Deleting Facebook Improves Your Health

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You’ve probably heard that Facebook is bad for you and shrugged it off thinking that it’s not a big deal. Turns out it is, and you really should get off of Facebook.

We all know how Facebook spies on use and profits from our secrets by selling our data. Tracking blockers and using privacy friendly browsers can help protect you from their spying.

It’s also now well known that Facebook harbours white nationalists and profits from cult-like groups (QAnon), and those too can be avoided. Facebooks real damage to your well being is more insidious than its attempt to promote radicalism and profiting from it. Facebook will make you feel awful because of what others post there.

The solution to make your life better: stop going to Facebook.

Is deleting your account too extreme? Start by limiting how often you go to the site, maybe just once a week or once a month. Definitely don’t post on the site.

“Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being,” the researchers wrote in a Harvard Business Review article. “These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.” Yikes.

Why is too much Facebook bad for your emotional health? Previous research has shown that the social network creates a sort of false peer pressure. Since most people are cautious about posting negative or upsetting experiences on Facebook, the social network creates a misleading environment where everyone seems to be doing better and having more fun than you are. As the researchers put it, “Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison.”

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Mozilla Launches an Incubator to Fix the Internet

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Due to increased consolidation of influential websites on the internet (like Google and Facebook scrapping content from other sites) the quality of the web has arguably decreased. To stymie this corporatization of the internet, the makers of Firefox, Mozilla, have decided to launch a fund to create companies that make the internet a better place. This is sorely needed in a time of media concentration and influence.

“The mission of this incubator is to catalyze a new generation of internet products and services where the people are in control of how the internet is used to shape society,” said Bart Decrem, a Mozilla veteran (think Firefox 1.0) and one of the principals at the Builders Studio. “And where business models should be sustainable and valuable, but do not need to squeeze every last dollar (or ounce of attention) from the user.”

“We think we are tapping into the energy in the student and professional ‘builder communities’ around wanting to work on ideas that matter. That clarion call really resonates,” he said. Not only that, but students with canceled internships are showing up in droves, it seems — mostly computer science, but design and other disciplines as well. There are no restrictions on applicants, like country of origin, previous funding, or anything like that.

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A Website Powered by the Sun

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The world wide web consumes a lot of energy to keep running as it is. The energy sources we use to power the net can make a big difference in the baron footprint of the entire web, which has led one website owner to see if they could run their website using only the sun. It turns out that a relatively small solar setup can do the job.

One catch is that the website had to do without some dynamic elements like a constantly updated database or calls to ad services and other trackers. Reducing your carbon footprint is yet another reason to use ad blockers AKA tracker blockers.

That said, both the network infrastructure and the end-use devices could be re-imagined along the lines of the solar powered website – downscaled and powered by renewable energy sources with limited energy storage. Parts of the network infrastructure could go off-line if the local weather is bad, and your e-mail may be temporarily stored in a rainstorm 3.000 km away. This type of network infrastructure actually exists in some countries, and those networks partly inspired this solar powered website. The end-use devices could have low energy use and long life expectancy.

Because the total energy use of the internet is usually measured to be roughly equally distributed over servers, network, and end-use devices (all including the manufacturing of the devices), we can make a rough estimate of the total energy use of this website throughout a re-imagined internet. For our original set-up with 95.2% uptime, this would be 87.6 kWh of primary energy, which corresponds to 9 litres of oil and 27 kg of CO2. The improvements we outlined earlier could bring these numbers further down, because in this calculation the whole internet is powered by oversized solar PV systems on balconies.

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Use TOR to Access the BBC on the “Dark Web”

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched on the dark web to help those in authoritarian regimes access international news. To access the the site one only need the Tor browser and don’t need to use a VPN to get around national censorship firewalls. The TOR browser works anonymously by connecting to other TOR computers to generate a connection that cannot be traced to its source, so if you’re accessing a banned site from your country it’s nearly impossible to trace the connection back to your computer. As companies like Google track everything we do online we may all need to familiarize ourselves with privacy-focussed solutions. Check out the TOR browser and practice good digital protections.

The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web.
The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.

Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes
Instead of visiting bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Clicking this web address will not work in a regular web browser.

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User Molire at Reddit created the following list:

Tor Browser: https://www.torproject.org/
The BBC onion service is available in at least the following languages:
Arabic — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/arabic
Bengali (Bangladesh) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/bengali
Chinese (simplified) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/zhongwen/simp
English: https://www.bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion/
French — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/afrique
Gujarati (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/gujarati
Hindi (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/hindi
Marathi (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/marathi
Tamil (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/tamil
Indonesian — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/indonesia
Japanese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/japanese
Korean — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/korean
Portuguese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/portuguese
Punjabi (Pakistan) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/punjabi
Urdu (Pakistan) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/urdu
Russian — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/russian
Spanish — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/mundo
Thai — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/thai
Turkish — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/turkce
Vietnamese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/vietnamese

Get Off the Internet and Onto Your Life

Stop reading this post and get out outside. I mean it, put down your mobile or walk away from your computer. The weather isn’t good? Doesn’t matter. Go, get away from this techno surveillance society that is always tracking you. Go be with yourself – it isn’t scary. I believe in you!

Odell finds the focus on getting people to put down their screens or log off from social media limiting; fixating on changing an individual’s behaviors ignores what can be done collectively. She sees this new kind of consciousness-raising as a vehicle for political action. As she writes in How to Do Nothing, “I am less interested in a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter than I am in a mass movement of attention: what happens when people regain control over their attention and begin to direct it again, together.”
Odell is not a technophobe. She uses the iNaturalist app on her phone during hikes to identify plants, and in her research-heavy writing, the internet is an indispensable resource. Without it she wouldn’t be able to go down rabbit holes on subjects like the “free” watches advertised on Instagram, a journey into the world of dropshipping that reveals cascading levels of capitalism based on dishonesty and shoddy information.

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