Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute: Factions on the Left and Right Want Change in the Social Media Industry. “Social media giant Facebook, Inc. is facing angst from the both the Left and Right of the political spectrum in the United States. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing new regulatory action against Facebook and possibly other social media companies. Facebook has around US$ 3 billion saved for anticipation of an FTC fine. Some people argue that social media is akin to a public utility and that some regulation needs to occur.”
The Verge: Facebook shelved a feature intended to promote civil political discourse. “The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook had begun working on a feature that would encourage users of opposing political beliefs to interact in a more positive way. But the project — known as ‘Common Ground’ — was reportedly halted after Facebook’s global head of policy raised concerns that it could lead to accusations that the site was biased against conservatives.”
The New Yorker: The Search for Anti-Conservative Bias on Google. “Algorithmic neutrality is a common Silicon Valley refrain. But an algorithm built without favoring one political party or another, or constructed without intentionally championing a particular ideology, is actually designed to deliver culturally biased results. A search engine runs on algorithms and artificial intelligence to instantaneously sift through the Internet’s nearly two billion Web sites. Google’s engineers have embedded something they call ‘authoritativeness’ into their search algorithm to deliver its results, though what this is, exactly, is challenging to understand, because it appears to be based on a tautology: an authoritative source is a source that a lot of other sources consider to be authoritative. “
CNET: Google’s Sergey Brin calls 2016 election ‘offensive’ in leaked video. “Google co-founder Sergey Brin told a company gathering that he felt offended by the 2016 election, according to a leaked video published by Breitbart on Wednesday, comments that will likely fuel criticism among conservatives that the search giant is biased against them.”
ThinkProgress: Facebook’s idea of ‘fact-checking’: Censoring ThinkProgress because conservative site told them to. “The Weekly Standard brought its third-party ‘fact-checking’ power to bear against ThinkProgress on Monday, when the outlet determined a ThinkProgress story about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was ‘false,’ a category defined by Facebook to indicate ‘the primary claim(s) in this content are factually inaccurate.'”
Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.
New York Times: Dozens at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal Culture. “The post went up quietly on Facebook’s internal message board last week. Titled ‘We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,’ it quickly took off inside the social network.”