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By Eric Johnson
Published Nov 06, 2023

Image credit: Giorgi Balakhadze   CC-BY-SA-4.0

Are Facebook and Instagram Hurting Children?

I love and hate Facebook. I love it because I have used it for years to keep in touch with my family and oldest friends—many of whom I hadn’t heard from much before we all became FB friends. By facilitating instant two-way communications, Facebook became and remains the Internet’s killer app. I hate Facebook because, having studied it closely for years, I do believe that it is literally deadly.

For this week’s newsletter, Jonathan Vankin looks at the lawsuit that California Attorney General Rob Bonta and AGs across the country have filed against Facebook’s and Instagram’s parent company, Meta. The lawsuits allege that Meta exhibited a pattern of behavior in which it purposely caused children to become addicted to its products. (Duh.) The lawsuits describe various profound harms being experienced by our kids, and alleges that Meta’s own documents show that its executives knew that children were getting hurt, and continued these practices anyway.

Scott Galloway, NYU business school professor, offers a succinct analysis of the situation:

I think when we look back on this era of big tech, we’re gonna feel bad about monopoly abuse … we’re going to feel bad about the weaponization of our elections, vaccine misinformation—we’re gonna regret all of it. And I think that’s all gonna be dwarfed by this one regret, and that’s “how the [expletive] did we let this happen to our children?”

Moral Panic or Justifiable Outrage?

We know that kids are spending massive amounts of their lives on social-media sites. We know that there is a full-blown mental-health crisis among today’s teenagers. Are those phenomena related? And is that a corporate crime?

California Sues Meta For Damaging Kids’ Mental Health

How does social media affect the minds and well-being of children? According to California and other states, not well.
California and 32 other states are suing Instagram’s parent company, Meta, saying that their apps are damaging to children. Is there evidence for those claims? Here’s why social media is under attack.

The Dark Mind Behind ‘Engagement’

Rene Girard taught Peter Thiel, the billionaire VC who bankrolled Facebook, that people are driven to imitate each other and move in packs. His mentor meant it as a deadly warning, but Thiel took it as an opportunity to hypnotize a generation.

Desire and Addiction on Facebook

Rene Girard, 'the godfather of the Like button.'
Harper’s magazine reviews a posthumous collection by Rene Girard, who was Peter Thiel’s professor at Stanford, and is called “the godfather of the Like button.”

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Ecology Action logo Ecology Action

Ecology Action states its mission concisely: “Reduce emissions.” The nonprofit group advocates for innovative energy, water, and transportation solutions in communities across California.

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From Our Media Allies

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Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Climate Change, Invasive Clams Are Fueling Algae Growth on Lake Tahoe

While out enjoying one of Lake Tahoe's beaches, you might have noticed large mats of decomposing algae. The lake's famed blue waters are facing another threat.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo City Manager Appoints New Director of Development Services

South Lake Tahoe City Manager Joe Irvin announced the appointment of Zachary Thomas as director of development services.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Offers Guests a Way to Give Back

With the purchase of every lift ticket during the 2023-24 winter season, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe skiers and riders will be able to add a $1 donation to the Tahoe Fund.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo How to Ski or Ride Free at Tahoe Resorts

Plates for Powder, the program that offers free skiing and riding opportunities to those who purchase a Lake Tahoe license plate, is back again for the 2023-24 winter season.

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Recent Local News

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• Apples Drop From Top County Crop

El Dorado County reported a 39% decrease in gross crop value in its 2022 agriculture crop and livestock report.

(11/03/2023) → Mountain Democrat

• Summit Tackles Water Challenges Facing California

At the Water Education Foundation annual water summit in Sacramento, Eric Oppenheimer, chief deputy director of the California State Water Resources Control Board, discussed what he described as the state’s “antiquated” water rights system.

(11/02/2023) → Daily Democrat

• Placerville Holiday Celebration Gets New Name, New Tree

Changes are on the way for Placerville’s holiday celebration, previously called the Festival of Lights, following the approval of this year’s event plan by the Placerville City Council.

(11/01/2023) → Mountain Democrat
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Recent Statewide News

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• UC Irvine-Led Science Team Shows How to Eat Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis

In a study published in Nature Sustainability, scientists assessed the potential for wide-scale synthetic production of dietary fats. The raw materials are the same as those used by plants: hydrogen in water and carbon dioxide in the air.

(11/06/2023) → YubaNet

• A Proposed Development Might Threaten California’s Oldest Tree

A shrubby Palmer oak tree in Riverside County is around 13,000 years old, making it California’s oldest tree and one of the longest-lived organisms on earth. Some people are concerned that a proposed development could threaten the tree.

(11/06/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• Newsom Taking New Approach to California’s 10,000 Homeless Veterans

California’s population of homeless veterans has plateaued despite billions of dollars in state spending to create housing for former service members. Now, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to shift resources to focus on veterans with serious mental health conditions.

(11/05/2023) → CalMatters

• What a Theme Park Giant Merger Means for California

Two theme park giants, Six Flags and Cedar Fair, announced they are merging. It could have potential impacts on California theme parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

(11/05/2023) → SFGate

• UC Berkeley to Relinquish More Than 4,000 Ancestral Remains

Tribes like the Muwekma Ohlone have been asking UC Berkeley for decades to give back ancestral remains from burial sites around the Bay Area. The school is in the process of repatriating 4,400 remains and 25,000 tribal items.

(11/03/2023) → ProPublica

• Lakes Are Reappearing in Death Valley

California's Death Valley is Earth’s hottest place and North America’s driest place. Intense rains, though, are causing lakes to briefly reappear.

(11/03/2023) → Newsweek

• Open Enrollment for Covered California Runs Nov. 1 to Jan. 31

It’s that time of the year again when people can get health insurance through Covered California. Here’s more information on how to apply.

(11/03/2023) → Sacramento Bee

• America’s Low-Carbon Transition Could Improve Employment Opportunities for All

The USA is likely to see consistent job growth from the transition to net zero, but the gains will be unevenly distributed, shows a new analysis conducted by Imperial College London researchers and published in Nature Climate Change.

(11/03/2023) → YubaNet

• Tech Layoffs Continuing in California

Four technology companies, including Google, have announced they're laying off close to 1,700 workers in California. This follows tech layoffs that have been underway since last year.

(11/02/2023) → San Francisco Chronicle

• Schiff Gets Endorsement From CA Assembly Speaker in U.S. Senate Race

California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas has endorsed Rep. Adam Schiff in a crowded U.S. Senate race. Other candidates include representatives Barbara Lee and Katie Porter.

(11/02/2023) → Los Angeles Times

• Australian Wine Conglomerate Spends $900 Million for Daou Vineyards

The acquisition includes the Daou brand, Daou Mountain Estate, four luxury wineries, and around 400 acres of vineyards in Adelaida District of Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County.

(11/01/2023) → San Joaquin Valley Sun

• A Big Year of Snow in California Was Horrific for Endangered Sheep

Researchers tell LAist that half of California’s population of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, which are endangered, died last winter due to record weather. Causes of death include avalanches, starvation and getting eaten by mountain lions after moving to lower elevations for food.

(10/31/2023) → LAist

• UCLA Scientist: California’s Redwoods Might Not Last Another Century

A UCLA climate scientist says California’s redwoods might not last in their current groves for another 100 years. An effort is afoot to plant redwoods elsewhere in more potentially hospitable climates, such as the Pacific Northwest.

(10/31/2023) → New York Times
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Government Announcements

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Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (11/04/2023)
Public Comment Period for Draft ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan
Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (11/02/2023)
City Manager Appoints Zachary Thomas as Director of Development Services
Image of County of El Dorado seal. County of El Dorado   (10/31/2023)
One-Day Road Closure on Enterprise Drive and Missouri Flat Road
Image of City of South Lake Tahoe seal. City of South Lake Tahoe   (10/20/2023)
Heavenly Village Parking Garage Reopens with Improvements
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Upcoming Government Meetings

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Event sponsor logo City of Placerville / Planning Commission Meeting
Tuesday November 7 2023   6:00 PM