🤷🏻♀️ Dox Yourself
Meta verified unsafe for sex workers | Pretend child safety | Substack Notes
Hello screen addicts, how are you?
This week was like a free stale donut 🤷. Look, it’s free, okay? But it’s also stale. I didn’t have as much time this week as I wanted, so this one will be a little shorter — try and get over it.
Something something new social media just dropped
Meta would like you to pay to dox yourself
The phrase ‘child safety’ is just a lawmakers dog whistle for ‘surveillance project’.
🗒️ Here is a ‘Substack Note’
One of my least favourite things is using language prescribed to me by a piece of SaaS, which is still too new to have entered mainstream internet vocabulary, so actually let’s just call this an ‘Elitist Tweet’.
Yes, this is Substack’s new Twitter rival, which everyone seems to love (probably because it’s new; probably because we’re all sad little writers trying to promote our newsletters so we have to be nice to each other). Of course, Elon Musk’s tirade against Substack deffo helped quite a lot — god that guy is a genius.
💦 Meta are coming for sex work
You may have heard about Meta’s new verification scheme — I wrote about it in February when it was first drop-kicked into our shiny, cracked viewports. Basically: it costs more than a Netflix subscription but fails to even try to entertain you.
Getting verified on Meta means providing them with your government ID (yikes), and then your username has to become your legal name. This is obviously no good for sex workers, other performers, trans people, and anyone who does not want to use their IRL name for any reason (including ‘because I don’t feel like it’ which to me is perfectly valid). Those negatively affected by this have this week described it as paying to dox yourself.
This strange, desperate new money-sucking trend seeping out of Silicon Valley right now is very telling: it feels like the people who run the internet are the ones who understand it the least, and that apparently, no one in the world hates creators more than the platforms that facilitate them.
Of course, Mark Zuckerberg has never understood why the sheen of anonymity that the internet/social media provides is important for many people in many contexts. Of course he doesn’t; he literally invented Facebook, an online repository of up-to-date biographical information about ‘real’ people (and a place to become radicalised into a flat-earther, but that came later). Example: In 2014, Facebook’s shitty ‘real name policy’ saw people from many ethnic groups being locked out of their accounts because they had surnames like ‘Creepingbear’ or ‘Yoda’ or any name that was not recognised by Facebook’s shoddy natural language engine which was probably only trained on the guest list for Prince William’s wedding. And we wonder why white supremacists thrive on this platform.
I have friends who work at schools or as civil servants who also perform in burlesque shows and host podcasts about sex — their online personas are wholly different from their IRL ones for obvious reasons. They’re just trying to promote their work while maintaining their privacy, which are two key things that Meta continually insists are easily done on their platforms, but that they seem to make harder and harder with every passing month.
If you’re a sex worker, Meta Verified will not do anything to make your account safer or more secure — it will literally do the opposite. Having someone’s real name is often enough to track them down in the real world, which kind of defeats the purpose of keeping your work online. Meta have no idea what their users consider to be valuable features of their platforms — they pretty much exoticise creators into power users, but refuse to give them any power, and instead force them into being items on an unofficial online ledger of US citizens.
🤡 When child safety isn’t child safety at all
I didn’t actually have time to properly flesh-out this part, but I did summarise my annoyance into yet another Elite Tweet:
So, lawmakers in Utah are demanding that anyone under the age of 18 needs permission from parents to use social media. What we’re seeing here is:
‘Child safety’ being used as a blanket excuse to control people and increase digital surveillance (how exactly is this law going to be enforced? Surely you need to use age verification…)
This is exactly why the US also wants to ban TikTok — it’s for the children, don’t you get it?
There’s something to be said here for authoritarian parenting styles filtering into lawmaking and vice versa
Here me out: those who don’t know how to govern scramble until the last minute, at which point they do something stupid because they feel it’s the only option they have. If lawmakers, perhaps, invested in educating children and young people about online safety, and made sensible regulatory decisions earlier on, they wouldn’t have to start implementing silly bans and limiting the use of something that people generally find quite fun and useful.
These dynamics are seen in traditional parenting, where the parents adopt a kind of ‘what I say goes’ style of parenting, because for some reason they can’t imagine talking to their children like actual people, and would rather outright control every aspect of their lives. The lawmakers who implement ‘social media screen time curfews’ are definitely these kinds of parents, and mostly likely believe that anything that could potentially harm their children only exist outside of the parental unit — because yes, there has never been a case of a parent abusing their child, not once!
That’s all for this week, don’t blame me for all the typos, I’m tired okay?
Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the recent Verge interview with the Substack CEO, specifically his inability to give a good line on hate speech.
I swear that Zuckerberg and Musk have no idea what makes their platforms popular. The keep trying to make social network premium services, which is the exact opposite of why people use them in the first place.