Zach Coriarty 11/18 Twitter Thread Critique

This twitter thread takes a perspective that is more kind to Facebook than many other headlines and makes an argument for their actions. It was written by Nir Eyal and retweeted(how i found it) by Yan LeCun, the Chief AI Scientist at Facebook.

The first point made in the thread is a nod to Brandolini’s law, which is “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.” After making this point, Eyal dives into the leaked documents where he points out that the majority of teens who use instagram said it has no effect on their mental health, a few said it makes them feel much better, and a even fewer said it makes them feel much worse. Next, he tries to add context to these results saying “you’d likely get similar results if you asked people how they felt after watching cable news.
What do you think the survey results would look like if you asked teens the same question about going to school?”

From here he takes a closer look and finds a correlation between the people who report Instagram makes them feel worse and people who already have lower life satisfaction. His closing remarks point out that this was a private study done by Facebook, which they did not need to do and shows they are interested in the health of their users, and that the release of the study just creates a disincentive for companies to look into their products.

I thought the thread was interesting and certainly takes a different perspective from most other articles I see. It is no secret that the media likes to inflate stories for views, so this thread makes me think a little deeper about whether or not Facebook was being malicious.

3 thoughts on “Zach Coriarty 11/18 Twitter Thread Critique

  1. Zach, this Twitter thread seems really interesting. I like reading Twitter threads as well because they are often well-explained, concise, and bring up important points. They also usually also make me think a little deeper about the topics that they are discussing, so it is beneficial to read in addition to news sites. People might censor themselves more on Twitter since their names are more visibly attached to their thoughts/comments, so just something to think about.

  2. Hi Zach, I thought your discussion was very interesting as you rarely see reports shining an understanding light on Facebook when it comes to these papers. Most of the discussions I read put Facebook in a negative light, which I think is warranted, so I appreciate seeing a different perspective. That’s one reason I like Twitter — because it’s easy to find differing opinions that you may not see otherwise from mainstream news sites. Additionally, I agree with Megan’s comment in that much of the time I like getting my news and information about current events on Twitter because it’s easier and quicker to get to the point.

  3. I find it refreshing to see an article that is less critical of Facebook, as the articles I read had no mercy in calling the platform out for its shortcomings. I think the relationship between Instagram and mental health is interesting, however I am a bit surprised that only a few participants said that Instagram makes them feel worse. I would have anticipated more participants saying Instagram makes them feel worse because of the comparisons people make between themselves and their social media feeds.

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