Simon Willison’s Weblog


25 items tagged “social-media”


“Link In Bio” is a slow knife (via) Anil Dash writing in 2019 about how Instagram’s “link in bio” thing (where users cannot post links to things in Instagram posts or comments, just a single link field in their bio) is harmful for linking on the web.

Today it’s even worse. TikTok has the same culture, and LinkedIn and Twitter both algorithmically de-boost anything with a URL in it, encouraging users to share screenshots (often unsourced) rather than linking to content and reducing their distribution.

It’s gross.

# 12th May 2024, 2:15 pm / anil-dash, linkedin, links, social-media, twitter


Meta/Threads Interoperating in the Fediverse Data Dialogue Meeting yesterday. Johannes Ernst reports from a recent meeting hosted by Meta aimed at bringing together staff from Meta’s Threads social media platform with representatives from the Fediverse.

Meta have previously announced an intention for Threads to join the Fediverse. It sounds like they’re being extremely thoughtful about how to go about this.

Two points that stood out for me:

“Rolling out a large node – like Threads will be – in a complex, distributed system that’s as decentralized and heterogeneous as the Fediverse is not something anybody really has done before.”


“When we think of privacy risks when Meta connects to the Fediverse, we usually think of what happens to data that moves from today’s Fediverse into Meta. I didn’t realize the opposite is also quite a challenge (personal data posted to Threads, making its way into the Fediverse) for an organization as heavily monitored by regulators around the world as is Meta.”

# 12th December 2023, 1:05 am / facebook, social-media, mastodon, fediverse

When Musk introduced creator payments in July, he splashed rocket fuel over the darkest elements of the platform. These kinds of posts always existed, in no small number, but are now the despicable main event. There’s money to be made. X’s new incentive structure has turned the site into a hive of so-called engagement farming — posts designed with the sole intent to elicit literally any kind of response: laughter, sadness, fear. Or the best one: hate. Hate is what truly juices the numbers.

Dave Lee

# 7th October 2023, 3:42 pm / social-media, twitter

Meta in Myanmar, Part I: The Setup. The first in a series by Erin Kissane explaining in detail exactly how things went so incredibly wrong with Facebook in Myanmar, contributing to a genocide ending hundreds of thousands of lives. This is an extremely tough read.

# 30th September 2023, 2:27 am / ethics, facebook, social-media


If posts in a social media app do not have URLs that can be linked to and viewed in an unauthenticated browser, or if there is no way to make a new post from a browser, then that program is not a part of the World Wide Web in any meaningful way.

Consign that app to oblivion.


# 28th November 2022, 6:22 am / jwz, social-media

The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works. Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience.

Nilay Patel

# 28th October 2022, 3:45 pm / moderation, social-media, twitter, nilay-patel

Welcome to hell, Elon (via) If you only read one thing about the Elon acquisition of Twitter make it this, by Nilay Patel. Outstanding insights into what it actually takes to to run a commercial social media service.

# 28th October 2022, 3:16 pm / moderation, social-media, twitter, nilay-patel


I saw millions compromise their Facebook accounts to fuel fake engagement. Sophie Zhang, ex-Facebook, describes how millions of Facebook users have signed up for “autolikers”—programs that promise likes and engagement for their posts, in exchange for access to their accounts which are then combined into the larger bot farm and used to provide likes to other posts. “Self-compromise was a widespread problem, and possibly the largest single source of existing inauthentic activity on Facebook during my time there. While actual fake accounts can be banned, Facebook is unwilling to disable the accounts of real users who share their accounts with a bot farm.”

# 9th June 2021, 3:40 pm / facebook, social-media


Seniors generally report having more trust in the people around them, a characteristic that may make them more credulous of information that comes from friends and family. There is also the issue of context: Misinformation appears in a stream that also includes baby pictures, recipes and career updates. Users may not expect to toggle between light socializing and heavy truth-assessing when they’re looking at their phone for a few minutes in line at the grocery store.

Michael Hobbes

# 29th October 2020, 3:06 pm / social-media, disinformation

“I Have Blood on My Hands”: A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation (via) Sophie Zhang worked as the data scientist for the Facebook Site Integrity fake engagement team. She gave up her severance package in order to speak out internally about what she saw there, and someone leaked her memo to BuzzFeed News. It’s a hell of a story: she saw bots and coordinated manual accounts used to influence politics in countries all around the world, and found herself constantly making moderation decisions that had lasting political impact. “With no oversight whatsoever, I was left in a situation where I was trusted with immense influence in my spare time". This sounds like a nightmare—imagine taking on responsibility for protecting democracy in so many different places.

# 15th September 2020, 9:11 pm / facebook, moderation, social-media


This Is How We Radicalized The World (via) Don’t be put off by the click-baity title: this article by Ryan Broderick is absolutely worth your time. Ryan has been traveling the world covering the global rise of populism, which has been driven in a great part by new patterns of social media usage and distrust of the news media. Ryan ties together stories from a bunch of different countries over the last few years and make a compelling case that we need to come to terms with social media radicalization as a global problem and figure out how to respond to it and deal with the fallout.

# 31st October 2018, 1:11 am / news, social-media


Why was LinkedIn Events shut down? Why isn’t there now a social network for business events?

Our site Lanyrd offers LinkedIn signin and works as a social network for business and professional events. You can read more about our LinkedIn integration here: Use Lanyrd and LinkedIn to get more out of professional events and conferences

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Why doesn’t xkcd site have social media share options?

My guess: he probably thinks they are a bit tacky.

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What are the top tech conferences for social, mobile and location based marketing?

Our service, Lanyrd, is a crowdsourced directory of conferences with very strong listings in those categories. Try the following pages:

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Which are the big Tech and Social Media events coming up from September onward (USA & Europe)?

Our site is a good bet for answering this type of question. We operate a wikipedia-style index of professional events and conferences, a large portion of which are tech/social media related.

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What Social Media events or conferences are taking place in November 2011 in San Francisco or New York?

There don’t seem to be many “social media” events happening in November—September and October are peak season.

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Is Lanyrd meant to be tech-industry specific, or is that just a byproduct of the early adopter demographic?

We want to cover all sorts of conferences (and user groups, and meetups, and conventions... any event where people get together to share their knowledge). We have a good start on technology because that’s where our early adopters are, but we’re starting to pick up in a few other categories as well. Here are some of my favourite examples:

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What are some recommendations for good social media and/or digital marketing conferences to attend in 2011?

Our list of social media conferences on Lanyrd currently shows 46 upcoming events:

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Who are the best female speakers on the topic of social media who are equal parts knowledgeable and engaging?

Meg Pickard from the Guardian
Suw Charman-Anderson

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What are some good social media events that will take place in 2011 in Middle East and North Africa region?

User StartupDigestME on Lanyrd follows entrepreneurship events in the region which may also cover social media topics:

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Where is a good list of social media events in the San Francisco Bay Area for 2011?

Take a look at

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A little deeper investigation showed that nothing I had posted on Buzz had gone public since August 6. Nothing. [...] No one noticed. Not even me. It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves.

Leo Laporte

# 22nd August 2010, 6:43 pm / google-buzz, social-media, twitter, recovered, leolaporte

Self-Proclaimed Social Media Gurus on Twitter Multiplying Like Rabbits (via) 15,740 of them, including 2,091 social media consultants, 807 social media experts, 445 social media gurus and 68 social media stars.

# 4th January 2010, 1:49 am / funny, social-media, twitter


Social Media Icons. Paul Robert Lloyd: “ In the past I’ve used site favicons, but these can often be visually inconsistent”—so he’s put together a tasty set of icons for different social websites with a consistent visual feel, available in four different sizes.

# 9th July 2009, 4:38 pm / design, icons, paul-robert-lloyd, social-media

List of SxSW 2009 panels with “social” in the title

  • A Hard Sell? Social Media & Your Boss
  • Can Social Media End Racism?
  • Digital Urbanites: How To Become Part of the New Social Capital
  • The Future Of Social Networks
  • How Social Networks Are Killing the Revolution
  • Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities
  • The Mix at Six Hosted by Social Media Group
  • Mobile Social SXSW BBQ
  • My Boss Doesn’t Get It: Championing Social Media to the Man
  • PBS’ Interactive Social Media & Online Video Studio
  • The Search for a More Social Web
  • Security for the Social Set
  • Social Engineering: Scam Your Way Into Anything or From Anybody
  • Social Gamers: Away From the Keyboard
  • Social Media For Social Good
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
  • Social Media Nonprofit ROI Poetry Slam
  • Social Media: If You Liked it, Then You Should Have Put a Digg on it...
  • Social Networking in Health: e-Patients, Data & Privacy
  • Social Patterns and Antipatterns For the Win
  • Suxorz ’09: The Ten Worst Social Media Campaigns
  • Twitter for Marketers: Is It Still Social Media?
  • Using GPS & Location to Enhance Social Networking
  • Using the New Digital Social Media to Accelerate Sustainability