Facebook Launches New Video Ad Series Calling for Better Regulations for Social Media
Amid ongoing discussions about Facebook’s approach to content moderation and amplification through its platforms, The Social Network today launched two new ads that call for more government regulation of the tech industry, while also seeking to humanize the people behind Facebook’s decision-making process.
As you can see in this example, Facebook today released two new employee profile videos working on its content moderation challenges.
The clips first show each employee holding pictures of their family, then give a quick overview of their work and their take on regulation.
According to ‘Rochelle’ in the clip above:
“You should be able to understand who owns your data and how they use it. Federal law may give our platforms and other platforms guidance so that we can have a consistent approach. “
In the second video, Facebook content moderator “Jack” explains that:
“We make a lot of tough decisions. We work in the spectrum of free speech versus moderation of content and are constantly trying to figure out where on that spectrum we should land. I don’t know if it’s fair to have a private company like Facebook dictating what those limits are.
The music, lighting and format are all designed to facilitate a more sympathetic and human connection to these challenges, pointing out that Facebook has 40,000 employees working on these issues, smart and ordinary people like Rochelle and Jack, and that it this is not a faceless, behemoth determined to dominate the world.
Which is an interesting change of pace from the more aggressive and contemptuous tone Facebook PR executives have taken to allegations by former product manager Frances Haugen, who leaked a series of internal research reports. on Facebook’s work to understand the impacts of its platforms.
According to Haugen, who faced the Senate last week, these internal documents show that Facebook is well aware of the damage its apps can cause, but it has been reluctant to act, at least in some cases, implying that it is due. the potential impact on its results.
Facebook has denied these claims and reiterated that it is conducting such research in order to improve itself. But many commentators have criticized Facebook’s attacks on Haugen in response, and his aggressive, even condescending tone as he seeks to eliminate misconceptions.
This new approach appears to counter that, striving to provide another perspective on Facebook’s efforts, with each of the clips guiding users to this site, where Facebook emphasizes the need for updated internet regulations.
According to the mini-site:
“While at Facebook we work to make progress, we know we can’t – and shouldn’t – do it alone. That’s why we support regulations aimed at setting clear and fair rules for everyone, and support a safe and secure open internet where creativity and competition can thrive. “
Facebook has been calling for better regulation for some time, which would remove responsibility for decision-making from its platform and alleviate concerns about its processes and motivations.
How, exactly, these new regulations would work remains to be seen, but Facebook’s argument makes sense, as individual platforms shouldn’t be left in a position where they have to decide what’s acceptable and what. is not, especially given the extent of their influence on the modern media cycle and discourse.
If such regulations were made by a watchdog, it would eliminate one of Facebook’s main headaches, essentially overturning the claim that it seeks to control or manipulate speech. But then again, the complexities involved, particularly with regard to algorithmic amplification, will be difficult and take some time to effectively implement, while they could also make it much more difficult for new players to enter the field. sector if they need to meet. a series of new requirements to align with these changes.
You will also notice that in the screenshot above describing the regulatory changes supported by Facebook, it does not note the potential changes in the use of the algorithm. This, according to Haugen, should be the primary focus, with engagement-aligned amplification causing major issues in terms of incentives, exposure, and subsequent impacts.
It could be a much bigger battle, and Facebook has yet to specifically respond to this item. Because Facebook relies on algorithmic matching to maximize usage and profits, so while Facebook may be looking to show the outside that it welcomes more regulation with these new video clips, it will be interesting. to see what specific aspects of the change it will support, and that it will fight against.
Either way, we are hopefully on the path to a more informed and constructive debate around this element, with Haugen’s stand paving the way for a new approach to this key issue.