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Social Media is Lowering the Quality of Our Information, Say Ranking Digital Rights Panelists

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in July 2009 by Brian Solis used with permission

May 27, 2020 — Current social media algorithms and big tech tactics are making our information less reliable and our discourse less productive amid the coronavirus, said participants on a Ranking Digital Rights webinar Wednesday.

Nathalie Maréchal, senior policy analyst at Ranking Digital Rights, said that tech companies do not have an incentive to distribute the most reliable information. Rather, the algorithms used by big tech only serve to reinforce presuppositions held by their users.

It can be challenging to regulate potentially malicious content because doing so requires that “we all have the same definition of what is true,” Maréchal added.

Large social media platforms like Twitter have faced numerous complaints about their algorithms in the past, and while CEOs like Jack Dorsey have proposed potential solutions, the problem persists.

Screenshot from New America webinar

Maréchal suggested legislation that would hold tech companies who host ads on their websites to the same standard as television and print ads. The Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would force ad platforms to go to “reasonable efforts” to make sure that foreign actors are not behind the ads they host.

“Passing the honest ads act is a total no-brainer and should have happened a long time ago,” Maréchal said.

Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia agreed. The online world should reflect the physical one, he said, in that it is equally wrong to lie to individuals for personal gain.

“Really, there should be no difference between the offline, rights-respecting world, and the one that exists online,” he added.

Elijah Labby was a Reporter with Broadband Breakfast. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and now resides in Orlando, Florida. He studies political science at Seminole State College, and enjoys reading and writing fiction (but not for Broadband Breakfast).

Antitrust

Section 230 Has Coddled Big Tech For Too Long, Says Co-Author of Book on Amazon

Co-author of “The Amazon Jungle” says Section 230 has allowed Big Tech to get away with far too much.

Derek Shumway

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on

"The Amazon Jungle" co-author Jason Boyce

May 27, 2020 — Current social media algorithms and big tech tactics are making our information less reliable and our discourse less productive amid the coronavirus, said participants on a Ranking Digital Rights webinar Wednesday.

Nathalie Maréchal, senior policy analyst at Ranking Digital Rights, said that tech companies do not have an incentive to distribute the most reliable information. Rather, the algorithms used by big tech only serve to reinforce presuppositions held by their users.

It can be challenging to regulate potentially malicious content because doing so requires that “we all have the same definition of what is true,” Maréchal added.

Large social media platforms like Twitter have faced numerous complaints about their algorithms in the past, and while CEOs like Jack Dorsey have proposed potential solutions, the problem persists.

Screenshot from New America webinar

Maréchal suggested legislation that would hold tech companies who host ads on their websites to the same standard as television and print ads. The Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would force ad platforms to go to “reasonable efforts” to make sure that foreign actors are not behind the ads they host.

“Passing the honest ads act is a total no-brainer and should have happened a long time ago,” Maréchal said.

Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia agreed. The online world should reflect the physical one, he said, in that it is equally wrong to lie to individuals for personal gain.

“Really, there should be no difference between the offline, rights-respecting world, and the one that exists online,” he added.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Josh Hawley Wants To Break Up Big Tech And Revisit How Antitrust Matters Are Considered

Senator Josh Hawley talks Section 230, antitrust reform, and the Capitol riots.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

Josh Hawley, right, via Flickr

May 27, 2020 — Current social media algorithms and big tech tactics are making our information less reliable and our discourse less productive amid the coronavirus, said participants on a Ranking Digital Rights webinar Wednesday.

Nathalie Maréchal, senior policy analyst at Ranking Digital Rights, said that tech companies do not have an incentive to distribute the most reliable information. Rather, the algorithms used by big tech only serve to reinforce presuppositions held by their users.

It can be challenging to regulate potentially malicious content because doing so requires that “we all have the same definition of what is true,” Maréchal added.

Large social media platforms like Twitter have faced numerous complaints about their algorithms in the past, and while CEOs like Jack Dorsey have proposed potential solutions, the problem persists.

Screenshot from New America webinar

Maréchal suggested legislation that would hold tech companies who host ads on their websites to the same standard as television and print ads. The Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would force ad platforms to go to “reasonable efforts” to make sure that foreign actors are not behind the ads they host.

“Passing the honest ads act is a total no-brainer and should have happened a long time ago,” Maréchal said.

Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia agreed. The online world should reflect the physical one, he said, in that it is equally wrong to lie to individuals for personal gain.

“Really, there should be no difference between the offline, rights-respecting world, and the one that exists online,” he added.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Oversight Board Upholds Trump’s Ban From Facebook

The Oversight Board has sent the decision back to Facebook management, criticizing it for setting a “standardless” penalty.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

May 27, 2020 — Current social media algorithms and big tech tactics are making our information less reliable and our discourse less productive amid the coronavirus, said participants on a Ranking Digital Rights webinar Wednesday.

Nathalie Maréchal, senior policy analyst at Ranking Digital Rights, said that tech companies do not have an incentive to distribute the most reliable information. Rather, the algorithms used by big tech only serve to reinforce presuppositions held by their users.

It can be challenging to regulate potentially malicious content because doing so requires that “we all have the same definition of what is true,” Maréchal added.

Large social media platforms like Twitter have faced numerous complaints about their algorithms in the past, and while CEOs like Jack Dorsey have proposed potential solutions, the problem persists.

Screenshot from New America webinar

Maréchal suggested legislation that would hold tech companies who host ads on their websites to the same standard as television and print ads. The Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would force ad platforms to go to “reasonable efforts” to make sure that foreign actors are not behind the ads they host.

“Passing the honest ads act is a total no-brainer and should have happened a long time ago,” Maréchal said.

Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia agreed. The online world should reflect the physical one, he said, in that it is equally wrong to lie to individuals for personal gain.

“Really, there should be no difference between the offline, rights-respecting world, and the one that exists online,” he added.

Continue Reading

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