Hijacked Facebook account message exchange

A young relative’s Facebook account was hijacked (via social engineering) and below is my message exchange with the new person behind the old persona. The hijacker initially asked for my mobile number, presumably hoping to complete the conversation via text message instead of on Facebook. I was immediately suspicious given that we were already in an application that allows text, voice, and video. When the request was for $100 I knew that it was a scam because 100 Bidies rounds to $0 in 2022 purchasing power.

I am a little confused…

Fortuitously, it turns out that I am good friends with Tito Rodrigueze:

The hijacking victim’s mom spent days trying to recover the account. Facebook is not easy to deal with, it seems.

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The funniest Twitter exchanges are misunderstandings?

I’m still trying to figure out what Twitter is for. Much more so than Facebook, Twitter seems to bring together people with different backgrounds and perspectives. The result is a lot more misunderstandings and opportunities for humor with fake misunderstandings.

Here’s my own example:

The Harvard Medical School professor says, presumably informed by Science, that COVID-19 spreads because of arrogant, dismissive, and selfish people. I look at the map and sincerely point out that “Looks like arrogant, dismissive, and selfish people like to live in San Francisco, Boston, and New York City. #Science”.

On further reflection, it would have been better without the #Science and maybe rephrased “Looking at the map, it seems that …” But until Elon Musk takes over, there is no edit button!

Here’s one where President Biden promises more good stuff free and/or cheap and a subject ungratefully demands to know how the Vanquisher of Corn Pop is vanquishing the “housing crisis”:

Here’s the misunderstanding-based response:

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Why doesn’t Twitter’s chat service support PDF files?

As you might have gathered, I’ve been using Twitter lately to see what the fuss is about. A friend messaged me on the service and I tried to send him a 105 KB PDF file. This was impossible to do. Only images and text can be sent through Twitter’s “Messages” chat system. Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, which would be the obvious system for Twitter’s programmers to copy, can handle this easily (up to 25 MB).

Is there a good reason that Twitter left this out or is it an example of the kind of obvious flaw in their product that Elon Musk can correct to boost the enterprise value? It is never good to force people to hop over to Facebook or iMessage or Gmail if they want to communicate on your own platform, right?

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Should Twitter have a friends and family option for tweet distribution?

Aside from the removal of misinformation, such as anything that Donald Trump might have to say or anything regarding Hunter Biden and how he earns enough to pay off a $2.5 million child support plaintiff, it strikes me that the main advantage of Facebook over Twitter is that one can have two classes of post: public and friends/family. One can write about how great Dr. Biden’s husband and Dr. Fauci are for public consumption and the next post can be some kid pictures that would be of interest only to friends/family (and/or that the author might want to keep slightly private).

What if Twitter had a “friends” connection option between accounts, similar to Facebook’s, rather than only “follow”? Would that help Twitter gain market share against Facebook? Currently, Twitter has a “protected” option in which tweets are shared only with followers, but most or all of those followers might not be friends/family.

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Twitter’s Ministry of Medical Truth fact-checked by a medical school professor

If you love Internet and love medical school, what’s not to love about this page in which a med school professor fact checks the folks at Twitter who suspended a user for posting “misinformation”:

(Note that I think the most harmful misinformation ever distributed regarding COVID-19 came from the CDC and similar enterprises, i.e., that cloth masks protected humans from an aerosol virus. I have been ridiculing that advice here since March 2020, e.g., by reference to “saliva-soaked face rag” or “use a bandana as PPE” but I never questioned whether the Covidcrats had the right to say what they said.)

Speaking of misinformation, the headline writers at Politico deserve a Pulitzer for this one:

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Twitter should have a range of reactions?

In the pre-Elon days, Twitter’s only option for reacting to a tweet was/is a heart (“I love it”).

It doesn’t make sense to “love” a tweet about a person suffering a pulse oxygen decline to 79 (“If it’s below 90, you’re reading your IQ” is the aviation standard). Could Musk give Twitter a usage lift by adding the ability to respond with a range of emotions (Facebook) or a limited-only-by-Unicode range of emojis (Signal)?

Another example, a teacher in Australia fired for refusing the Sacrament of Fauci:

Presumably 7,700+ people didn’t actually “love” that she was fired and is unhappy about it. But there is no other way for users to show support.

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Revisiting my investment question regarding Twitter

From 2013, Should we short Twitter?

Folks: It has come to my attention that Twitter has gone public at a valuation of $18 billion. The company has modest revenue (about $600 million per year) and no profit. Is it a short?

What is the explanation for how this service can make enough profit ($1 billion per year?) to justify an $18 billion valuation? It doesn’t seem like a natural advertising medium. Given the possibility of distributing information for free via Facebook or Google+, Twitter does not seem to offer a unique capability to users.

Generally I am a believer in the efficient-market hypothesis but I can’t understand this one.

What if one had shorted Twitter to buy the S&P 500? The following chart isn’t complete because the S&P 500 pays a dividend while Twitter did not. If we use Yahoo! Finance to create a custom chart starting on the date of my post,

The S&P has gone up 134 percent (and paid a dividend of 2 percent per year?) while Twitter is worth 20 percent more than on November 6, 2013. Note the lift in 2020 after the government made most non-screen-based activities illegal, but even that wasn’t enough to bring Twitter’s performance even with the S&P 500.

(I’m wondering if the market cap number I cited in my blog post was inaccurate. Elon Musk is paying $44 billion for the company and the stock price is only barely higher. Either the $18 billion number was wrong (maybe it was the initial pre-bounce IPO target price?) or Twitter has issued a ton more shares since November 2013 (acquisitions? to enrich executives and board members?).)

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Karen gets COVID-19 and asks “What about the kids?”

Poking around within Twitter, I found this gem:

The text:

Rage crying this morning. Two years of isolating and keeping my toddlers safe, and I get infected with #COVID19 at a mandatory team offsite, even while wearing a KN95 mask myself. Now my toddlers are exposed. 🤬 This isn’t over. @US_FDA we need to #ImmunizeUnder5s now!

Think of the children!

His/her/zir/their fellow Karens also got sick, despite practicing the protocol that Science dictated for airline travel:

So far one other team member has tested positive, out of eight of us. Most of us were wearing masks except for when drinking coffee or eating lunch/dinner.

Where does Mx. Nelson work? His/her/zir/their profile:

Program Manager with @Microsoft Philanthropies, leading a $1.15B tech grant program for @msftnonprofits, helping nonprofits leverage technology to do more good.

He/she/ze/they is based in Seattle. In case this tweet is deleted, a screen capture:

Here’s something else fun, the U.S. Ministry of Truth:

Text from the above tweet:

You are welcome to follow us, but rest assured—we are already following you.

I’m surprised that Twitter doesn’t down-rate content from anonymous accounts like this and even more surprised that Twitter has held together given how apparently easy it is to set up an anonymous account. I think that one reason Facebook is so successful is that they authenticate most accounts.


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What if Twitter stopped trying to establish the truth of what is posted there?

A typical reaction to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter seems to be that it is easy to toss out a term such as “free speech” but that it is difficult to implement a plan. Internet conversations need moderation, is the theory, especially on platforms where users aren’t authenticated by real name.

Here’s a tweet from a friend back in Boston, a law firm partner:

Toucan Sam has pointed out here that I myself established a comment moderation policy on photo.net, carried over into this blog. Sam’s tweet got me thinking about whether there was a difference between what Twitter has been doing and the policy that I established. I responded to Sam:

photo.net never tried to do what Twitter tries to do. We moderated out Reader A attacking Reader B. We never deleted content because we believed it to be false and thought that readers needed to be protected from misinformation/disinformation. The antidote to someone saying something false, e.g., “don’t go to France because everyone there is rude”, was other readers posting their own experience and perspective, e.g., “French people were nice to me.”

The most famous Twitter bans have been because Twitter said that it believed information to be false. The New York Post’s stories regarding a laptop allegedly belonging to Joe Biden, for example. A long list of folks saying that COVID-19 vaccines weren’t preventing infection with COVID-19. People saying that children were not experiencing an “emergency” such as they needed to be injected with an emergency use authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

What if Elon Musk simply got Twitter out of the business of figuring out whether tweets were true, false, misinformation, disinformation, etc.? Would that solve most of what irks people regarding Twitter as the public square?


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How does Twitter earn $44 billion before Elon Musk dies?

Twitter will soon be owned by African American entrepreneur and investor Elon Musk, who is paying $44 billion for a company that lost $493 million in 2021 on revenue of $5 billion (press release). The company would have earned something like $273 million if it hadn’t had to pay out on a big shareholder lawsuit. So if we look at things in the best possible light, and forget the fact that the government gave all of these screen-based companies a big lift in 2020 and 2021 by making non-screen-based activities illegal (except “essential” marijuana shopping in Maskachusetts and California), it will take 161 years for Twitter to earn $44 billion in profit. Unless the Silicon Valley life extension enthusiasts can deliver, Elon Musk will have died of old age before the Twitter investment pays back.

What could Elon Musk possibly do to make this platform worth $44 billion (other than wait for a few years when $44 billion could be the price of a Diet Coke)? Is the answer that Twitter can become as addictive as Facebook and therefore as profitable, on a percentage basis? Meta earned something like 30 percent profit after taxes. If Twitter could do the same it would earn $1.5 billion per year and Elon Musk would have paid 29X earnings for a company that is slowly growing (in other words, if everything goes perfect at Twitter it still isn’t an obviously good buy at $44 billion). Can we add this to the long list of things about the stock market that baffle me? (Remember that I’ve been skeptical of Tesla stock and Bitcoin for about 10 years, which is nothing to brag about in the investment world.)

Let’s look at some fun stuff from Twitter regarding Twitter….

Jeff Bezos says that it is good when a billionaire owns Atlantic magazine (Laurene Powell Jobs, who made money by marrying Steve Jobs, and promotes low-skill migration) and it is, presumably, good when a billionaire owns the Washington Post (Jeff Bezos himself). But it is bad when a billionaire owns Twitter:

Here’s a look at the likely thoughts of the Twitter Thought Police:

Here’s a chart of enthusiasm for censorship by party affiliation:

A summary of the situation:

Suppose that Elon Musk cancels the cancelers who work at Twitter. The folks who permanently suspended Donald Trump, for example, would have to look for other work. What if they re-formed as an independent company that took the entire Twitter feed and bowdlerized it by filtering out anything from the New York Post, vaporizing anything that says something positive about Donald Trump, etc. This would become a cherished safe space for Joe Biden voters. What to name the site? How about SafeTwit?

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