An unavoidable cost for the furtherance of Facebook’s advertising dominance?
Frankly speaking, Facebook has been on the receiving end of a lot of flack from Congress, world media, and the occasional law student for their (unintentional?) propagation of deliberately false information during the 2016 US election cycle and all of the claims of foreign meddling that came with it.
Whilst it’s possible to begrudgingly give Facebook an appreciative nod for assisting in providing Donald Trump the platform to become a worldwide unintentional comedian, there are more concerning implications following his success. With new suspicions being allayed against the result of the Brexit result in the UK, attempts during the French elections to manipulate information and the copycats emerging amongst ‘strongmen’ figures in Asia, there’s nothing fake about the notice being paid to social media as a tool of mass misinformation.
The current Facebook business model relies heavily on advertising revenue, targeting adverts for improved effectiveness by using the vast deluge of data available from their platform. Unfortunately, political disinformation often follows the exact same path as any other advertising media on the site: attention being given to an advert, algorithmically matching similar adverts to the user, and thus generating clicks and revenue.
Facebook knows this, and has hired over 70,000 reviewers to monitor for this kind of content. However, some commentators such as Dipayan Ghosh, a former privacy and public policy advisor for the social network, argue that these measures are insufficient, and the only real solution is fixing the attention driven advertisement business model.
As an aside, a further troubling outcome of this hyper-skeptical climate are those aisles of the political spectrum that yell “fake news” in order to strangle media investigation and obfuscate the truth, promoting instead a clearly false account of events leading us to an outcome where if you listen -very- carefully, you can hear scuffing noises as George Orwell rapidly somersaults in his grave.
Upcoming elections in the US will go to show if there will be any significant improvements, and this commentator will be anxiously watching with a steaming hot mug of Covfefe.
https://www.thoughtco.com/donald-trump-quotes-2733859 (just for fun)