Meta’s new Twitter competitor is called “Threads”, the name deriving from ‘threads of conversation’.  (The use of the term in online discussion systems may owe something to its earlier use in operating system technology)

However, another connotation of the word “threads” seems appropriate for this particular product.  Marionettes–puppets–are manipulated via threads (OK, strings if you want) and controlled by a puppeteer.  They have no autonomy, they do what the puppeteer wants them to do.

Given that a lot of the support for Threads seems based on its promise of a ‘curated’ environment, this other meaning of the term fits quite well.  (See this post for early examples of this curation in practice)

It has becomes more and more clear how much power devolves to those who control the communications environment, and how difficult it is to overcome this advantage. See my related posts:

Comm Check

The Rage of the Prince-Electors

Book Review: Year of Consent

8 thoughts on ““Threads””

  1. I posted a satiric comment today on Facebook that said “At least Navy will not be associated with her white trash relatives.” An instant warning popped up that I had violated Facebook’s “standards.” A few minutes later the comment was still there so maybe they changed their m inds.

  2. I would shed not a single tear to see everything Meta laid waste, plowed under and the ground sown with salt. The most troubling thing about the Threads rollout is what’s not happening. That’s that it it isn’t available in Europe. That’s because even Meta’s curtailed freedom of speech is inadequate to appease the Eurocrats. Freedom of speech isn’t under attack in most of the world, it’s already lost.

    The existential challenge for anyone that wants to build some sort of global platform is figuring out how to conform to all the constantly changing, nebulously defined rules for what people are allowed to say in any particular country. We’re seeing various governments trying to enlist Interpol to issue Red Notices for people anyplace in the world that say anything that violates local rules. So far, they have resisted but you have to wonder how long that will last.

    For the players already in the field, all this translates into some cost per post. The question is just how much some random post is worth. Just like any other business, costs and income have to balance.

  3. On a related note regarding Meta and control, I have been reading Judge Doughy’s Preliminary Injunction against various administration agencies and officials from communicating with social media companies about certain content. You can find a link to the ruling here https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.lawd.189520/gov.uscourts.lawd.189520.293.0.pdf

    The Biden Administration and the media have both initially said tjhat there was no censorship and then corrected themselves and said there was censorship but that it was good, and then just said it was a Trump-appointed judge and that’s code for Q’Anon

    The ruling is long, 155 pages, but it is a fairly fast read because the bulk is narrative about interactions between Biden Administration and various social media companies. Lots of use of the words “ASAP”, “immediately”, and “demand.” One of the real charmers was Biden’s director of digital strategy, Rob Flaherty who called out Facebook on “political violence” for not censoring false COVID claims (see p. 97) Then of course there were the public remarks, Biden stating that social media platforms were killing people. As far as a lack of an explicit use of coercion, Judge Doughy makes use of the legal term “significant encouragement” in terms of the state may not use, induce or encourage private persons to do what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish

    I’m not a lawyer and this case is of course of a preliminary injunction and will wind up through at the least the 5th Circuit if not higher. If anyone is a lawyer and has comment on it, that would be great.

    Sure Facebook, Twitter, and the others were the object of censorship efforts, but they had already gotten into bed with Biden in the lead-up to the 2020 Election and I doubt they lost a lot of sleep on this. There are exceptions to the ruling in terms of certain subject areas such as national security and illegal activity that are still permissible and the government is forbidden to point to specific content to eliminate. However does it matter if there are restrictions? The social media companies are already politically aligned, know what is expected of them, and know that they remain under implicit threat if they do not perform. Another Biden conference, statement on how misinformation on say Ukraine is hurting people, and the social media companies will get the signal.

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