Facebook usage is falling in the US and Canada, especially among young people, but it's still dominating the internet overseas, especially in countries where Zero Rating is legal.
In those countries, Facebook -- more than any other technology, platform or service -- is leading the rise in authoritarianism and genocide. It's become the go-to tool for manipulating public opinion to support violence, racial cleansing and other horrors.
In his latest piece, John Oliver describes how Facebook's business model, moderation tactics, and history have led to this moment -- and how Facebook has become an irredeemable cesspool, an insult to toilets, because toilets "make shit go away, whereas Facebook retains shit, disseminates shit to your acquaintances, and reminds you of shit from seven years ago while allowing corporations to put their shit in front of you. What I’m saying is there’s a purity and integrity to toilets that Facebook seriously lacks."
An August investigation by Motherboard gets a shout-out in the piece, as Oliver references one of Facebook’s many internal content moderation rules—in this case, one that specifies the very specific instances in which photoshopped anuses are allowed on the site. Facebook has similar rules for hate speech (drawing the line on what’s allowed and what isn’t in often difficult ways to understand), which cut across cultures, countries, political regimes, and geographic borders.
“I am not saying the challenges Facebook is facing are not significant. But for a company that moves fast and breaks things, they have sure moved slowly in trying to fucking fix them,” Oliver said. “Until they do it is painfully obvious that everyone should be treating everything on their site with extreme skepticism and see Facebook for what it is: A fetid swamp of mistruths and outright lies, interspersed with an occasional reminder of a dead pet. That’s it. That’s what it is.”
John Oliver Calls Facebook 'a Fetid Swamp of Mistruths and Outright Lies' [Jason Koebler/Motherboard]
A user called FBSaler is offering personal data for Facebook users at $0.10 each, claiming to have account data from 120,000,000 users to offer; to prove that they have the goods, they've dumped the private messages sent by 81,000 Facebook users; and account data from 176,000.
A year ago, Facebook apologized for allowing advertisers to target its users based on their status as "Jew haters" and blamed an algorithmic system that automatically picked up on the most popular discussions on the platform and turned them into ad-targeting segments.
Vice decided to test out Facebook's commitment to positively identifying the people and organizations behind political ads, so they applied for clearance to buy ads in the names of ever sitting US Senator, showing no proof, and Facebook granted permission in each case.
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