Facebook’s recent ch-ch-ch-changes and what it means

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

With the recently announced changes to how Facebook’s algorithms will surface items on your news feed – with less posts from brands, publishers and media outlets to “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people” – the conversation has shifted to why less news on Facebook is good news for everyone..

In an announcement on his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg wrote the following:

The real issue for Facebook stems from how “bad actors” interfered with the electoral process and what Facebook did to American democracy during the 2016 campaign. Writing in The Atlantic in October, 2017, Alexis Madrigal said:

Things we thought we understood—narratives, data, software, news events—have had to be reinterpreted in light of Donald Trump’s surprising win as well as the continuing questions about the role that misinformation and disinformation played in his election.

In this Facebook post, Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Product Manager for Civic Engagement asked the BIG question that many are asking: What effect does social media have on democracy?

Facebook is doing some serious soul searching. Chakrabarti talks about a “filter bubble,” and ways Facebook is not only hurting democracy, but helping as well.

As Chakrabarti says in the video below: “Social media like all technology amplifies human intent, both good and bad. At its best, it allows us to take action and express ourselves. At its worse, it allows people to spread misinformation, and corrode democracy.”

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