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Social media is making me an angrier person, but I want to fix it – Smithers Interior News

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I need to take a break from social media.

The one thing I dislike about my profession is how intertwined it is with things like Facebook and Twitter.

In reality though it’s a love/hate relationship: I love when I can mine stories from social media. I hate the person it turns me into when I get distracted by it.

Last week: Telkwa’s recent water woes a reminder of infrastructure deficit

Let me just preface all this by saying I have never really done the whole New Year’s resolution thing because I think it’s cliché and you should practice self-improvement when you want to, not on some arbitrary date.

But this year I’ve decided I want to try to find some way to limit my use of social media for non-work purposes.

This is really tough, because I’m essentially always on the lookout for events, story ideas, etc. on Facebook, so perhaps a more accurate way to phrase the above would be my resolution is not to get bogged down in the comment section.

If you use Facebook you probably know what I’m talking about.

The nastiness.

The “I’m right, you’re wrong, no matter what” attitude.

The never-ending back and forth of two people typing over each other in a futile attempt to convince the other of a belief they are not open to being convinced of.

One of the things that frustrates me most is when I’m at home on a day off and I’m browsing Facebook, reading comment sections and arguments between people. Why am I wasting my time reading a 60-comment post on WTF Smithers? What does it accomplish?

Rhetorical question, but you get the point.

MORE TREV THOUGHTS: We can’t acknowledge our failures without conceding our successes

Something happens to people when they argue on social media. We don’t say things to people like we would in real life. Sure, this is partly because a lot of the time on the internet you don’t know who is on the other keyboard.

But I also see it in local groups where there is a lot more interconnectedness (and where I get the sense many people know each other, even if only by some degree of reputation), so I get the feeling it is not purely based on the anonymity factor.

If you’re familiar with Marshall McLuhan and the concept of how “the medium is the message” then you can appreciate how this relates to social media and how it transforms how we conduct ourselves on the platform. It changes us, and not always for the better.

And while I hate to bring him into it, whether you love him or hate him it’s hard to deny that Donald Trump could not have done what he did in 2016 before the age of social media.

In any event, I want out for a while. A social media reset, if you will.

In all honesty, the real resolution is becoming calmer, the social media aspect is just the means to the goal.

It’s like that Snickers ad — I’m not myself when I’m spending my free time reading some argument chain between a flat earther and a liberal arts major.

Maybe you aren’t either.

Despite this being an opinion piece, I don’t think it’s my place to tell people what to do. But I will say this: if any of this resonates with you, seriously consider trying to take a break from social media.

Part of me wishes I could just turn it off for a month. Perhaps that’s what I will do when I go home for a vacation eventually.

Even just over the last few weeks I’ve found myself much happier using social media more responsibly.

It’s not easy and I still catch myself messing up and realizing I’m reading too much into something —literally — but isn’t that the point of New Year’s resolutions?

Again, it’s a cliché, but there are so many incredible experiences to be had and (non-wireless) connections to be made out there in the WWW (the whole wide world).

Why spend your holidays getting mad when you could spend it creating incredible memories with your family?

Merry Christmas to all, and best of luck on any of your respective goals for the new decade (you know, since I won’t be reading as many of your statuses in 2020).

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Facebook’s safety head tells UK lawmakers it does not amplify hate

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Facebook Inc‘s https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebooks-zuckerberg-kicks-off-its-virtual-reality-event-with-metaverse-vision-2021-10-28 algorithms demote rather than promote polarising content, its global head of safety told British lawmakers on Thursday, adding that the U.S. company would welcome effective government regulation.

Governments in Europe and the United States are grappling with regulating social media platforms to reduce the spread of harmful content, particularly for young users.

Britain is leading the charge by bringing forward laws that could fine social media companies up to 10% of their turnover if they fail to remove or limit the spread of illegal content.

Secondary legislation that would make company directors liable could be proposed if the measures do not work.

Facebook https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-asks-employees-preserve-internal-documents-legal-inquiries-2021-10-27 whistleblower Frances Haugen https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-sees-safety-cost-whistleblower-says-2021-10-25 told the same committee of lawmakers on Monday that Facebook’s algorithms pushed extreme and divisive content to users.

Facebook’s Antigone Davis denied the charge.

“I don’t agree that we are amplifying hate,” Davis told the committee on Thursday, adding: “I think we try to take in signals to ensure that we demote content that is divisive for example, or polarising.”

She said she could not guarantee a user would not be recommended hateful content, but Facebook was using AI to reduce its prevalence to 0.05%.

“We have zero interest in amplifying hate on our platform and creating a bad experience for people, they won’t come back,” she said. “Our advertisers won’t let it happen either.”

Davis said Facebook, which announced on Thursday it would rebrand as Meta, wanted regulators to contribute to making social media platforms safer, for example in research into eating disorders or body image.

“Many of these are societal issues and we would like a regulator to play a role,” she said, adding Facebook would welcome a regulator with “proportionate and effective enforcement powers”.

“I think criminal liability for directors is a pretty serious step and I’m not sure we need it to take action.”

 

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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Facebook to be called Meta in nod to its ‘metaverse’ vision

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Facebook Inc is now called Meta, the company said on Thursday, in a rebrand that focuses on its ambitions building the “metaverse,” a shared virtual environment that it bets will be the next big computing platform.

The rebrand comes as the world’s largest social media company battles criticisms from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, algorithmic decisions and the policing of abuses on its platforms.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the company’s live-streamed virtual and augmented reality conference, said the new name reflected its ambitions to build the metaverse, rather than its namesake social media service.

The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley, refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices.

“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” said Zuckerberg.

The company, which has invested heavily in augmented and virtual reality, said the change would bring together its different apps and technologies under one new brand. It said it would not change its corporate structure.

The tech giant, which reports about 2.9 billion monthly users, has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years from global lawmakers and regulators.

In the latest controversy, whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-sees-safety-cost-whistleblower-says-2021-10-25 leaked documents which she said showed the company chose profit over user safety. Zuckerberg earlier this week said the documents were being used to paint a “false picture.”

The company said in a blog post that it intends to start trading under the new stock ticker it has reserved, MVRS, on Dec. 1. On Thursday, it unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.

Facebook said this week that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is responsible for AR and VR efforts, would become a separate reporting unit and that its investment in it would reduce this year’s total operating profit by about $10 billion. The unit will now be called Reality Labs, its head Andrew “Boz” Bosworth tweeted on Thursday.

Zuckerberg said the new name also reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company’s other services.

This year, the company created a product team focused on the metaverse and it recently announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over the next five years to work on the effort.

Facebook shares were up 3.7% at $323.81 on Thursday afternoon.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Sheila Dang in DallasEditing by Ken Li and Matthew Lewis)

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg lays out ‘metaverse’ vision at developers event

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Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg said privacy and safety would need to be built into the metaverse, as he opened the company’s annual conference on virtual and augmented reality on Thursday.

Facebook continues to battle criticism over its market power, its content moderation practices and harms linked to its social media platforms. The tech giant, which reports about 2.9 billion monthly users, has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years from global lawmakers and regulators.

In the latest controversy, whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-sees-safety-cost-whistleblower-says-2021-10-25 leaked documents which she said showed the company chose profit over user safety. Zuckerberg earlier this week said the documents were being used to paint a “false picture.”

The metaverse, a term first coined in a dystopian novel three decades ago and now attracting buzz in Silicon Valley, refers broadly to the idea of a shared virtual environment which can be accessed by people using different devices.

Zuckerberg has increasingly been promoting the idea of Facebook, which has invested heavily in augmented and virtual reality, as a “metaverse” company https://www.reuters.com/technology/facebook-sets-up-new-team-work-metaverse-2021-07-26 rather than a social media one.

The CEO, speaking during the live-streamed Facebook Connect event, gave examples of privacy and safety controls that would be needed in the metaverse, such as the ability to block someone from appearing in your space. Zuckerberg is betting that the metaverse will be the next big computing platform, calling it “the successor to the mobile internet.”

The whistleblower documents, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, show internal research and employee discussions on Instagram’s effects on the mental health of teens and whether Facebook stokes divisions, as well as its handling of activity around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and inconsistencies in content moderation for users around the globe.

The company gave a slew of updates for its VR and AR products. It said it would this year launch a way for people using its Oculus VR headset to call friends using Facebook Messenger and for people to invite others to a social version of their home, dubbed “Horizon Home,” to talk and play games as avatars.

Facebook also said it would introduce a way for Oculus Quest users to use different 2D apps like Slack, Dropbox and Facebook while in this “Horizon Home” VR space.

The company, which began a beta test of its virtual meeting spaces “Horizon Workrooms” earlier this year, said it was working on ways of customizing these with company logos and designs and said it would be bringing more work capabilities into consumer Quest devices. It also announced new fitness offerings for Oculus Quest users.

Facebook said this week that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is responsible for AR and VR efforts, would become a separate reporting unit and that its investment in it would reduce this year’s total operating profit by about $10 billion.

This year, Facebook created a product team focused on the metaverse and it recently announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over the next five years to work on the effort.

Facebook also said it would run a $150 million education program aimed at helping AR and VR creators and developers.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Sheila Dang in DallasEditing by Matthew Lewis)

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