Big Tech: It's Time to Break Up Facebook

Every now and then an article in The Week comes along that feeds my passion for Internet history and ultimately shakes me to the core. And as always, the articles in The Week include a lively debate from all viewpoints. This time they're reporting about the co-founder of Facebook saying it's time to break it up and I must say, I agree. But even better, it's time to simply walk away.

“It’s time to break up Facebook,” said Chris Hughes in The New York Times. “It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard” with Mark Zuckerberg, and a decade since I left the company. In that time, Mark’s power has become “unprecedented and un-American” and his company a “leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren has advocated for policies that would bust up Big Tech, and I’m joining the growing chorus calling for the government to step in. Mark’s “focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks.” Most worrisome is the control he exerts over the algorithms that determine what gets displayed on the news feed: “There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize, and even censor the conversations of 2 billion people.” The government needs to unwind the mergers of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp before they become too intertwined.

Rooting for Facebook is like rooting for the New England Patriots, said Shira Ovide in “But I worry that ‘Break up Facebook’ has become a catchall.” We need to better understand the root problems and prescribe appropriate fixes “before we all back a Standard Oil–style dismantlement” of the tech giants. The argument that Facebook, for instance, can squash all rivals doesn’t really hold true: Facebook missed the popularity of Snapchat and TikTok, while Apple and Google “remain the front doors to smartphones.” Breaking up Facebook would just create “fiercer wars for our attention and data,” said Ezra Klein in The problem is not that “Facebook is blocking competition in its sector.” It’s that the social networks compete to capture our attention and data with addictive algorithms and toxic content. (Right! There's a NetLingo word for that: brain hacking.) Breaking up Facebook doesn’t solve the real issue: The “incentives that shaped Facebook—and Instagram, and Twitter, and Snapchat, and YouTube—lead to dangerous products.”

Sure, everyone is disappointed with Facebook, said Nick Gillespie in That’s how things go with new technologies. First, the utopian stage, “when we’re all jazzed up about the possibilities of a new innovation.” Next, the dystopian period, “when we attribute all our ills to the new thing—TV, or the web, or social media.” Last comes the stage “when we put the technology in its proper place.” With social media, “we’re clearly in the second phase and almost certainly heading to the third.” We’re all growing tired of how much these sites demand our attention. But the idea that government will do a better job of fixing what’s wrong with them is “risible.” Many of Facebook’s users have already found a way to battle all-powerful Zuckerberg and his “unstoppable” Death Star: They’re “simply walking away.”

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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YouTube's Porn & Conspiracy Problems: Fix Your Recommendation Engine

YouTube was under fire again in early March, when a video blogger named Matt Watson detailed how pedophiles can enter a “wormhole” of YouTube videos to see “footage of children in sexually suggestive positions” according to They can then jump from video to video, helped by YouTube’s recommendation engine, and fill them with lewd comments. Oh yeah, there's an old NetLingo word for that: flame bait.

In response, brands such as Disney, AT&T, and Epic Games pulled their ads from YouTube, and the company responded by banning more than 400 accounts. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that Google-owned YouTube has had this kind of child-safety flare-up. In 2017 alone, disturbing knockoffs appeared on the YouTube Kids platform that depicted Disney and Marvel characters in troubling ways; then sexually explicit comments appeared under videos of kids’ gymnastics. “In response to those scandals, CEO Susan Wojcicki overhauled YouTube’s safety guidelines.” Yet two years later, the same problems keep cropping up.

It’s not just the comments that are problematic for YouTube, said The New York Times. The platform has been reckoning with the vast troves of disinformation and extreme content it harbors, such as conspiracy videos and hoaxes that are popular with millions of viewers. Here, again, the recommendation engine is part of the problem: It sends viewers of misinformation to similar videos with more misinformation.

Conspiracy theories and viral hoaxes top the list” of recommendations for viewers of many popular channels. Young people repeatedly battered by these recommendations often start to reject mainstream sources. To fix this, YouTube needs to recognize how deep these problems run and realize that any successful effort may look less like a simple algorithm tweak, and more like deprogramming a generation.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Big Tech Scruples: Why Did Facebook Executives have to be so Ruthless?

Facebook has weathered its share of scandals lately but this item didn't get much coverage and it really got my goat. At the end of 2018, some 250 pages of internal Facebook emails were released by British lawmakers revealing that executives were "ruthless and unsparing" in their ambition to collect more data from users according to The New York Times. The emails, which spanned 2012 to 2015, a time of tremendous expansion for Facebook, show executives including Mark Zuckerberg, discussing ways to undermine their competitors, obscure their collection of user data, and above all, ensure that their products kept growing.

Most of that sounds well and good (not the obscuring of data part) as our current definition of what a business should do, there's even a NetLingo word for it: moneytizing eyeballs.

Until you get to the part that Facebook engineered a way to collect Android users' data without having to alert them, and Zuckerberg personally approved cutting off a video-sharing app's access to Facebook because it was a competitor to Instagram (which they own). The app, called Vine and loved by many, was eventually forced to shut down. C'mon executives of Big Tech, speak out! Especially you spiritual ones... there's more than enough to go around.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Hey Amazon :( If Coastal Elite Turn On You, Go Where You're Needed

Amazon walked away from New York City due to the public outcry over the $2 billion tax incentives. Amazon, with the rest of Big Tech, is facing unprecedented scrutiny from the newly emboldened Left, according to Progressive Democrats have hammered Amazon over its market power and treatment of warehouse and delivery workers.

In fact, the company has become a potent symbol of American inequality but they are moving fast to head off attacks, and sometimes by co-opting the liberal agenda, like by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But Amazon is popular in Virginia and that doesn't surprise the people in Roanoke, VA according to the Times. Polling shows that more than 90 percent of people in southern Virginia support the company. Why? For the idea of the jobs! Guess what, the red states lost a lot of work due to Big Tech. There's even a NetLingo word for it: You've been Amazonned.

Southern Virginians get why Amazon didn’t locate there: They don’t have 25,000 highly skilled people ready to go to work immediately, but they do have 75,000 college students they'd rather not watch leave. So, Amazon if the coastal elite think you and the other Big Tech companies are wrecking their cities, set up shop in places that will benefit America! I agree with their sentiment, it's tiring to watch politicians in New York City and Seattle gripe about tech companies overrunning their cities, it's like watching two rich people argue.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Working at Google is Not The Dream It’s Supposed To Be

Google has a two-tier workforce, with half of the 170,000 people who work for Google classified as temporary or contract workers, and permanent employees are instructed to treat them differently in a variety of ways. According The Guardian, there's a written company guide that says Google staff are not to reward certain workers with perks like T-shirts, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training. Ugh! I experienced that same bullying at ADT which was shocking. There's a NetLingo word for it: NQOCD.

The contract workers also don’t get benefits at Google, they can’t list on LinkedIn that they work for Google, and they are still subject to forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims, a policy that changed for full-time workers after a global walkout by Google employees (see below!). According to one employee, Google’s contract worker policy basically amounts to this: We are legally in the clear to treat people like garbage. Coming from one of the most successful companies in history, it only makes Google look like garbage.

As for their employees, Google has also been quietly urging the U.S. government to overturn an Obama-era protection that lets employees use their work email to organize online, according to Google made an argument to the National Labor Relations Board last November, three weeks after 20,000 of its employees walked out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment cases. The filing was revealed last week through a Freedom of Information Act request. Busted.

Because Google’s workers are spread around the globe and don’t have most co-workers’ personal emails, its employee email system played a pivotal role in the organizing for that protest.  Google’s push to remove the protection was considered surprising because the company publicly expressed support for the goals of the protest. Busted again. This is yet another instance of Big Tech saying one thing and doing something else, when what they need to do is be more transparent... but not to the degree as Netflix (see previous blog)!

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Still Like Netflix Knowing Their Employees Work in Constant Fear?

Who wants to work at a place where the culture can be ruthless and demoralizing? How about brutal honesty, ritual humiliation, insider lingo, and constant fear? Sure you always dream about how cool it would be to work at Netflix for example, but the reality of working in Big Tech and many other corporations these days is very different.

You don't care you say, you want the salary, the prestige, the experience. Well apparently ruthless and demoralizing and working in constant fear is the Netflix way. What gives? According to The Wall Street Journal at Netflix, they count "radical candor and transparency" among their highest corporate values. OK... So that means when almost every employee can access sensitive information such as viewer numbers for Netflix’s shows, and when 500+ executives can see the salaries of every staffer, they want to demand the same transparency to evaluating performance? The problem with that is you don't treat humans the way you treat data.

Netflix actually encourages team dinners where everyone goes around and gives feedback and criticism about others at the table, and managers are encouraged to apply a "keeper test" to their staff... asking themselves whether they would fight to keep a given employee and firing those for whom the answer is no. In fact, Netflix infamous CEO Reed Hastings uses the keeper test himself, and last year fired one of the company’s first employees, a close friend for decades. One former Netflixer says she saw a fired colleague crying as she packed her boxes while other employees looked away, fearing that helping her would put a target on their back.

It's kill or be killed according to This is the kind of the place where the Chief Human Resources Officer created a 120-slide PowerPoint deck back in 2004 explaining Netflix’s culture of “freedom and responsibility.” She pushed them to keep only highly effective people and devised the keeper test. You can guess how the story ends: Hastings used the keeper test on her in 2011 and fired her. Don't worry, there's a NetLingo word for what she'll do next: ladder bypass.

For those of us who have endured this kind of corporate hell, it's disheartening to see that Big Tech and other corporations still don't care about bullying people to get rid of dead weight. What's even more challenging is that many employees join companies like this with their eyes open and they don't care either! Otherwise Netflix wouldn't have an 87 percent approval rating on Glassdoor. Netflix also took the No. 1 spot on a survey in which knowledge workers were asked which company they most wanted to join.

C'mon gang, we'll never get rid of this corporate culture of fear until people stop accepting it. The answer lies with you, with us... not with Reed Hastings and his cronies who are clearly acting out of fear themselves. Don't "want to work" there just because you spend so much of your valuable free time consuming their product. Better yet, boycott the product... they may not care in their hearts but they will when they feel it in their wallets. Our workplace environment should at least maintain common decency empower professionals to be their best possible versions.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Knowledge Workers: It's Time to Embrace Working Remotely

Employees actually hate open offices, everyone knows that. But's it now been scientifically proven that open offices are doing the opposite of what they were intended and causing us more stress. An article in Fast Company points out that they are too symbolically powerful for companies to abandon. What? It’s not just that open offices are cheap—though they are. OK. Open offices signal that people are collaborating and ideas will spark. Not true!

Open offices have become popular at startups and established companies alike, and Facebook even put all 2,800 employees in one 10-acre building! Ugh. The article goes on to point out that these layouts actually lower the percentage of in-person interactions by 70 percent, while emailing and other electronic messaging rises by 50 percent.

Open offices have also been shown to create stress, especially for women who fell like they are on display all of the time. Check that. While sixty-five percent of creative people have said we need quiet or absolute silence to do our best work. Sure enough, open offices changed everything and there's a NetLingo word for it: disruptive technology.

Even CBS News said yep, the latest research shows that most open office plans fail, and that we didn’t need science to prove how much open offices suck the life out of our workday. I can't believe that seventy percent of Americans now work in open offices! That's a lot of people when, they need to have a real conversation or pitch an important client, they have to find a storage closet.

According to the Financial Times, at the trending WeWork co-working offices, the shared desks seem fairly empty, while the private meeting rooms were full. The ultimate sign that the open office is due for some serious rethinking? Companies are now spending $3,500 for portable soundproof pods to let their employees get away from their colleagues and actually do their work. Gang, if you need to get out from under the fluorescent light, check out job sites like

Dear corporations and businesses alike, the time has come. If you have a productive employee who is capable of performing his or her job offsite, and is equipped with all the office technology and collaboration software as needed, and expresses an interest and desire to do so, then c'mon Big Tech, allow your employees the opportunity to work from home, work remotely, work virtually, telecommute... whatever you want to call it. If not, at least bring back the cube farms.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Why the Gig Economy can be an Online Hell for Workers

Karl Marx would not be surprised by the gig economy, said Leonid Bershidsky in Marx’s proletariat was made up of laborers who were “increasingly impoverished by the rise of machines.” Well guess what? That describes the workers on “digital labor platforms” such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk perfectly.

The “click-worker” jobs on these platforms can include “filling out questionnaires for academic researchers, transcribing audio, even moderating content for social networks.” These jobs are demanding and require education, yet the people who do them earn an average of only $4.43 an hour, according to a survey of 3,500 workers from 75 countries. That number falls to $3.31 an hour when you factor in unpaid time spent looking for orders, researching clients, and taking qualification tests.

It’s not just workers in poor countries who are paid these wages. Two-thirds of U.S. “Turkers” made less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. These are “hellish” jobs without even “basic worker protections.” Should a modern society tolerate jobs that come with no worker rights and no possibility of dignified survival? “And even if such jobs are allowed, should they be offered by huge tech companies that provide outsize returns to shareholders?” Shouldn’t gig workers get to live in a world that feels like 2018, not Marx’s 1848?

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Congress Doesn't Get Big Tech and Senators Don’t Use E-mail. This Bothers Me.

From Senator Chuck Schumer to Senator Lindsey Graham, many of our elected officials continue to brag about not using email. That's concerning. Even more startling is the fact that Congress doesn't get Big Tech. The Facebook hearing last year made it clear that very few U.S. Senators understand Facebook's business. Most of the questions came from tech-challenged Senators who seemed clueless about how Facebook makes its money and even how the Internet works.

"If a version of Facebook will always be free, how do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?" Senator Orrin Hatch, the 84-year-old Republican from Utah (who also famously doesn't use email), asked early on in the five-hour hearing. Mark Zuckerberg paused a moment before saying, "Senator, we run ads." He, and his staff sitting behind him, then grinned directly at him. There's a NetLingo word for that Senator Hatch: noob.

Watch this and tell me Congress, do you really want to be laughed at by Big Tech?

Meanwhile Trump is begging Big Tech for free labor to avoid federal hirings, and because of the government shutdown, 45% of employees in the Department of Homeland Security’s newly created Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have been furloughed, in addition to 85% of workers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This all bothers me so I try to reach out and voice my concern but apparently you need to call, and not email, your legislators. I'm told even if you don’t speak directly to the lawmaker, staff members will often pass the message along in one form or another. Really? With a can and a line of string?

Congress, you cannot afford to be stuck in 1995. As Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post reminds us, the digital revolution is now decades old, affecting virtually every industry and public policy. Senators help make federal laws regulating technology, privacy, cybersecurity, and the digital economy, and for you, ignoring how everyone else in the nation communicates is a form of political malpractice. If you know little or nothing about technology in a technological age, you shouldn't be in the Senate, but if you are, then please hire a consultant like me.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Google, Facebook, and Amazon: A Second Gilded Age of New Monopolies

How dominant are Google, Facebook, and Amazon you ask? According to a briefing in my favorite magazine The Week, they are as dominant as Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, and American Tobacco were at the end of the 19th century.
  • Google dominates search, video, and online ads and has an 885 market share in search advertising in the U.S.
  • Facebook and its major subsidiaries—Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger—account for 77% of mobile social media traffic.
  • Almost $1 of every $2 in online retail sales goes through Amazon.

Flush with revenues of tens of billions of dollars, each company has heavily expanded into other industries:
  • Google dominates video (through YouTube), mapping, and personal email;
  • Facebook is building consumer drones and virtual reality sets;
  • Amazon recently bought the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion.
Digital enthusiasts once predicted that the internet would democratize business and industry; instead, it’s enabled a handful of firms to have such dominant market shares that it’s almost impossible to compete with them. T.J. Stiles, a biographer of the 19th-century business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, says we are living in a second Gilded Age. “Our lives,” he says, “are channeled once again through fewer and fewer companies controlled by a few men.”

So, what’s wrong with monopolies you may ask? When companies control a market, they tend to use their power to eliminate competition—often to the detriment of consumers. They can force suppliers to lower their prices, cutting their profits, and can bankrupt their rivals by undercutting them—or simply buy them out. Massive companies can also use economies of scale to eliminate jobs—particularly in the digital era, when much work can be automated. All this can result in reduced consumer choice, depressed wages, and a concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer people in fewer locations.

And is that actually occurring? Yes...
  • Amazon accounts for 52% of all U.S. book sales, 43 percent of all online commerce, and 45 percent of the fast-growing cloud-computing market. The Seattle-based company has put most brick-and-mortar bookstores out of business, and last year had online sales six times higher than those of Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Costco combined! The self-proclaimed “Everything Store” has absorbed many of its competitors, buying the largest online shoe retailer (Zappos), the most popular live-streaming video platform (Twitch), and the market leader in baby products ( When the latter initially refused to sell, Amazon simply slashed its prices for its own baby products until capitulated.
  • Facebook boasts 2 billion active users—more than a quarter of the human race. When CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw a social media threat from Instagram and WhatsApp, he spent $20 billion to buy them. A third social media competitor, Snapchat, rejected an offer of $3 billion, so Facebook launched a feature on Instagram essentially replicating Snapchat’s self-deleting videos and photos. Within a year, Instagram Stories has already attracted more daily users than its rival.
  • Google’s parent company, Alphabet, acquires an average of one company a week. More than 1 billion people worldwide use Gmail. For Google, Amazon, and Facebook’s stockholders and executives, this staggering level of success has created enormous wealth, and the companies’ customers benefit from the unprecedented convenience their various services provide.
The domination of these tech giants also has produced plenty of losers, such as:
  • The newspaper industry is one example. Facebook and Google control more than 70% of the $73 billion digital advertising market in the U.S. Many of those dollars used to go to media companies: Between 2006 and 2016, U.S. newspaper advertising revenue plummeted from $50 billion to $18 billion, and the number of jobs in the industry has been cut by more than half, from 411,000 in 2001 to 174,000 in 2016. Journalism websites, too, are struggling to survive, because Facebook and Google eat up most of the online ad dollars.
  • Department stores and malls are another example. Hundreds of major retail stores have shut their doors because of the shift to online shopping, and dozens of malls have gone dark or are half empty. That, in turn, has damaged the vitality of downtowns and surrounding communities. “The communities wither away, and they never come back,” said Howard Davidowitz, an investment banker and consultant to the retail industry.
Is there any pushback? What do you think... in the U.S., not much. The U.S. government generally has used a light hand in regulating tech companies, so as not to stifle innovation and growth in what is now our fastest-growing industry.

Facebook, Google, and Amazon argue that they’re not true monopolies, because their much smaller competitors are only a click away—something that wasn’t the case with, say, AT&T before it was broken up. And the Big Tech beasts spend vast sums keeping lawmakers on their side: Facebook alone poured $3.2 million into federal lobbying in one quarter alone. But this is neither true nor fair to the American public.

Ultimately, consumers will have to rebel en masse against these companies before U.S. lawmakers or regulators will take any action—and there’s no sign that will happen, so one of my New Year's resolutions will be to figure out a way to contact elected officials and educate you as to how the Internet actually works and why Big Tech needs regulation.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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Brain Hacking – Top Internet Term of 2018: Big Tech Gets Us Addicted

Each year I identify the Top Internet Jargon of the Year, the Top Internet Acronym of the Year, the worthy terms that made the Top 10 List, and 5 online trends to look for in the coming year. 

The Internet term of 2018 is brain hacking, and the Top Internet Acronym of the Year is NSFW – Not Safe For Work; the rest of the list includes: clap back, co-working, FIRE, woke, lawnmower parent, QAnon, #TFA and blockchain. Check it out! HOW MANY HAVE YOU HEARD OF?

Everyone's talking tech this year, from POTUS to Congress and Millennials to Big Tech. Here are the Top 10 Internet Terms for 2018. Explanations of the linked terms are on

1. brain hacking - 2018 Jargon of the Year, big tech is hooking us by making smartphones a habit, even Silicon Valley is ditching their devices due to Internet addiction, digital detox and child tech addiction. ADULTS: Please take this 8-question quiz, and for your KIDS: please ask them this 12-question quiz. The term "brain hacking" comes from hijacking peoples' minds to form a habit and it specifically refers to the way Silicon Valley is engineering smartphones, apps and social media to get us hooked, and to get you and your family to feel the need to check in constantly. You know when you're on a mobile social media site and you pull down on the news feed to get it to refresh, and you see that little circle scrolling clockwise... that's called the pull-down refresh and the guy who invented it, is sorry he did because people are now addicted. Read the full story here.

2. NSFW - 2018 Acronym of the Year "Not Safe For Work" from post-#MeToo movements to celebrities tweeting “NSFW headlines” it inspired the new book “NSFW: The Little Black Book of Acronyms

3. clap back - If Oxford’s word is toxic, then the twitterverse is clapping back… it’s a noun, it’s a verb, it’s never been used more than NOW as influencers continue to perfect the art of the clapback, thx Ja Rule

4. co-working – sharing workplaces, it’s a millennial trend with co-living and co-sharing; working in the industry and living in urban areas is impacting people’s lives and creating new business opportunities

5. FIRE – it means "Financial Independence, Retire Early" bravo to millennial crusaders who are geeking out calculating compound interest and blowing up the whole concept of career and retirement

6. woke – young and old are becoming aware, like a man who’s a feminist, or a person's awareness of current affairs, it implies knowledge and empathy as in "You’re woke, so now things are, you know, real."

7. lawnmower parent – first tiger, then elephant, helicopter, dolphin, attachment, free-range,  lawnmowers "mow down" a path for their snowflakes removing all obstacles that may cause a struggle

8. QAnon – what started as a cryptic post grew into a sprawling alternative theory about all things fake

9. #TFA – Omarosa said “they'd just hashtag it ‘TFA’ and move on when Trump did something insane,” it refers to the Twenty Fifth Amendment, as in the removal of the POTUS in the event of impairment…

10. blockchain – the muscle behind bitcoin (which Scrabble just added) it makes bitcoin transactions secure, reliable, and anonymous, it fueled a cryptocurrency craze and helps with ocean plastic too!

Read more about the bold terms on and the Top 5 Online Trends to Watch in 2019:
1. deepfake / facial recognition / faceprint – OMG deepfake wait until you see the photo
2. social credit / social scoring / reputation score – scary stuff from China, wait it’s from big tech too
3. AI / artificial intelligence / machine learning / robotics – unbelievable developments
4. YIMBY & JOMO - Yes In My Back Yard & Joy Of Missing Out – new attitude (not NIMBY & FOMO)
5. CBD –  yes, as in the oil, it’s not an actual acronym because it stands for Cannabidiol

The Top 10 Internet Terms of the Year, compiled by Erin Jansen, founder of
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Please copy and distribute! Our purpose is to educate and entertain :) Get "NSFW" to Decode Flirtatious Slang for Sexty Singles

My friends at crafted an amazing write-up about the new holiday books, check it out... special thanks to Hayley Matthews!

The Scoop: If your crush texts you slang terms you don’t understand, your romance can quickly become lost in translation. Fortunately, NetLingo Founder Erin Jansen has spent over 20 years creating resources to help people keep up with common slang and netiquette, so they never miss a beat in online convos. In the last year, she has written two books that detail the texting and romantic slang today’s daters need to know to get their flirt on.

It’s tempting to overanalyze every word, punctuation mark, and emoji in a text message from a crush. What did he mean by “just hangin”? Was he implying that he was free to hang out with me? Or what did she mean by that smiley face at the end of her reply? Is that a signal that she wants to be more than friends?

Each exclamation point and word choice can offer a clue into that person’s mindset, so it all goes under the microscope as someone tries to figure out if that person is interested in a relationship — or if it’s time to get someone else’s digits.

NetLingo Founder Erin Jansen is an authority on online communication and internet slang.
Of course, sometimes riddling out what your crush writes means keeping pace with the ever-changing internet and texting slang. NetLingo can help with that. Erin Jansen founded NetLingo in 1995 because she saw the internet changing how people communicated and wanted to create a database to reflect new slang, acronyms, and other jargon.

NetLingo now boasts the largest list of texting acronyms and sees over 3 million pageviews a year. Erin has embraced the nickname “NetLingo Girl” and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and “The Martha Stewart Show” to discuss how technology impacts how we communicate and relate to one another.

Erin’s latest book, “NSFW: The Little Black Book of Acronyms,” focuses on defining the flirty terms that are most relevant to modern singles. Its list of naughty abbreviations is a helpful guide for anyone attempting to woo a date online.

“This ever-evolving lexicon just keeps growing, and someone has to decipher and deliver it,” Erin said. “That’s where I come in: the NetLingo Girl. We may not talk this way, but we definitely type this way, and it’s a strange communication that needs decoding.”

Exposing Dirty Talk & Romantic Lingo on the Naughty List

We’ll never know who first decided to type “qt” instead of “cutie” or “ilu” instead of “I love you,” but such terms caught on because they save texters time and make the conversation feel more intimate — as if you share a language all your own.

“We obviously can’t type as fast as we talk, so that’s how this abbreviated language evolved,” Erin explained. “Plus, people have an easier time being sexy by text — it’s a new way of flirting. Online daters get to learn a new way of creatively expressing sweet nothings to their love interests.”

The NetLingo database has grown tremendously thanks to user submissions. Everyday individuals can submit a slang word or abbreviation to the site, and Erin will review it, approve it, and see it go live on the site. This moderation process has allowed her to keep pace with netspeak, 1337 speak, and online jargon.

“NSFW” would make a nice gift for naughty daters looking for their bae.

In 2018, Erin released two informative books. “Texting Terms” is a nice list of every acronym and abbreviation posted on NetLingo. “NSFW” is a naughty list of all the sexy terms she’s collected in the last 20+ years. “NSFW” is definitely “not suitable for work.” It includes sexual endearments, crude humor, profanity, and references to drugs and alcohol. The book doesn’t hold anything back and gives singles the raw, unfiltered truth. That way, next time someone asks you to tdtm (talk dirty to me), you’ll know what to do.

“When I published ‘Texting Terms,’ the naughty-nyms got lost amidst all of the other acronyms,” Erin explained, “so I played with the idea of creating a little black book version. When I tested that idea, people loved it.”

Now NetLingo users can choose to get a naughty or nice list of online slang. If you’re looking for an adults-only guidebook on sexy slang, you can pick up “NSFW” and learn all the sexty messages and brash acronyms you’ll ever need to know.

“These books can serve as a fun inspiration to keep the conversation going,” Erin said. “It’s important to understand what potential dates are texting you, so if you see an acronym you don’t understand, you can quickly look it up and determine if you should swipe right or left.”

“NSFW” is a ‘sexty’ little black book that highlights the naughty jargon evolving from our online ‘anonymous’ style of communication. Due to its mature content, “NSFW” could make the perfect gag gift for the holidays, but it’s also just a great wingman for online daters seeking ways to get the conversation rolling in a sexy direction.

“‘NSFW’ is meant to be fun,” Erin said. “I decided to give the people what they want. Once I dug deep into my analytics, I found not only is America searching for sex, but y’all talk dirty!”

“Texting Terms” Further Delves Into the Shorthand of the Day

“Texting Terms: NetLingo’s Guide to Every Online Acronym & Abbreviation You’ll Ever Need to Know” has taken NetLingo’s impressive list of texting and chat acronyms and put it into print. The book lists the shorthand and leetspeak used by people all over the world. It has over 3,000 entries, and some will leave you breathless with laughter.

You can say a lot with a little by reading up on common acronyms.

Some of the terms are fairly widespread — bae, MAGA, and imo — while others may not have come across your radar before. For instance, people who go to school or work from home may not have heard of a HIPPO, which stands for “highest paid person in the office.” It’s fun to read through this list and guess what complex abbreviations like WoMoBiJo (working mother with a big job) and 142n8ly (unforunately) mean.

“This handy guide is a great gift for adults who love to spend time online,” Erin said. “If new lingo leaves you 404, you can look up and decode any message in minutes.”

Erin uses simple language to define online acronyms used by millions of people every day. Readers can flip through this book to find a particular term or just to get a sense of the variety of abbreviations being thrown around ESEMED (every second, every minute, every day). Singles can consult this book while texting potential dates so they always look like they’re in the know.

These Slim Books Are Packed With Useful Definitions

“NSFW” and “Texting Terms” deal with slang in different ways. You’ll find sections on assicons and sexty smiles on “NSFW,” while “Texting Terms” deals with more mainstream slang. The raunchy, playful content in “NSFW” appeals to daters interested in sexting properly, while “Texting Terms” appeals to parents who want to understand what their kids are saying. Or singles wondering what a date is saying.

“NSFW” makes for a great gag gift or conversation starter at a party, while “Texting Terms” is more of a practical guidebook for the modern word nerd.

“NSFW” lists adult-friendly terms that could come up when you’re sexting.

“These slim, coffee-table books are great for anyone who loves to spend time online,” Erin said.
Erin has created fun and comprehensive resources that cover the world of online jargon with clear definitions. These books give people insight into all sorts of online conversations. “Texting Terms” even has a section on international text terms, so you can bring the book along when seeking romance abroad.

Police stations, district attorneys, and cybercrime units have trusted “Texting Terms” to help them decode cryptic messages on the web. Meanwhile, brogrammers, online daters, cougars, and other singles have used “NSFW” to help them up their flirting games on the web. Whether your interest is personal or professionals, Erin’s books can demystify textspeak for you.

Additionally, NetLingo offers a wealth of information on technology, language, and modern culture. Erin writes weekly editorials on her blog to give her two cents about headlines in the tech industry and beyond. You can also follow NetLingo on Facebook to get frequent updates on where language is going and why it matters.

Erin Jansen Educates and Entertains Today’s Daters

Since 1995, NetLingo’s online dictionary has helped people understand online jargon and common abbreviations. Many newbies have bookmarked the site to get the 411 on demand, and its popularity inspired Erin to create more authoritative and down-to-earth resources that lower the language barrier between folks online.

Now, people can turn to their hardcopy of “NSFW” or “Texting Terms” to find out what a particular slang term or online expression means. These books have highlighted NetLingo’s most relevant and noteworthy acronyms to give readers a laugh as well as some good information. Singles can use these books to help them get to the bottom of what an online crush is saying.

Erin said she hopes her online audience will appreciate seeing their slang contributions in print and that it will spark many conversations about the funniest, strangest, and most useful slang terms and acronyms.

“My mission is to educate and entertain people,” Erin said. “These books are a form of edutainment. No one else is tracking the online language this way.”

Hayley Matthews
Hayley is the Editor-in-Chief of DatingNews, and she handles editorial schedules, interviews, social media, and partnerships, among other things. She's been in the dating industry for more than six years, and her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur.

Whether They’re Naughty or Nice, NetLingo has Your Holiday Gifts Covered

NetLingo releases two New Internet Books specially for the Holiday Season: "Texting Terms" & "NSFW: The Little Black Book of Acronyms"

West Palm Beach, FL. November 15, 2018 - NetLingo LLC, creators of, released two new books "NSFW: The Little Black Book of Acronyms” (ISBN 097063966X $14.95) and “Texting Terms: NetLingo's Guide to Every Online Acronym & Abbreviation You'll Ever Need to Know” (ISBN 0970639686 $19.95) on, just in time for the holidays and Black Friday.

You might be thinking WTF kind of title is NSFW and why do I need a book on texting terms? These two book releases highlight online jargon, the crazy array of letters, numbers and keyboard symbols that everyone’s using to comprise our digital conversations today. And what America is talking about is revealing…
“NSFW” is a shocking, innovative and ‘sexty’ little book containing only the naughty jargon that’s evolved from our highly sexualized culture and online ‘anonymous’ style of communication. Things to say to your ‘brogrammer’ or bae :) "Not Safe For Work" is for adults 18+ only, with acronyms too provocative to list here. Mature themes also include assicons, boobiecons, sexty smileys, leet profanity and a micro dose of NASCII art. It’s the ‘little black book’ after all. Take a peek:

“Texting Terms” is NetLingo’s largest list of ALL the texting and internet acronyms. The ‘white’ version. Great for millennials and the White Elephant gift you need for the office holiday party. So, if this new lingo leaves you 404, GL trying to break the code, don’t worry, with these two books you can look up and decode any message in minutes. Both make great coffee table books, ‘toilet humor’ books, gag gifts and fun conversation starters.

NetLingo is the authoritative resource for internet acronyms and online culture, tracking thousands of terms about cyber business, technology, programming and of course, online jargon - the universal ‘net lingo’ used by millions of people on social media, smartphones and the web. “With the internet, new and ever-evolving language continues to emerge,” says Erin Jansen, founder, editor and scribe since 1995, and adds “it’s only getting bigger.” Erin receives new terms daily from her thousands of users, verifies their actual usage, then edits and adds them to the website each month.

The ‘NetLingo Girl’ is considered a web pioneer and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Martha Stewart Show. She is an Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, and writer and speaker on culturally relevant issues about technology and how it impacts our lives. At, her mission is to educate and entertain people worldwide about online culture and communication.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Please copy and distribute
NetLingo is a trademarked product of NetLingo LLC &
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Press Contact: Rossana Jeran    310-663-7734   

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Sex Sells. Let’s A/B Test that Puppy and See Who Bites

Now that the mid-terms are over let's switch it up and have some fun! I did one silly little video about “prairie dogging” on YouTube and it immediately got 36,000 views. Viewers thought it was the “toilet humor” version (which apparently everyone knows about) but instead it was the “geek humor” version (which many of you still don’t know about). Didn’t matter… here was a term that straddled both worlds and in the offline world, it was about something “dirty” so it generated enough views that Google wanted me to put an ad on it.

I make money online with ads but I didn’t bite. I could’ve gone online and explained every little naughty term there is to be had on the Internet in my bikini (that’s what I do, track Internet terms and wear bikinis). Or topless, like the Dutch meteorologists in my motherland do. My BFF and I are geek girls… we get it, we talk about it, and she’s definitely a hot MILF. We’ve often thought we should continue my original NetLingo mission about explaining technology from a woman’s point of view on a vlog. We’d be great… even better than Soledad O'Brien was back in my CNET days. We should probably still do it, half-clothed of course.

It was that idea which inspired my little video exercise, mind you “prairie dogging” isn’t even a sexy term. The funny online explanation is slang for when someone drops something loudly at work in a cube farm and everyone's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on. The funny offline explanation is when you have to take a crap so bad the turd is popping in and out until you get the chance to release it. Even Planet Mancow didn’t know that definition when I was on national TV with him; sorry Erich Muller but there’s a NetLingo word for that: 404.

I decided to investigate the online jargon I’ve been tracking all these years so I dug deep into my analytics and found, you don't say, America is searching for sex. Gang, I’m an online pioneer, I’ve been writing about internet jargon and cyber culture since the beginning --even before 1995 when the web browser was first commercially released-- and sure enough, y'all talk dirty!

Having worked in the industry all of my professional life, I read publications and hear terms, but I’m also an academic researcher, a Social Psychologist, hell I’m even considered a Linguist, and I’ve never censored anything on It cracks me up, I’ll get a smiley submission from an Intel engineer :) and a detailed net neutrality update from a millennial: We all speak some form of net lingo online. Unlike Urban Dictionary, NetLingo is still moderated and curated. But like Urban Dictionary, the sexy themes keep coming in and standing out.

So, I decided to own it. Give you a taste of what you seem to want. I bit. Now I’m committed. And I’m gonna bring it. Let’s take a look at the naughty side of our online communication with the new book “NSFW: The Little Black Book of Acronyms.” To be able to finally showcase the fun and flirty terms is getting me excited for the holiday season! Were you and your friends NAUGHTY or NICE this year? We've got “NSFW: The Black Book of Acronyms” for your NAUGHTY list, and “Texting Terms” the white version for your NICE list.. take a peek!

Dudes, peeps, my NetLingo friends, I am loving my new "NSFW" book so don’t be surprised when you see my digital doppelganger showing up in my social media feeds. I need a break from all this "Big Tech Politik" Mr. POTUS and chuckle on my toilet for a change. Better yet I’ll be by the pool sexting my bae some “Not Safe For Work” fantasies. It totally helps to flip through this “sexty little book” while I’m doing so... someone get the Kardashians a copy of “NSFW” stat.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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WTF? He Told You the Motive on Social Media: No More “Hopes and Prayers”

If I thought Congress was ignorant about internet technology, you must be idiots regarding guns.

The Thousand Oaks gunman actually took the time, in between killing 12 people, to post on his Instagram during last week’s massacre. Was he asking for forgiveness or acknowledging he was crazy? No. He was mocking you Congress. Not only did he have no reason to do it, he called you out specifically:

“…the only thing you people do after these shootings is 'hopes and prayers'...or 'keep you in my thoughts'. Every time...and wonder why these keep happening... --(two smiley face emojis)."

It’s chilling how social media has given murderers the platform they need to get the attention they want. Anyone in Big Tech who’s made money off of social media is culpable: your creations are causing addiction, teen suicide, live video morbidity, and it’s only getting worse. Hollywood needs to cut out the gun violence crap, and you know why reality TV celebrities suck? Because they’ve inspired this desperate “get rich quick” for your “15-minutes of fame” behavior. Nobody needs more than $10 million in your bank account; if you do you’re just plain greedy. There’s a NetLingo word for that: anus envy.

The fact that this person used two smiley face emojis is psychopathic. Yes, dude you are suicidal and insane, and I’m not giving in to your quest by even mentioning your name. Why do these guys always seem to have three names anyway? Momma’s don’t let your babies grow up with guns and three names.

Listen people, you don’t need to give up your guns. It’s our right to keep and bear arms. We’ve given the Second Amendment 227 years; it’s outdated and clearly not working anymore. Keep your shotguns and revolvers but turn in these military-assault weapons and ban them once and for all. If you think you need your stockpile of weapons in case the government comes after you for some paranoid reason, then you’re going to cause the next Civil War.

So, don’t tell me the “authorities” have not yet determined a motive. The killer told you himself “life is boring” and he basically knew he could get away with it. Military style weapons have no place in this world except for in the military. Do something about it. More people have been killed at American schools this year than have been killed while deployed in the U.S. military. Shame on you.

Congress it has been a horrible week for Southern California. I went to Pepperdine and I’ve been to the Borderline Bar many times. We need your “thoughts and prayers” for the fires, but nobody wants your “thoughts and prayers” over gun violence. The NRA doesn’t send out their “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting, so why do members of Congress, especially when you are the only ones who can do something about it?

I’m a lover not a fighter, and when my sympathetic nervous system is activated to fight or flight, I’ll fly. Between the Parkland students, the Jewish synagogue and this former Marine, you Mr. President and every member of Congress has blood on your hands. You have to start fighting America’s crazy gun violence and pass measures to ban high-magazine capacity weapons. Meanwhile I’m on the next flight to Fiji.

- Erin Jansen, Internet Specialist, Social Psychologist, Founder of
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