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Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:09 PM

NYT Bouie Op Ed "Facebook Has Been a Disaster for the World"

How much longer are we going to allow its platform to foment hatred and undermine democracy?

Jamelle Bouie
By Jamelle Bouie
Opinion Columnist

For years, Myanmar’s military used Facebook to incite hatred and genocidal violence against the country’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority group, leading to mass death and displacement. It took until 2018 for Facebook to admit to and apologize for its failure to act.

(big, big snip - want to put the last part in_

Here in the United States, Facebook has been the chief vector for QAnon, a byzantine conspiracy theory in which President Trump struggles against a global cabal of Satan-worshipping, life-force sucking pedophiles and their enablers. QAnon supporters believe Trump will eventually go public in an operation that ends with the arrest, internment and execution of that cabal, which conveniently includes many of his Democratic political opponents.

Facebook, according to the company’s own investigation, is home to thousands of QAnon groups and pages with millions of members and followers. Its recommendation algorithms push users to engage with QAnon content, spreading the conspiracy to people who may never have encountered it otherwise. Similarly, a report from the German Marshall Fund pegs the recent spate of fire conspiracies — false claims of arson in Oregon by antifa or Black Lives Matter — to the uncontrolled spread of rumors and disinformation on Facebook.

Zuckerberg clearly wants the public to see him and his company as partners in the defense of democracy. Earlier this month, he announced steps to limit election-related misinformation and stop voter suppression and to support efforts to help Americans register and cast a ballot. “I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election — even if it takes time for every vote to be counted,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We’ve voted during global pandemics before. We can do this.”

He is right that our democracy can survive a pandemic. It is unclear, however, if it can survive a platform optimized for conspiratorial thinking. Like industrial-age steel companies dumping poisonous waste into waterways, Facebook pumps paranoia and disinformation into the body politic, the toxic byproduct of its relentless drive for profit. We eventually cleaned up the waste. It’s an open question whether we can clean up after Facebook.

sorry for the paywall - this is an important read.

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Reply NYT Bouie Op Ed "Facebook Has Been a Disaster for the World" (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Sep 18 OP
Thekaspervote Sep 18 #1
Skittles Sep 18 #6
we can do it Sep 18 #2
The Velveteen Ocelot Sep 18 #3
NRaleighLiberal Sep 18 #4
msongs Sep 18 #5
Skittles Sep 18 #7

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:11 PM

1. BOYCOTT fb!! End your account now...they are no better than fux snooz

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Response to Thekaspervote (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 11:20 PM

6. they won't

as long as FB helps people put the least amount of effort into "keeping up with family and friends", users don't give a fuck if FB is a threat to democracy

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:12 PM

2. Kill fucking fb

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:13 PM

3. More from the op-ed:

“In the three years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions,” Zhang wrote. “I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count,” she continued.

The most disturbing revelations from Zhang’s memo relate to the failure of Facebook to take swift action against coordinated activity in countries like Honduras and Azerbaijan, where political leaders used armies of fake accounts to attack opponents and undermine independent media. “We simply didn’t care enough to stop them,” she wrote. In a statement, a spokeswoman for Facebook said that “We investigate each issue carefully, including those that Ms. Zhang raises, before we take action or go out and make claims publicly as a company.”

Zhang’s memo only adds to what we already know about the ease with which bad actors use Facebook to further violence and authoritarian politics. “There are five major ways that authoritarian regimes exploit Facebook and other social media services,” Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media scholar at the University of Virginia, writes in “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” They can “organize countermovements to emerging civil society or protest movements,” “frame the public debate along their terms,” let citizens “voice complaints without direct appeal or protest” and “coordinate among elites to rally support.” They can also use social media to aid in the “surveillance and harassment of opposition activists and journalists.”

We’ve seen such activity in places around the world. In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s allies use Facebook and other social media to harass critics and spread disinformation on behalf of the regime. In India, Vaidhyanathan notes, Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party used Facebook to “rile up anti-Muslim passions and channel people to the polls” as well as “destroy the reputations of journalists, civil society activists, critics of anti-Islam policies, and political enemies.” And in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte leveraged Facebook for “virulent character assassination, threats, and harassment” as well as propaganda in service of vigilantism and violent nationalism.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/18/opinion/facebook-democracy.html

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:18 PM

4. thanks. Leaving FB a year ago (and Twitter too) were good decisions for me.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 10:24 PM

5. I can think of a 2000 yr old institution that has been 1000000 times worse nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 11:21 PM

7. watch The Social Dilemma

that documentary explains FB well

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