Dynamics of Social Media
Facebook banned 32 accounts and pages from its platform last week that were allegedly engaged in “inauthentic” and “coordinated” behavior. This included pages such as: “Aztlan Warriors,” “Resisters,” “Mindful Being” and “Black Elevation.” Combined, these pages boasted 290,000 followers and were involved in content creation and even organizing political events, such as protests.
This comes after a tumultuous year for Facebook, fending off backlash from the persistence of fake news and misinformation on the platform, particularly during the 2016 election. Just last week, Facebook stock took a massive hit. Here lies the strongest motivator for Facebook. Regulatory threats and government critics can’t make a Silicon Valley disruptor change its strategy quite like the fear of a decline in ranking on the Forbes 400 list.
Facebook is now on offensive mode: purging pages in an effort to flip the script on its passive approach to “fake news.” But for a company that prides itself on its liberal attitude toward free speech and expression, it has struggled to balance its commitment to those principles with the increasing outside pressure to curb toxic content.
In this week’s episode, we will look at the role of technology and its platforms and the effect that it has on society. What responsibility do companies like Facebook have in ensuring responsible use and news sharing, and when does that come into conflict with notions of free speech? How is a balance struck? At what point, if at all, should society hold individuals behind the keyboard accountable? And furthermore, what are safety, political, legal, and logistical considerations to think about as technology becomes increasingly more integral in our everyday lives?
Jeff Kosseff, Asst. Prof.of Cybersecurity Law at the U.S. Naval Academy
Eugene Yi, Co-founder and President of Cortico
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