Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mandatory Facebook Post

I watched a lot of his Senate grilling yesterday, but I haven't seen what they did to him in the house. As far as I can tell, he was pretty well prepared, respectful, but willing to be slightly evasive, which was fairly easy considering how ignorant the majority of the Senate are.

I'll avoid the obvious Turing Test joke. Instead, I'll just borrow it from Evi: Zuckerberg Almost Passes Turing Test:

Democrats, of course, are livid over the Russians buying a few hundred thousand into Facebook ads to sow confusion and discord in the 2016 presidential election (which they now insist made the difference), and the possibility that Cambridge Analytica used "scraped" (an interesting new usage of the word) data to help Trump win (not at all clear). At least one Republican had the temerity to point out that when the Obama campaign did the same thing, they were lauded in the media as ground breaking.

My own use of Facebook is fairly minor. I keep politics almost entirely off of it. I post mostly beach, fishing, fossil, butterfly and family posts. I don't understand how they make a dime off me. As far as I know, I have never bought a product or service as a result of see the ad on Facebook. I understand they still make money for showing ads to me, but someone is losing money.

Senator Cruz, in his 5 minute opportunity got to the issue that concerns me most, the use of social media in "policing" the expression of public opinion on their platforms:

Apparently, there is some rule requiring that platforms like Facebook that claim "Section 230 immunity under the CDA" from the things that their customers post requires that they act as "a neutral public forum."

Zuck equivocated. Cruz's point, of course, is that there are plenty of examples of Facebook banning or demonetizing conservative pages, and very little evidence for such actions on liberal pages. Zuck admitted Facebook was staffed almost entirely by liberal, but said he was working on it making sure it was fair.

At this point, Facebook is a public accommodation, much like a bakery.Although I am generally anti-regulation, it is coming to Facebook. Zuck practically begged for it. I want Republican congressmen to be sure that political fairness is rigorously enforced, and that censorship is held to bare minimum to prevent terrorist and criminal communication and propaganda. This will require some kind of method of appeal for censorship decisions, to go to a non-Facebook team to adjudicate it (paid for by Facebook, of course), and real teeth, say fines paid back to victims of unnecessary bans and demonetization. And conservatives willing to rigorously hold them to those rules.

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