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On Election Day, Facebook and Twitter Did Better by Making Their Products Worse

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No place was this shift more evident than at Facebook, which for years pictured itself as a type of post-human communication platform. Mark Zuckerberg, the businesss president, typically spoke about his philosophy of “frictionless” style– making things as easy as possible for users. Other executives I spoke with appeared to believe that ultimately, Facebook would end up being a sort of self-policing machine, with expert system doing the majority of the grunt work and human beings stepping in as low as possible.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Facebook went in the opposite direction. It put in place a brand-new, troublesome approval process for political marketers, and obstructed brand-new political ads in the duration after Election Day.
All of these modifications may, in fact, make Facebook safer. However they likewise include dialing back the very features that have actually powered the platforms development for years. Its a telling act of self-awareness, as if Ferrari had recognized that it could just stop its cars and trucks from crashing by changing the engines with go-kart motors.


Nowhere was this shift more evident than at Facebook, which for years envisioned itself as a kind of post-human communication platform. Other executives I talked to appeared to think that eventually, Facebook would end up being a kind of self-policing maker, with synthetic intelligence doing most of the dirty work and people stepping in as little as possible.
All of these changes may, in reality, make Facebook more secure.

” If you take a look at Facebooks election action, it was basically to point a lot of traffic and attention to these hubs that were curated by individuals,” stated Eli Pariser, a longtime media executive and activist who is working on Civic Signals, a new project that is trying to reimagine social networks as a public area. “Thats an indicator that eventually, when you have details thats actually essential, theres no replacement for human judgment.”.
Twitter, another platform that for several years tried to make communication as smooth as possible, invested much of the previous four years attempting to pump the brakes. It brought in more moderators, revamped its guidelines, and put more human oversight on functions like Trending Topics. In the months leading up to the election, it prohibited political ads, and handicapped sharing functions on tweets consisting of deceptive info about election outcomes, including some from the presidents account.

Nov. 5, 2020, 9:56 p.m. ET.


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