Facebook abuse, libertarians foiled by bears, and more links for Sunday, 12/13/20

Literary Scholars Discover First Draft Of ‘A Christmas Carol’ Where All 4 Ghosts Show Up At Once And Just Beat The Shit Out Of Scrooge [The Onion]


Facebook Profits As Users Are Ripped Off By Scam Ads [Craig Silverman & Ryan Mac/BuzzFeed News] – Facebook generates billions of revenue in ads for frauds, scams, and disinformation, often using hacked accounts. Facebook looks the other way as long as revenue rolls in. In one instance, TikTok ran a campaign featuring teen-aged girls dancing seductively, targeting the ads at middle-aged men.


Charlize Theron and the Best Movie Never Made [Wired] – Charlize Theron in Lesbian Die Hard. I’ll watch that.


How a New Hampshire libertarian utopia was foiled by bears [Vox/Sean Iling]


“Spready Mercury” and Other Scottish Snow Plow Names [Kottke] – Scotland names its snowplows and some of the names are pretty funny.


The Pandemic Arrived. His Text Back Did Not. [Jenna Klorfein/New York Times] – “Lockdown was a turning point for many people in the early dating stages. … As conventional wisdom was screaming at the time: If you’re a couple, be a couple. Quarantine together, or break up. We broke up.”


Antitrust and Facebook’s paid disinformation [Cory Doctorow/Pluralistic] – Facebook make enormous profits from scam ads, including financial fraud, identity theft, dangerous products, and political and other disinformation. It pays outsourcers to review ads, thus keeping that function at arm length while reaping revenue.


Gucci’s holiday ad recreates a ’90s office party that looks a lot like the ’70s [Alexandra Jardine/Ad Age] – Gucci’s 2020 holiday ad seems to be a 70s-themed office Christmas party set in 1994 which is a whole lot of meta to pack in one TV commercial.


The Zodiac Killer sent a cipher 51 years ago. A team of amateur code-breakers just cracked it. [Meryl Kornfield/WaPo] – The actual message is kind of a letdown.


Facebook Employees Leaving As Hate Speech Festers [Ryan Mac & Craig Silverman/BuzzFeed News] – Key people are leaving Facebook, saying they’re ashamed to work at a company that profits from hate speech and right-wing terrorism. “AI will not save us,” wrote Nick Inzucchi, a civic integrity product designer who quit last week. “The implicit vision guiding most of our integrity work today is one where all human discourse is overseen by perfect, fair, omniscient robots owned by [CEO] Mark Zuckerberg. This is clearly a dystopia, but one so deeply ingrained we hardly notice it any more.”

In internal surveys, only 51% of Facebook’s own employees said they believe the company is a force for positive good, and only 56% said they have confidence in company leadership.


Is It Possible to Shower Too Much? [James Hamblin/The Atlantic] – While we need to wash our hands often, showering too often makes us less healthy, according to new medical research. But how often should we shower? The article doesn’t say.


Let’s Check in with Alaska’s Strangest Town Living under One Roof [Messy Nessy Chic] – Weathering the pandemic in Whittier, Alaska, a town of 300 residents mostly living in apartment building. The only way in or out is by train or car through a 2.5-mile tunnel, which closes every night at 10:30 pm.