This was the year Facebook finally faced its reckoning, not just for its role in distributing misinformation, but also for its arrogance in refusing to confront the problematic use of its platform earlier in its history.
The drumbeat started In November 2017, when the company was called before Congress to answer for its role in the activity of Russian trolls during the election. Those recriminations would only grow louder as 2017 became 2018. Whether it was avoiding hearings designed to hold the social network to account or responding to leaked emails about its data-handling policies, Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent most of the year on the defensive—a place some firmly believe they deserve to be.
Facebook’s Russian misadventures were the most prominent example of what researchers call “automated propaganda,” or misinformation that benefits from algorithms. But there were other examples: A former YouTube engineer told CJR about how the Google-owned video platform’s recommendation engine often provides fake news and conspiracy theories in an attempt to boost engagement. And while it may not be driven by an algorithm, Facebook-owned WhatsApp spent much of the year under fire for helping to spread conspiracy theories that led to dozens of brutal killings in India. Facebook has also been criticized by the UN for helping to fuel violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar, something that helped push the company into admitting that connecting people via social media isn’t always good.
Early in the new year, the social network was rocked by a
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/analysis/facebook-russia-zuckerberg.php