Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Latest news
Main » Facebook Cannot 'Guarantee' That Social Media Is Good For Democracy

Facebook Cannot 'Guarantee' That Social Media Is Good For Democracy

23 January 2018

Chakrabarti went on to state his belief that Facebook was used by Russian agents to influence the 2016 election and expressed his regret that more was not done to prevent this.

This is a marked change in tone from the week of the 2016 election, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it's a "pretty insane idea" that fake news could have influenced the poll.

Samidh Chakrabarti, who heads up civic engagement at Facebook, said the company is now working to promote transparency at home and overseas.

In a new commentary, the social media giant acknowledges the possibility that social media can have negative ramifications for democracy.

"There's a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason why someone could have voted the way that they did is because they saw some fake news", Zuckerberg said in November 2016, as NPR's Aarti Shahani reported. Facebook felt the need to respond then as well. Zuckerberg "is fast coming to terms with the power of his platform to cause harm", Aarti reported. "This is too important an issue to be dismissive".

"In the public debate over false news, many believe Facebook should use its own judgement to filter out misinformation".

"From the Arab Spring to robust elections around the globe, social media seemed like a positive", wrote , a global politics and government outreach director at Facebook.

Comparing Russian interference to an "information weapon", Mr Chakrabarti said that Facebook "should have done better" at spotting when Russia created 80,000 posts that reached 126 million people in the USA over two years, influencing public sentiment. "We're making it possible to visit an advertiser's Page and see the ads they're now running". "Finally, we'll archive electoral ads and make them searchable to enhance accountability", Chakrabarti said.

"I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can't", he writes.

Facebook has admitted to being "too slow to recognise" Russian election interference, but says that social networks simply reflect human intent, "good and bad".

Sean Parker, a famous tech entrepreneur and founding president of Facebook, said recently that he's anxious about the pervasiveness and ever-growing power of social media companies.

Tech firms including Facebook have faced increasing scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Outside experts agreed, noting that Facebook did do some things well, but that the USA election proved that its platform can be abused.

There have been many moments in the past where it appeared like social media helped cultivate democratic principles and institutions, however, more recent events changed Facebook's perception. Tim Cook, whose company is inching towards a trillion-dollar market valuation, told a crowd at Harlow College in Essex, England, that he's leery of social media's effects on younger generations.

The Harvard dropout, whose website attracts more than two billion users per month, said he hoped Facebook could fix a "divided world".

Facebook Cannot 'Guarantee' That Social Media Is Good For Democracy