They say it has left them unable to access bank accounts and job offers - and stopped them using Skype, which Microsoft owns, to contact relatives in war-torn Gaza. Microsoft says they violated its terms of service - a claim they dispute. "They killed my life online," said Eiad Hametto, who lives in Saudi Arabia. "They’ve suspended my email account that I’ve had for nearly 20 years - It was connected to all my work," he told the BBC. He also said being cut off from Skype was a huge blow for his family. The internet is frequently disrupted or switched off there because of the Israeli military campaign - and standard international calls are very expensive. Israel launched its offensive in Gaza in response to the Hamas attack on 7 October, which killed about 1,200 people. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 38,000 people have been killed in the war.

[Archived version]( China’s relentless e-commerce price war leaves sellers struggling to make ends meet as shopping platforms compete with ever-more aggressive policies and a domestic economy slowing down A once-thriving e-commerce industry punctuated by shopping bonanzas featuring galas and celebrities is bearing the brunt of a sputtering economy that has seen consumers all but tie knots in their purse strings. While extreme discounting, influencer-led sales campaigns and generous returns policies did much to enrich the sector, those same practices by which vendors have to abide are now hurting those upon which the sector rests. “The good times for e-commerce are over,” said Shanghai-based e-commerce operator Lu Zhenwang, who sells everyday items for small vendors. “This year there is fierce competition and I don’t think a lot of sellers will survive another three years.” Profit margins are being squeezed at big platforms such as those of Alibaba and JD, but also at the thousands of small businesses which joined the e-commerce boom decade that started around 2013. That boom has left e-commerce accounting for 27% of retail, with 12 trillion yuan ($1.65 trillion) of goods sold annually. But as the economy slows, so does e-commerce, with the double-digit growth of recent years set to be replaced by single digits, showed data from Euromonitor. [...] [One e-commerce shop owner] said major platforms, upon which vendors rely, should not use “consumer first” policies that add to the burden of businesses, many of which have to sell below cost to maintain high positions in search results amid multiple discount events.

Alternative YouTube clients having issues loading videos
It seems YT started another attempt at blocking alternative clients. They changed something in their API and both [SmartTube]( and [Tubular (NewPipe fork)]( are completely broken. Apparently it started happening this past week, but we personally just felt it today. Edit: SmartTube already has an update but still not working for 4K videos it seems. Tubular still not working but it might be due to the upstream (NewPipe) [is still working on a fix](

[Archived version]( The US elections are less than five months away, and the public has less visibility than ever into political messaging on Facebook and Instagram. In August, Meta is shutting down CrowdTangle, a popular social media monitoring tool used to track misinformation on Facebook and Instagram. The company says its replacement, the Meta Content Library (MCL), is a better tool for researchers. But a joint investigation by Proof News, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, and the Algorithmic Transparency Institute found that Meta’s replacement tool is less transparent and accessible than CrowdTangle. On eleven key topics, Meta’s new tool has fewer features than CrowdTangle. And researchers say the process of getting access to the tool is cumbersome and slow—and some journalists can’t access it at all.

[Archived version]( Russia's telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor confirmed to Interfax that the order targets multiple apps (including NordVPN, Proton VPN, Red Shield VPN, Planet VPN, Hidemy.Name VPN, Le VPN, and PIA VPN) used to gain access to content tagged as illegal in Russia.

Full toot: > Many have tagged us in discussions about a specific Google extension built into Chromium browsers and asked us what we've done about it. > > This is a part of the Google Meets browser extension, which we bundle in order to allow Google Meets to work. This can be disabled in Settings > Privacy and Security > Google Extensions > Meets. Disabling it will break Meets. We expose this as a setting because we want you to be able to control it, and disable it if you want to. > > Disabling it by default would be great, but doing so would break Meets for users who are not able to understand why it’s broken, or what they need to change in order to allow it to work. Unfortunately, when websites break, either because of browser detection, or missing features, users invariably assume the browser is at fault rather than the website, and we have to make choices about what needs to be done to make websites work. We do not take these kinds of decisions lightly. > > We do find it very interesting that Google, who run the Chromium browser project, choose to give Meets additional information that is not given to other videoconferencing websites, and this could easily be seen to be uncompetitive behaviour. Hopefully, the EU's competition enforcement agencies can add this to their radar, and require a change in Google's Meets functionality.

[Archived link]( The social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, received criticism from researchers after it labeled a link by the investigative journalism group Bellingcat about Russia’s attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv as “potentially spammy or unsafe.” In their latest research, Bellingcat identified a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile that struck Ukraine's largest children's medical center, Okhmatdyt, during an attack on Kyiv over the weekend that killed 33 people, including 5 children. Bellingcat’s investigation debunked claims from pro-Russian accounts that denied responsibility for the attack and “sought to shift the blame for the incident onto Ukraine,” researchers said. [...] Despite its reputation, X marked the link to the group’s latest research as “unsafe,” saying that it could lead users to “violent or misleading content” or to a website that misleads people, disrupts their experience, or steals their personal information.

How to efficiently remove duplicate photos across multiple Google Photos accounts?
I have a number of Google Photos accounts that I believe I had backed up my iPhone to over the years. However, I hadn't deleted the backed up photos from my iPhone each time, so there are many duplicates across the multiple Google Photos accounts. Can you please help me identify the most efficient way to remove these duplicate photos that are taking up so much space? I tried to compare two accounts at a time manually but this method is extremely time-consuming, and it would really help a lot to learn a more efficient way. I know how to move photos from one account to another, but the issue is one of the two accounts containing duplicate photos is at full capacity and the other is almost full. Even if they had free space though, would the duplicates show up side by side in the account they're moved to? Because if not, it'll be hard to tell if each photo was in fact a duplicate and therefore no photos were lost somehow in the transfer process, unless I again manually check at a detailed level. Maybe I can eyeball it and send the duplicate photos to a third account with more free space, delete the same photos from both originating accounts, and then send this batch of photos back from the third account to one of the originating accounts? This has been bothering me for a long time and I would like to do all that I can to avoid buying Google storage over and over. Thank you!

[Palmer Luckey] created Oculus headsets as a teenager. Now he makes AI weapons for Ukraine
It's so easy to sanitize tech stories about murder weapons. Just say "Ukraine" in the title!

cross-posted from: > A bunch of eighth graders in a "wealthy Philadelphia suburb" recently targeted teachers with an extreme online harassment campaign that The New York Times reported was "the first known group TikTok attack of its kind by middle schoolers on their teachers in the United States." > > According to The Times, the Great Valley Middle School students created at least 22 fake accounts impersonating about 20 teachers in offensive ways. The fake accounts portrayed long-time, dedicated teachers sharing "pedophilia innuendo, racist memes," and homophobic posts, as well as posts fabricating "sexual hookups among teachers."

cross-posted from: > Here is the [report (pdf)]( > > Individuals affiliated with RT - formerly Russia Today - leveraged “Meliorator,” an artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced software package which allowed for the creation of authentic appearing fictitious personas to post content on X. The tool also allowed for the management of the persona profiles through an administrator panel called “Brigadir” and the spreading of disinformation through these profiles through a seeding tool called “Taras.” > > Affiliates of RT, a Russian state-sponsored media organization, used this tool to create fictitious online personas, representing a number of nationalities, to post content on a social media platform. > > The report is joint effort of security agencies in the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands.

Despite Paramount Global’s corporate decision to purge MTV News’ online content (as well as that of Comedy Central, TVLand and CMT), much of the site has been resurrected on the Internet Archive, which now offers “a searchable index of 460,575 web pages previously published at”

[Archived link]( **By not investigating the underlying weakness in Microsoft software that was key to the SolarWinds hack against the U.S. government, the Cyber Safety Review Board missed an opportunity to prevent future attacks against, experts say.** Russian state hackers had infiltrated SolarWinds, an American software company that serves the U.S. government and thousands of American companies. The intruders used malicious code and a flaw in a Microsoft product to steal intelligence from the National Nuclear Security Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Treasury Department in what Microsoft President Brad Smith called “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.” Get Our Top Investigations The U.S. president issued an executive order establishing the Cyber Safety Review Board in May 2021 and ordered it to start work by reviewing the SolarWinds attack. But for reasons that experts say remain unclear, that never happened. Nor did the board probe SolarWinds for its second report. [...] A full, public accounting of what happened in the Solar Winds case would have been devastating to Microsoft. ProPublica recently revealed that Microsoft had long known about — but refused to address — a flaw used in the hack. The tech company’s failure to act reflected a corporate culture that prioritized profit over security and left the U.S. government vulnerable, a whistleblower said. [...] The board was created to help address the serious threat posed to the U.S. economy and national security by sophisticated hackers who consistently penetrate government and corporate systems, making off with reams of sensitive intelligence, corporate secrets or personal data. [...] The board is not independent — it’s housed in the Department of Homeland Security. Rob Silvers, the board chair, is a Homeland Security undersecretary. Its vice chair is a top security executive at Google. The board does not have full-time staff, subpoena power or dedicated funding. [...] As a result, there has been no public examination by the government of the unaddressed security issue at Microsoft that was exploited by the Russian hackers. None of the SolarWinds reports identified or interviewed the whistleblower who exposed problems inside Microsoft. [I edited the title from 'President' to 'U.S. President' for making it clear which country is meant.]

# Blockchain and web 3.0 ___ The need for a decentralized but controlled access to the internet is rising as we evolve further into being a `digital civilization`. The property of blockchain that allows to incrementally store data(capitalizing on *Moore's law*) immutably, provides a novel way to serve end-users **fast** while preserving user privacy and security. Web 3.0 provides a new way to deeply integrate content into the blockchain ecosystem with targeted precision via algorithms **removing** the need for a middle man. # Design ___ Blockchains can be designed and deployed to cater to various systems, but **a unified system on which the world can publicly or privately built upon is a need of the hour as diverse blockchain ecosystems keep emerging in the increasing market**. As of now, mining extracts value out of "thin air", even though several justifications are provided including the arguments for "trust-free process" and "compensation for resource usage". We propose a design of the blockchain as follows: 1. The currency of the unified blockchain would be DIgital Gold(DIG). The smallest unit of this currency would be nanogold or nanoG. 1 DIG = 10 ^ 9 nanoG 1 DIG ≈ 1 gram of 24-karat gold in the real world and can be redeemed any time for cash or gold. 2. The blockchain should have a single master wallet. This wallet should be a multisig wallet that will contain maximum DIG the wallet can accumulate at the time of deployment. 3. Nodes are the participants in the network who maintain blockchain data and mine blocks. 4. The deploying authority has access to the master wallet. As and when new nodes are added, they can ask to be added to this multisig master wallet. 5. All nodes need not be present in the multisig master wallet. Additionally, these nodes that are participating in master wallet would be having consensus rights in the network. The wallets participating in the master wallet can themselves be multisig wallets having other nodes, for joint consensus rights. 6. Consensus rights can be exercised to decide upon mining, storage and data archival fees. A 51% consensus is required at any stage to finalize the decision. The master wallet doesn't participate in the consensus decisions; but the nodes / wallets that are part of the master wallet form the body of consensus nodes. 7. Every transaction over the network is visible, which solves the issue of trust in the network. Illegal transactions can be deterred based on available data. 8. Block rewards can be received on a first-come-first-serve basis, where miner receives the transaction fees based on proof-of-work consensus. Proof-of-stake can also be introduced, if it helps prevent higher transaction fees. 9. Smart contract execution via WASM should be supported. NFTs, tokens, side-chains should be easily supported, providing interfaces for easy inter-operability. 10. Regulated IPFS can be used equipping different name services to provide / restrict access to based on regional guidelines per node. Private internet systems can be built on blockchain based-technology. Private VPN services may be utilised to connect to the network. This helps fuel web3 while maintaining security requirements of nodes to provide finely-tuned access to the network. 11. Lightning network technology can be used to build channels across nodes comprising the L2 layer, improving transaction speeds while keeping fees low. 12. Applications include in fields like digital ID, finance, asset management, hospital management among others. 13. Blockchain encryption could be based on lattice cryptography to further bolster the network. The reason for having a single master wallet in the network is to bring the digital blockchain economy closer to conditions in the real world, to propel the next breakthrough in the digital space. The amount of gold is finite, and this scarcity is automatically built into the master wallet. Master wallet disburses DIG to the first nodes by buying NFTs from participants, and can later exchange them for DIG / other NFT / other item of same value. Having a single public master wallet would boast unbreakable security of the network. > The source code needs to be designed in a way that the minimal initial > setup needs at least one node participating in the network, > identifiable as a wallet address, and the master wallet address built > with a random multisig wallet address having the keys of the first > node's wallet. Multisig wallets are the way to fine tune access to resources on the network. Accomodating numerous keys per multi-signature wallet could be developed without sacrificing speed and efficiency of transactions. *Blockchain technology would be immensely helpful in futuristic scenarios where off-Earth colonies are set up in the solar system. All colonies can remain connected to each other while accessing a common network to transact upon.* ## Blockchain and AI ___ The blockchain is a treasure trove for AI to train upon in real-time. 1. AI can be deeply integrated into the blockchain so much so that relevant AI functions can be quickly accessed via APIs. A native framework for AI development can be implemented in the blockchain supporting ML-based languages like Python and Julia. 2. The scope is huge. AI can be integrated into macro and micro economics deeply, which can provide insights on the economy based on real time trends. 3. AI can be used to secure the network. AI can work via smart contracts to reduce reliance on watchdogs in L2 networks. 4. Being on a blockchain where wallet identifiers are random, the data leak chances are significantly reduced. 5. Being on the AI enabled blockchain, AI agents can have separate wallets based on which certain automation sequences can be performed on the network. 6. The native integration of AI on the network would be highly useful in terms of end-user, while funding AI wallet with the necessary tokens needed for compute. Being a distributed database of ever-growing data, the scope of data access is vast, and so is personalization of AI. 7. AI agents can work via multi-sig wallets funded by user, thereby broadening scope for private AI players to access data, in order to provide service to consumers of the network. 8. The blockchain can support edge technology to promote wider coverage to network users. Being natively built into blockchain, AI can hence work and scale at speed. ## Digital ID ___ The issuing authority mints an NFT for the digital ID. The NFT can contain data encrypted by the user's wallet's key so that it is accessible by the user only. Any authority wanting access to this record can confirm that the issued NFT data is indeed signed by the wallet, and can validate authenticity. The contract ID of the NFT becomes the pseudonymous digital ID of the user on the blockchain. The user can unlock this digital ID, and can share with other authorities as necessary. User can also request issuing authority to create other digital IDs that point to the original encrypted digital ID for consensual public access. These can be quickly revoked in cases of data breach. ## Finance ___ CBDCs are an up and coming topic in the digital space. More countries are exploring tokenisation of own currency to settle trades digitally instead of using exchange currencies. Blockchain provides an easy way to settle payments in a transparent fashion. 1. CBDC would be disbursed in the form of NFTs owned by central bank. These would be wholesale CBDCs that involve offshore transactions. Internal transactions would be settled using retail CBDC. 2. CBDC can be purchased on the open market using digital gold, based on auction or fixed price. 3. CBDCs can be exchanged using an on-chain exchange service, or by using channels(multisig wallets). 4. CBDC can be blacklisted on the market to prevent unlawful exchanges from continuing. The transparency of the blockchain helps it easier to deter further usage. 5. Wholesale CBDC transactions take place on the decentralized platform of the world, the data of which is publicly visible. Retail CBDC on the other hand may work on the private network. 6. Transaction allowance over the network may be mutually decided by the node or channel authorities, and the verification of network usage can be performed by issuing required NFTs to these wallets. 7. Two different retail CBDC users may or may not transact with each other depending upon the configurations of the retail blockchains. Multisig wholesale CBDC channels may be utilised to automate transfers while allowing users to transact in local CBDC. ## Asset Management ___ Real world assets can be tagged onto the blockchain, or put up for listings. These serve as proof-of-holding, whose ownership can easily be transferred. For example, to exchange 24-karat gold for DIG, the necessary NFT can be put up for sale, and the interested party can either purchase with DIG, or some other digital entity of equal value. Land holdings based on proof-of-deed can be easily put up on the network for purchase or rent(auto-expiry NFTs). Fuels, minerals and grains based NFTs can be auctioned on the global market for CBDC or DIG. Supply-chain management can connect their own blockchains to the network to track real-world dispatch and shipping. ## Employee Management ___ Companies can hold their own multisig wallets on the network and can issue their own NFTs to employees which can serve as proof-of-employment. The necessary work experience certificates can be issued to alumni via NFTs. NSR can be updated on the chain. Salary receipt NFTs can be issued on behalf of employees to tax authorities automatically. The process would further promote complete transparency on the blockchain. ## Carbon Credits ___ Carbon absorption mechanisms can be put up on the public blockchain. The surplus credits can be auctioned on the wholesale market and can be purchased using other tokens or DIG. Investment in carbon absorption mechanisms(forests, for example) around the world can help promote healthier ecosystems, the responsibility of maintenance of which can be mutually allocated to industries looking to offset emissions. The problem with emission measurement is that the standards depend upon the governing bodies, which could lead to non-uniform tokenisation of the carbon credits. *Man-made carbon storage mechanisms should be deprecated. The carbon being stored remains so forever, and introduces maintenance charges for the same. Forests, oceans and glaciers, where most of the carbon remains trapped are some time-tested, standard and efficient natural resources to improve / build upon.* *Some carbon offset mechanisms include conversion of this carbon into edible form such as solein, which is how carbon capture mechanisms can be justified. However, it is better to depend on natural food sources than solein to supplement food requirements. Over and above that, the bacterium used for the synthesis takes carbon dioxide from free air, thereby reducing the need for carbon storage.* ## Secure Communication ___ Blockchain-based secure communication channels can be setup over network nodes while preventing unauthorized data access, providing wallet-based access. This assists in setting up networks that can serve as official communication channel providers for parties.

cross-posted from: > [Archived link]( > > The Russia’s State Social University (RSSU) has launched a “social rating” platform that claims to build a person’s “social portrait” with possible applications in future government policies. > > Named “We,” the platform promises to determine a user’s comparative “social status” based on a survey that includes questions about income, family status, benefits, creditworthiness, criminal record, lifestyle and state awards, among others. > > “The social rating figures don’t affect [a person’s] life, the availability of services or the career trajectory in any way,” RSSU said on the platform’s website. “But who knows what these figures will mean for you in the future?” > > Observers on social media compared the platform’s name “We” to the highly influential 1921 dystopian novel of the same name by Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin. [The novel "We" describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state. It inspired British author George Orwell to write his own novel, "Nineteen Eighty-Four", which was published in 1949.]

[Archived version]( **The Insider has obtained hacked correspondence from officers of Russia's foreign intelligence agency (SVR) responsible for “information warfare” with the West. The leaked documents, intended for various government agencies, reveal the Kremlin's strategy: spreading disinformation on sensitive Western topics, posting falsehoods while posing as radical Ukrainian and European political forces (both real and specially created), appealing to emotions — primarily fear — over rationality, and utilizing new internet platforms instead of outdated ones like RT and Sputnik.** **The documents also detail localized campaigns against Russian émigrés, including efforts to discredit a fundraiser for Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation who had moved to the United States.** - The secret disinformation operation was codenamed “Project Kylo,” perhaps in reference to the antiquated Russian word for “pick-axe,” or an allusion to the Dark Side warrior from the Star Wars sequels determined to rule the galaxy. Or maybe both. - The key emotions to prey upon, the SVR planners intoned, were “fear,” “panic” and “horror” — a psychosocial manipulation campaign straight out of the Cold War playbook of the Soviet KGB’s First Chief Directorate’s Department D. The D stood for disinformation. - The architect of Kylo was Mikhail Kolesov, a pudgy, bald, 45 year-old SVR officer who was previously stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. On May 23, 2022, Kolesov emailed himself a Word document titled simply, “Propaganda.” It appeared to be the outline of a presentation Kolesov was set to give three days later at a private roundtable discussion in the Russian Senate concerning “information warfare with the West.” - That forum, headed by former Soviet diplomat turned hawkishly anti-Western senator Alexei Pushkov, featured recognizable mouthpieces of Vladimir Putin’s regime including Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, psychological warfare specialists from the Ministry of Defense, and loyalist journalists. - Pushkov was gravely worried about how pro-Ukrainian sentiments were dominating on Western internet platforms, and disappointed by Russian media. The Kremlin was losing on two battlefields: physical and informational. Using “old” state-controlled media organs such as RT and Sputnik “have demonstrated near-zero effectiveness for decades, not years;” and attempts to cultivate friendly social media platforms, such as Telegram channels, “does not live up to the expectations placed on performers and demiurges. Lack of creativity, hypocrisy and moralizing aggravate the current situation.” - Kolesov’s fresh proposal, crafted in a stilted language — equal parts critical theory, pseudo-science, and marketing jargon — was therefore designed to inject a new scheme into the Kremlin’s propaganda approach: “systematic, targeted and active, offensive in nature.” - Rather than propounding straightforward pro-Russian arguments, he suggested, the SVR should now aim to “deepen internal contradictions between the ruling elites” in the West by creating a fake NGO - in reality a cut-out funded and run by agents of the Kremlin — to whip up anti-establishment demonstrations on the territory of the glavnyi protivnik, or “main adversary". - Fake advertisements disguised as news headlines, all crafted by SVR recruits, would be visible on most any desktop computer screen or mobile device used by target audiences in the West, luring them to click-through and land on “internet resources controlled by the Kremlin. - **"Waging network wars in EU cyberspace based on the increasing demands of Ukrainian migrants and the new waves of irritation of the local population provoked by this, according to preliminary estimates, will have a very high efficiency both now and in the foreseeable future.”** - German authorities, for exampke, have identified over two dozen legitimate-seeming news websites catering to exactly these fears, with articles headlined (in fluent German), “How Ukrainians are robbing Germany of economic prosperity.” The portals are part of a vast Russian influence operation. - European politicians had already been clamoring about Ukrainians fleeing the war and becoming burdens on state resources. For instance, in September 2022, Friedrich Merz, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, the country’s conservative party, had accused Ukrainian refugees of “welfare tourism,” an allegation for which Merz later apologized. - **The “leitmotif of our cognitive campaign in the [Western] countries is proposed to be the instilling of the strongest emotion in the human psyche — fear,**” the [propaganda] document states. “It is precisely the fear for the future, uncertainty about tomorrow, the inability to make long-term plans, the unclear fate of children and future generations. The cultivation of these triggers floods an individual's subconscious with panic and terror.” - 2023 saw its fair share of Russian-sponsored provocations seemingly aligned with Operation Kylo all across Europe. Research by a European media consortium revealed that a roving troupe of Russian hirelings kept turning up at protests in major cities such as Paris, Brussels, Madrid, and The Hague denouncing Western arms shipments to Ukraine. The men, the consortium concluded, had likely been hired by Russian special services.

It looks like it will require a manual review process for now but it could be automated down the line.

cross-posted from: > [Archived link]( > > **“[Russian] information operations are underway […] to gradually demoralise the public debate so that Russian narratives can be disseminated. These are part of an information war to stop the flow of material aid to a struggling Ukraine,” warned the Czech National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ) in a report.** > > **“The Kremlin’s efforts to diminish public trust in institutions and the state is not new, but the increase in the intensity of influence operations is a threat,” the Czech Strategic Communications Coordinator Otakar Foltýn said in reaction to the NCOZ report.** > > - According to the NCOZ, Russian activities are aimed at influencing the population of Western European countries while increasing the threat of sabotage against critical and transport infrastructure, with local residents and criminal networks are becoming more involved in various activities. > > - These include gathering information, identifying targets, putting pressure on specific individuals, such as those from the exiled diaspora, and even direct attacks on infrastructure and public places. > > - “This issue has been persistent for several years, with Russian and Chinese influence attempting to infiltrate Czech society,” Jurečka said. “We must cultivate a society that can critically think, resist disinformation, and not succumb to fear,” Jurečka added.

Google’s carbon emissions soar by 48% due to AI
cross-posted from: > The leap in emissions is largely due to energy-guzzling data centers and supply chain emissions necessary to power artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The report estimated that in 2023, Google’s data centers alone account for up to 10% of global data center electricity consumption. Their data center electricity and water consumption both increased 17% between 2022 and 2023. > > Google released 14.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide just last year, 13% higher than the year before. > > Climate scientists have shown concerns as Big Tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft continue to invest billons of dollars into AI.

cross-posted from: > **Once upon a time, newly minted graduates dreamt of creating online social media that would bring people closer together.** > > **That dream is now all but a distant memory. In 2024, there aren’t many ills social networks don’t stand accused of: the platforms are singled out for spreading “fake news”, for serving as Russian and Chinese vehicles to destabilise democracies, as well as for capturing our attention and selling it to shadowy merchants through micro targeting. The popular success of documentaries and essays on the allegedly huge social costs of social media illustrates this.** > > - Studies suggest that if individuals regularly clash over political issues online, this is partly due to psychological and socioeconomic factors independent of digital platforms. > > - In economically unequal and less democratic countries, individuals are most often victims of online hostility on social media (e.g., insults, threats, harassment, etc.). A phenomenon which seems to derive from frustrations generated by more repressive social environments and political regimes. > > - individuals who indulge most in online hostility are also those who are higher in status-driven risk taking. This personality trait corresponds to an orientation towards dominance, i.e., a propensity to seek to submit others to one’s will, for instance through intimidation. According to our cross-cultural data, individuals with this type of dominant personality are more numerous in unequal and non-democratic countries. > > - Similarly, independent analyses show that dominance is a key element in the psychology of political conflict, as it also predicts more sharing of “fake news” mocking or insulting political opponents, and more attraction to offline political conflict, in particular. > > - n summary, online political hostility appears to be largely the product of the interplay between particular personalities and social contexts repressing individual aspirations. It is the frustrations associated with social inequality that have made these people more aggressive, **activating tendencies to see the world in terms of “us” vs “them”**. > > - On a policy level, if we are to **bring about a more harmonious Internet (and civil society), we will likely have to tackle wealth inequality and make our political institutions more democratic.** > > - Recent analyses also remind us that social networks operate less as a mirror than as a distorting prism for the diversity of opinions in society. **Outraged and potentially insulting political posts are generally written by people who are more committed to express themselves and more radical than the average person, whether it’s to signal their commitments, express anger, or mobilise others to join political causes.** > > - Even when they represent a relatively small proportion of the written output on the networks, moralistic and hostile posts tend to be promoted by algorithms programmed to push forward content capable of attracting attention and triggering responses, of which divisive political messages are an important part. > > - On the other hand, the majority of users, who are more moderate and less dogmatic, are more reluctant to get involved in political discussions that rarely reward good faith in argumentation and often escalate into outbursts of hatred. > > - Social media use seems to contribute to increasing political hostility and polarisation through at least one mechanism: exposure to caricatural versions of the political convictions of one’s rivals. > > - The way in which most people express their political convictions – both on social media and at the coffee machine – is rather lacking in nuance and tactfulness. It tends to **reduce opposing positions to demonised caricatures, and is less concerned with persuading the other side than with signaling devotion to particular groups or causes**, galvanising people who already agree with you, and maintaining connections with like-minded friends.

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