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Gizmodo: Former Facebook Workers: ‘We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News’

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This is a very troubling story.  It shows the new form of censorship and bias in the media.  There was a time in our history, where journalists and news organizations would pride themselves on being unbiased or give equal air time for both sides of important issues and ideological points of view.  Now we are seeing the truth of the matter that we are being constantly spun and editorialized while not admitting as much, holding the mantle of neutral observer, when that is far from the truth.

Facebook and Twitter are now being a sort of digital ghetto that becomes an echo chamber for confirmation biased of the regressive left persuasion.  The likely response is that we will see more ideologically defined platforms rise up for conservatives to combat these injustices.   The problem that creates is in America we need to be a melting pot where we can all engage and let the best ideas prevails as Americans supporting it, not Democrats or Republicans.   When you have people using platforms for their political leanings, you reduce the engagement between our major political ideologies.  This divides us and with our current politics showing that we still have major division on issues and how governance should be handled, this does not bode well for the future.

If we continue to not discuss these issues with our opposition, we will never have a meeting of the minds.  That means over time the different sides will just think that opposition is just wrong.  From there you see the demonetization and misinformation that plays to peoples unqualified assumptions.   Once you get to a point where you see the other side as less than human, then you can start supporting and take increasingly extreme positions against them.   This process usually ends in violence with both sides claiming moral authority and that only leads to civil wars unless the situation is de-escalated.   This tactic is used when countries prepare to go to war.  They are try and portray the other sides as animals or monsters.   This gives your side a easier time to engage in the wholesale slaughter that comes with war.

Everyone needs to push back against this, not be complacent just because you happen to support the message.  That is not moral authority, just or a healthy way to approach our human politics.  We all have worth and should be listened too.  When you alienate or chill free expression, this creates the dark pockets that make desperate people justify extreme actions.  If you want to win the in the arena of public ideas, you have to make the case and allow it to be challenged to the point where it is clear that you have the best ideas and it has survived all the serious opposition thrown at time, while still maintaining clear merit for the majority.  People have lost or ignored this concept,  how you win matters more than the winning itself.

In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.


Written by Tally Stick

May 9th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Commentary

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