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Ok Fosstodon let me ask you a real question.

I'm designing an MA module where students should come out with a broad conceptual basis for analysing and critiquing social media platforms. What general conceptual areas do you think are important for this?

So far I've got...
1. Data ownership
2. Code ownership
3. Structure (central/decentral/matrix)
4. Security, surveillance.
5. Legal jurisdiction.
6. Content moderation
7. Gamification
... these can all be changed!
Thoughts so welcome.

@bagel

> I'm designing an MA module where students should come out with a broad conceptual basis for analysing and critiquing social media platforms. What general conceptual areas do you think are important for this?

What's an "MA module"? Who are the students/what background do they have?

@codesections Sorry, academic lingo. It's a master's module. Students from around the world, especially from China.

@bagel

No other areas spring to mind, but here are a couple of expansions to items already on the list (which you probably already know):

> 6. Content moderation

Including with regards to culture specific issues/inter-cultural interactions. Mental health of moderators who deal with extreme content. RadioLab had a good episode on this: wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radio

> 7. Gamification

And addiction (which has similar dynamics). Pulling in issues related to self esteem and mental health here

@codesections

Thanks a lot! Listening to the Radiolab podcast now. Seems good.

> Addiction
Yes! True.

@codesections This is such a powerful podcast. I'll definitely put it on the reading list. Thank you!

@bagel How about "Content Interaction and/or User Engagement?"

@AvnSgt Good point. We teach quite a bit of UX in other modules, so I don't want to repeat it... but yeah true...

@bagel Code Ownership is Everything. since other all the things are based on code, simple the code owner can decide anything.

@sjsivaprakash I'll definitely raise this and have it as a point of discussion throughout the term. Thanks!

@e8johan Definitely gonna emphasise this. Thank you!

@bagel conceptual area: personalized feed / filter bubble.

The reason why I quit Facebook ~7 years ago was the pre-sorted and pre-filtered feed (instead of chronological).

They made it very inconvenient and then impossible to get the unfiltered chronological feed of *everything* my friends posted.

I concluded that this will screw with the users perception of the world and damage democracy. So I quit.

The reason seemed vague to the people I told it at the time. Now it is kind of obvious.

@emilis Yes filter bubble should be it's own week. Good point.

I'm curious what the fediverse solution to this is - FB's argument is, I guess, that it's not possible to read all the posts in a feed. An active user might have 1,000s in a day. So it needs a filter.

How would the fediverse deal with a problem of scale like this?

@Lifeguard I'll definitely include a week on closed-source software and foss licences. Thanks!

@bagel maybe considering adding a section on metadata? Yes you connection to that VPN provider is secure but your ISP/governed will know you are using a VPN. Is DPI or just IP lists.

@mholiv Completely agree - metadata needs to be emphasised. Talking about VPNs is good too. I'll put that in the topology section maybe.

Would you mind clarifying what DPI means though?

@bagel deep packet inspection. Deep Packet Inspection + Machine Learning is a powerful (and scary) combo.

@bagel these all look good! I'd also cover more broadly how social media is designed to be addictive.

@zethra Thanks Ben, I'll definitely include it in the gamification section, if not elsewhere.

@bagel I think data mobility is an important sub-topic of (1) data ownership. It does not help whether you own something if you cannot transfer it to another system. GDPR's clauses on data export in a machine readable format seems relevant there.

@bagel

I'm no expert but I'd want to cover economic/psychological effects and events as a category including:

Econ:
Network effects
Winner-takes-all technology markets
Anti-competitive behaviour
Conglomeration

Psych:
Skinner boxes
Classical conditioning
Facebook experimenting on its own users (theguardian.com/technology/201)
Mental health effects

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