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NewsFeed: Slow to Squash Hate; Fast to Spread Fake

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John Beagle View Drop Down
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    Posted: Nov 02 2018 at 1:22pm
Welcome to this week’s edition of Freedom From Facebook's NewsFeed.
 
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS WEEK.
 
As the U.S. reeled from three incidents of domestic terrorism, the social media platforms partly responsible for hosting hate were eerily silent. The New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac, and Kate Conger revealedFacebook-owned Instagram hosted 11, 696 anti-semitic images and videos. The trio note:
             
‘Social media companies have created, allowed and enabled extremists to move their message from the margins to the mainstream,’ said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League’...’ In the past, they couldn’t find audiences for their poison. Now, with a click or a post or a tweet, they can spread their ideas with a velocity we’ve never seen before.’
 
Zuckerberg & co are clearly unable to reign in the harm their platforms cause. But don’t just take it from us. The Washington Post editorial board called on Facebook to do more to prevent genocide. After Facebook was used as a tool to rile up hate against Muslims, it took its sweet time cracking down on hate, spending five years to hire more content reviewers who speak Burmese.
 
Even Facebook employees admitted the platform was too slow to respond to algorithm manipulation in a new PBS Frontline documentary. But Zuckerberg’s problems aren’t just bad for users and democracy, they’re bad for business. In Facebook’s Q3 earnings announcement this Tuesday, the company reported mixed results and stagnant growth.
 
It’s no wonder financials aren’t looking up for Facebook. Zuckerberg & co. are too busy building lame ad transparency tools and useless war rooms. In a Vice investigation, reporters ran fake ads on behalf of all 100 sitting U.S. senators. Facebook approved all the ads (but not one purportedly  paid for by Mark Zuckerberg himself). In another investigation by Business Insider, reporters ran not one - but two - fake ads posing as Cambridge Analytica. Facebook approved both, running the ads  for two days.
 
And if all the fake ads weren’t enough, Facebook is weathering the storm of yet another hack this week. A Business Insider report revealed hackers stole the private messages of over 81,000 Facebook users.
 
Users are fed up, and even the father of the web says Facebook needs to be broken up. Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who invented the internet in 1989, noted:
 
              What naturally happens is you end up with one company dominating the field so through history there is
no alternative to really coming in and breaking things up,’...’There is a danger of concentration.’
 
The FTC should take a page from Berners-Lee’s book by finding Facebook in violation of its consent decree, breaking it up, and imposing strong privacy rules on the platform.
 
 
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The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
-Joseph Campbell
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