We all know that social media played a big part in the 2016 election. Not a huge surprise. Everyone that uses Facebook, YouTube, or any other site voiced their views, posted articles, and argued with their relatives over the race. But the massive influence Facebook has over users’ daily activity has more than a few liberals scratching their heads. Did Facebook unwittingly help Trump get elected? Did their platform—which is supposed to give users the freedom to post content—give too much freedom to conservatives?
We have to stop and follow this process of thought. Some claim Facebook helped get Trump elected because conservatives shared news that promoted him. Which means there were millions of Americans who were using the site to share their views. Which means millions of Americans, regardless of what site they used, supported Trump.
We can’t have that!
Much like the Russian hacker claim, liberals miss the point. It wasn’t that Russians stole Hillary’s emails. It was what those emails revealed about her as a then-candidate. And it doesn’t matter if Facebook helped conservatives share news posts and articles that supported Donald Trump. It’s the fact that millions of Americans supported Donald Trump.
You take Facebook away, that fact won’t change.
That’s not stopping Facebook from making sure that never happens again. In a recent interview, the Zuck vowed to prevent “untrusted” news sites from being shared on his platform. The thought being that “fake news” sites won’t get a lot of attention. Of course, “trusted” news sites just happen to be old media outlets with a decidedly liberal slant.
“But this year, we’ve rolled out a number of changes to News Feed that try to boost in the ranking broadly trusted news sources. We’ve surveyed people across the whole community and asked them whether they trust different news sources.
Take the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. Even if not everyone reads them, the people who don’t read them typically still think they’re good, trustworthy journalism. Whereas if you get down to blogs that may be on more of the fringe, they’ll have their strong supporters, but people who don’t necessarily read them often don’t trust them as much.” (Zuckerberg via Vox)
Um, what? People who don’t read the New York Times considers them good? Then why don’t they read it? New York Times was one of the worst outlets during the election. They were predicting a massive win for Hillary Clinton on the day of the election, based on nothing more than their own overwhelming bias. That’s hardly a newspaper with a good record.
Zuckerberg claims they surveyed “people across the whole community.” Really? I wasn’t surveyed. Was this one of those election-type polls where they ask 1000 people questions and then claim that represents the entire country? Because I can tell you, if he asked even a portion of the conservative base on Facebook, they wouldn’t say nice things about the Times or any other established outlet.
“Broadly trusted” is code for “established” media. You know, the people so out-of-touch, they weren’t ready for the Internet. The old guard still struggles with adapting from paper news to the web. The New York Times is hemorrhaging money. Their only commodity today is their expensive building. They have to rent it out to pay the bills. Hardly a “powerhouse” in today’s media landscape.
Zuckerberg sounds like a child when he talks about these things. The Internet is about giving freedom to those who in the past had none. But Facebook wants to move back to a system where the biggest enterprises continue to control content. Their new measures will make it harder for small businesses and individuals to express their opinions.
Why else are the “trusted” sources the same companies that have been around for decades and can afford large ad campaigns?
Not only that, but it looks like Zuckerberg wants a tighter rein on how content is judged online.
“My goal here is to create a governance structure around the content and the community that reflects more what people in the community want than what short-term-oriented shareholders might want…
You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.” (Zuckerberg via The Verge)
Weird. Really weird. Like, 1984 weird. Why do we need a “Supreme Court” to judge what your mom posts to a social network?
Right now, if content is flagged on Facebook, their internal staff has the final say to take it down. Zuck claims he wants “independent folks” to form a panel that judges a person’s content. Lemme guess, that panel will be made up of the good people from the Southern Poverty Law Center, who brand everything right of center “hate speech”?
Whatever happened to free speech? Why can’t people be allowed to speak their minds on Facebook? If someone doesn’t like it, they can ignore them, unfriend them, or block them. Is that really so bad? Now Zuckerberg is talking about tribunals and Supreme Courts that have the power to dictate what you can or cannot say.
We already have a Supreme Court, Mark. And it’s pretty good at upholding free speech.
Imagine, all of this is because Donald Trump won the election. Honestly, this is the point. If Hillary had won, they wouldn’t care. But because people (in part) used Facebook to promote a candidate leftists don’t like, they have to “reevaluate” how content is shared. Then make claims about Russian bots abusing the platform, all to skirt around the fact they don’t want regular people saying things like “Make America Great Again.”
There’s a good solution, of course, to all of this. And it’s one that even liberal comedians like Will Ferrell are doing every day. Dump Facebook. Let little Mark know that we don’t need his toxic platform to express our views. There are new social networks vying for attention. Tools like WordPress to create our own blogs and websites. If Facebook is becoming the Gestapo of online thought, we can simply turn it off.
If Zuckerberg goes ahead with his Draconian plans, we will have no other option.