Facebook whistleblower explodes real scandal | Editorial columns

Stop the presses: Facebook seeks to maximize profits.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, appeared in “60 Minutes” where she criticized Facebook, a public company, for “optimizing content that drives engagement.” In other words, FB tries to keep users on its platform for as long as possible to make money, which a public company has a fiduciary duty to shareholders to do.

“Whistleblower” Haugen worked at Facebook headquarters in what the company called Civic Integrity, which “60 Minutes” said deals with “election risks, including misinformation.” There, she discovered that the content that Facebook adapts for users seeks to trigger emotions, including anger, so that the user spends as much time as possible on the site.

Consider the following “bomb” exchange:

“60 minutes”: “The algorithm (Facebook) selects from these options based on the type of content you have engaged with the most in the past. “

Haugen: “And one of the consequences of how Facebook selects this content today is that it optimizes content that elicits engagement, reaction, but its own research shows that content is hateful, divisive, which polarizes, it is easier to inspire people with anger than other emotions. … Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be more secure, people will spend less time on the site, they will click less ads, they will earn less money.

How is it different from any other medium, be it television, cable television, radio, talk radio, newspapers, tabloids or other media? Remember the adage in the newspapers, “If it bleeds, it leads. As a radio host for almost 30 years, I know that ratings are a measure of not only the number of people who listen, but also the length of time they listen. It’s an important part of the formula that determines the popularity of a particular show. The more popular the program, the more advertisers it attracts. The more advertisers a program attracts, the more advertisers pay.

In short, Facebook finds that in order to piss people off, they spend more time getting pissed off, the very method that “60 Minutes” pursues for ratings. Indeed, “60 Minutes” strongly promoted this supposed “bombshell” interview with the whistleblower.

The real scandal, not even mentioned by Haugen or “60 Minutes”, is the obvious removal of conservative content by Facebook, Twitter and the left “news” media.

The treatment of former President Donald Trump is the most egregious example. Days before the 2020 election, Twitter banned the New York Post from posting its own potentially changing exposure to Hunter Biden and that his father Joe, despite his denials, was clearly aware of his son’s involvement in the energy company. Ukrainian.

And Facebook banned Trump after the Jan.6 “insurgency” for allegedly spreading the “big lie” about the 2020 election.

Never mind that Hillary Clinton repeatedly called the 2016 election “stolen” and Trump “illegitimate.” Several people engaged in street violence in many cities when Trump was elected and more than 200 protesters were arrested during Trump’s inauguration. Two-thirds of Democrats, according to a YouGov poll from March 2018, mistakenly believe that Russia “falsified the vote count” in the 2016 election.

Certainly, according to a Quinnipiac University survey earlier this year, 76% of self-identified Republicans believe there was “widespread fraud in the 2020 election.” But, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, 78% of Democrats believed the Russians not only “interfered” in 2016, but “changed the outcome” of that election. So, more Democrats consider the 2016 election “stolen” than Republicans who think the same about 2020. Why hasn’t Facebook banned Clinton?

Ultimately, Haugen wants more, not less removal of content that she sees as “hateful” and “polarizing.” But who decides? Could these be the same people who call January 6 an “insurgency” and who permanently banned Trump, but not Hillary Clinton, for promoting the Big Lie?

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