Posts tagged facebook

NBC News
“We have to think about the QAnon networks as the rails upon which misinformation is driven,” said Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
It’s never too late to do the right thing. Like Casey Newton, it does make me wonder why now?
cnbc
"The staff found, after a 16-month investigation into competitive practices at Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, that the four businesses enjoy monopoly power that needs to be reined in by Congress and enforcers."
Findings! This all sounds promising but I’m skeptical that we’ll see meaningful change. That monopoly power has been very useful to the government.
CNN
"While Facebook allows politicians to make false claims in their ads — arguing that voters deserve an unfiltered view of what candidates and elected officials say — advertisements by super PACs and other independent groups are subject to the company's policies on misinformation"
"Despite the rules, the super PACs have not faced significant repercussions, said Avaaz, nor have users who engaged with the ads been notified that they have been exposed to misleading content."
10 million micro-targeted views of misinformation. How much damage can one monopoly do before we use our antitrust laws? We're going to see this same story over and over until we do. Facebook is so handy for swaying voters for people in charge of using antitrust laws that I'm not sure we'll see it without public pressure.
BuzzFeed News
"When she asked the company to do more in terms of finding and stopping malicious activity related to elections and political activity, she said she was told that “human resources are limited.” And when she was ordered to stop focusing on civic work, “I was told that Facebook would no longer have further need for my services if I refused.”"
Facebook the company is coordinated inauthentic behavior.
BuzzFeed News
"The company did not catch the page despite user reports, Zuckerberg said, because the complaints had been sent to content moderation contractors who were not versed in “how certain militias” operate. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that was responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”"
Blaming contractors when that’s the moderation system they designed? They can’t control their own moderation system? Facebook stock price is at an all time high so the company doesn’t have much incentive to change their systems. It’s working well for making money, working terribly for society.
The Verge
"At least two separate Facebook users reported the account for inciting violence prior to the shooting, The Verge has learned. In each case, the group and its counter-protest event were examined by Facebook moderators and found not to be in violation of the platform’s policies."
Facebook increases engagement by recruiting new members to groups like this. This is Facebook working as designed.
BuzzFeed News
In another recent Workplace post, a senior engineer collected internal evidence that showed Facebook was giving preferential treatment to prominent conservative accounts to help them remove fact-checks from their content.

The company responded by removing his post and restricting internal access to the information he cited. On Wednesday the engineer was fired, according to internal posts seen by BuzzFeed News.
Heartening to hear Facebook employees are continuing to speak up and challenge management. If you haven’t seen Max Wang’s departure video, it’s well worth your time: Leaving facebook: a critique of fb's policies, priorities, and ideologies, ft. hannah arendt. It’s a very personal take on the difficult ethical spot the company is putting its employees in.
BuzzFeed News
"“These were very clear examples that didn't just upset me, they upset Facebook’s employees, they upset the entire civil rights community, they upset Facebook’s advertisers. If you still refuse to listen to all those voices, then you're proving that your decision-making is being guided by some other voice,” she said."
They definitely aren’t guided by their own policies. Facebook just ignores or rewrites them to suit the administration.
nytimes.com
"This column — and the deactivation of my account — is my way of cleaning up my world. But to say I am confident that you, Mark Zuckerberg, will do your part to clean up the rest of the world would be something of an overstatement. Facebook’s still high stock price and your complete control over the company means you can and will continue to do as you please."
I already deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I now know less about what my family and friends are up to, but I feel like I have no choice but to be a -1 in some spreadsheet somewhere since engagement is the only thing Facebook cares about.
washingtonpost.com
"Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers, according to more than a dozen former and current employees and previously unreported documents obtained by The Washington Post."
This article is a good summary of how Facebook rewrote its policies to accommodate hate speech and misinformation so they could stay in favor with the current administration. Related, so far more than 100 advertisers have agreed to stop advertising on Facebook in July: Facebook’s reckoning arrives.
nytimes.com
A growing list of businesses I appreciate that are willing to break with the status quo to send a message. List includes REI, North Face, Patagonia, and Ben & Jerry’s. Since this was published, Verizon has said they’ll stop advertising on Facebook:
"We found an advertisement for Verizon appearing next to a video from the conspiracy group QAnon drawing on hateful and antisemitic rhetoric," the letter read, "warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to bring on civil war with concentration camps and coffins at the ready and claiming Americans are already quarantined in militarized districts."
Appearing next to hateful conspiracy garbage is not a good look for brands.

Update: Unilever joins: Driving a Responsible Digital Ecosystem in These Polarized Times.

Facebook is on the Wrong Side of History

So much Facebook in the news:

NYT: What’s Facebook’s Deal With Donald Trump?
"While executives across Facebook insist that Mr. Zuckerberg’s position on free speech on the platform is a matter of long-term planning and principle, not political expediency, his political team also recognizes that they are badly out of position for a Democratic administration."
Mashable: Facebook faces boycott push from NAACP, ADL, and other civil rights groups
"They allowed incitement to violence against protestors fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and so many others. They amplified white nationalists by including news sources with known extremist ties into their 'fact checking' program. They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression in their platform."
And I think this older article from April gives important context about why exactly Facebook's alliance with the administration is dangerous:

The Atlantic: How Facebook Works for Trump
"Instead of paying to put particular media in front of a specific audience, an advertiser now pays Facebook to deliver a selected outcome from a certain stripe of people. For example, a clothing manufacturer might pay Facebook for webpage visits from women in their 30s who live in Los Angeles, or for likes by parents with college degrees whose online behavior is similar to that of users who had previously made purchases."
The combination of microtargeting, proprietary machine learning, increasing radicalization through recommended groups, and an unwillingness to prevent voter supression or misinformation is hurting our ability to have a healthy democracy.
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