In a flash of insight, or possibly rank capitulation, Facebook has announced last week that it will “fight misinformation” with censorship. Seems Facebook thinks Facebook-users are too stupid to figure out the misinformation themselves. Besides, fighting misinformation with the truth is especially hard if the misinformation is true:
Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman, The Australian
Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combating the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site – stepping up the company’s fight against misinformation and hate speech as it faces growing outside pressure.
And it’s not even transparent censorship but the the most weaselly hidden kind:
The updates will limit the visibility of links…
How does Facebook define misinformation? Wait til you hear this: Groupthink = truth?
…limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole, suggesting they may be clickbait or misleading.
So that pretty much rules out Facebook spreading the word of whistleblowers, rebels, new theories, suppressed ideas, oppressed people and anything controversial, interesting or not completely predictable. Facebook seems to want to transform itself into a mumsie discussion board of old news and approved memes with all the thrill of an in-flight safety lecture.
Thus Facebook will become a mirror of the permitted, official, authorized web. Expect their ratings to adjust accordingly.
Facebook’s VP of integrity (?) points out that ‘striking a balance between protecting people’s privacy and public safety is “something societies have been grappling for centuries.”’ But that’s the point. It took centuries but we worked out the worst kind of lies are the ones told by the rulers, and the only antidote to those is free speech.
In an information war the deepest pockets are in the Treasury’s pants.
Facebook’s solution is some kind of automated groupthink algorithm (like that won’t be gamed) and teams of tens of thousands of moderators with “at least 80 hours training” who are paid “above industry standard”.
The story was published on April 7 in The Australian.
h/t Bowman with more to come