facebook

Slate
Facebook has spent much of the past four years kowtowing to conservatives, treating right-wing news outlets with kid gloves even as they flouted its rules and spread disinformation, while bending over backward to avoid offending the Trump administration.
What if the real value Zuckerberg bought with his fealty was the friends he made along the way?
New York Times
"In response, the employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved emphasizing the importance of what Facebook calls “news ecosystem quality” scores, or N.E.Q., a secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism...Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users’ feeds."
Facebook has developed an internal metric for determining the quality of a news source but they choose not to use that knowledge in how they distribute information.
Fortune
Facebook said “most” issues have been fully addressed, and that it’s working with advertisers to handle their concerns. The company also stressed that no ads were paused or rejected by humans or based on partisan ideologies. “We have worked throughout this election to maintain a neutral playing field, and that remains true in the face of these problems,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We understand that time is of the essence at this stage of the campaign season.”
The idea that algorithms are neutral is very dangerous—it’s just not true because an algorithm is made up of potentially hundreds or thousands of human decisions. (Even just one key decision can tip scales.) Humans are biased by business concerns or blind spots even when they’re working hard not to be. And I think Facebook has never been neutral based on their actions.

Facebook is a private monopoly and they are a terrible de facto Federal Election Commission. Plus they charge Biden more for ads which isn’t legal in other media. Facebook made the choice to favor conservatives a long time ago and the results are hurting society.
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.
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