Hi Kate, simply stated, FB would not comply to Chinese censorship and therefore is blocked in China. They (FB) used the defense of Freedom of Speech and the concept of allowing users to determine or interpret what they cared to consider. And, to FB’s credit, when they did the study that proved selective content presentation could and would impact how people think and react, they released the full study for everyone to consider. Even though they got bashed in the market for even doing such a study, I personally applauded them for exposing this important fact.
However, now they are manipulating content and deciding through some algorithm what users should and should not see. Although that algorithm is supposedly based on their interpretation of user preferences, who’s to say? And, after all, it is their interpretation! They are even determining what article titles are relevant to the article itself (aka click-bait). And, since some form of “click-bait” is the foundation of all journalistic title creation, there is a lot of inherent risk here as well.
I just feel all of this puts our society in a scary place with our thoughts and opinions (which are formed by information we have available to us) now being managed by some algorithm that has its own priorities.
FB is a platform for sharing, what is shared or what users choose to consume (as long as it is not clearly illegal) is none of their business, IMHO. Why? Because FB’s only interest in doing any of this is their own commercial gain.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of algorithms on society, check this out: https://weaponsofmathdestructionbook.com/ or WMD for short.
I realize that all of this is a bit Chicken Little-ish however believe it needs to be addressed as it is all quickly becoming our future reality.