Convenience vs Privacy (Round 2)


For a while now I’ve been trying to find ways to convey the risks of social media and the importance of privacy to my non-tech savvy family members, in a previous entry I went over getting away from WhatsApp (Facebook really) and using element connected to my own self hosted synapse server.

The Social Dilemma

Two weeks ago I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, which I really enjoyed. To elaborate further these are my main take aways:

  • The people featured in the documentary explain things is easy to follow for non – tech oriented people, because, let’s be honest, sometimes people from technical backgrounds tend to make assumptions or loose patience while explaining (I know I have)
  • Some of the creators of some social media platforms or multiple of their functionalities (such as the like button for Facebook) were involved in the creation of this documentary and even willing to admit that they didn’t think of the negative uses of said functionalities! A couple examples that come to mind are people doing everything (varying degrees of ridiculousness) to go up in this like/views based system on YouTube or live streaming horrible deeds on < insert your video streaming platform of choice here > to spread fear/hate
  • The fact that Center for Humane Technology (featured in the documentary) was started by the same people that created or helped in the creation of diverse social media platforms and the fact that people that work for social media platforms go to great lengths to get their own kids to stay away from their own creations should both be huge red flags for “us, normal users”.
  • The “Brain hacking” algorithms work on you even if you’re highly educated or know how they work

Ongoing efforts

After watching the documentary and recommending it to my folks back home (English is a bit hard for them so I’m thankful for Netflix translations), a search for similar resources began and a pleasant exchange with @humanetech (Mastodon account that represents Humane Tech Community ) turned up some very good sites like Social Cooling – Big Data’s unintended side effect which was nice but I began thinking:

“Hey, most of the resources are in English , it doesn’t make sense to have/share them if most of the vulnerable population isn’t highly educated and speaks the language (at least in my country), maybe translation of such resources is a good idea”

After deciding to be a little proactive I offered this thought to @humanetech which was received with enthusiasm and after being pointed to one of their forum’s threads I discovered someone had already thought about this and even volunteered to translate to Italian, at this point I thought I could help translating to Spanish, so I joined the forum and officially volunteered as tribute well, which began another thread dedicated to gathering resources for possible translation.

So that’s all it took to take some action to help a little bit, a couple of toots and some forum posts, I really hope some translation effort happens, interest seems to be there as at the time of writing there are other people who volunteered to translate to Portuguese, German and Russian (this last one 2 hours before this entry was live).

If my thoughts resonate with you, you can join the forum, volunteer to translate or overall reach out to exchange ideas either on mastodon or on Humane Tech Community forum

Day 19 of

4 responses to “Convenience vs Privacy (Round 2)”

  1. @lopeztel nice write-up, thank you! trended on HN too, and is no. 36 all-time most upvoted now. The way #socialcooling communicates impact of social media and erosion of #privacy is a success formula it seems.Understandable, relatable and clarifying how one is personal affected..Currently we found translators for Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and German.Thanks for offering your help too!See also #hackernews thread:
    Social Cooling – big data’s unintended side effect


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