After the presidential elections in the US, many technoblogers and IT editions turned against Facebook. According to popular belief , social network algorithms and tools have divided people into two almost non-overlapping camps, which is why Clinton supporters did not even realize how much Trump’s support was. Deputy head of the technology department Mashable Damon Beres believes that the problem is serious and real, and Facebook needs to deal with it radically: everything is broken and remade.
According to Beres, in an ideal Facebook tape was to become an objective source of news – to show what is interesting to the user and not to allow his misinformation. To do this, it was necessary to give preference to materials from high-quality news organizations, rather than garbage sites.
However, this tape completely missed its task, Beres said. The section “Trending” was formed depending on how many people publish certain news. In the morning of Wednesday (when Trump was already announced by the president) in this section the journalist saw first place news on how Melania Trump voted.
Beres reinforces his words with the opinion of fellow journalist Max Reed from New York Magazine. In the publication’s blog, he said that there are many platforms for expressing thoughts on the Internet, and on Facebook there was not a light wedge, but the social network is the most powerful, popular, technologically advanced and rich – in fact, the only one that it makes sense to talk about.
According to Read, Facebook helped to defeat Trump because she could not customize her algorithms in such a way as to solve the problem of processing fake news. Although the fictitious news is on other platforms, the amount of traffic passing through Facebook is so great that thanks to it whole business enterprises are formed.
For example, it happened in the case of Macedonian schoolchildren, who were able to earn up to $ 5,000 per month by writing fake news in more than 140 newly created “American” political media. Often they even took real news from American sites, but invented a misleading heading for them that provoked Americans to share the news without checking the facts or click-and bring advertising revenue to Macedonian “journalists.”
Debunking these fakes is useless, Reed writes: Facebook algorithms are arranged so that the new fictional news will always find its audience, but it’s not interesting to read the refutations, and they just will not get to them in the tapes. For the fact that such materials “let people dust” in the eye, Facebook algorithms were even criticized by Barack Obama.
The problem with fakes is not that they are made by their creators, but in provoking hatred. Encouraged by the news of the sins of Hillary Clinton, consumers of these fictitious news went to vote for Trump, Beres said.
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Apparently, Beres himself does not understand what Facebook should be corrected in his product in order to make it better: for example, he notes that it is unfair when the article from the fake news site in the reader’s tape looks the same as the material of the well-known Media, whose author won Pulitzer.
However, all these journalists come to the conclusion that although Facebook feeds the media with huge traffic, for a significant part of the audience, news feed algorithms devalue the work of bona fide news organizations.
The company must accept the fact that the news feed is a very bad product. As in the case of other bad Facebook products, the company should simply destroy it.
Of course, it’s easier said than done: the news tape is just the backbone of Facebook. But now we know what the rates are: disinformation leads to devastating consequences.
Facebook should cut this corn in the form of a “Trending” section that does not bring any benefit to anyone, and engage in rethinking how people share news on the platform. The problem is extremely complex: the authors depend on Facebook traffic, while traffic means advertising profit and food on the table.
It is hard for a representative of modern media without social networks as a platform for the distribution of content. But the status quo does not work – and for a long time.
Damon Beres, deputy head of the technology department of Mashable