It’s been two years since a U.S. presidential campaign in which Facebook was a primary vector for misinformation and state-sponsored political interference — and the company still seems paralyzed over how to respond.
Presented with straightforward queries about real-world harm caused by misinformation on their service, Facebook’s executives express their pain, ask for patience, proclaim their unwavering commitment to political neutrality and insist they are as surprised as anyone that they are even in the position of having to come up with speech rules for billions of people, writes Farhad Manjoo at bizjournals.com.
Yet Facebook executives’ tortured musings in recent weeks suggest that the task ahead remains difficult. The company that was once pilloried for its heedlessness — its motto was “move fast, break things” and it put up posters around its offices asking employees “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” — is now moving slow, fixing little and taking no stand.
“I think Facebook is trying to thread this needle of trying to claim they’re not a publisher with responsibilities here, when they clearly are,” said Sarah Szalavitz, chief executive of the design agency 7 Robot, who has closely followed social media companies’ efforts to address their shortcomings. “But they need to have a perspective.”
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