Facebook Whistle-Blower

What I get from the Facebook whistle-blower’s interview and testimony is that social media has the same problem I see with commercialized news. To make money and secure “customers”, news agencies have basically taken a side. And they tailor their news toward engaging their target demo — get people outraged, reinforce how right people are in their opinion. It’s the adrenaline junkie approach to news.

And social media does the exact same thing. The platform isn’t there to make you a more informed citizen, give you access to awesome new sewing patterns or soap recipes, or make sure you know about the PTO’s next meeting. The platform exists to suck up info about you and deliver ads to you based on that data. Thing about AI is that it performs better as it gets more data. Someone who logs in once a week and checks out a few things is a “bad customer” much the same way that someone who pays off their credit card bill each month is a bad customer. Not doing anything wrong, but losing money for the company that provides the service. They want users who are checking the platform every hour. They want people who they know will come back tomorrow, people who will share things with other people so the algorithms can build out connections. The way to achieve those goals is to get people fired up about what they’re reading. Commercialized news being spread via social media algorithms is a compounded problem.

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