Frontline recently had a two-part documentary called The Facebook Dilemma and it was extremely interesting. I really think it is something everyone should see.
I like Frontline’s reporting because it is not as slanted as most of the stuff on PBS. It does spend a lot of time on Russian involvement and manipulation of American opinions but shows that their goal wasn’t to elect any individual candidate. Instead, their goal is to cause us to fight with each other. I would say mission accomplished. Politics aside, there is some good eye-opening information in this series.
Back when I ran bulletin board systems (BBS) and even at the start of my blogging life, the rule was that if you policed or edited user feedback in any way, you were responsible for everything that did make it through your filter. That meant you were liable for anything illegal or against community standards. Under that system, Facebook would be responsible for every responsible thing they left on their site if they edited or deleted anything.
They are seemingly able to skirt responsibility for anything and everything. As many American’s #1 source of news and information, should they be treated as news? Should they have to defend deleting some content that doesn’t fit with their rules or world view while letting blatantly untrue, fake and/or hostile content?
What do we do about this hybrid? Should FB be broken up? Should it have to stand up to the laws against libel and slander even if their staff didn’t write the post? As they share (sell) your personal information with third parties, should they have some responsibility for what those parties do with that information?
These are questions that are going to have to be answered and quickly.
Here are both episodes here so you can watch them.