Facebook Whistleblower

After some posters mentioned censorship, I realized I’m not very familiar with this situation yet and am trying to do some research.

Haugen says she’s after…

“A safer, free-speech respecting, more enjoyable social media”

The article says her criticism is a “notable shift from the existing focus of policymakers on Facebook’s content policy and censorship.” Her words:

“I’m a strong advocate for non-content-based solutions.”

Her specific criticism is summed up nicely by the author of the article.

The machine-learning models that maximize engagement also favor controversy, misinformation, and extremism: put simply, people just like outrageous stuff.

As far as FB going down:

Haugen is against breaking up Facebook or repealing Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from taking responsibility for the content it distributes.

Instead, she recommends carving out a more targeted exemption in Section 230 for algorithmic ranking, which she argues would “get rid of the engagement-based ranking.” She also advocates for a return to Facebook’s chronological news feed.

So between the choice of allowing FB to choose what to show you, or to simply show you stuff in chronological order, she opts for the latter. This is not censorship!

It would also be my personal preference. That said, I don’t know that companies shouldn’t be allowed to curate stuff necessarily, so this may be a slippery slope.

So here are my problems with her objection:

  1. While I agree with the above criticism, how is it any different from the clickbait headlines of traditional media?

  2. Don’t plenty of other media outlets shovel fake news too?

Here are my agreements with her:

  1. Regarding the fake news angle, it’s at least possible for media orgs and personalities to be sued and held accountable for misinformation. Facebook operates in a gray area, where they push the information but they’re not the source of it. They can do bad, shrug, and say, “I didn’t do anything.” This seems damaging.

  2. Please bring back the chronological news feed!

I highly recommend people reading this article as it seems to break things down very well. Feel free to introduce alternate sources to the discussion, though.

Wow that video clip of people bickering really changed my mind!

You did ask for “alternative sources.” Just sayin