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Wot no social media?

F’book? Twatter? Instagrip? Wot-no-social-media?

No, it’s really not my bag to indulge personally. However, social media is the defining part of the current stage of the internet’s evolution and the supercilious indignation that is seemingly shared by all is a recurring theme for satire in Blog and Latest Picks. And how could I not love it with regards the illustration inspiring pictorial cornucopia it provides?

Besides some being somewhat pseudonym-unfriendly with real-name policies and the now much reported on toxic antics that go on quickly putting me off any platform I’ve ever been talked into joining to help tout my invariably TOS prohibited illustration, my own oft sociability-straining “artistic temperament” less euphemistically described as not the most stable of people ( does no favours for my social-mediaic credentials either, quickly seemingly turning any interaction through either misunderstanding, deliberate trolling or oneup(wo)manship into an appalling ill-behaved-when-easily-baited lyrical “Kill V. Maim” horror show (GoogleTube). ♫ Eh, I don’t behave, I don’t behave, oh eh

So I’m quite content to watch it from the sidelines while it becomes the ostracising, ever watching dystopia prophesied by Black Mirror.

But yeah, if I ever change my mind I’ll “friend” you along with 1,000 others including a sizable proportion of bots and fake accounts in a day hoping they will reciprocally follow back to ensure I’m popular enough to warrant attention, which is the way of things I hear.

That is, if I’m even able to…

That is, if I’m able as, no Twitter or F’book, you really don’t need my phone number to solve your abuse problems and whatever else you may find it profitable to use it for.

That is, if I’m able to…

Jack Dorsey: “I need you to give me your phone number so I can trust you.”
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter

That is, if I’m able as, no Twitter or F’book, you really don’t need my phone number to solve your abuse problems and whatever else you may find it profitable to use it for: Twitter starts tracking phone numbers to prevent its worst users from creating new accounts (, Feb. 2015).

“This move doesn’t resolve Twitter’s whack-a-mole troll problem entirely. Among other loopholes, a user asked to provide a phone number the first time could simply abandon his account and start a new one.”

As I’m sure most trolls and troll factories do, further increasing the ratio of live to not so live accounts while Twitter pays lip service at best to sorting them out.

And it seems trolls are not really the ones repeatedly having phone account verification problems, even if they have somehow dared—most are not quite aware how—offend Twitter’s TOS sensibilities or caused it to doubt you are a real person (

Hey Twitter, killing anonymity’s a dumb way to fight trolls (, Mar. 2015).

“If this change was targeted at that harassment—addressing the leaked acknowledgment from CEO [at the time] Dick Costolo that ‘We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years’—it’s a dangerous example of the Politician’s Syllogism: we must do something; this is something; therefore, we must do this.”

It being the same for F’book where it’s been asking a lot longer without the need to list abuse as the need:

Remember when Facebook wanted your phone number? It’s using it to sell ads (, Nov. 2012)

“Facebook also collects users’ phone numbers when they are entered in other parts of a users’ account information. Those numbers are then made available to advertisers as part of its new Custom Audience targeting product. ‘Audiences can be defined by either user email address, Facebook UIDs, or user phone numbers’.”

And, perhaps even more worryingly:

Mark Zuckerberg: “I can hear you.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Facebook

Facebook can hear you, uses people’s phones to listen to what they say (Latest picks 1st June 2016).

Indeed, perhaps even being the phone with the number you gave them that is now having a listen in while you update your status sitting on the loo.

“Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.”

Although strenuously denied by Zuck ’n co., even swearing so to Congress when forced and under a dark cloud when dealing with the fallout of having accidentally help let Cambridge Analytica elect an orange caricature as presidential face and hair of America and indeed with experts and analysts suggesting it doesn’t need our conversations to target ads effectively (, May 2019) presumably in relation to the fact that via tracking everything you do it can damn well guess what you might have said anyway.

But back to Twitter, where it seems—and much in the news it is as it is along with F’book too—not all abuse is equal with it being favoured by the orange chap Americans in conspiracy dungarees elected to be their president as his personal 140 char. “news” delivery system:

“Newsworthy” abuse okay with Twitter (Latest picks 5th Oct. 2017).

Indeed, both it and F’book getting well ad-revenue paid to help elect:

Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin (, Oct. 2017).

Mr. Magoo: “I’m going to be president next.”
“The ads [for hosting of which they of course get marvellous amounts of revenue where mobiles on which ad-blockers are somewhat shunned have took over (, Jul. 2017)] were part of roughly 3,000 that Facebook turned over to congressional investigators this week as part of the multiple Capitol Hill inquiries into Russia meddling in the 2016 elections.”

But besides aiding populism leading Americans up whatever garden path to finally electing Mr. Magoo as president, the whole rather late and convenient “I really need your phone” crackdown business does seem rather schoolmarmly dictatorial for something that is on the whole grown adults telling other grown adults what they had for tea, and what they are reading when having a poo after.

Nymwars links

I support pseudonymity
I support pseudonymity

Some of these links may help you see why and respect my decision to revert to one of the many pseudonyms I have used for my illustration in this genre and personally skip social media, and I extend my warmest thanks to those that have supported it.

  • Nymwars (
    “Nymwars refers to conflicts over policies mandating that users of internet services identify themselves using real names.”
  • 2011: Nymwars Year Zero (
    It pitched many ordinary netizens into longstanding battles surrounding identity and anonymity online—and brought issues of privacy and safety to the fore of mainstream media discussions.
  • Facebook real-name policy controversy (Wikipedia)
    The Facebook real-name policy controversy refers to the controversy over social networking site Facebook’s “real-name system” dictating how people register their accounts and configure their user profiles. The controversy stems from a policy that those who have been adversely affected describe as penalizing users who are in fact using their real names which Facebook has nevertheless deemed to be ‘fake’, while simultaneously allowing anyone to create fake yet plausible-sounding names, as well as obviously implausible-sounding names comprising word combinations that Facebook’s software fails to recognize as unlikely to be real.

    And perhaps more importantly stigmatises anyone who does not wish to have their real name associated with their Facebook page, as obviously being somewhat suspicions for not being on there:

    “According to Facebook, the real-name policy stems from the position ‘that way, you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.”

    Rather than actively tracking and tempting a real person’s likes and dislikes simply being the “Big Blue Giant’s” ad-revenue moneymaker:

    Beware, tech abandoners. People without Facebook accounts are ‘suspicious’ (, Aug. 2012)

    “It does seem that increasingly, it’s expected that everyone is on Facebook in some capacity, and that a negative assumption is starting to arise about those who reject the Big Blue Giant’s siren call. Continuing to navigate life without having this digital form of identification may be like trying to get into a bar without a driver’s license.”
  • Who are you, really? Activists fight for pseudonyms (
    “It‘s a concern that goes beyond the social media sites themselves. More and more, social network accounts are becoming a gateway to other parts of the Internet.”
  • “Real Names” Policies are an abuse of power (
    “[this name] is a pseudonym I use to protect myself. My web site can be rather controversial and it has been used against me once.”
  • Who is hurt by the Google+ ‘real names’ policy? (
    “People who wish to talk publicly about things their employer disagrees with.”
  • Pseudonyms, trolls and the battle over online identity (
    “Do pseudonyms allow for more open discussion, or encourage trolls and flame-wars?”
  • Vint Cerf: Google services should not require real names (
    “In the face of increasing government-led crackdowns on social media, Google Inc should not force Internet users to reveal their real names for some services, including its Google+ social network, said Vint Cerf, a senior Google executive known as a ‘father of the Internet.’”
  • In a switch, Google Plus now allows pseudonyms[?] (
    “But not any pseudonym will pass muster. Google will allow nicknames, maiden names and pseudonyms if the person can prove to Google that he or she is known by that name elsewhere, in published material or on other social networks.”
  • Pseudonyms on Google Plus? Wrong (
    “The change they made on this explosive issue is minor. The implementation makes it clear that this is ‘nickname’ support and not true pseudonym support.”


  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for new model for privacy on the web (
    “Berners-Lee said that the promise of ‘big data’ has been undermined by companies using their customers’ data to deliver targeted advertising, which only serves to make them feel ‘a bit queasy’.”

    For sure! Astonishingly it seems people are much less likely to care too when there is a “social” aspect involved; many insisted on a tick box to stop websites tracking their site to site movements but then quite happily reveal their password security question cats names, work sickie history, address and what time they are out on any given Sunday on any social media site their employer, potential employer or uneasy, jealous or vindictive spouse is certain to visit.

  • Facebook apologizes to LGBT community and promises changes to Real Name policy (
    “A single user flagged hundreds of Facebook pages of drag queens (BI reports that a Secret user has claimed responsibility for this) for using fake names, and as part of standard operating procedure, Facebook did a sweep of the profiles without realizing the attack pattern against drag queens using drag names on their Facebook profiles.”

    A “single user”, huh? So real-names prevent trolling and bullying and the moderation system robust enough to distinguish those with a genuine grievance from those simply with a chip on their shoulder?


Tags: social media.