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VIDEO: Nigel Farage Grills Mark Zuckerberg Over Facebook's "Politically Neutral" Platform
Nigel "thug life" Farage got to ask Mark Zuckerberg whether or not Facebook was a politically neutral platform or not when Zuckerface appeared before the EU Parliament. A simple question to which you'd think would have a simple answer. Silly you.
The one slight problem I have, and I’m watching very carefully the testimony that you gave on Capitol Hill, time and again, people asked you “Is this genuinely a neutral political platform?” And you come up with the same line again and again. It’s well crafted. You say that “Facebook is a platform for all ideas.” Now, historically, of course, it’s true that through Facebook and other forms of social media, there is no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian elections could ever possibly have happened. It was social media that allowed people to get around the back of mainstream media.
…Since January of this. year, you’ve changed your modus operandi. You’ve changed your algorithms. And it has led directly to a very substantial drop in views and engagements for those that have got right of center political opinions.
On average, we’re down about 25% over the course of this year. And you know, that’s happening on a platform for all ideas. I’m not talking here, Mr. Zuckerberg, about extremism. I’m not talking about encouraging violence. I’m not talking about hatred of anybody. I’m talking about people who have majority mainstream opinions. And frankly, I feel what interests me is, who decides what is acceptable? Who are these people you refer to earlier, these third-party fact-checkers? Who are these people? I mean, why is there no transparency in this process at all? I’m not generally somebody that calls for legislation on the international stage, but I’m beginning to wonder whether we need a social media bill of rights to basically protect free speech.
And I’m asking you today, very, very clearly, would you accept that today Facebook is not a platform for all ideas that is operated impartially?
Zuckerberg's response was pretty much the same as he gave to the US Congress. Basically: we're working on developing AI tools to target "hate speech" and "fake news" (without defining what either is) to quell the fears of ancient politicians making a stink about Facebook being an intrusive pariah.
We want to make it so that people can come to our service and share any idea across the political spectrum. It’s very important to me that we’re a service that allows for a wide variety of political discourse. We view that as a big part of our responsibility. And I can commit to you’re today that we have never and will not make decisions about what content is allowed or how we do ranking on the basis of a political orientation. So that’s an important philosophical point for me that I’m proud to be able to commit to.
But then he segued into what makes people "happy" and how more news and politics doesn't fit.
…Feedback from people is that they come to facebook because they want to stay connected to people.
…to stay connected to people that you care about, that’s good for your well-being. It’s correlated with measures like increased measures of health and happiness and feeling more connected and less alone over time. But when you’re just using Facebook or the internet overall to read news or passively consume videos, that isn’t correlated with those same benefits to well-being. So, because of that and because of feedback that we’ve received, we’ve made a number of shifts to the services to promote connecting with people’s friends and family.
If Facebook wanted people to really be happy and connected, it would delete itself. Change my mind. Read also OPINION: Social Media, and How We Use It, is a Real Problem.
Here's why this matters: Facebook is allowing third parties to determine what is and is not "fake news." Outlets like Snopes.com, which aren't exactly non-bias. In fact, Snopes actually fact-checked Babylon Bee, a satirical news site. Let that sink in.
As to "hate speech" that's also never defined, but it'll somehow be monitored by AI which, presumably, won't know what "hate speech" is unless programmed by a human, who has a bias about what "hate speech" is. At least that's my rudimentary knowledge of how these things work.
All Farage and Ted Cruz before him were asking Zuckerberg is for a little transparency. Is Facebook an ideologically neutral platform, or is it not? What Mark said here was the same line "We're a platform of ideas." And he promised Facebook wasn't targeting people based on politics. But that some people, in feedback, said they wanted more connection, less news and politics. That's Facebook's backdoor into tweaking what it promotes, and what it downvotes. See, Facebook isn't targeting conservative voices. It's just removing that which Facebook thinks makes people "less happy." Creeped out yet?