The Stark Reality of Facebook's Algorithmic Bias
English: D. Myles Cullen [Public domain]
Social media networks regularly employ a mix of live reviewers and complex algorithms to determine what content their users are exposed to – and increasingly these networks are engaging in soft-censorship or social engineering.
This is a serious issue that has far-reaching implications within our society.
Just last week, The White House hosted a social media summit to discuss this problem. Though the event was overshadowed by name calling between bloggers and representatives from traditional media organizations (RELATED: CNN Analyst Threatens Fmr White House Aide), the president sought to address the ideological discrimination increasingly being practiced by the likes of Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.
The social media giants rebuff these accusations, claiming that their algorithms are devoid of bias– despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
But a growing consensus is emerging that this censorship and bias is real – just take a look at these recent examples:
- James O’Keefe recently exposed attempts by Pinterest to designate pro-life organizations as hate groups.
- CPAC is no longer funded by Facebook, which now sponsors the far-left Netroots Nation convention.
- Facebook executives provided President Obama's re-election campaign access to twice as much personally identifiable informationas they provided to consultants working for the Trump campaign.
- Engineers censored Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for posting video field dressing ducks.
- Diamond and Silk were victimized by having their content branded as unsafe to the community.
New algorithm changes on Facebook suppress the reach of live content from individual pages prove the social media giant isn't doing enough to address their prejudice.
The most recent decision by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to divert attention from political content by
penalizing it in content rankings has further erected a wall between free speech and the interests
of Facebook. And this time it has affected both conservative and liberal outlets.
Facebook lacks any check on systematic bias and indeed refuses to acknowledge the existence of
such bias. Until Facebook rigorously evaluates its own biases these problems will continue to
Countering censorship and bias takes effort. As it stands, breaking through Silicon Valley's seemingly implacable prejudice will prove to be a feat. The big question is, do we drop social media networks to avoid the bias – and give up access to our network of friends and family? Do we turn a blind eye to censorship and attempts to remake society by utopian technologists?
Tell us what you think in the comments below!