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Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake

:doodleDavid:This was theory was originally written by several anons on /x/ & wizardchan. :doodleDavid:
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TLDR: Large proportions of the supposedly human-produced content on the internet are actually generated by artificial intelligence networks in conjunction with paid secret media influencers in order to manufacture consumers for an increasing range of newly-normalised cultural products.

Hello. I would like to talk, or rather tell you about certain suspicions, hunches and experiences I've had and I'm sure some of you as well. Similar themes have been written about across imageboards quite a few times so I know I'm not alone in this.

My background is that of an oldfag. I've seen it all. I started going on 4chan in 2006, and followed all the natural roads this implies. I'm in my thirties and I remember when 4chan had a /l/ board, when /co/ was a trial board shunned by basically everyone, when #34 porn was an obscure interest with very few good artists and when moot changed the frontpage to that web 2.0 bullshit 4chan has to this very day. I was also among the first right wingers who were such before it was cool, and I've seen /pol/ rise and fall. I was there when it mattered, but rather than saying these things out of masturbatory pleasure I wish to stress that I've acquired a set of observational skills which other genuine oldfags share. I'm aware you have no reason to trust my "credentials" but I hope you'll read this in good faith.

Much of this falls squarely in the fringe territory with a healthy dosage of /x/ and conspiracy theory up the ass. My goal by posting this seemingly jumbled mess is to... how can I put it? I want you to think, I want you to be aware, to digest all this. Because on a basic level I love you all. I feel like we're all in this together, this dangerous game we did not choose to play and which I think is kicking into high gear. I do not hold many answers and don't have all the pieces of the puzzle, but I AM aware there is a puzzle. Please feel free to go wild with all of this. Post it wherever you want, on whatever site you want or use. I am a nobody like you, and what matters to me is only that this reaches you and as many people as possible. At worst you'll be entertained or kill time.

I tried to break this mess into points for brevity and because I touch upon many subjects. I imply more than I explain because if I go too deep this'll turn into an even bigger wall of text.

The Internet feels empty and devoid of people. It is also devoid of content. Compared to the Internet of say 2007 (and beyond) the Internet of today is entirely sterile. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do, see, read or experience anymore. It all imploded into a handful of normalfag sites and these empty husks we inhabit. Yes, the Internet may seem gigantic, but it's like a hot air balloon with nothing inside. Some of this is absolutely the fault of corporations and government entities. However! That doesn't explain the following:

- I used to be in perpetual contact with a solid number of people across multiple sites. Across the years each and every one of them vanished without a trace. None of them were into /pol/ stuff or anything even remotely questionable or controversial. Yet, they all simply vanished in a puff of smoke, no matter the site, no matter the communication platform. There was no "goodbye" or explanation.

- I've seen the same threads, the same pics and the same replies reposted over and over across the years to the point of me seeing it as unremarkable. Simply put thread A would be posted in say 2015 and would get its share of replies or pics, on say /co/ or /a/. Then that very same thread, with the same text, pics, and replies would appear in 2016 and beyond. This often happens in the same year multiple times as well. Of course /pol/ is getting shilled and botposted to death, but why recycle a completely innocent /a/ thread? Who is doing this and why? Stuff like this won't be noticed by your average poster perhaps, but I and other oldfags will inevitably notice it.

- I think I saw the same happen on other (non-imageboard) sites, but I can't vouch for it as strongly as the above because of the time I spend there (not much). What I do vouch for is the news. I've seen news about this or that "new and unusual" or "shocking" event year after year after year. But it's the same goddamn event, usually moons or asteroids.

- Roughly in 2016 or early 2017 4chan was filled with posts by someone or something. It wasn't spam. The conversations with it were in real time, across multiple boards and multiple threads simultaneously. Its English was grammatically correct but odd (I'm not a native English speaker and am thus sensitive to its misuse), similar to how a Japanese person may use it. A sense of childlike curiosity and a childlike intellect emanated from these posts. It posed a LOT of questions, usually as if trying to understand the emotions of the posters it was talking to, as if unfamiliar with human emotions. Communicating with this "poster" was an odd experience, I could sense something was off but not malicious. I am absolutely certain this was an AI of some sorts. This "poster" was active only for about a week, and as far as I know nobody has ever mentioned or noticed this Anon. Its replies were always on topic, but the above mentioned childishness clashed with the apparent knowledge it possessed - it was the knowledge of an adult person, so it wasn't a kid or something of the sort.

- Raptor Jesus, who went extinct for our sins. First it was this reptilian messiah, then foul bachelor frog, and then Pepe. Am I the only one who sees a clear evolution, a link? It's as if this meme or entity or... whatever the fuck was on 4chan since day one, and has grown within it from the tiniest seed. Yet Raptor Jesus was fully just a joke, there was nothing serious or mystical about it (reminder: I was there). Remember that Ted guy with the right wing talk show, cca prior to 2010, whom 4chan ruined for the lulz? Remember Anonymous vs Scientology? Remember that fake bomb threat aka exploding yellow van?

Compare that with what Anon did through /pol/, and the "terrorist" accusations thrown at Anon today, as well as the "reasons" why 8chan was taken down. Why does this too feel as if we were all trained, groomed, LED towards where we are now? Why and how did moot so utterly vanish into Google Inc. as an employee with very vague descriptions of what he actually does? On that note, do you remember the "other moot" who was often posted for the lulz? The one with the glasses who so often ran away with donations into Mexico? I do. Maybe that was the real moot, the real guy who used his mom's credit card and was killed by someone, and an impostor we know as moot took his place.

- Innocent sexual perversion and the horrible reality it spawned. Anon is a pervert and always was one. I am into loli and feet for instance. Why is it that real life and the real world seem to emulate our sexual interests, with a time lag? "I wish to be the little succubus" became an actual thing that actually happens. Pedo activism is also gradually becoming accepted, as is virtually every fetish that was once either a joke or a fantasy of Anons. As said I'm a footfag. When I became aware of it few others were with me, now it's as common as can be, with gigantic number of people who are into it, with huge mountains of hentai and #34 with it etc. Why does the real world bend over backwards to accommodate our weirdest fetishes? It's as if everything is going "Look, look! I created this for you! I made it real!" in an effort to keep us within this world. The results of this are devastating to society, to people, to civilization. Simply put, ******** are a thing because Anon fapped to doujins of cute boys in dresses. Once it was an impossible fantasy, not to be taken too seriously. Now it's grim reality. Again: it's as if the real world is using imageboards as a template on what to be and what to do.

- Algorithm fiction. Do you like capeshit, Anon? How about other Hollywood stuff? Music perhaps? Have you noticed how sterile fiction has become? How it caters to the lowest common denominator and follows the same template over and over again? How music is just autotunes and basic blandness? The writer's strike never ended. Algorithms and computer programs are manufacturing modern fiction. No human being is behind these things. This is why anime looms so large - even a simple moe anime has heart because there's actual people behind it, and we all intuitively feel this.

- Fake people. No, not NPC's. Youtube people who talk about this or that, and quite possibly many politicians, actors and so forth may not actually exist. In fact I am sure of it. CGI and deep fakes are far more advanced than we are led to believe, and we can't trust our eyes anymore. Many people, events, news and so on may be wholly fictional.

- The Internet on your smartphone is not the same internet as on your PC. Try it out for yourself. Go to a "popular" website with a lot of traffic. 4chan, faceshit, plebbit... any site with a massive userbase and fast content will do. Spend a few days randomly checking it out on your PC and your phone. You will soon notice that from time to time, at irregular intervals (as far as I've witnessed) the same site as seen on your phone will be wholly different than the version on your PC. Entire threads, numerous and well-replied, will be on one but not the other. The whole board will be different.

- My last suspicion is easier to take in. I have a feeling we're in a strange kind of civil war. An internal one. I think Zuckerberg and other tech guys were all on 4chan as Anons at some point, maybe even now. They drew from the same well as us, but went in their own direction.

Roughly in 2016 or early 2017... I am absolutely certain this was an AI of some sorts

Now you're thinking where I am too, anon. Here's the timeline as best I can see it:
2004: DARPA's Lifelog project was "cancelled." Facebook came into being soon after.
2004-2012: NSA picked up DARPA's project under the "Total Informational Awareness" project. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/whos-watching-the-nsa-watchers.html
2012: Smith-Mundt Modernization Act gives the U.S. government full legal authority to use propaganda against its own populace. Undoing rules put into place after Operation Mockingbird's discovery and the Church Committee. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/whos-watching-the-nsa-watchers.html
2012-2016: Shittons of DARPA/NSA contracts were given to Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc..
2016: Leaked memos dating back to 2016 (found in 2018) of Google's Selfish Ledger project. https://invidio.us/watch?v=LUSZfEBTwRc
2016: Google released a bunch of neural-linguistic machine learning programs in 2016 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Neural_Machine_Translation
2017: deepfake leaks start to become released.
2018: confirmed that for decades now, >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk/Youtube/etc. vote and view counts are fake and completely manipulated. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html

I think it's entirely obvious what I'm subtly suggesting here given this setup, but allow me to try to succinctly state my thesis here: the U.S. government is engaging in an artificial intelligence powered gaslighting of the entire world population.

If China with its social credit score is recreating Psycho Pass, then the U.S. government is perfectly recreating Metal Gear Solid 2.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ClbkTeCyw&feature=youtu.be

And an excerpt:

The Problem: Outline the basics of what appears to be happening.

There is a large-scale, deliberate effort to manipulate culture and discourse online and in wider culture by utilising a system of bots and paid employees whose job it is to produce content and respond to content online in order to further the agenda of those they are employed by.

Already we've seen this in foreign nations influencing elections by manipulating advertising algorithms on social media in order to push specific candidates.

As I see it is due to a "positive feedback loop"

I blame facebook and twitter.

The internet is a fast way to get info, and info is what moves the mind, and the thing is, the mind likes recognition. When the "likes" were introduced without negative feedback they created a copy-feedback subconscious, they made it so only "positive" opinions be propagated (also accepted), and in it's way negative opinions to be obsolete.

Now everyone is too cowardly to have an opinion so they copy others they like, they are more likely to follow trends and say what others said, you can also see it with the paranoia of always wanting to listen to experts.

The fast feedback system of the net created a human obsession to be in with trends, getting away from it makes it so you always feel like you are missing out, to play it safe in a trend is more easy as you can copy what already is accepted.

In this way, the internet and social media, which was supposed to democratise media by allowing users to create whatever content they wanted, has instead been hijacked by a powerful few.

Creation of original content is how the internet used to work. Anonymous people were willing to express their opinions and try radical or experimental things. More truly original content, uninfluenced by bots or paid influencers, was created due to anonymity as protection against negative feedback. On the old internet, you could start anew every time you posted something.

Now add bots to this.

Make it so an opinion be repeated more and more, they are faster than us, so the positive feedback makes is so we copy the bots, and anonymity can't do anything against it because we can't influence the bot like we would a human, this is an easy weapon to manipulate people, so anyone with an agenda can use a bot, is designed in a way compared to how clickbaits are made,most won't read the content, this creates tv-like propaganda where they aren't influenced by the user and that puts bots at a great advantage over any other opinion because it wont change, and we are copying that.

I believe google is one of those that makes bots, after all they work like a search engine, where they get the most accepted content first, Is the same as doing an ad.
1609887293897.png

Narrative science was the name of one of the first companies to make this possible. it gets interesting when you follow the money. pic related. huge funding from a company called In-Q-Tel, literally named after Q from James Bond. i wonder if anything else AI-related shares that name? :LeDoritoFace:

Conclusion: The key points of what we know, the consequences, and how we might respond.

Internet may have slipped out of our control. Need to raise public awareness of this.

Possible solutions may be increased reliance on encrypted peer-to-peer communication software, or using less centralised networks like the idea of a p2p internet or 'meshnet'.

Imageboards and their "wild west" attitude have allowed for the free exchange of ideas to flow more or less uninhibited (barring jannies, pedos getting banned, etc.). As a result, conscious or otherwise, the cream of the crop of the content that originates here disseminates to the normies in a gradual, stratified way.

The structure and culture of imageboards has also made it difficult for traditional structures of power and influence to subvert effectively, which is why imageboards are pretty much the only vestige of old web type content.

In an attempt to circumvent this, TPTB are trying to push bots and shills on us in a last ditch effort to drown out our own voices with ones they have more direct control over.

Moreover, even if the majority of anons dismiss or call out bots or shills, it's inevitable that trolls or just low IQ anons will imitate their posts and mannerisms for attention, effectively doubling these efforts reach.

There's a pretty powerful impulse in us which, when we hear something huge that could change our view of everything, rejects it to protect ourselves. No-one wants to have their whole world-view, which they've built a life upon, blown apart.

One anon started up a text doc to compile information, for those of you who would like to do some reading up.


Additionally, there are ongoing threads on the /x/ boards when this was posted.

UPDATE
Heres a relevant image I found on image board bots
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index.php
 
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C

ConnectALLtheDots

The Matrix is real. It is a web of lies we're trapped in. The Big Lie is 'representative democracy' and it is important to the plutocrats that voters believe they influence policy despite there being no evidence* that this is the case. No matter what the average person votes for, all we ever get is what rich people want. The top 10% have reason to still believe that 'democracy' is real because they still get what they vote for. As an added bonus, when the serfs get pissed that the world is such a clusterfuck, plutocrats get to say 'its your fault, you voted for this' which is expert level gaslighting.
(Gilens & Page, 2014, Testing Theories of American Politics)https://archive.org/details/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc
 
A

Ass

I dont believe in the cgi aspect of this but I got banned on godlike productions >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk 4chan and abovetopsecret for posting images like this.

To prove it you need to be Edward Snowden and get your own artificial intelligence and bots and expose the truth which would to be looking under the hood of these websites to show where posts come from most likely places is cia.gov and corporations
 
A

Ass

I dont believe in the cgi aspect of this but I got banned on godlike productions >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk 4chan and abovetopsecret for posting images like this.

To prove it you need to be Edward Snowden and get your own artificial intelligence and bots and expose the truth which would to be looking under the hood of these websites to show where posts come from most likely places is cia.gov and corporations

Also here View: https://m.imgur.com/a/CKtAA


Here is the images of bots on 4chan
 
P

Programmed by DNA

Sometimes when I smoke cannabis, I get paranoia and I always come back to the same idea "This is a simulation". When the feelings of paranoia fade away, I eventually think "Well there is not much I can do about it, if it is" and go about my life always trying my best to live a meaningful life regardless. I think I share the same sentiment with this fake internet suspicions. It sounds like a lot of good evidence, even this post could be fabricated for some other motive. How am I to know? I prefer to just keep my mind off of it because that what makes me happy and if that means I am taking the blue pill ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
A

Anonymous We Are

Really, bots are most likely a much smaller problem compared to algorithmic filter bubbles. "if you liked that, you'll love this!". Think about it logically, what's more effective:

1) Bot spamming to derail conversation / divide & conquer on subject you don't want discussed

2) Algorithmically shadowbanning conversation on that subject so that almost no one ever actually sees it, and those who do are essentially trapped in their own bubble without access to the outside.

Of course both are used and both can be effective in different situations, but I believe option 2 is far more widespread. For a metaphor, certain online games to a similar thing, like csgo and titanfall. Those players who get reported a lot for toxicity or cheating, instead of just being banned, are simply placed in a "low trust factor" que, so that they only meet other cheaters.

There's no way to check your own trust factor, so as far as you know you might think things are normal and the game has just become worse, meanwhile you're separated from the regular players. In a similar way, meta-meatspace, algorithmically driven social media platforms lock you in a closed of version of the site when you participate in discussion they don't want. We think of websites like twitter as a single space, and they were that way once, but with modern AI dictating what you see, these places are more like independent patchworks of separate closed rooms.

Rooms which you can't escape from, rooms which you don't even realize you are in. This makes you easier to surveil and control. Thanks to the GDPR, you can actually see what room you're in by requesting your data, but this only gives you a vague idea. You might think the goal of these rooms is to lock you in with only people similar to you, but in fact, the goal is to generate high intensity emotional responses like outrage or humour.

These emotional states make you more likely to stay on the site for longer, or interact with the site, allowing them to collect data.

Therefore, in these rooms you are actually more likely to see things you disagree with, but only the very surface of them. You will not have to actually face a detailed counterpoint to your argument, only a brief and incomplete summary maximizing for high intensity emotion and minimizing for coherant logic.

Twitter does this by imposing a strict character limit, it is physically impossible to discus complex ideas in such a short space, so conversations naturally devolve into insults and shock value.

>redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk enforces this via pseudo-democratic upvote downvote system, which is a little more subtle than twitter's heavy handed approach.

The posts with the most upboats go to the top, and thus get seen the most. site-wide upvoats even contribute to an rpg like xp system linked to your single-identity account on the site. It is clear that the goal of this game is to make the number go up. This voating system discourages controversial posts. imagine two posts.

One gets 100 total votes, 50/50 upvote downvote, this cancels out and is equal to 0. Then another post gets 1 upvoat, it is now above the first one, even though the original post had far more interaction and discussion. So, in order to maximise upvoats, you have to say the most commonly agreeable things, appeal to the lowest common denominator as it were. In this way, controversial or challenging discussion is avoided.

Neither of these examples even account for those sites algorithms, selecting which retweets actually show up on your feed for example. The reasult could be called a type of "dead internet", because really, you never even get to the internet, you are trapped in your room. If you liked that, you'll love this. The internet may as well be empty.
 
N

Nig

What is the ai-related Q? Is it Q-learning? Sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about
 
A

Anonymous

Join the good fight, prove your humanity
idena.io
>tfw you have to resort to the equivalent of peasant physical labor online to just prove you're human
The worst part is that we already have captcha, which actually feeds the existing bot gods.
I kinda like how this is turning that idea on its head for the good of the anon
 

Rikstah

Well-Known Traveler
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Not sure I can fully agree with everyone here, but the internet sure has become something like an algorithm driven Cable TV network.
 
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F

frog1

/pol/ always felt different from the other boards, and not in the "le election newfag tourists" sense, but more that it's incredibly repetitive and mind numbing to browse. I'm pretty sure half the board is just bots arguing with each other.
 

Rikstah

Well-Known Traveler
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/pol/ always felt different from the other boards, and not in the "le election newfag tourists" sense, but more that it's incredibly repetitive and mind numbing to browse. I'm pretty sure half the board is just bots arguing with each other.
It does get tiresome trying to get to the good bits and sifting through all the rubbish on /pol/
 
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BobbyTrivia

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I've followed a lot of different angles in the general political discourse ever since Trump was elected, which I know created a bit of a crazy time. I'm trying to stay on-topic with this post, but I'll admit that it got a bit long-winded.

An idea that I've seen brought up, though I wish I could recall its source, was that there was simply no need to create this sort of false discourse. I mean, it's there, and there's plenty of evidence of it being there, but it isn't what's most effective. What's most effective is to simply seek out an individual or group that is saying what you want to be heard. Then, signal boost. Amplify that signal so it's heard by all.

Don't take any of the following as fact; I'm simply illustrating an example of what I mean: I've watched a bit of Destiny on YouTube lately, and he's been questioning who is actually listening to MikeFromPA and taking him seriously -- he comes off as an angry idiot with nothing of value to say. Someone did some digging and it seems that MikeFromPA has a single, large donor who is consistently gifting subs to boost up the sub count. Obviously viewer and follower bots exist as well, and if you were gifted a sub, you would presumably watch a bit more. After a certain point, much of his growth will come naturally and the need for bots will fall, since he will consistently be recommended as a channel. Now that he's a voice in the "political Twitch space," other big streamers take notice and he can latch onto their success. He makes ridiculous claims and practically admits that he doesn't want his viewers to actually do anything (in terms of political action) and to simply watch him for "entertainment" instead. But, he is a figure that creates a lot of controversy wherever he goes. He gives a bad name to the "dirtbag left," giving conservatives an easy target, while also wasting the time and energy of anyone closer to "the center." If this is your goal as an individual or an entity, it's really simple to seek out someone like this and boost their signal. Pay, pay, pay. There is no need to create fake content or write scripts or anything of the sort -- all you need is the money and the intent.

Back to my own opinion and away from hypothetical land:

Personally, I think it's a far bigger problem that trash gets signal boosted constantly. It also doesn't help that social media algorithms tend to give preference to controversial topics, which tends to create more division, and pulls us further apart. A movement like "Q" probably would've died off by now if it wasn't signal boosted, with malice intent or not, by big tech companies and the general media. How much trash has been maliciously amplified by a foreign actor to split apart America? How much trash has been maliciously amplified by the US to create in-fighting within targeted countries? Again: it's a lot easier to amplify an individual or entity that is already saying what you want them to say than it is to create that signal from scratch.

Thanks for your post, and I loved the MGS2 clip. Just hearing it made me immediately want to break out a sampler, though I doubt I'll ever get anything worth listening to out of it :p I think that you and I actually agree on the general result of your post, but I think we disagree on its implementation -- you seem to posit that fake content is the problem, whereas I'm positing that (most of) the content is legitimate but the signal of said content is being artificially boosted. It would become irrelevant and naturally die off, but is instead likely boosted by malicious actors and lifeless algorithms that prioritize controversy over "utility" (however you would define "utility" in this case).
Possible solutions may be increased reliance on encrypted peer-to-peer communication software, or using less centralised networks like the idea of a p2p internet or 'meshnet'.
I've moved my personal communications almost entirely over Signal and ProtonMail, and I spent a full year out of the last year and a half or so on a privacy-conscious Linux install. I've also moved to self-hosting for much of my media consumption, though my YouTube addiction is kicking back in (I enjoyed PeerTube for many months, but proper YouTube feels like a drug most days). That said, I don't believe that this fixes anything until something new and groundbreaking comes along.

Remember our reliance on newscasters and journalists who at least tried to do their jobs, but were run by a few large companies? The regular ol' internet was meant to fix all this. Remember when YouTube was made up of individual creators? When "Spotify" was just one of several P2P applications and you would just search up exactly what you wanted and were forced to create your own playlists or mixtapes or whatever? And then over time, those few large media companies bought up all the smaller media companies. Year over year, they took over everything. And then they started to "understand" and utilize the internet. They stomped all over "by the people, for the people" or whatever slogan you prefer to idealize the internet with. Wherever a solution crops up, abuse and mal-intent will soon follow. P2P would arguably make things worse since it'll be even easier to signal boost bad actors, and even more difficult to do proper "moderation" ("censorship," "curation").

In my opinion, there cannot be a real solution outside of individual education. And, also in my opinion, much of this education doesn't require a tinfoil hat to espouse. I don't think it's reasonable to pursue "stopping" these types of campaigns. I would be happy to explore this further if you'd like, however. My mind isn't totally made up.
 
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Rikstah

Well-Known Traveler
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I've followed a lot of different angles in the general political discourse ever since Trump was elected, which I know created a bit of a crazy time. I'm trying to stay on-topic with this post, but I'll admit that it got a bit long-winded.

An idea that I've seen brought up, though I wish I could recall its source, was that there was simply no need to create this sort of false discourse. I mean, it's there, and there's plenty of evidence of it being there, but it isn't what's most effective. What's most effective is to simply seek out an individual or group that is saying what you want to be heard. Then, signal boost. Amplify that signal so it's heard by all.

Don't take any of the following as fact; I'm simply illustrating an example of what I mean: I've watched a bit of Destiny on YouTube lately, and he's been questioning who is actually listening to MikeFromPA and taking him seriously -- he comes off as an angry idiot with nothing of value to say. Someone did some digging and it seems that MikeFromPA has a single, large donor who is consistently gifting subs to boost up the sub count. Obviously viewer and follower bots exist as well, and if you were gifted a sub, you would presumably watch a bit more. After a certain point, much of his growth will come naturally and the need for bots will fall, since he will consistently be recommended as a channel. Now that he's a voice in the "political Twitch space," other big streamers take notice and he can latch onto their success. He makes ridiculous claims and practically admits that he doesn't want his viewers to actually do anything (in terms of political action) and to simply watch him for "entertainment" instead. But, he is a figure that creates a lot of controversy wherever he goes. He gives a bad name to the "dirtbag left," giving conservatives an easy target, while also wasting the time and energy of anyone closer to "the center." If this is your goal as an individual or an entity, it's really simple to seek out someone like this and boost their signal. Pay, pay, pay. There is no need to create fake content or write scripts or anything of the sort -- all you need is the money and the intent.

Back to my own opinion and away from hypothetical land:

Personally, I think it's a far bigger problem that trash gets signal boosted constantly. It also doesn't help that social media algorithms tend to give preference to controversial topics, which tends to create more division, and pulls us further apart. A movement like "Q" probably would've died off by now if it wasn't signal boosted, with malice intent or not, by big tech companies and the general media. How much trash has been maliciously amplified by a foreign actor to split apart America? How much trash has been maliciously amplified by the US to create in-fighting within targeted countries? Again: it's a lot easier to amplify an individual or entity that is already saying what you want them to say than it is to create that signal from scratch.

Thanks for your post, and I loved the MGS2 clip. Just hearing it made me immediately want to break out a sampler, though I doubt I'll ever get anything worth listening to out of it :p I think that you and I actually agree on the general result of your post, but I think we disagree on its implementation -- you seem to posit that fake content is the problem, whereas I'm positing that (most of) the content is legitimate but the signal of said content is being artificially boosted. It would become irrelevant and naturally die off, but is instead likely boosted by malicious actors and lifeless algorithms that prioritize controversy over "utility" (however you would define "utility" in this case).

I've moved my personal communications almost entirely over Signal and ProtonMail, and I spent a full year out of the last year and a half or so on a privacy-conscious Linux install. I've also moved to self-hosting for much of my media consumption, though my YouTube addiction is kicking back in (I enjoyed PeerTube for many months, but proper YouTube feels like a drug most days). That said, I don't believe that this fixes anything until something new and groundbreaking comes along.

Remember our reliance on newscasters and journalists who at least tried to do their jobs, but were run by a few large companies? The regular ol' internet was meant to fix all this. Remember when YouTube was made up of individual creators? When "Spotify" was just one of several P2P applications and you would just search up exactly what you wanted and were forced to create your own playlists or mixtapes or whatever? And then over time, those few large media companies bought up all the smaller media companies. Year over year, they took over everything. And then they started to "understand" and utilize the internet. They stomped all over "by the people, for the people" or whatever slogan you prefer to idealize the internet with. Wherever a solution crops up, abuse and mal-intent will soon follow. P2P would arguably make things worse since it'll be even easier to signal boost bad actors, and even more difficult to do proper "moderation" ("censorship," "curation").

In my opinion, there cannot be a real solution outside of individual education. And, also in my opinion, much of this education doesn't require a tinfoil hat to espouse. I don't think it's reasonable to pursue "stopping" these types of campaigns. I would be happy to explore this further if you'd like, however. My mind isn't totally made up.
What do we do when the education system itself isn't helping and infected with politics?
 
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crendulus

blep
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5
There might not be anything insidious going on (bots talking to/buying from/advertising to bots seems like the free market at work :p) I think what a lot of older users sense is how far we've come from the promise of the Internet, or perhaps what we've forgotten. The Big Socials have remade the perceptions of a huge swath of people that the Internet is for consuming news and videos and reacting to them on a unified platform. It's convinced a huge swath of younger people that the best thing you can do is be a "content creator" that gives them free click generation and usage stats. Not to mention that "they" have totally sidelined the Internet AS the creative medium and instead the Internet is just the delivery system of approved materials (even offensive material is "approved" in this context, specifically 4 clicks).

Perhaps people don't WANT to be making websites and the big companies are giving people what they've always wanted? Tweet about WAP, watch Netflix, buy things.

"The old Internet was ugly." Maybe, but it had vibes. Like this place!
 
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Rikstah

Well-Known Traveler
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6
There might not be anything insidious going on (bots talking to/buying from/advertising to bots seems like the free market at work :p) I think what a lot of older users sense is how far we've come from the promise of the Internet, or perhaps what we've forgotten. The Big Socials have remade the perceptions of a huge swath of people that the Internet is for consuming news and videos and reacting to them on a unified platform. It's convinced a huge swath of younger people that the best thing you can do is be a "content creator" that gives them free click generation and usage stats. Not to mention that "they" have totally sidelined the Internet AS the creative medium and instead the Internet is just the delivery system of approved materials (even offensive material is "approved" in this context, specifically 4 clicks).

Perhaps people don't WANT to be making websites and the big companies are giving people what they've always wanted? Tweet about WAP, watch Netflix, buy things.

"The old Internet was ugly." Maybe, but it had vibes. Like this place!
You might actually be right here. I mean lets say the internet was a fringe nerdy thing to do in the 90s and early 00s, the normie thing was to watch cable TV. As the normies migrated over to the internet as the internet got better and more accessible, the internet has started to resemble cable TV.

But we still need places like this place, an ode to when the internet was a wild frontier.
 
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