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.