Had this announcement in my notifications today:
Facebook intends to stop showing me content that I actually want to see. You can turn this off but it requires manual intervention to regain control over what you want to see, rather than what Facebook thinks you want to see.
- First, when Facebook decides what you see, Facebook is acting as an editorial director.
- Second, when Facebook decides what you see, Facebook is potentially promoting propaganda. It does not matter that this editorial selection is conducted by algorithms.
I learned long ago that working in any field for a period of time warps our thinking.
After two decades in the computer software industry, my brain was brainwashed into thinking all the world’s problems could be solved with software solutions. Everyone in tech sincerely believes that everything is just a software or tech problem!
After those two decades, I went to grad school and earned an MBA. I spent my time hanging out with people who did not work in the tech sector and discovered that not everything is solved with tech. I also learned many others believe that most of the world’s problems can be solved with what ever their expertise is in!
Indeed, all the way back as an undergraduate in computer science, in a private conversation with a professor of statistics, he said, “When you get down it, life is nothing but statistics. Everything in life is statistics!” Like all of us buried in a specialty, we only see the world through the eyes of our specialty
It’s as if, when all you have is a hammer, the entire world starts to look like a nail – hah hah.
Many years ago I attended a public community meeting where there were 22 people in attendance – 21 of which worked in health care, plus me, who did not. 21 of the attendees believed every community problem was a health care problem! Seriously, crime was a health care problem! Public bus transportation was a health care problem! By the time the meeting was over with, probably four dozen community problems were identified and each and every one of them could be solved through better access to health care and more subsidy money spent on health care.
And on and on.
The point is that Facebook, Google, and Twitter all believe any problems they have in their propaganda platforms being abused is just a software problem. More software will solve this! That’s because to them when all they have is software, the whole world looks like a software problem.
The tech sector needs to get out of its Get Smart-level Cone of Silence bubble and recognize that problems require a multi-disciplinary approach and solutions. For now, they are proceeding down the nonsensical, inward focused “it’s just a software problem”.
They and many others do not yet realize that the propaganda problem on social media is not the messages, it’s the medium.