Buzzfeed reports that Facebook is implementing a system to promote or demote news sources based on “trustworthiness”:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that the company has already begun to implement a system that ranks news organizations based on trustworthiness, and promotes or suppresses its content based on that metric.
We all know what that means.
Zuckerberg said the company has gathered data on how consumers perceive news brands by asking them to identify whether they have heard of various publications and if they trust them.
“We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we’re going to dial up the intensity of that over time,” he said. “We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground.”
The “common ground” no doubt will consist of the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, CBS, the Associated Press, etc. This is a throwback to the days when the broadcast trio of CBS, NBC and ABC furnished the nation’s “common ground,” an era that is much lamented by liberals.
The group to which Zuckerberg made his announcement is revealing:
The meeting at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in Menlo Park included representatives from BuzzFeed News, the Information, Quartz, the New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, Recode, Univision, Barron’s, the Daily Beast, the Economist, HuffPost, Insider, the Atlantic, the New York Post, and others.
I’ve never heard of a couple of those outlets, but of those which which I am familiar, the only conservative organization is the New York Post. (The Wall Street Journal’s news operation is not conservative.) How could this situation be worse? “Artificial intelligence” could be brought to bear:
Zuckerberg said the company will invest “billions” of dollars in a combination of artificial intelligence and tens of thousands of human moderators to keep both fake news and deliberate propaganda at bay, especially in elections.
It is easy to imagine how “artificial intelligence” can be programmed to suppress “deliberate propaganda” during an election cycle.
I’ll say it again: conservatives made a mistake when they largely abandoned the web in favor of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which are easily manipulated by the Left.
UPDATE: I am one of 63 conservatives who have signed a letter to social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The letter recites some of the problems conservatives have experienced and calls on social media platforms to do four things: 1) Provide transparency so equal treatment of various political points of view can be verified. 2) Provide clarity on “hate speech.” 3) Provide equal footing for conservatives:
Top social media firms, such as Google and YouTube, have chosen to work with dishonest groups that are actively opposed to the conservative movement, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those companies need to make equal room for conservative groups as advisers to offset this bias. That same attitude should be applied to employment diversity efforts. Tech companies need to embrace viewpoint diversity.
4) Implement free speech standards that mirror the First Amendment.
The letter is getting quite a bit of attention, mostly because it was linked by Drudge. Will it do any good? I don’t suppose so. But it is important for conservatives to continue making our case, and to put such pressure as we can on those who run the dominant social media platforms. Whether the long-term solution is government regulation, abandonment of those platforms in favor of friendlier venues, or–possibly–reform by the platforms themselves, remains to be seen.