How Trump modified Facebook

How Trump modified Facebook

At one cut-off date, Facebook’s relationship with politicians was comparatively uncontroversial.

But after the 2016 US elections, all the things modified.

Early within the marketing campaign, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump examined the boundaries of Facebook’s guidelines in opposition to hateful speech, on the identical time that the corporate grew to become a automobile of political exploitation by international actors.

Facebook’s first take a look at: coping with a 2015 Facebook publish from Trump calling for a “whole and full shutdown” of Muslims coming into the US. While some inside the company saw a strong argument that Trump’s feedback violated Facebook’s guidelines in opposition to spiritual hate speech, the corporate determined to maintain the publish up. Until then, most Facebook workers had by no means earlier than grappled with the likelihood that their platform may very well be used to stoke such division by a politician for the best place of workplace.

“What do you do when the main candidate for president posts an assault … on [one of the] the largest faith[s] on the planet?” former Facebook worker and Democratic lobbyist Crystal Patterson advised us.

And it wasn’t simply nationwide politicians Facebook needed to fear about, however international adversaries, too. Despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s preliminary post-election feedback dismissing the “pretty crazy idea” that fake news on the platform might have influenced the elections, it quickly grew to become clear that propaganda from Russian Facebook accounts had reached millions of American voters — inflicting an unprecedented backlash and forcing the corporate to reckon with its culpability in influencing international politics.

Over time, Zuckerberg would acknowledge Facebook’s position as what he called “the Fifth Estate” — an entity as highly effective as the federal government and media in shaping the general public agenda — whereas on the identical time attempting to reduce the corporate’s position dictating the appropriate phrases of political speech.

To offload the burden of political accountability going ahead, Facebook shaped the Oversight Board in 2018, a Supreme Court-like physique it set as much as weigh in on controversial content material selections — together with the right way to take care of Trump’s account. But the board is new, and we’re nonetheless studying how much power it has over Facebook. How a lot accountability does Facebook nonetheless need to dictate the phrases of its personal platform? And can the board go far sufficient to vary the social media platform’s underlying engine: its advice algorithms?

We discover these questions on Facebook’s position in moderating political speech in our fourth episode of Land of the Giants, Vox Media Podcast Network’s award-winning narrative podcast collection about probably the most influential tech corporations of our time. This season, Recode and The Verge have teamed up over the course of seven episodes to inform the story of Facebook’s journey to turning into Meta, that includes interviews with present and former executives.

Listen to the fourth episode of Land of the Giants: The Facebook/Meta Disruption, and catch the primary two episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.



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