Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Social Media and Democracy

with 2 comments

Facebook Product Manager for Civic Engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti, posted earlier today about the impact of social media on democracy.

He begins:

Around the world, social media is making it easier for people to have a voice in government — to discuss issues, organize around causes, and hold leaders accountable. As recently as 2011, when social media played a critical role in the Arab Spring in places like Tunisia, it was heralded as a technology for liberation.
– via newsroom.fb.com

But then goes on to observe that “a lot has changed since then. The 2016 presidential election brought to the fore the risks of meddling, ‘fake news’ and political politicization.

Little bit, yeah.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Around the US 2016 election, Russian entities set up and promoted fake Pages on Facebook to influence public sentiment — essentially using social media as an information weapon. Although we didn’t know it at the time, we discovered that these Russian actors created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people in the US over a two-year period. This kind of activity goes against everything we stand for. It’s abhorrent to us that a nation-state used our platform to wage a cyberwar intended to divide society. This was a new kind of threat that we couldn’t easily predict, but we should have done better.
– via newsroom.fb.com

How could this happen and what could be done to mitigate it moving forward?

The Russian interference worked in part by promoting inauthentic Pages, so we’re working to make politics on Facebook more transparent. We’re making it possible to visit an advertiser’s Page and see the ads they’re currently running. We’ll soon also require organizations running election-related ads to confirm their identities so we can show viewers of their ads who exactly paid for them. Finally, we’ll archive electoral ads and make them searchable to enhance accountability.
– via newsroom.fb.com

As for the “fake” or false news:

we’ve made it easier to report false news and have taken steps in partnership with third-party fact checkers to rank these stories lower in News Feed. Once our fact checking partners label a story as false, we’re able to reduce future impressions of the story on Facebook by 80%. We’re also working to make it harder for bad actors to profit from false news, eliminating their incentive to create this content in the first place.
– via newsroom.fb.com

You can read the full post here.

Written by turbotodd

January 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Posted in 2018, facebook, fake news

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