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Rob Blackie is a Digital Strategist based in London, England, who has contributed to The Guardian and The Independent newspapers.
Facebook has had a terrible couple of years. Fake news. Cambridge Analytica. Charges of anti-semitism. Russia hacking the 2016 election. Racist memes, murders and lynchings in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Facebook - Company - List - Scandals - Google
And Facebook is just the tech company with the longest list of scandals. There’s Google, YouTube, and Twitter’s well-documented roles in radicalization to consider, not to mention growing global health crises caused by medical misinformation spread on all the major platforms.
Investors are rightly beginning to worry. If tech companies and their investors can’t foresee and stop these problems, it will likely lead to damaging regulation, costing them billions.
Rest - Giants - Responsibility - Argument - Problem
The rest of us are increasingly unhappy that internet giants refuse to take responsibility. The argument that the problem lies with third-party abuse of their tools is wearing thin, not just with the media and politicians, but increasingly with the public as well.
If the tech giants don’t want regulators to step in and police, they need to do much more to predict, and stop the abuse, before it even happens.
Cardboard - Cutouts - Facebook - Founder - CEO
One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018.
The problems mentioned above weren’t caused by anybody breaking existing social network rules. Nor were they about hacking data, in the true meaning of a ‘hack’ which involves stealing data.
Scandals - Smear - Campaign - Smear - Campaign
These scandals are better understood as a political smear campaign. If you’ve seen a good political smear campaign, you’ll know smears are funny, interesting and shareable. Just like a good meme.
US President Lyndon Johnson was expert at smearing his opponents. As Hunter S Thompson reported:
Race - Johnson - Campaign - Manager - Rumor
“The race was close and Johnson was getting worried. Finally he told his campaign manager to start a massive rumor...
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