Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? | The New Yorker


76 bookmarks. First posted by farley13 9 weeks ago.


Like it or not, Zuckerberg is a gatekeeper.
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Facebook’s free-speech dilemmas have no simple answers—you don’t have to be a fan of Alex Jones to be unnerved by the company’s extraordinary power to silence a voice when it chooses, or, for that matter, to amplify others, to pull the levers of what we see, hear, and experience.
facebook  democracy  moderation  hate  hoaxes  facebookworldtakeover 
23 days ago by rachaelsullivan
Facebook engineers became a new breed of behaviorists, tweaking levers of vanity and passion and susceptibility. The real-world effects were striking. In 2012, when Chan was in medical school, she and Zuckerberg discussed a critical shortage of organs for transplant, inspiring Zuckerberg to add a small, powerful nudge on Facebook: if people indicated that they were organ donors, it triggered a notification to friends, and, in turn, a cascade of social pressure. Researchers later found that, on the first day the feature appeared, it increased official organ-donor enrollment more than twentyfold nationwide.

Sean Parker later described the company’s expertise as “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” The goal: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” Facebook engineers discovered that people find it nearly impossible not to log in after receiving an e-mail saying that someone has uploaded a picture of them. Facebook also discovered its power to affect people’s political behavior. Researchers found that, during the 2010 midterm elections, Facebook was able to prod users to vote simply by feeding them pictures of friends who had already voted, and by giving them the option to click on an “I Voted” button. The technique boosted turnout by three hundred and forty thousand people—more than four times the number of votes separating Trump and Clinton in key states in the 2016 race. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its “I Voted” button.
mediainfluence  two-step-flow  agendasetting  Facebook 
4 weeks ago by mrbennett
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén; photograph…
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7 weeks ago by ree
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook , opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto,…
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8 weeks ago by spinnerin
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? via Instapaper https://ift.tt/2O4tHOr
8 weeks ago by ravivyas
Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders.
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8 weeks ago by LuDuMu
Only getting to this longform profile of Zuckerberg now, and wow, is it ever something else.
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8 weeks ago by briantrice
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
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8 weeks ago by dkirsch
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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8 weeks ago by derekbrown
In Sri Lanka, after a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims this spring over a false rumor, a Presidential adviser told the Times, “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”

Tristan Harris, the design ethicist, said, “When you’re running anything like Facebook, you get criticized all the time, and you just stop paying attention to criticism if a lot of it is not well founded. You learn to treat it as naïve and uninformed.” He went on, “The problem is it also puts you out of touch with genuine criticism from people who actually understand the issues.”

A former Facebook official told me, “They only want to hear good news. They don’t want people who are disagreeing with them. There is a culture of ‘You go along to get along.’ ”

The caricature of Zuckerberg is that of an automaton with little regard for the human dimensions of his work. The truth is something else: he decided long ago that no historical change is painless. Like Augustus, he is at peace with his trade-offs. Between speech and truth, he chose speech. Between speed and perfection, he chose speed. Between scale and safety, he chose scale. His life thus far has convinced him that he can solve “problem after problem after problem,” no matter the howling from the public it may cause.
facebook  interview 
9 weeks ago by elrob
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by nzeribe
"I found Zuckerberg straining, not always coherently, to grasp problems for which he was plainly unprepared. These are not technical puzzles to be cracked in the middle of the night but some of the subtlest aspects of human affairs, including the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence."

"Among other fixes, they discovered that, by offering the site in more languages, they could open huge markets. Alex Schultz, a founding member of the Growth Team, said that he and his colleagues were fanatical in their pursuit of expansion. “You will fight for that inch, you will die for that inch,” he told me. Facebook left no opportunity untapped. In 2011, the company asked the Federal Election Commission for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.”"

"David Madden, an entrepreneur based in Myanmar, delivered a presentation to officials at the Menlo Park headquarters, pointing out that the company was playing a role akin to that of the radio broadcasts that spread hatred during the Rwandan genocide."

"In conversation, Zuckerberg is, unsurprisingly, highly analytical. When he encounters a theory that doesn’t accord with his own, he finds a seam of disagreement—a fact, a methodology, a premise—and hammers at it. It’s an effective technique for winning arguments, but one that makes it difficult to introduce new information. Over time, some former colleagues say, his deputies have begun to filter out bad news from presentations before it reaches him. A former Facebook official told me, “They only want to hear good news. They don’t want people who are disagreeing with them. There is a culture of ‘You go along to get along.’ ”"

"The caricature of Zuckerberg is that of an automaton with little regard for the human dimensions of his work. The truth is something else: he decided long ago that no historical change is painless. Like Augustus, he is at peace with his trade-offs. Between speech and truth, he chose speech. Between speed and perfection, he chose speed. Between scale and safety, he chose scale. His life thus far has convinced him that he can solve “problem after problem after problem,” no matter the howling from the public it may cause."
facebook  tech  internet  democracy  politics  profile 
9 weeks ago by yorickdupon
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by powerpage
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by johnrclark
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by trs
Evan Osnos in a long profile of Zuckerberg's Facebook:
<p>Facebook was loath to ban [Infowars's Alex] Jones. When people complained that his rants violated rules against harassment and fake news, Facebook experimented with punishments. At first, it “reduced” him, tweaking the algorithm so that his messages would be shown to fewer people, while feeding his fans articles that fact-checked his assertions.

Then, in late July, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of Noah Pozner, a child killed at Sandy Hook, published an open letter addressed “Dear Mr Zuckerberg,” in which they described “living in hiding” because of death threats from conspiracy theorists, after “an almost inconceivable battle with Facebook to provide us with the most basic of protections.” In their view, Zuckerberg had “deemed that the attacks on us are immaterial, that providing assistance in removing threats is too cumbersome, and that our lives are less important than providing a safe haven for hate.”

Facebook relented, somewhat. On July 27th, it took down four of Jones’s videos and suspended him for a month. But public pressure did not let up. On August 5th, the dam broke after Apple, saying that the company “does not tolerate hate speech,” stopped distributing five podcasts associated with Jones. Facebook shut down four of Jones’s pages for “repeatedly” violating rules against hate speech and bullying. I asked Zuckerberg why Facebook had wavered in its handling of the situation. He was prickly about the suggestion: “I don’t believe that it is the right thing to ban a person for saying something that is factually incorrect.”

Jones seemed a lot more than factually incorrect, I said.

“O.K., but I think the facts here are pretty clear,” he said, homing in. “The initial questions were around misinformation.” He added, “We don’t take it down and ban people unless it’s directly inciting violence.” He told me that, after Jones was reduced, more complaints about him flooded in, alerting Facebook to older posts, and that the company was debating what to do when Apple announced its ban. Zuckerberg said, “When they moved, it was, like, O.K., we shouldn’t just be sitting on this content and these enforcement decisions. We should move on what we know violates the policy. We need to make a decision now.”

It will hardly be the last quandary of this sort.</p>

Long, but well worth your time; especially for Bill Gates's Greek chorus-style interjections, and observations such as "Facebook has more adherents than Christianity".
Facebook  zuckerberg  socialwarming 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by yudha87
RT atmostbeautiful : 아우구스투스 꿈꾼 저커버그. 세계 1/3과 민주주의 좌우하게 된 사이버 황제가 되고 난 고뇌. 성장의 광신이 비대의 저주를 부른 과정을 희랍 비극 주인공처럼 그렸다. 영웅과 휴브리스, 급기야 주체하기 힘든 거인이 되어 자기 힘에 버거워하는 초상. 역시 에반 오스노스! http://bit.ly/2oYlwbp September 12, 2018 at 02:52AM http://twitter.com/atmostbeautiful/status/1039572402705854464
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9 weeks ago by seoulrain
It will hardly be the last quandary of this sort. Facebook’s free-speech dilemmas have no simple answers—you don’t have to be a fan of Alex Jones to be unnerved by the company’s extraordinary power to silence a voice when it chooses, or, for that matter, to amplify others, to pull the levers of what we see, hear, and experience. Zuckerberg is hoping to erect a scalable system, an orderly decision tree that accounts for every eventuality and exception, but the boundaries of speech are a bedevilling problem that defies mechanistic fixes. The Supreme Court, defining obscenity, landed on “I know it when I see it.” For now, Facebook is making do with a Rube Goldberg machine of policies and improvisations, and opportunists are relishing it. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, seized on the ban of Jones as a fascist assault on conservatives. In a moment that was rich even by Cruz’s standards, he quoted Martin Niemöller’s famous lines about the Holocaust, saying, “As the poem goes, you know, ‘First they came for Alex Jones.’ ”
technology  politics  facebook  socialmedia 
9 weeks ago by aleksandrxyz
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by paryshnikov
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? via Instapaper https://ift.tt/2O4tHOr
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9 weeks ago by TypingPixels
“I found Zuckerberg straining, not always coherently, to grasp problems for which he was plainly unprepared. ” https://t.co/PeyusE5Biz Sounds like someone else we know. What was that book...the Peter Principle? pic.twitter.com/5yzAtxRsML

— Will Richardson (@willrich45) September 11, 2018
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9 weeks ago by willrichardson
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? via Instapaper https://ift.tt/2O4tHOr
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9 weeks ago by chetan
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén; photograph…
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9 weeks ago by timwburch
Zuckerberg was convinced that he was ahead of his users, not at odds with them. In 2010, he said that privacy was no longer a “social norm.” That year, the company found itself in trouble again after it revised its privacy controls to make most information public by default
facebook  zuckerberg 
9 weeks ago by jomc
RT : there’s literally no one behind the wheel at this point
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9 weeks ago by AramZS
Profile of Mark Zuckerberg, who is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley, as he tries to fix Facebook before it breaks democracy
9 weeks ago by joeo10
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy.
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9 weeks ago by marshallk
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by nimprojects
Lesestoff: Das Mark-Zuckerberg-Profil
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9 weeks ago by homofaber
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy. via Pocket
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9 weeks ago by drewcaldwell
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy.
pocket 
9 weeks ago by martinkelley
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by alexdunae
"The question is not whether Zuckerberg has the power to fix Facebook but whether he has the will; whether he will kick people out of his office—with the gusto that he once mustered for the pivot to mobile—if they don’t bring him ideas for preventing violence in Myanmar, or protecting privacy, or mitigating the toxicity of social media. He succeeded, long ago, in making Facebook great. The challenge before him now is to make it good."
internet  privacy  politics  trump 
9 weeks ago by ribbonknight
In Adam Fisher’s “Valley of Genius,” an oral history of Silicon Valley, an early employee named Ezra Callahan muses, “ ‘How much was the direction of the internet influenced by the perspective of nineteen-, twenty-, twenty-one-year-old well-off white boys?’ That’s a real question that sociologists will be studying forever.”

Also, quotes from Sean Parker and Chamath talks thats I'd pulled when they came out, as well as some words from design ethicist Tristan Harris
nice-thinking  social-media 
9 weeks ago by mozzarella
Oh, and (sorry!) here's the actual link:

It's long, about 15K words, but here's a summary:…
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9 weeks ago by gojomo
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by adamparnes
"Zuckerberg is not yet thirty-five, and the ambition with which he built his empire could well be directed toward shoring up his company, his country, and his name. The question is not whether Zuckerberg has the power to fix Facebook but whether he has the will." [ED NOTE: Long read]
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9 weeks ago by webgeek
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by mathewi
Zuckerberg is at the center of a debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders. Illustration by Javier Jaén / Photograph:…
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9 weeks ago by bcamper
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy.
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9 weeks ago by seansharp
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9 weeks ago by mattl
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto,…
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9 weeks ago by liebo7
At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy. via Pocket
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9 weeks ago by archizoo