Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, August 14, 2014

what Facebook wants you to know (or not)

Net neutrality not an issue for you? You find Facebook’s algorithmic selectivity non-problematic?

Read Zeynep Tufekci :

And then I switched to non net-neutral Internet to see what was up. I mostly have a similar a composition of friends on Facebook as I do on Twitter.  

Nada, zip, nada.

No Ferguson on Facebook last night. I scrolled. Refreshed. This morning, though, my Facebook feed is also very heavily dominated by discussion of Ferguson. Many of those posts seem to have been written last night, but I didn’t see them then.

Overnight, ‘edgerank’ –or whatever Facebook’s filtering algorithm is called now — seems to have bubbled them up, probably as people engaged them more. But I wonder: what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally? Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook? Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure.

Stay on Facebook, and you’ll know only what Facebook wants you to know. 

And if that doesn’t worry you, consider this point from a recent talk by Maciej Ceglowski:

The relationship between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley has historically been very cozy. The former head of Facebook security now works at NSA. Dropbox just added Condoleeza Rice, an architect of the Iraq war, to its board of directors. Obama has private fundraisers with the same people who are supposed to champion our privacy. There is not a lot of daylight between the American political Establishment and the Internet establishment. Whatever their politics, these people are on the same team.

Something to keep in mind. Always. 

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