December 5, 2018

"Here’s How Facebook’s Local News Algorithm Change Led To The Worst Riots Paris Has Seen In 50 Years."

"The Yellow Jackets movement is what happens when you point Facebook's traffic hose at France's small towns. The question now is: How do you turn it off?" (BuzzFeed).
So, in less than two weeks, what you end up with is this: A Change.org petition with fewer than 1,500 subscribers gets talked about on a local radio station. The radio appearance is written up by a local news site. The article is shared to a local Facebook page. Thanks to an algorithm change that is now emphasizing local discussion, the article dominates the conversation in a small town. Two men from the same suburb then turn the petition into a Facebook event. A duplicate petition goes viral within the local Facebook groups. Then a daily newspaper writes up the original petition. This second article about the petition also goes viral. So does the original petition. And then the rest of French media follows.

73 comments:

Paddy O said...

Victor Hugo wrote about this tendency for algorithms to ignite social media and lead to massive demonstrations in one of his books.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I guess if there's ever an uprising against the Davos elite, it's because of some nasty trick by, or using, Facebook.

George Grady said...

It couldn't simply be that the Yellow Vests have legitimate complaints, could it? Typical: if people can communicate, they won't do what their betters want them to do; therefore, censorship!

Gahrie said...

I'd rather it be small French villages rather than the New York times like it used to be here in the U.S..

Leland said...

The same could be said about any internet topic that "goes viral", and when you really look at what "viral" means, sometimes it is far less than a million people or even less than 100,000. 50,000 may seem like a lot, but compared to the full population; it is a minority. When those people gather to protest like the Yellow Vests, it is a mob whether they wear Yellow Vests or Antifa shirts.

narciso said...

Clearly, there must be a defect, as with Brexit or Trump, it can't be legitimate, the skydragon is a merciful deity, and sacrifices to it, are dutiful,

Dave Begley said...

$7.50 for gas and more than half of is it tax. Who wouldn’t protest?

Gabriel said...

Yes, the proles generally behave better when they have to get all their news and entertainment from the Ministry of Truth. Only the Inner Party has the maturity to handle choices. And even they need to watch each other very carefully.

whitney said...

Yeah cuz tax riots never happened before Facebook

YoungHegelian said...

French Yellow Jackets using FB to Organize: BAD.
AntiFa Using Social Media to Organize to Shut Down Conservative Events: No Problemo.

mockturtle said...

Easier than it used to be to mobilize the troops but, depending on which side you are on, you may be banned. Antifa gets a pass, of course...

narciso said...

they won't make the same mistake again:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/05/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-battles-save-deal-humiliating/

Greg said...

I suspect Buzzfeed has an ulterior motive besides obscuring the climate tax reason for the riot. Buzzfeed and other digital media are worried that the Google Apple Amazon Facebook oligarchy is going to eliminate all the competition. Time to attack Facebook

Quaestor said...

Notice how BuzzFeed thinks the problem is the deplorables talking to each other, which can be fixed by taking steps to keep them silent.

narciso said...

Buzzfeed one recalls, got into a spot of trouble, naming three Russian oligarchs, from the steele dossier, one of whom was the father in law of Mueller's targets, young master van der swaan of skadden arps, this is why they have been facing a civil suit in miami

MayBee said...

Wow. Facebook is really in the crosshairs isn't it.

mockturtle said...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/05/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-battles-save-deal-humiliating/

I don't get it. Why oh why would they WANT to implement Article 50? The people have spoken but since they spake what the elites didn't want to hear, it is being ignored. The EU was a bad idea from the start, especially for the UK. I hope if Brexit is cancelled the Brits riot in the streets.

chuck said...

> $7.50 for gas and more than half of is it tax. Who wouldn’t protest?

I think it was reducing the speed limit on rural roads from 56 to 50 mph :)

rhhardin said...

It's le clic.

Henry said...

Facebook's decision to donate lighter fluid and matches to futbol hooligans also to blame.

* * *

This claim is utter bullshit. No one, including Facebook, has a recipe for turning viral buzz into direct action.

So, Facebook tweaked its algorithm and local Anger Groups spread across French Facebook at a shocking speed.

This is an underpants gnomes analysis. There zero evidence provided that the supposed cause delivered the sensationalist effect.

By claiming that Facebook did it, Buzzfeed* absolves all the people involved of their agency. The people that pushed the petition, the media groups that picked up the story, the people that gathered at the meet-ups. All of these things involved people reacting to a pertinent story, and acting according to their own sense of urgency, for better or for worse.

Almost 300,000 people demonstrated on November 17, and a 100,000 a week later. Blaming the number of these protesters on Facebook is like blaming the French Revolution on Jacques Louis David (not that Thomas Carlyle didn't try).

As the actual protesters keep mentioning, it's like the protests of 1968. No Facebook then. And somehow, between 1968 and now, French rioters remembered how to light cars on fire. What is it about the French that they burn cars?

*Ironically, Buzzfeed is a media company that is so ham-handedly invested in making things go viral that my kids mock it.

tim in vermont said...

Sounds like it worked perfectly. Had this been some kind of anti-Trump demonstration, they would be praising it to the skies.

tim in vermont said...

"What is it about the French that they burn cars?"

Ever driven a French car?

Xavier Onasis Too said...

Rows of burning cars, vandalized businesses, tear gas in the streets.... What's not to like for the "news" media?

tim in vermont said...

It's Blac Bloc taking advantage of the crowds to indulge in violence.

Quaestor said...

Ever driven a French car?

I have this urge to turn a flamethrower on every Renault I see.

Peugeot. Forget the flamethrower, Peugeot calls for artillery.

Citroën. I never think of destroying a Citroën. I just giggle at the resemblance to citron. After a moment I get this urge to set fire to Don Lemon.

Bugatti. Meh... not so much.

Jim Gust said...

Chuck, the lowered speed limit came after the implementation of speed radar cameras and automated ticketing. So lowering the limit instantly made everyone a criminal. Then insult was added to injury when the collections process was outsourced to private companies for greater efficiency and revenue.

Those anti-driver attacks set the stage, the taxes ignited it.

Big Mike said...

Bugatti. Meh... not so much.

If someone offered me a free Veyron I could find it in my heart to accept.

eddie willers said...

tl/dr

Well, I did try to read it, but I had to keep scrolling and scrolling. I have found that if you have to take so long to make your point, you don't have one.

Bill Peschel said...

"Notice how BuzzFeed thinks the problem is the deplorables talking to each other, which can be fixed by taking steps to keep them silent."

This. Notice how Buzzfeed "reporter" Ryan Broderick conflates legitimate concerns about an increase in the petrol tax with conspiracy theorists, and makes it sound like the streets are filled with anti-vaxxers and anti-Masons.

The French blogger at Il Pasaro (sorry for the bad spelling) pointed out that the "green" gas tax increase was the latest shot against people who rely on cars outside of Paris. They've instituted cameras that issue automatic fines for violations that appear to be used more as a revenue-generating device (there are people in Ferguson, Mo., who would agree).

But what really chaps the leadership class is that they can't hide tax increases to fund their pet projects.

Can you imagine what would happen if a government could not tax anything anymore except income? Or if a flat tax were imposed?

That's why Facebook and Twitter have to censor the proles: Their results are creating preference cascades they don't want. Google's hard at work on altering its search engine results. Perhaps by 2020 they'll get the one-party candidate elected.

narciso said...

No pasaran, which sounds Spanish not french.

Rabel said...

He's blaming the hammer for hitting the nail.

Localized Facebook was just the tool used. If it hadn't been available something else would have been used instead.

I thought the foolish conclusion that Facebook was to blame was just another clickbait headline, but his article clearly makes the claim.

He's a journalism school grad in his late twenties. His opinion should be judged with that in mind.

Ryan said...

Why do they want to "turn it off"? Because the end result didn't serve The Agenda?

Joshua Barker said...

So once again, the left shows that, for them, its all about controlling the access-to / flow-of information... Not whether the information is valid or has meaning, but by how many NPC's repeat it and whether it meets their definition of meaningful...

mockturtle said...

Well, they've got to tax. They've got all those immigrants to take care of. Illegal migrants in France

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

OT: The Kavanaugh- Moonvies hypocrisy

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Oh no - facebook used for..... speech and.... people talking about leftists. We cannot have that!

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Facebook must only be used to PROMOTE leftwing causes.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The Universal anti-Free speech movement started with Hillary Clinton. (Oh NOEZ - bad facebook ads and speech that was critical of HER-> - must never be tolerated.)

Just remember that.

Lewis Wetzel said...

These buzzfeed dudes now represent the Ancien Régime.
Blaming Facebook rather than poor government decision making is incredibly self-serving.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Bill P said

That's why Facebook and Twitter have to censor the proles: Their results are creating preference cascades they don't want. Google's hard at work on altering its search engine results. Perhaps by 2020 they'll get the one-party candidate elected.

The Party knows best. Obey.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The people at Buzzfeed seem to believe that if Facebook was to shape its "algorithms" differently, the non-elites would be happy to settle for one car (or no car) instead of two cars, live in houses that were half as big, send one child to college rather than two, & pay sky-high taxes & support open borders & (in the US) draconian gun control.

narciso said...

Along similar lines:

https://mobile.twitter.com/alimhaider/status/10704607635659.html

Buzzfeed's shot at category error

Laslo Spatula said...

An entity named BUZZ FEED asks " The question now is: How do you turn it off?"

The remoras think they control the direction of the whale.

I am Laslo.

Henry said...

Think about it -- doesn't Mr. Smith Goes to Washington describe the exact same scenario as this Facebook hypothesis? Anti-regime upstarts (the Boy Rangers) use social media (their own newspaper) to direct a firehose of support for Mr. Smith at the local community. Riots ensue.

Mike Sylwester said...

The Russians have been posting Facebook ads that show Jesus arm-wrestling French President Macron.

Mike Sylwester said...

Buzzfeed has been underestimating the incendiary role that is being played by MySpace in these riots.

RK said...

This Facebook series was very good, especially how much FB affected events in foreign countries. Foreigners are much more into Facebook that Americans are, it seems.

RK said...

I should say the link is a Frontline series about Facebook.

MadTownGuy said...

¡No Pasarán! is about 'What expats and the mainstream media (French and American alike) fail to notice (or fail to tell you) about French attitudes, principles, values, and official positions.'

" The quotation books do agree on who popularized the Spanish version, “No pasarán!” Credit for that goes to the fiery Spanish Communist party leader Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), whose popular nickname was “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”)."

iowan2 said...

Its all the fault to Facebook

Wasn't life easier when it was all the fault of the Jooos

Big Mike said...

Bad luck for King Louis and Marie Antoinette that Facebook was around in 1789 to tell the peasants that the Bastille needed storming.

wildswan said...

One thing I notice about the French situation is that no politician or newspaper or social leader of any kind is involved. It's as if the Deep State or whatever got total control and then felt free to disregard the leaderless people and the people seized on Facebook, coordinated and tore into the heart of the disregard. If we hadn't of had Trump, we'd be having similar riots or much worse. Trump is slowly repealing the bad stuff and how the Globalists and Deep Staties hate him for it, not realizing they might be dead if he hadn't come along.

narciso said...

It seems to have happened by fiat, not legislation:

https://www.apnews.com/d3033b920af449b594e66b51890b517b

MB said...

You never know what seemingly innocuous Facebook posting could lead to a Parisian riot.
It's too dangerous to let people say what's on their mind about, for instance, the traffic.
To avoid such mishaps, Facebook should come up with a list of permitted conversation topics: puppies, kittens, the weather (but no climate change discussions), ..., what else?

Bob Loblaw said...

You never know what seemingly innocuous Facebook posting could lead to a Parisian riot.

To be fair, the French enjoy a good riot.

mockturtle said...

The remoras think they control the direction of the whale.

Two thumbs up, Laslo!

Yancey Ward said...

LOL, the first comment on this thread can't be topped. Bravo!

Yancey Ward said...

Though I do have to admit, Laslo made a brilliant late entry!

Lewis Wetzel said...

I suppose the buzzfeed article might have been a warning shot to Zuckerberg to get Facebook to do better job of supporting the narrative.
Traditionally, in market economies, industries become organized into oligopolies. Perhaps it's different with information industries. The network effect and IP laws could result in monopolies becoming the norm.

Darrell said...

The Russians have been posting Facebook ads that show Jesus arm-wrestling French President Macron.

No, arm-wrestling Marx in this case.

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gilbar said...

Here’s How Facebook’s Local News Algorithm Change Led To The Worst Riots Paris Has Seen In 50 Years.

facebook existed in 2018, ergo LED to the riots
telegraph existed in 1860, ergo LED to Ft Sumter
telephone existed in 1876, ergo LED to Little Bighorn
television existed in 1969, ergo LED to moonwalk

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Since the author of the article is a "journalist" then I'm going to have to assume that he really is that obtuse.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Hahahaha.

As moronic as the "Peasants! pay no attention to these disreputable fake-news spreading conspiracy theorists!" line is, I guess we can give the usual media suspects *some* credit for not being dumb enough to try to pass off the gilets jaunes as a "far-right" phenomenon. (Though probably there were earnest editorial discussions on that point.)

Watching Facebook get pilloried for not being hard-ass enough in suppressing counter-revolutionary activities and censoring Wreckers on its platform is pretty amusing, though. ("Don't you understand that you should only allow the publication of *our* propaganda and fake news, comrade!") Looking forward to Mark Zuckerberg's show trial.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Bloody Peasants

RonF said...

So the problem is the fact that Facebook changed it's news algorithms, not that the French government is raising taxes to the point that the average person can barely keep their head above water and acts with impunity that the ancient regime would admire. Right. You'd think that 1968 never happened in Paris, before the people who developed Facebook weren't even born.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

An example of an earlier Facebook inspired uprising.


"The center of the city was also a cradle of discontent and revolution; between 1830 and 1848, seven armed uprisings and revolts had broken out in the centre of Paris, particularly along the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, around the Hôtel de Ville, and around Montagne Sainte-Geneviève on the left bank. The residents of these neighborhoods had taken up paving stones and blocked the narrow streets with barricades, and had to be dislodged by the army.[6]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haussmann%27s_renovation_of_Paris

Leora said...

The Soviet Union regulated typewriters to try to stifle communication. Didn't work.

glenn said...

I can’t tell you how many times a Facebook post has driven me to acts of violence. It’s get a friend request from some stranger, start a riot. Happens all the time.

Kirk Parker said...

Leora,

Not only the Soviet Union. When I was in Sudan in the early '80s, we had to register our (manual!) typewriter. And while Sudan did grant Amateur Radio licenses, the only place hams could legally make transmission was at the one officially-sanctioned radio club facility in Khartoum. Sorry, South Sudanese! No ham activities for you!

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The Crack Emcee said...

Started by a bunch of NewAgers - you guys seemed to have missed that.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Crack: Started by a bunch of NewAgers - you guys seemed to have missed that.

As is obvious from the comments, nobody missed that the intent of this little piece of 5th-rate propaganda was to get readers to believe it was all started by a bunch of New Agers.

Your susceptibility to 5th-rate propaganda suggests that maybe you should stop spending so much time ragging on other dumb people's gullibility and attend to trying to correct your own.