This week, we’re bringing you advice on how to clean up old social media posts, thoughts on how to keep Instagram from tracking you, and how Facebook is trying to detect deepfakes its platform helped spread. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t doing all that great.)
Summer Social Cleaning
We all change and evolve as we get older. When I think of 24-year-old me posting away on socials, not giving a damn about how stupid, misguided and just plain wrong I was, I cringe. Thankfully, though, there are ways to clean and then purge the old social media content you no longer think represents who you have become.
A recent Wired article lays out how a user can freshen their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. First, you’ll need to backup your data (if you’re comfortable with and have fully researched the third-party apps that can help you do this).
The post goes on to detail the process for the three unique sites.
Facebook: Some of the perks of editing your Facebook presence is the site now has a bulk delete tool that allows users to delete posts and photos. The process is different but pretty straightforward for deleting via the app and the web. The Wired piece also mentions that if you’d rather not delete something, you can edit who can see a post through privacy settings.
Twitter: Unfortunately, there’s no quick and easy way to delete Tweets. If you’re determined to get rid of anything offensive, you’re going to have to scroll through your account and delete anything that gives you pause along the way. Wired does report that there are third-party apps that can help you delete things quicker.
Instagram: Instagram is similar to Twitter in that you have to go through post by post to delete the things you no longer feel represent your brand. Wired also notes that you can only delete Instagram posts through the app, not the web. The article also mentions that there are no noted third-party apps that can help you delete Instagram posts in bulk.
Another recent Wired UK article discussed the unsettling reality that everything a person does on Instagram is tracked.
“Almost every online service you use collects information about your actions,” Wired reported. “Every thumb scroll made through your feed provides it with information about your behaviour. Instagram knows that you spent 20 minutes scrolling to the depths of your high-school crush’s profile at 2am.”
The article goes on to explain that the only way a person stop Instagram from tracking them is to delete the app. If you’re not willing to do that, Wired lists a few ways to “slow down” how Instagram tracks your movements.
First, you can delete some of the data Instagram has on you — think your search history, contacts, etc. Next, you can turn off the app’s location tracking. Finally, you can change your ad settings within Instagram and also on Facebook.
“To really attempt to control ads on Instagram, you need to go to Facebook,” Wired explained. “Here it’s possible to change preference settings, which will apply to Instagram as well as Facebook. There are no ad preference settings for people who only have an Instagram account and not a Facebook account. The company says it is working on building controls within the Instagram app.”
According to Mashable, Facebook recently published a blog post that detailed “months of collaborative work aimed at developing a framework for automatically detecting the form of machine-learning generated manipulated media known as deepfakes.”
The project is called the Deepfake Detection Challenge and has “brought together thousands of participants in a shared effort to moderate” deepfakes, but their efforts didn’t garner many results.
“The blog post notes that of the over 35,000 models submitted, the top performer (against real-world examples) was able to detect deepfakes with an accuracy of 65.18 percent,” Mashable reported. “[The] DFDC results also show that this is still very much an unsolved problem. None of the 2,114 participants, which included leading experts from around the globe, achieved 70 percent average precision on unseen deepfakes in the black box data set.”
Mashable ends its post by noting that, “Facebook officially banned deepfakes in Jan. 2020. However, even with the ban, under some circumstances politicians are still allowed to post manipulated media to the platform.”
Fun times we live in, eh?
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via firstname.lastname@example.org.