Facebook has been lying to us? Say it ain’t so.


Is anyone surprised by these revelations?

Mark Zuckerberg has publicly said Facebook Inc. allows its more than three billion users to speak on equal footing with the elites of politics, culture and journalism, and that its standards of behavior apply to everyone, no matter their status or fame.
In private, the company has built a system that has exempted high-profile users from some or all of its rules, according to company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

I’ve noticed. Some people get to say anything they want, especially if it’s disinformation about medicine or politics, while others (you know, the peons) get slammed if they post a selfie that looks funny. It’s not just me that sees the inequity, though — it’s Facebook’s own self-examination.

A 2019 internal review of Facebook’s whitelisting practices, marked attorney-client privileged, found favoritism to those users to be both widespread and “not publicly defensible.”
“We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly,” said the confidential review. It called the company’s actions “a breach of trust” and added: “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”

Note: internal review. This wasn’t some competitor trying to take an axe to the company, it was their own lawyers.

Time and again, the documents show, in the U.S. and overseas, Facebook’s own researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects, in areas including teen mental health, political discourse and human trafficking. Time and again, despite Congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them.
Sometimes the company held back for fear of hurting its business. In other cases, Facebook made changes that backfired. Even Mr. Zuckerberg’s pet initiatives have been thwarted by his own systems and algorithms.

Gosh. Sure sounds like a tobacco company. They’re not going to fix anything, because it might hurt their revenues. I use Facebook to keep in touch with family, but half my feed is click-bait and ads for things I don’t care about.

One area in which the company hasn’t struggled is profitability. In the past five years, during which it has been under intense scrutiny and roiled by internal debate, Facebook has generated profit of more than $100 billion. The company is currently valued at more than $1 trillion.

What’s weird there is that they rake in all this money, but their CEO still can’t get a haircut that makes him look human.

Break them up, nationalize the social media services, and hand Zuckerberg $50 and directions to a barber shop that doesn’t cater to androids.

Comments

  1. kingoftown says

    I think I read before Zuckerberg’s haircut is supposed to imitate Emperor Augustus. George Osborne (David Cameron’s chancellor) had a similar haircut for the same reason.

  2. TGAP Dad says

    @PZMyers: I thought that you had deleted your FB account‽ Practice what you preach and extricate yourself from that toxic stew of engineered disinformation. For me, personally, this was a great benefit to my mental health. Anyone who needs to get a hold of me knows how to, and if it isn’t something they actively want to tell me, I don’t want to know. Life’s better that way.

  3. Derek Vandivere says

    Apropos the haircut comment – seeing a photo of Harvey Weinstein on John Oliver’s show the other day, the thought occurred to me: these people have all the money in the world and that’s as good as a hairdresser can do with the hair they have…

  4. stroppy says

    Odd, I keep in touch with family just fine without using FB or any of its noxious byproducts.

    I mean like Portal… why? why? why?

    It’s relentless.

    What applies to Goldman Sachs applies in spades to FaceBook:
    “[It] is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

    Zukerberg keeps doing it, because he knows he’ll get away with it. No consequences, no accountability.

  5. says

    Twitter probably has similar problems. Nicki Minaj posted a Tweet other day that someone or other had their testicles swell after getting vaccinated. Twitter has decided this isn’t misinformation. Probably because Minaj generates lots of clicks for them.

  6. PaulBC says

    One of my FB friends is a mandolin-playing hippie with a predisposition to posting about the environment and global warming, along with occasional videos of Indian classical music. His running joke is how often he is put in “FB jail”. I still haven’t figured out why or how it has never once happened to me. Nothing he posts is remotely offensive and it tends to be reasonably accurate as well.

  7. says

    @1: Yes. Zuccie-Zuc fancies himself a Roman emperor, this the haircut. The little turd wants an empire. That’s what he’s going for.

    Considering how Facebook claims that using ableist slurs is against community standards, but they never suspend anyone who uses those slurs, I am not surprised. At all. My husband and I have been threatened, harassed, called “rtrds” and the instigators have never been banned. However, we say anything, we’re banned for thirty days. I have reported homophobic and transphobic comments. Nothing. Calling the bigot a piece of shit? I’m banned. I have reported QAnon accounts, anti-vaxxer BS, obvious fake names–think “Donnie Maga”–and nothing.

    I’m on the last two weeks of I thirty day ban. Lately I have been reading Reddit’s AITA sub. I have been staying away from Facebook. I swear, I think my mental health has gotten better.

  8. says

    Farcebook still says racist insults and death threats “aren’t a problem” and “freeze peach” but saying “white males” and “stupid __________” [insert English speaking nationality] will get you jail time.

  9. davidc1 says

    “Oh Look Another Cold Pussy ” ,that reply of mine to a photo of a cat in the snow has gotten me a 30 day ban .
    Faceache has something called Oversight board ,where you can state your case why you think their decision is wrong .
    Only thing is ,they only pick so many cases to consider .
    I like faceache ,it is great for getting info about my hobbies ,and stuff like that .They should ban all the political stuff ,and just let
    sites where you can find out the correct RLM colours for a FW109D .

  10. says

    I shared a meme of a black & white photo of a kid sticking a fork in an electrical outlet. The words on the meme was saying “I can do what I want…” making a crack on anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. Facebook dinged me saying the meme encouraged self-harm or suicide and there is no way to appeal it. I was suspended from doing a live streams or boosting posts for 30 days neither of which I do.

    Technology can do good things but unless it comes with actual human oversight it can make mistakes like thinking a meme of a kid sticking fork in the outlet is promoting self-harm while doing nothing about the real promotion of self-harm in the posts sharing covid and mask misinformation

  11. davidc1 says

    @1 Gideon was a crap chancellor .Check out the youtube footage of him getting booed at the 2012 Olympics ,he looks like someone who has been discovered molesting a Goat .
    Almost as funny as john redwood trying to sing the Welsh anthem .
    Which is almost as funny as watching the Grantham witch keel over in the middle of a speech .

  12. davidc1 says

    @13Yes ,but the admins or people who set up the faceache sites should be able to keep the members in line .

  13. lochaber says

    Isn’t he also super insecure about his height, and weirdly positions himself in photos to try and use perspective tricks to make himself look taller relative to his companions? And didn’t he need a special booster-chair for when he was talking to congress?

    I’m short and poor, and that seems absurd to me. I can’t imagine being that fucking rich, and still being insecure about anything, let alone height…

  14. Kagehi says

    Yeah. FB is one of the sites, along with Youtube that “always” bans Topless Topics for being a) topless, and b) left wing political and unapologetic about it, but, in the case of Youtube, the same “marked as adult” videos by someone who is literally a full frontal nude “nudist” telling people about various places she has been, and the like, is.. totally fine. Only difference… one of them doesn’t talk about politics, ever. And, just to be clear, TT’s vids have been banned even when “not” actively political, like when interviewing the exact same, identical, sort of nudists. Meanwhile, like she says, you can find, on every one of these sites, flat out vocal Nazis, and even nutcases ranting about their religious obsession with nudity, and claim everyone that does anything in that state must be a pedo and/or a sex offender.

    Those people.. rarely ever get banned, and when/if they do, well, unlike the wrongly banned people, they immediately start playing wacka mole with the system, by constantly just recreating new channels. One of them even, in the very first freaking video they posted, flat out stated his insane intent to a) not follow the rules, b) keep making new accounts, and c) explaining exactly how easy it was to get around it, while d) insisting that there was some conspiracy against him, and none of the crap he said (including calls for another insurrection) was, as far as he was concerned, “actually wrong, and shouldn’t be against anyone’s policy!”

    This is the real problem, in some ways, the assholes, much like every other sort of criminal, think they can’t be really caught, or stopped, are convinced they have the right to keep doing the shit they do (because, “freedoms”, obviously) and will, until someone actually jails their ass, never, ever stop violating those rules (or the law in general). The rest of us.. get blocked for some stupid BS reason, get frustrated, try, not always successfully, to follow proper procedures, and sometimes find that the “proper procedure” amounts to follow a sewer pipe of a “process”, which ends in a midden, underneath the garderobes of the “grand council” of what ever online anti-social media site it happens to be, and whose response to the problem is to throw a set of dice, and a) hear the requests of the petitioners beneath what ever numbered garderobe the dice land on, while b) taking a @#$% on everyone under the rest of them.

    This is, of course, called “oversite” and “enforcing policy”…

    Basically, the scum either makes them money (especially political or corporate scum), or just doesn’t give a damn, and finds some way around the ban, which violate the rules all over again, while the “honest” people have no f-ing recourse at all. Heck, even if there was some class action lawsuit that could be done, with lots and lots of evidence that their blocks/bans of some groups of people are never justified, while their attempts to stop the worst offenders are utterly meaningless, since they won’t, or, due to the modern form of the internet probably flat out can’t (since there is no way to block a specific person’s IP address any more, at all, even without them using NAT services to get around it), stop them, it would just be Microsoft all over again – “Instead of paying out 0.0001% of last years profits in hush money, we will give everyone a free coupon for 30 days playing the latest Facebook game, for anyone of the ‘victims’ who reopen their account with us! Aren’t we generous?!”

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