I was never happy with Facebook. Even when I still had an account, I found it unwieldy, slow to load and just chock-full of features that I’d rather use elsewhere. Then there’s the ads. I remember a very dispiriting morning where I found my page flooded with now Ex-President Trump’s ads in 2016, for no other reason apparent than I was sharing election related news. The fact that social media like Facebook was being used to microtarget users and harden their political views for the sake of engagement was infuriating, but not surprising. Then, of course, there’s the complete lack of responsibility that the platforms have for the radicalism they’ve unleashed upon the world. Zuck and @jack have blood on their hands.
The only time they took action, actual effective action, was after the January 6th insurrection and they banned the Ex-President indefinitely from their platforms. And that, I guarantee, only happened because Biden won and the insurrection failed. They want the power and none of the responsibility. So I guess it’s not surprising to see Facebook tremble in the face of a new campaign to get the Ex-President back on there.
The Oversight Board implemented by Facebook, and intended to be independent from it, to help make better judgements about what content is shared on the platforms, ultimately upheld the indefinite ban on the Ex-President. The Board urged the social media giant to go back to the drawing board on political speech and how political actors engage on the platform. It urged Facebook to re-think it’s “indefinite” ban policy and come back in six months with a more permanent solution.
The decision did not sit well on either side of the political spectrum. Most coming away from it feeling like it’s a distraction. Democrats felt that it isn’t doing enough and is kicking the can down the road, advocating for federal regulation. Republicans bluntly stated that social media has too much power and censors free speech, advocating for anti-trust breakup of large platforms. Does this mean both the Ds and the Rs would be down for, at the least, bipartisan federal regulation of Big Tech?
You should probably know the answer to that.
Here’s what we know at the end of the day. De-platforming people who spread harmful misinformation works. Conspiracists and fraudsters like Alex Jones lose their place in the media ecosystem. When Milo What’s-his-face was banned from social media his influence dropped significantly. When the Ex-President was banned from Twitter and Facebook, the amount of disinformation being spread about Covid-19 dropped significantly, as he had been determined to be single largest driver of it on the web.
But this is all beside the point. It’s all well and good to keep a Ban Hammer handy, but the real problem is the flow of the information on these sites. There’s just too much of a vested interest in keeping that stuff on there, since it engages users for good or for ill. Moreover, even if there were earnest efforts, the user base is too big. It’s too much of a human cost to have actual human moderators go through all the hateful bile on a regular basis and algorithms are robots and thus do not understand human nuance.
So long and short, Facebook and Twitter should be destroyed and we all go back to using AIM or ICQ and asking everyone for their SNs.
Welcome to Thursday! Please be excellent to each other in the comments. The Mayor McSquirrel Rule remains in effect. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, if you have not been vaccinated please consider finding time to get an appointment. If you have had only one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccinge, do not forget about the second dose! Even if you are vaccinated, please continue to maintain social distancing measures, wear masks in public areas in accordance with CDC guidelines in regard to your own vaccination status.