The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?

Then, in 2007, growth plateaued at around fifty million users and wouldn’t budge. Other social networks had maxed out at around that level, and Facebook employees wondered if they had hit a hidden limit. Zuckerberg created a special Growth Team, which had broad latitude to find ways of boosting the numbers. Among other fixes, they discovered that, by offering the site in more languages, they could open huge markets. Alex Schultz, a founding member of the Growth Team, said that he and his colleagues were fanatical in their pursuit of expansion. “You will fight for that inch, you will die for that inch,” he told me. Facebook left no opportunity untapped. In 2011, the company asked the Federal Election Commission for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.”


At this point liberal bias is baked into the search algorithms at Google and facebook. I'm not sure they could change them even if they wanted to. It would be a gigantic, Augean labor to tease all the consciously and unconsciously biased elements out of the code. I suspect even the nascent AI elements in the search algorithms are more liberal than not. It's as if the algorithms take current elite culture and distill it. I don't really know what the solution is, if there is one.

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Don't worry: the Revolution will eat its children.

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 15, 2018 5:29:13 PM

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