Biden claimed Facebook is killing people. Facebook’s response missed the point.

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On Friday, President Biden said social media platforms including Facebook are “killing people” with misinformation about COVID-19. Facebook’s response: “It’s not us, really.” Facebook’s statement is classic deflection; I’ll deconstruct it for you. On July 15, Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General, made a public statement about virus misinformation, which he called “an urgent threat … Continued

In Florida, unconstitutional social media regulation as performance art

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Florida law now says it is illegal to throw a politician off a social network. This violates the First Amendment. First the facts. From Wired: On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, which greatly limits large social media platforms’ ability to moderate or restrict user content. The bill is a … Continued

The selfish algorithm

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We imagine that competition among social networks reflects companies like Facebook and Google competing for users, eyeballs, and revenue. But what if it is actually the algorithms that compete, manipulating all resources, including companies, to their own ends? In his book The Selfish Gene, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins articulates a counterintuitive view of evolutionary … Continued

Deplatforming Trump

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In about a month, Trump will no longer be president. He’ll no longer have the “political leader” exception on social media — he’ll have to play by the same rules as everyone else. I’ll game out what’s likely to happen as social networks and others consider “deplatforming” the ex-president. How deplatforming works All technology companies … Continued

How the Fairness Doctrine should apply to social networks

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Simply put: social networks like Facebook are contributing to the polarization of American politics. The solution is not to break them up. The solution is to require them to expose members to a diversity of viewpoints. Why is America so divided? Why, even now, are there partisans so desperately afraid of Biden’s election that they … Continued

Resignation letter from Facebook engineer Ashok Chandwaney undermines the company’s rationalizations

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When it comes to hate, does Facebook believe in what it says it does? According to engineer Ashok Chandwaney, not even close. The Washington Post published the departing employee’s resignation letter, which had been posted on Facebook’s internal message board. Let’s take a close look at the accusations. Analyzing Chandwaney’s resignation letter The resignation letter … Continued

Facebook pollutes discourse. Nick Clegg bloviating can’t change that.

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Facebook’s advertisers are bolting — check out the activity on the #StopHateForProfit hashtag. The company’s VP of Communications, Nick Clegg, says Facebook is doing a good job stopping hate and doesn’t profit from it. Is his defense believable? I wrote about this on Monday and published an op-ed in the Boston Globe about it today. … Continued