Facebook: The Bug Is the Feature

Peter Kafka, writing for Recode:

This fall’s election promises to be chaotic, nerve-wracking, and potentially calamitous. Lies will be flying everywhere, and Facebook will distribute many of them.

And in response, Facebook plans to do… not that much.

Facebook’s latest moves feel like someone telling you they only plan to dump 900 barrels of toxic waste into your water supply instead of 1,000. The dose makes the poison, and everything we’ve learned since the 2016 U.S. election speaks to the fact that we are way past the lethal amount.

Facebook’s previous announcement to continue allowing lies in political ads was the final push that drove me to abandon my account in January. This is not enough to make me come back.

Even if their latest efforts prove effective, they are being maddeningly opaque about them. Simply put, why this change and not others that seem so obvious to us civilians? Maybe new ads will be banned because they’re the toughest things to screen, while existing content will already be going through checks and filters? That’s me being extremely generous, but who knows? Not me, and not anyone else outside of Facebook. And we deserve to know with total clarity because, with the literal fate of nations on the line, we all have a stake in this.

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