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Big Tech

Several Organizations Protest Facebook, Sign Public Complaints Against Platform

Organizations signed a formal list of 70 public complaints against the social media giant.

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Public Citizen's Robert Weissman at the protest outside Facebook’s lobbying headquarters in Washington, DC.

May 26, 2021—Representatives from a coalition of organizations gathered outside Facebook’s lobbying headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to protest the company’s alleged abuse of the American people and announce a formal list of 70 public complaints against the social media platform.

Robert Weissman, president of the consumer rights advocacy group and think tank Public Citizen, accused Facebook of political indifference and subverting democracy, saying “the American people and people of the world will no longer tolerate Facebook’s abuses. This is a company out of control. It is literally out of the control of our democracy.”

The organizations present hold Facebook responsible for the alleged spreading of misinformation that influences elections, limiting users’ access to competing ideas, and wielding unjust amounts of political power.

With the support of the agreeing organizations present, Weissman expressed a lack of confidence in Facebook’s ability to manage itself, claiming its leaders had given up control to algorithms the company leaders didn’t understand. They called on the government to regulate the industry, break up the company, and hold its executives legally accountable for the damages done against the world.

Political indifference

The representing agencies accused the platform of political indifference in a document signed by all 10 firms, claiming that the platform suppresses stories from progressive news outlets and censors information that conflicts with its own personal interest. In 2019, Facebook temporarily blocked ads endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that advocated the dissolvement of the company.

They also claimed that Facebook is now the single largest corporate lobbying spender in the United States, and that they have spent years lobbying against privacy protection laws worldwide.

Misinformation and algorithms

Rishi Bharwani, policy director at Accountable Tech, says that “Facebook acknowledged that its algorithms help create media echo chamber and limit users’ exposure to ideologically discordant viewpoints.” Facebook algorithms are structured to maximize user engagement, which leads it to favor content it believes you’ll agree with, making the content’s validity or truthfulness a lesser priority.

Facebook has long been accused of spreading misinformation, dating back to 2016 when Russian entities used Facebook to disseminate false information in order to sway election results around the world. Ramah Kudaimi, the deputy campaign manager at Action Center on Race and the Economy, accused Facebook executives of refusing to implement measures that would curb the spread of misinformation.

Global implications

Kudaimi accused Facebook of whitewashing “the Chinese government’s genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region,” despite repeated concerns from employees.

Additionally, Kudaimi cited the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that said Facebook played a “determining role” in the Rohingya genocide. The report states that Facebook posts and audio-visual materials “contributed to shaping public opinion on the Rohingya and Muslims more generally.” A carefully crafted hate campaign “developed a negative perception of Muslims among the broad population in Myanmar.”

The list of complaints “overwhelmingly makes the case for a breakup and governmental discipline of this out-of-control company,” Weissman says. “Wouldn’t you have some moral compulsion to correct what you’re doing? To change your course? Well, maybe you would, but not Facebook.”

The comprehensive list of organizations which signed the public complaint are: Accountable Tech, Action Center on Race and the Economy, American Economic Liberties Project, Data for Black Lives, Decode Democracy, Fight for the Future, Kairos Fellows, Liberation in a Generation, Media Justice, and Public Citizen.

Reporter Tyler Perkins studied rhetoric and English literature, and also economics and mathematics, at the University of Utah. Although he grew up in and never left the West (both Oregon and Utah) until recently, he intends to study law and build a career on the East Coast. In his free time, he enjoys reading excellent literature and playing poor golf.

Section 230

Head of Big Tech Lobby Group Says Repealing Section 230 Unconstitutional

CTA CEO said abolishing intermediary liability protections violates private industry protections against government interference.

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Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association

May 26, 2021—Representatives from a coalition of organizations gathered outside Facebook’s lobbying headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to protest the company’s alleged abuse of the American people and announce a formal list of 70 public complaints against the social media platform.

Robert Weissman, president of the consumer rights advocacy group and think tank Public Citizen, accused Facebook of political indifference and subverting democracy, saying “the American people and people of the world will no longer tolerate Facebook’s abuses. This is a company out of control. It is literally out of the control of our democracy.”

The organizations present hold Facebook responsible for the alleged spreading of misinformation that influences elections, limiting users’ access to competing ideas, and wielding unjust amounts of political power.

With the support of the agreeing organizations present, Weissman expressed a lack of confidence in Facebook’s ability to manage itself, claiming its leaders had given up control to algorithms the company leaders didn’t understand. They called on the government to regulate the industry, break up the company, and hold its executives legally accountable for the damages done against the world.

Political indifference

The representing agencies accused the platform of political indifference in a document signed by all 10 firms, claiming that the platform suppresses stories from progressive news outlets and censors information that conflicts with its own personal interest. In 2019, Facebook temporarily blocked ads endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that advocated the dissolvement of the company.

They also claimed that Facebook is now the single largest corporate lobbying spender in the United States, and that they have spent years lobbying against privacy protection laws worldwide.

Misinformation and algorithms

Rishi Bharwani, policy director at Accountable Tech, says that “Facebook acknowledged that its algorithms help create media echo chamber and limit users’ exposure to ideologically discordant viewpoints.” Facebook algorithms are structured to maximize user engagement, which leads it to favor content it believes you’ll agree with, making the content’s validity or truthfulness a lesser priority.

Facebook has long been accused of spreading misinformation, dating back to 2016 when Russian entities used Facebook to disseminate false information in order to sway election results around the world. Ramah Kudaimi, the deputy campaign manager at Action Center on Race and the Economy, accused Facebook executives of refusing to implement measures that would curb the spread of misinformation.

Global implications

Kudaimi accused Facebook of whitewashing “the Chinese government’s genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region,” despite repeated concerns from employees.

Additionally, Kudaimi cited the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that said Facebook played a “determining role” in the Rohingya genocide. The report states that Facebook posts and audio-visual materials “contributed to shaping public opinion on the Rohingya and Muslims more generally.” A carefully crafted hate campaign “developed a negative perception of Muslims among the broad population in Myanmar.”

The list of complaints “overwhelmingly makes the case for a breakup and governmental discipline of this out-of-control company,” Weissman says. “Wouldn’t you have some moral compulsion to correct what you’re doing? To change your course? Well, maybe you would, but not Facebook.”

The comprehensive list of organizations which signed the public complaint are: Accountable Tech, Action Center on Race and the Economy, American Economic Liberties Project, Data for Black Lives, Decode Democracy, Fight for the Future, Kairos Fellows, Liberation in a Generation, Media Justice, and Public Citizen.

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Big Tech

Big Tech Must Take More Hands-Off Approach to Content to Build Trust, Expert Says 

Expert warns Big Tech must adopt hands-off approach to regain public trust.

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Katherine Maher, former Wikimedia CEO

May 26, 2021—Representatives from a coalition of organizations gathered outside Facebook’s lobbying headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to protest the company’s alleged abuse of the American people and announce a formal list of 70 public complaints against the social media platform.

Robert Weissman, president of the consumer rights advocacy group and think tank Public Citizen, accused Facebook of political indifference and subverting democracy, saying “the American people and people of the world will no longer tolerate Facebook’s abuses. This is a company out of control. It is literally out of the control of our democracy.”

The organizations present hold Facebook responsible for the alleged spreading of misinformation that influences elections, limiting users’ access to competing ideas, and wielding unjust amounts of political power.

With the support of the agreeing organizations present, Weissman expressed a lack of confidence in Facebook’s ability to manage itself, claiming its leaders had given up control to algorithms the company leaders didn’t understand. They called on the government to regulate the industry, break up the company, and hold its executives legally accountable for the damages done against the world.

Political indifference

The representing agencies accused the platform of political indifference in a document signed by all 10 firms, claiming that the platform suppresses stories from progressive news outlets and censors information that conflicts with its own personal interest. In 2019, Facebook temporarily blocked ads endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that advocated the dissolvement of the company.

They also claimed that Facebook is now the single largest corporate lobbying spender in the United States, and that they have spent years lobbying against privacy protection laws worldwide.

Misinformation and algorithms

Rishi Bharwani, policy director at Accountable Tech, says that “Facebook acknowledged that its algorithms help create media echo chamber and limit users’ exposure to ideologically discordant viewpoints.” Facebook algorithms are structured to maximize user engagement, which leads it to favor content it believes you’ll agree with, making the content’s validity or truthfulness a lesser priority.

Facebook has long been accused of spreading misinformation, dating back to 2016 when Russian entities used Facebook to disseminate false information in order to sway election results around the world. Ramah Kudaimi, the deputy campaign manager at Action Center on Race and the Economy, accused Facebook executives of refusing to implement measures that would curb the spread of misinformation.

Global implications

Kudaimi accused Facebook of whitewashing “the Chinese government’s genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region,” despite repeated concerns from employees.

Additionally, Kudaimi cited the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that said Facebook played a “determining role” in the Rohingya genocide. The report states that Facebook posts and audio-visual materials “contributed to shaping public opinion on the Rohingya and Muslims more generally.” A carefully crafted hate campaign “developed a negative perception of Muslims among the broad population in Myanmar.”

The list of complaints “overwhelmingly makes the case for a breakup and governmental discipline of this out-of-control company,” Weissman says. “Wouldn’t you have some moral compulsion to correct what you’re doing? To change your course? Well, maybe you would, but not Facebook.”

The comprehensive list of organizations which signed the public complaint are: Accountable Tech, Action Center on Race and the Economy, American Economic Liberties Project, Data for Black Lives, Decode Democracy, Fight for the Future, Kairos Fellows, Liberation in a Generation, Media Justice, and Public Citizen.

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Antitrust

Experts Say Congress’s New Antitrust Package is Philosophically Flawed and Politically Motivated

Antitrust and technology experts say that Congress’s new antitrust package is legally flawed and politically motivated.

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on

Pool photo of Lina Khan from April 2021 by Graeme Jennings

May 26, 2021—Representatives from a coalition of organizations gathered outside Facebook’s lobbying headquarters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to protest the company’s alleged abuse of the American people and announce a formal list of 70 public complaints against the social media platform.

Robert Weissman, president of the consumer rights advocacy group and think tank Public Citizen, accused Facebook of political indifference and subverting democracy, saying “the American people and people of the world will no longer tolerate Facebook’s abuses. This is a company out of control. It is literally out of the control of our democracy.”

The organizations present hold Facebook responsible for the alleged spreading of misinformation that influences elections, limiting users’ access to competing ideas, and wielding unjust amounts of political power.

With the support of the agreeing organizations present, Weissman expressed a lack of confidence in Facebook’s ability to manage itself, claiming its leaders had given up control to algorithms the company leaders didn’t understand. They called on the government to regulate the industry, break up the company, and hold its executives legally accountable for the damages done against the world.

Political indifference

The representing agencies accused the platform of political indifference in a document signed by all 10 firms, claiming that the platform suppresses stories from progressive news outlets and censors information that conflicts with its own personal interest. In 2019, Facebook temporarily blocked ads endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that advocated the dissolvement of the company.

They also claimed that Facebook is now the single largest corporate lobbying spender in the United States, and that they have spent years lobbying against privacy protection laws worldwide.

Misinformation and algorithms

Rishi Bharwani, policy director at Accountable Tech, says that “Facebook acknowledged that its algorithms help create media echo chamber and limit users’ exposure to ideologically discordant viewpoints.” Facebook algorithms are structured to maximize user engagement, which leads it to favor content it believes you’ll agree with, making the content’s validity or truthfulness a lesser priority.

Facebook has long been accused of spreading misinformation, dating back to 2016 when Russian entities used Facebook to disseminate false information in order to sway election results around the world. Ramah Kudaimi, the deputy campaign manager at Action Center on Race and the Economy, accused Facebook executives of refusing to implement measures that would curb the spread of misinformation.

Global implications

Kudaimi accused Facebook of whitewashing “the Chinese government’s genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region,” despite repeated concerns from employees.

Additionally, Kudaimi cited the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that said Facebook played a “determining role” in the Rohingya genocide. The report states that Facebook posts and audio-visual materials “contributed to shaping public opinion on the Rohingya and Muslims more generally.” A carefully crafted hate campaign “developed a negative perception of Muslims among the broad population in Myanmar.”

The list of complaints “overwhelmingly makes the case for a breakup and governmental discipline of this out-of-control company,” Weissman says. “Wouldn’t you have some moral compulsion to correct what you’re doing? To change your course? Well, maybe you would, but not Facebook.”

The comprehensive list of organizations which signed the public complaint are: Accountable Tech, Action Center on Race and the Economy, American Economic Liberties Project, Data for Black Lives, Decode Democracy, Fight for the Future, Kairos Fellows, Liberation in a Generation, Media Justice, and Public Citizen.

Continue Reading

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