Facebook: Promoting Hate and Division

MIT Technology Review offers a look inside Facebook.

Facebook uses algorithms and machine learning programs to maximize user engagement (keep users hooked). It seems people are most interested in the divisive stuff and rumors. So Facebook promotes that sort of socially-damaging stuff.

In 2017, Chris Cox, Facebook’s longtime chief product officer, formed a new task force to understand whether maximizing user engagement on Facebook was contributing to political polarization. It found that there was indeed a correlation, and that reducing polarization would mean taking a hit on engagement. In a mid-2018 document reviewed by the Journal, the task force proposed several potential fixes, such as tweaking the recommendation algorithms to suggest a more diverse range of groups for people to join. But it acknowledged that some of the ideas were “antigrowth.” Most of the proposals didn’t move forward, and the task force disbanded.

[A] former employee…no longer lets his daughter use Facebook.

The Flood of Misinformation – Coming from Right-Wing Websites and Media

This country really needs a modern-day version of the Fairness Doctrine.

From NPR:

While delusional conspiracy theories go way back, experts say right-wing disinformation, in particular, is now spinning out on an unprecedented scale.

Experts see this spread of disinformation as a public health emergency that’s threatening democracy, increasing the risk of further violence, and straining family relationships. It’s also taxing a bevy of “deprogrammers” who are trying to help. More commonly referred to as “exit counselors” or “de-radicalizers,” they help people caught up in cultic ideologies to reconnect with reality.

…those buying into fallacies are far more likely to get most of their news from social media, friends and family, or conservative news outlets. Or they were likely to have recently used social media platforms like Parler and Telegram, which experts say have become disinformation super-spreaders.

Related:

Trump Is No Longer Tweeting, But Online Disinformation Isn’t Going Away

The stunning extent to which Trumpism is centered among Fox News-watching Republicans

…there is a powerful Fox News Party operating within the Republican Party,” PRRI’s CEO Robert Jones told The Post in an email. “Fully 40 percent of Republicans say they most trust Fox News to provide accurate information about current events and politics, and this group looks different from other Republicans on nearly every issue.”

“They are President Trump’s foot soldiers within the party,” he added. ” … So when the president talks directly to Fox News, it essentially functions as a command and control center linking him to his most stalwart supporters.”

Washington Post

Related:

Watching Fox News makes you more stupid

As wildfires rage, false antifa rumors spur pleas from police

At least six groups have issued warnings about the false rumors, including some asking the public to stop sharing the misinformation.

Police and local officials on the West Coast are battling multiple raging fires. They’re also fighting a wave of misinformation from false rumors spread in neighborhood Facebook groups and on far-right websites that antifa activists were setting the blazes.

NBC News

Related:

When They Came To An Oregon Town To Take Pictures Of The Fires, Armed Locals Thought They Were Antifa Arsonists