How to Fix Facebook – Before It Fixes Us
Article

How to Fix Facebook – Before It Fixes Us

An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat – and what to do about it.


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  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging

Recommendation

Brexit and the 2016 surprise victory of US president Donald Trump alarmed Roger McNamee, a technology investor and early mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. McNamee noticed how organized political operatives were exploiting the Facebook platform to spread negative attention grabbing content, influence voters and affect voting outcomes. For McNamee, the platform’s flawed business model, its monopolistic market position and the lack of government regulation have turned the formerly  innocent social networking site into a threat to democracy. He shares his concerns and suggests remedies in an in-depth piece in the Washington Monthly, which getAbstract recommends to policy makers and citizen activists.

Summary

The algorithms of social media platforms like Facebook and Google lend themselves to promoting extreme political positions. Since these platforms make their money from advertising, their algorithms favor content most likely to grab users’ attention and lead to clicks and shares. Besides pushing negative and sensationalist messages, the algorithms tailor content to individual users based on their past online activity, reinforcing biases.

An effective response to the problem requires several elements. Big tech CEOs can play an important...

About the Author

Roger McNamee is the founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners and an early mentor to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.


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