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Op-Ed: After abject failure in Australia, anti-vaxxers pick on 6 year old on Twitter



Op-Ed: After abject failure in Australia, anti-vaxxers pick on 6 year old on Twitter

The Omicron Covid variant has prompted firms to get tough on vaccines and masks. — © AFP

The question is this – Who the hell does anyone think they are, picking on a mother and 6-year-old kid? This is a tale of abject gutlessness. “Anti-vax” is now a synonym for “failure”, both in fact and in basic decency. A Gold Coast mother spent an entire day managing trolls after posting a pic of her daughter getting vaccinated.

Jessica Stokes-Parish is a medical educator and assistant professor at Bond University. She’s also a registered nurse. So it makes sense she’d post in support of community health measures. Her daughter’s vaccination was routine.

Nothing to see here, you’d think, but then trolls usually see things that don’t exist. The trolls, as usual, stuck religiously to the script of the far right, cut and paste stuff about what a terrible mother Ms. Stokes-Parish was, and so on.  

Total failure of anti-vax in Australia.

This level of mindless abuse is bordering on psychotic, as well as pretty obvious harassment according to any reasonable definition. There’s another side to this tale of idiocy, though.

Australia is now one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world. Obviously, nobody gave or gives a damn what the anti-vaxxers have to say. That war is long since over. The anti-vaxxers have been massively outvoted by the vaccinations.

The Gold Coast is Australia’s equivalent of Miami. The local un-vaccination rate is higher than elsewhere. The result has been predictable. The infection rate on the Gold Coast is a lot higher. Despite ongoing efforts to get people vaccinated, there’s a residue of people who aren’t.

The logic of anti-vax, a contradiction in terms.

Let’s clarify the position here:

If you’re an Australian, you’ve been vaccinated against anything and everything since birth.

  • People who’ve been vaccinated their whole lives are now complaining about other people getting vaccinated.
  • The idea of “choice” about getting vaccinated is absurd. Your “choice” is depriving other people of choice. If you want to get COVID, fine. That doesn’t give you the right to choose for other people.
  • This is the logic which doomed anti-vax in Australia. it makes no sense at all. Add to this the quaint if obnoxious habit of quoting American lunatics as an argument. It was always going to be game over for anti-vax.

Publication of defamatory statements Australian law and Twitter’s code of conduct

Just recently the High Court of Australia made an interesting ruling on the subject of online hate. This ruling may have ramifications for Twitter and better still, the peddlers of online poison worldwide.

It’s not much of a step from finding publishers liable to “guilt by association” for Twitter and other social media. The same principles apply – This enabling of trolls is basically illegal and actionable. (This has NOT been tested by a court, but it’s a pretty obvious argument.)

There’s another little issue – Twitter’s code of conduct is pretty unambiguous. The original social media platform can do whatever it wants about any sort of trolling, whenever it wants.

That’s the expectation, too, which is pretty relevant. The days of social media keeping the trolls in paid jobs are long gone. People are expected to act like human beings online these days.

…So why hasn’t Twitter done something about this? There’s no indication that Twitter has taken any action against these well-known serial trolls. How is that good enough or anything like good enough, Twitter?

An observation

Try this logic:

Nobody’s asking for health advice from hypocritical nutcases and political skanks for some reason. Point made? If not, grovel in to your local idiocy factory and talk to whoever it is who tells you what your opinions are. See if they can explain why 90% plus of Australia is vaccinated and you aren’t.

While you’re at it, see if you can find out how popular picking on a 6-year-old child is in this country. You’ll be surprised. Nobody else will be.

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Twitter Expands Content Recommendations, Showing Users More Tweets from Profiles They Don’t Follow



Twitter Expands Content Recommendations, Showing Users More Tweets from Profiles They Don’t Follow

Suddenly seeing a heap more random accounts appear in your Twitter feed?

This is why – today, Twitter ramped up its tweet recommendations for a heap more users.

So you’re going to see more tweets in your feed based on things like:

  • Interests based on tweet activity
  • Topics you follow
  • Tweets you’ve engaged with
  • Tweets people in your network like
  • People followed by people you follow

There’s a heap of expanded exposure potential here, and Twitter, in an effort to juice engagement, is looking to keep people in the app for as long as possible, which, ideally, these recommendations will facilitate.

It’s similar to how Facebook and Instagram are now showing you more AI-based content recommendations, which stems from TikTok, and its focus on highlighting the most relevant content to each user, which is not directly tied to your own social graph.

There was a time when your social graph was the defining factor, which gave Facebook a huge advantage, but now, there’s been a bigger shift towards entertainment over social interaction, which expands the potential to show each user more interesting content, from a much broader range of sources.

Conceptually it makes sense, but it’s largely reliant on the platform algorithms being actually good at showing you the best content, based on your interests. TikTok is very good at this, hooking into your expressed likes and dislikes based on your viewing history.

Twitter, however, not so much.

In my experience, Twitter’s recommended topics are always pretty far off, and even within those topics, the tweets it highlights tend to also be off-topic, uninteresting, and even just weird a lot of the time.

Right now, Twitter seems convinced that I’m interested in ‘AirBnB’, ‘beauty Influencers’ and ‘Blink 182’. I’m not interested in any of these things, which I’ve tried to tell Twitter’s algorithms by selecting the ‘Not interested in this topic’ option – yet every time I re-open the app, they’re on my Explore page once again.

It could be worse – last month it was showing me ‘Peanuts’ comics, so I had Charlie Brown’s massive head staring back at me every time I tapped over to the Explore tab.

Again, I’ve directly told Twitter that I’m not interested, but it keeps showing them to me, while today, after this new announcement, this is what my feed currently looks like:

And they just keep coming – every time I scroll back to the top, another 20 tweets are in my feed, with 80% being recommendations.

Look, this is probably a short-term push, and maybe it helps people discover new users to follow, and helps Twitter boost engagement. But again, if you’re seeing a heap more recommendations, this is why.

Hopefully, the feedback will help Twitter refine its topic and content streams.  

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