Facebook solutions: There’s plenty to discuss

It’s been a busy week in Facebook-must-answer-to-someone land.  I really do feel like the conversation has been elevated by whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before the Senate on Tuesday. I feel strongly that Facebook should be forced to offer an algorithm-free version of its product, as I argued earlier this week. And users have been wanting for years. It’s hardly a cure-all, but it’s a start.

Creating some kind of Section 230 carve out — make social media firms liable for what their algorithms suggest — is also a good idea, but not without consequences. (What about a firm that simply suggests events by proximity? A good Twitter thread by Georgetown University professor Anupam Chander here)

What about breaking up Facebook?  Matt Stoller is always a good read, but he writes Thursday that any change which doesn’t diminish Facebook’s market power is a waste of time.

And in my conversation with Duke University’s Jolynn Dellinger, we remind listeners that for-profit companies don’t make changes out of the goodness of their hearts.  Changes must be forced.

You can hear my conversation with Jolynn here:

You can also listen to my discussion on Washington DC’s WTOP here — in which we discuss Mark Zuckerburg channeling Spock, claiming hate amplification would be “illogical.”

And you can listen to this week’s regular spot on Miami radio. I remind listeners not to believe anything Facebook PR says.

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About Bob Sullivan 1637 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.


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