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Linus Torvalds mutters about social media

by on04 April 2019

Encourages bad behaviour – so now you know

Inventor of Linux and IT’s Mr Sweary Linus Torvalds has revealed his dislike of Social networking.

In an interview of Linus Torvalds with Linux Journal on the magazine's 25th anniversary, Torvalds said that if he had to fix one thing about the networked world, it would be social media.

“I detest modern "social media" -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram”, he said. “It's a disease. It seems to encourage bad behaviour.”

It shares the same problem as email "On the internet, nobody can hear you being subtle", Torvalds said.

“When you're not talking to somebody face to face, and you miss all the normal social cues, it's easy to miss humour and sarcasm, but it's also very easy to overlook the reaction of the recipient, so you get things like flame wars, etc., that might not happen as easily with face-to-face interaction.”

He said that email works if you put in the effort to write it, and there's actual content - technical or otherwise -  but “the whole 'liking' and 'sharing' model is just garbage”.

“There is no effort and no quality control. It's all geared to the reverse of quality control, with lowest common denominator targets, and click-bait, and things designed to generate an emotional response, often one of moral outrage”, Torvalds said.

To make matters worse, if you factor in anonymity and social networking becomes “just disgusting”.

“When you don't even put your real name on your garbage (or the garbage you share or like), it doesn't help. I'm one of those people who think that anonymity is overrated. Some people confuse privacy and anonymity and think they go hand in hand, and that protecting privacy means that you need to protect anonymity. I think that's wrong. Anonymity is important if you're a whistle-blower, but if you cannot prove your identity, your crazy rant on some social-media platform shouldn't be visible, and you shouldn't be able to share it or like it”, he said.


Last modified on 04 April 2019
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