The Tyranny of Facebook By Paul Walker

     Even those on the liberal Left are starting to get worried about Facebook, and human rights issues, and rightly so: 

     That URL is so long, that it is almost a human rights issue. What’s with the endless use of the “%”?  Anyway:

“The UN recently found that Facebook had been a major platform for spreading hatred against the Rohingya in Myanmar, which in turn led to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Video sharing site YouTube seems to automatically guide viewers to the fringiest versions of what they might be searching for. A search on vegetarianism might lead to veganism; jogging to ultra-marathons; Donald Trump’s popularity to white supremacist rants; and Hillary Clinton to 9/11 trutherism. YouTube, via its algorithm’s natural and probably unintended impacts, “may be one of the most powerful radicalising instruments of the 21st century”, with all the attendant human rights abuses that might follow.”

     The problem, that article argued, lay in Facebook’s business models. Well, there are plenty of businesses which function fine without engaging in the social engineering which Zucky seems to delight in. Thus, with no respect for competition, Zucky openly explains how he intends to sink competitors 

“In his recent interview with the far-left online publication Vox, Mark Zuckerberg explained Facebook’s new system of favoring “broadly trusted” news sources, via a mechanism designed to favor established outlets and crush new media. Facebook introduced its new system in January, and the results were immediately apparent. Facebook traffic to establishment outlets including CNN and NBC soared upwards, while traffic to conservative outlets fell. Facebook engagement (likes, shares, and comments) also fell across multiple new media outlets, including those on the right and the left.

Facebook engagement on President Trump’s posts fell by 45 per cent. In his Vox interview, Mark Zuckerberg explained these changes as neutrally as he could, talking about providing a more “meaningful experience” for Facebook users. But despite tamely couching his words, the truth slipped out — Facebook is going to act like a publisher, with a view on what counts as “quality news,” and make judgments about the accuracy and reliability of news publications. Zuckerberg outlined three categories of “fake news” — spammers, state actors, and “real media outlets who are saying what they think is true but have varying levels of accuracy or trustworthiness.”

     Not content with ruling the world, Zucky then wants to be able to rule, like a Supreme Court judge on acceptable speech:

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has proposed a ‘Facebook Supreme Court’ to rule on hate speech reports on the social media platform. In an interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined the future of the social media platform, at one point suggesting that a “Supreme Court” model could be used when judging what counts as hate speech on the platform. As the company reels from their latest user data scandal — which saw stock prices plummet — and a market value loss of approximately $100 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been attempting to open discussion about how Facebook can improve.”

     As far as I can see, the only improvement that could be made at this late stage of the game is for people to stop using Facebook. Just, stop. You are feeding the dragon that is eating us. As Facebook has declared war on alternative media, do all that you can to support the alternatives. 



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Thursday, 07 December 2023

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