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Saturday 23 October 2021

Facebook Bust - Coming Next Week

There was Cambridge Analytica and its use of the platform’s data to target voters; the slew of mainly right-wing accounts spreading misinformation in the run-up to last year’s US Presidential Election. There was also the spending - most likely in breach of electoral law - by Vote Leave in the last days of the 2016 EU referendum campaign. And all the while there were protestations of innocence from the likes of Corporal Clegg.

But for Mark Zuckerburg and the rest of Facebook’s top brass, the moment of reckoning was approaching. For them, next Monday, October 25th, will be their own Dark Monday. Because the bullets they have thus far dodged will return as in a hail, with news organisations across North America coordinating the media hit to end all media hits.

What did Zuck know, and when?

That what is to come is serious can be in no doubt: the softening-up process began yesterday and is already in full swing. Charles Johnson noted last night “The latest allegation is that Facebook specifically EXEMPTED hate sites like Breitbart ‘News’ from policy enforcement”. That was revealed by the Washington Post.

Just how sorry will he be this time?

The whistleblower told the Post of an occasion in which Facebook’s public policy team, led by former Bush administration official Joel Kaplan, defended a ‘white list’ that exempted Trump-aligned Breitbart News, run then by former White House strategist Stephen K Bannon, and other select publishers from Facebook’s ordinary rules against spreading false news reports”. The New York Times is also on Facebook’s case.

Internal Facebook documents show that employees repeatedly warned of misinformation about the 2020 election. Executives have placed blame elsewhere … 10% - The share of all US views of political material on Facebook six days after the 2020 election that were posts alleging the vote was fraudulent”. Back to the WaPo and it gets worse.

Facebook documents show how the platform fueled rage ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol … Facebook has never publicly disclosed what it knows about how its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, helped fuel that day’s mayhem”.

CNN will be on the case tonight, as long-serving host Anderson Cooper has told the channel’s viewers. "Leaked Facebook documents shed new light on how the Stop the Steal movement flourished on the platform in the weeks leading up to the Capitol attack … Facebook papers paint damning picture of company’s role in insurrection”.

And then came news of next Monday from Mark di Stefano at The Information: “On Monday, more than a dozen news organisations including AP, CNN, USA Today and Fox (!) are planning to drop stories on Facebook’s head. They’ve been coordinating on the whistleblower’s documents through a private Slack group”. Yes, even Fox.

The BBC may be somewhere in the background, too, as reporter Marianna Spring noted “More stories emerging alleging Facebook puts profit over protecting users”. Meanwhile, Brian Stelter of CNN had an ominous coda: “The analysis found that the policies and procedures Facebook had in place were simply not up to the task of slowing, much less halting, the 'meteoric' growth of Stop the Steal”. So who knew what, and when?

Next Monday may not be High Noon for Facebook. But you can see it from there.

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Mr Larrington said...

Dunno whether it’s just me, boss, but the link in the article that appears to be to the WaPo takes me instead to Apple UK trying to flog me a JesusPhone 13.

Nigel Stapley said...

All I see in this - like with the original 'Facebook leaker' - is one corporate interest trying to down another. In the case of the 'leaker' it's someone being co-opted into a 'GOP v. Dems' partisan battle in the US (see https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2021-10-08/haugen-facebook-whistleblower/); in the case of this story it's all the old media ganging up on part of the new - AP, CNN, Fox, USA Today, WaPo, etc. all trying to protect what is left of their 'gatekeeper' status.

Yes, Zuckerberg is a prime shit, and his company operates in a prime-shitty way, but what do you think any corporate-owned government would do? It would be technically impossible to stop FB operating without putting up a Great Firewall-type system, and FB could absorb fines up to the point where they say that they will suspend their operations in any territory which imposes them. The public fallout from that would be enormous, and not necessarily approving of 's actions, especially when you throw WhatsApp and Instagram into the mix as well.

AndyC said...

They'll probably come through it all pretty unscathed, sadly.

stan said...

Weren't most of the Tory party posts in the 2019 election found to be either misleading or lies? I presume Facebook waved those through as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm not on any of Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, WhatsApp or anything similar. So can't comment on that aspect.

But if strikes me as, well, you know, more than a bit hypocritical for corporate broadcast and print media who lied and villified a good man like Jeremy Corbyn to condemn others who adopt similar propagandist immorality.

Clegg? That two faced gobshite spiv? What else did you expect from the twat who voted a whole generation into half a lifetime of deeper debt?

Arnold said...

It's not just you. The link is to http://www.apple.com/uk.

Mr Larrington said...

@Arnold: linky now worky. Thanks, Tim.