A social-media or search company looking to take the next step and attempt to create a favorable outcome in an election would certainly have the means. While a propagandistic Google doodle or similarly ideological alteration to a common home page lies in plain view, newsfeeds and search results have no baseline. They can be subtly tweaked without hazarding the same backlash.
Facebook’s draw is its ability to give you what you want. Like a page, get more of that page’s posts; like a story, get more stories like that; interact with a person, get more of their updates. From the system’s perspective, success is correctly predicting what you’ll like, comment on, or share. But as far as “personalized newspapers” go, this one’s editorial sensibilities are limited. Most peopl...See More
Philanthropic investment firm founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar
It is becoming increasingly apparent that fundamental principles underlying democracy—trust, informed dialogue, a shared sense of reality, mutual consent, and participation—are being put to the test by certain features and attributes of social media, [especially as] technology companies increasingly achieve financial success by monetizing public attention.
By picking small countries with shaky democratic institutions to be experimental subjects, Facebook is showing a cynical lack of concern for how its decisions affect the most vulnerable. Facebook could be a tool for such alternative spaces to thrive. Instead — at least in Serbia — it risks becoming just another playground for the powerful
This double reality of the open online world—able to give a voice to the voiceless, but also bendable toward the aims of censorship and exclusion—explains why thoughts about social media can run either to optimism or (as has been more the case recently) to pessimism when it comes to the implications for democracy. The heart of the matter is that, while freedom of information online is an inherentl...See More
Shouting online doesn’t save democracy. It threatens it by degrading some of the most necessary foundations for self-government: local engagement and strong relationships with family, friends and community.
In 2017 Google and Facebook have accounted for 84% of all digital advertising outside China, including 96% of its growth. The tech duopoly’s dominance threatens the marketplace of ideas. Beyond advertising, Google and Facebook control how millions of people find their news. Americans are far likelier, collectively, to encounter articles via search engines and social media than on a news site’s hom...See More
Director of the Russia Institute, King’s College London
Our politics are vulnerable to nefarious influences — whether of the Kremlin variety or the Breitbart variety — not because our information landscape is open and fluid, but because voters’ perceptions have become untethered from reality. For reasons that are both complex and debatable, very many voters have stopped seeing government as a tool for the production of the common good, and have instead...See More