This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
New York, NY – Former acting Attorney General made a case for the Department of Justice to investigate the influence of algorithms of social media in regards to politics.
The question is what does this mean for the legal system and the big tech companies?
“Yes, I actually do believe we are going to get to the bottom of this insidious, really, censorship of mostly conservative voices on social media.
And I think the Department of Justice has been looking at this issue, and I also believe that because of the way the algorithms that Facebook and Twitter and the like use to provide your news feed, I think that could be viewed, and maybe viewed by this Department of Justice, as a campaign contribution, an illegal campaign contribution, that ultimately, I think, they will step in and take action.”
Now, most nontechnical people might be confused on this. It can be a crazy “language” to learn. Don’t worry. Let’s break it down.
First and foremost, most people will say they know what an algorithm is and what functions it entails.
Sprout media defines them “as a way of sorting posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy instead of publish time. Social networks prioritize which content a user sees in their feed first by the likelihood that they’ll actually want to see it. By default, social media algorithms take the reins of determining which content to deliver to you based on your behavior.”
This sounds pretty reasonable, but the algorithm is changed constantly. The Facebook is subjected to Artificial Intelligence and this is where it gets even more problematic.
Artificial Intelligence and technology are a wonderful thing. It can also be a terrible thing, especially since Facebook was given with a $5 billion fine for violating people’s privacy.
Whitaker said in his interview:
“[I] think what is also happening among these companies, Facebook in particular — they have so much data on their individual users that they can essentially manipulate what you see, how you see it, and therefore, based on the feedback loop that is provided, they can then try to influence you to, whether it is to use a product, vote for a candidate. It’s really, again, insidious.
I think the Department of Justice has to act because our democracy can probably not stand this for another election cycle.”
The question remains who programs it and determines what your behavior?
This is a good question.
Enter the Facebook oversight board that decides what posts get blocked. This is a board that is overwhelming stacked on the liberal side. One of George Soros’, a leftwing billionaire, closest friends is on this board. This is a according to judicialwatch.org.
Judicial Watch discovered that more than half of the members on this “oversight board” have ties to Soros. Members of this board really hate President Donald Trump, and have made political contributions to Democrats.
In today's On Tech:
Facebook is not merely a mirror on the world. It shapes what we believe and do.
How does a company that says it can help persuade people to buy a brand of sneakers also say it's a bystander to the anger and division in society? https://t.co/uRzZ2CDjVz
— Shira Ovide (@ShiraOvide) September 9, 2020
This new oversight board represents a new model of moderation of speech and priming the mind to think for like the panelist think.
They that will uphold “freedom of expression within the framework of international norms of human rights” Facebook’s economic, political or reputational interests will not interfere in the process, the company writes in its introduction to the new board.
Tellingly, Wired reports that getting liberals for the board was easy “since human rights activists generally shade liberal.”
The New York Post said:
This reveals a horrific blindness about the difference between activism in the fuzzy human-rights field and a genuine commitment to free speech.
The purpose of Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to create this panel was to get him out of trouble for being responsible for what speech they ban.
— Blazing CatFur (@Blazingcatfur) September 6, 2020
2019 was also the year Facebook patented “Shadowbanning” according to Gizmodo. Shadowbanning describes when a user has their content hidden or pushed lower in the algorithm without their knowledge.
Shadowbanning—which has become a favored term among conservative and far-right interests who believe they’re experiencing ideological censorship at the hands of social networking platforms—describes a specific scenario wherein a user has their content demoted or outright hidden without their knowledge.
Gizmodo is quoted into stating the excerpt of the patent’s abstract (emphasis theirs):
[T]he social networking system may receive a list of proscribed content and block comments containing the proscribed content by reducing the distribution of those comments to other viewing users. However, the social networking system may display the blocked content to the commenting user such that the commenting user is not made aware that his or her comment was blocked, thereby providing fewer incentives to the commenting user to spam the page or attempt to circumvent the social networking system filters.
This is certainly a red flag that should be raised especially in the idea that Facebook is influencing people more to the left – especially during election time.
According to Pew Research 90 percent of Republicans surveyed believe that social media does people surveyed intentionally censor those viewpoints that are found objectionable. This is a 5 percent jump from last year.
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
This has also been a problem during the 2016 campaign. Google, accused that it manipulated search results to favor Hillary Clinton. Google denied such allegations, but according to Search Engine Land, when approached about the bias, Google gave a non-answer.
If the allegations are true the tech giants are indeed influencing the information the average American can get, then it is indeed something that Americans should be infuriated about. The DOJ must investigate and should prosecute each member of the tech companies to the fullest extent of the law.
Perhaps that is why the left has been on this hunt saying President Trump had Russian interference in the 2016 election – to conceal their own nefarious election meddling.
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