Facebook is the worst

edited September 15 in Speakeasy

Good news:

103 more companies have said they are suspending advertising on [Facebook] in July. The group includes Starbucks, Ford, GM, Clorox, Reebok, Adidas, Best Buy, Clif Bar, Chobani, and Denny's.

"As America's diner, we offer an inclusive and welcoming environment where all people can enjoy a nice meal and we strongly oppose hate speech of any kind. It is our belief that Facebook has not done enough to address this important issue on its platform and we are calling on Facebook to make positive changes in its process for combatting hate speech and disinformation," Denny's said in a statement. 

(Subscribe to Judd's Popular Information, by the way, if you're interested in big tech and democracy. It's an excellent newsletter.)

I'll admit I have a self-interest here: a lot of the discussion in the steampunk and alternate-history community has moved away from message boards like ours to groups on Facebook.

I quit Facebook myself a year ago, after all the revelations about what it had done in the 2016 election. I hope others will follow. This is a terrible company that does not respect the privacy of its users and has a corrosive effect on civil society and democracy.

And then we should all get back to message boards ?


  • More from Slate:

    While only a fraction of Facebook’s 8 million advertisers have now pledged support, #StopHateforProfit marks the first time Facebook has been put under serious pressure to change by the companies from which it generates revenue. So far, discussions of policy or regulation efforts in the U.S. haven’t made Facebook radically readdress its hate-speech policies. A study in May, for instance, found that white supremacist groups are still “thriving” on the platform. And user boycotts and criticism have only pushed Facebook to change in relatively small increments: Every few months or so, the company announces policy updates, such as adding warning labels to content that may cause harm; it also established an independent oversight board to judge and address content moderation issues. But many critics say a complete overhaul of Facebook’s content policies is still necessary. Will a shove from advertisers make a difference where pleas from advocates and experts haven’t?

  • Your regular reminder that Facebook is a terrible, terrible company:

    As the US heads towards a crucial and contentious presidential election, the world's largest social network is facing an unprecedented cultural crisis.

    My recommendation:

    If you still have a profile on Facebook, take it down.

    If you manage a Facebook group, migrate it to a better company or to an open-source platform.

    It's the only thing we, as consumers, can do.

  • More Facebook being awful, from the indispensable Judd Legum:

    A new report by the international non-profit Avaaz reveals that Facebook's efforts have been inadequate. Facebook users are being exposed to far more misinformation than accurate health content. 

    Don't miss my blog post: Why a message board is better than Facebook.

  • More Facebook being horrible:

    Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

    The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.

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