Facebook was no match for the scourge of COVID lies
During the spring and summer of this year, Facebook highlighted its efforts to curb misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. “As a company, we have devoted unprecedented resources to fighting the pandemic, directing people to reliable information and helping them find and schedule vaccinations,” the vice president of integrity from Facebook, Guy Rosen, wrote in July, after the president Joe biden accused the company of “killing people” with the bogus content festering on the platform. “And we will continue to do so. But the social media company has struggled to contain the lies and falsehoods – and the latest dispatch from the the Wall Street Journal “Facebook Files” released Friday explains why.
Although Mark Zuckerberg said it prioritizes protecting the vaccine deployment, the company’s efforts fell short of the scourge of disinformation, internal research obtained by the Newspaper repeatedly found. Indeed, according to the Newspaper, the “documents show that Facebook has often made minimal or ineffective efforts to resolve problems and downplay them in public.” Comments were a particular problem, the research found, with an internal memo describing them as a “sump of anti-vaccine rhetoric.”
“The members of the company recognized that this was a problem” Renee DiResta, a leading researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory, told the Newspaper. “Where’s the disconnect?” “
Facebook, which downplayed searches entered by the Newspaper, with a company spokesperson telling the newspaper that it “overvalues the amount of misleading vaccine content” – has come under scrutiny for years now for its handling of bogus and toxic content. He has, to his credit, taken significant steps to address these issues. But Zuckerberg and his company have also spent as much, if not more, of energy deflecting criticism and working to avoid the broader calculation of the power he wields.
The NewspaperThe series, which also revealed that the company’s own research shows the toll Instagram has taken on teenage girls, only adds to the scrutiny. But as Alex kantrowitz As observed on Friday, Facebook appears to have come up with a solution to criticisms of keeping the public in the dark: keeping more staff in the dark as well.
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