I love it when technology keeps up with needs!

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They just adopted the introduction to the TV show “The Outer Limits” as their business model.

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: There is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.”

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I'm not an American. And even if I was I'm too young to remember Sears. But I've heard that Sears made great products that lasted. You can't say that of Meta, can you?

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Ted, this is a thoughtful piece but I noticed that you've included Apple on the infographic and it got me to thinking. Granted, the two companies (Meta and Apple) have two very different sets of products but it seems to me, from a distance, that Apple has also made a number of decisions over the years which have both limited user choice in ways that served its business model (abrupt changes to product features forcing costly upgrades; the move from ITunes to Apple Music's subscription based model, similar to YouTube Music; pushing cloud technologies which require some user intervention to thwart if you want to use on-prem storage, etc.)

Granted, Apple isn't monetizing our personal information the way that Facebook is but over time Apple seems to have made a number of business decisions which are more about enhancing their bottom line that enhancing user experience, particularly since Tim Cook took over as CEO. Moreover, they have frequently led the customer to where they wanted the customer to be, often using the argument that the customer doesn't know what they want, particularly when exploring new market segments. I write these comments as someone who doesn't really use Apple products so I could be missing some important context, but these are my impressions.

So do Apple's products really work that much better than Meta's? Does Apple really do that much better of a job at providing customers what they want, such that the lock in to Apple's ecosystem is much more tolerable? Or is there any danger that they could go a step too far with the iPhones and iPad product lines and alienate their immensely loyal user base? Curious to read your thoughts, and those of your readers, Ted.

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Dear Ted, if you only knew that mayonnaise (and sliced boiled eggs!) on a pizza is actually a thing in my hometown Pesaro, Italy! We call it pizza Rossini (yes that’s where Gioacchino Rossini was born) Made my day! 😜 But seriosly thank you so much for your writing! 🙏🏻

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Terrific! But I sort of like most of what must be in MC Hammer's closet...

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There is a simple answer. I deleted my facebook account some time ago. It was a bit of work at the time, but I no longer have any issues!

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