FiveThirtyEight: Facebook’s Algorithm Is Broken. We Collected Some Spicy Suggestions On How To Fix It.

FiveThirtyEight: Facebook’s Algorithm Is Broken. We Collected Some Spicy Suggestions On How To Fix It. . “If the algorithm is to blame, can Facebook change the algorithm to make it better? What would that look like? To find out, I interviewed 12 leading experts on data and computer science, as well as former Facebook employees, and asked them to propose changes that could help the algorithm suck less. What I got was a range of ideas about how Facebook could start to solve this problem, or whether a solution is even possible. Some are more radical than others, so I’ve categorized these ideas from mild to spicy (though we know Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prefers it sweet).”

KnowTechie: Surprise! Three out of four adults think Facebook is bad for society

KnowTechie: Surprise! Three out of four adults think Facebook is bad for society. “If you’ve seen or heard any kind of news lately, you’re probably aware of just how much scrutiny Facebook has come under over the last couple of months. Well, a new survey from CNN shows just how bad Facebook’s reputation has gotten. Three out of four adults say that the company makes society worse.”

New York Times: You Are the Object of a Secret Extraction Operation

New York Times: You Are the Object of a Secret Extraction Operation. “The world’s liberal democracies now confront a tragedy of the ‘un-commons.’ Information spaces that people assume to be public are strictly ruled by private commercial interests for maximum profit. The internet as a self-regulating market has been revealed as a failed experiment. Surveillance capitalism leaves a trail of social wreckage in its wake: the wholesale destruction of privacy, the intensification of social inequality, the poisoning of social discourse with defactualized information, the demolition of social norms and the weakening of democratic institutions.”

The Verge: Facebook reportedly is aware of the level of ‘problematic use’ among its users

The Verge: Facebook reportedly is aware of the level of ‘problematic use’ among its users. “Facebook’s own internal research found 1 in 8 of its users reported compulsive social media use that interfered with their sleep, work, and relationships— what the social media platform calls ‘problematic use’ but is more commonly known as ‘internet addiction,’ the Wall Street Journal reported. The social media platform had a team focused on user well-being, which suggested ways to curb problematic use, some of which were put into place. But the company shut down the team in 2019, according to the WSJ.”

Harvard Gazette: Exploring the dark, puzzling inner workings of Facebook

Harvard Gazette: Exploring the dark, puzzling inner workings of Facebook. “Republicans think Facebook is silencing conservative voices because Silicon Valley is full of Democrats. Democrats think Facebook is promoting right-wing hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories because it’s profitable. ‘The answer is that Facebook is deeply partisan in favor of Facebook,’ ​said Jeff Horwitz, a technology reporter for The Wall Street Journal who led the paper’s investigation into the company’s abandoned effort to tamp down political polarization on the platform after the 2020 election. The inquiry offered an unprecedented look into the inner workings of the enormously popular and influential social media service.”

Mother Jones: Facebook’s Metaverse Is for Rich People

Mother Jones: Facebook’s Metaverse Is for Rich People. “I have…a lot of thoughts about this metaverse pivot, and they mirror a lot of what’s been said in the tech and business press already: that this may be a lot less about building the all-encompassing virtual world that Zuckerberg is pitching, and a lot more about rolling out a shiny distraction from all the controversy swirling around the company. But one question I’m still sitting with days later is: What exactly is it that led Zuckerberg and his fellow executives to think that the way to renew enthusiasm for their beleaguered company is to give people *more* virtual interaction?”

Natural History Museum: Digitising all of the Natural History Museum’s collections could create immense global societal benefit – with economic value of more than £2bn

Natural History Museum: Digitising all of the Natural History Museum’s collections could create immense global societal benefit – with economic value of more than £2bn. “The societal benefits of digitising natural history collections extends to global advancements in food security, biodiversity conservation, medicine discovery, minerals exploration, and beyond. Brand new, rigorous economic report predicts investing in digitising natural history museum collections could also result in a tenfold return.”

Exclusive: Billionaires back new media firm to combat disinformation (Axios)

Axios: Exclusive: Billionaires back new media firm to combat disinformation. Oh boy, more billionaires. What could possibly go wrong? “A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching Tuesday to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation. Why it matters: Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.”

Op-ed: Facebook’s moral failure shows the need for competition and is a test for Congress, write Reps. Buck and Cicilline (CNBC)

CNBC: Op-ed: Facebook’s moral failure shows the need for competition and is a test for Congress, write Reps. Buck and Cicilline. “(Reps. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., and Ken Buck, R-Colo. are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.) This latest evidence of Facebook’s moral failures is credible and damning, but these concerns are not new. Instead, this evidence confirms what we have known about Facebook for years — that it will always prioritize growth and profit over everything else.”

New York Times: We’re Smarter About Facebook Now

New York Times: We’re Smarter About Facebook Now . “So yes, we’ve all gotten stuff wrong about Facebook. The company, the public and people in power have at times oversimplified, sensationalized, misdiagnosed the problems or botched the solutions. We focused on how the heck Facebook allowed Macedonian teenagers to grab Americans’ attention with fabricated news, and did less to address why so many people believed it. Each public embarrassment for Facebook, though, is a building block that makes us a little savvier about the influence of these still relatively new internet technologies in our lives. The real power of the scandals is the opportunity to ask: Holy moly, what is Facebook doing to us? And what are we doing to one another?”

Washington Post: Facebook whistleblower’s revelations could usher in tech’s ‘Big Tobacco moment,’ lawmakers say

Washington Post: Facebook whistleblower’s revelations could usher in tech’s ‘Big Tobacco moment,’ lawmakers say. “Lawmakers say that testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is galvanizing members of both parties to unify behind sweeping proposals targeting social media companies, after years of stalled attempts, with some calling it the tech industry’s ‘Big Tobacco moment.’ ‘This time feels distinctly different,’ Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Commerce consumer protection subcommittee, said in an interview. ‘The public has been engaged and outraged in a very different way.’”

The Verge: Why Facebook Should Release The Facebook Files

The Verge: Why Facebook Should Release The Facebook Files. “Not only should Facebook commit to doing more research like the Facebook Files, it should release the Facebook Files, period. And not just the Instagram-related ones, as Nick Clegg suggested Monday. Whatever documents the Journal relied on, Facebook should make them publicly available. Redact them as needed to protect users’ privacy, if need be. Add context, where context is missing. But release them, and soon. Here’s my rationale.”

CNN: Jaw-dropping moments in WSJ’s bombshell Facebook investigation

CNN: Jaw-dropping moments in WSJ’s bombshell Facebook investigation. “This week the Wall Street Journal released a series of scathing articles about Facebook, citing leaked internal documents that detail in remarkably frank terms how the company is not only well aware of its platforms’ negative effects on users but also how it has repeatedly failed to address them. There’s a lot to unpack from the Journal’s investigation. But one thing that stands out is just how blatantly Facebook’s problems are documented, using the kind of simple, observational prose not often found in internal communications at multinational corporations.”