Facebook studied how it polarizes users, then ignored the research

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/26/facebook-studied-how-it-polari.html


Please place ‘INSERT FINGERS IN EARS’ GIF here.

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It’s one thing to deny these dynamics when it’s just largely anecdotal evidence they’re happening - that’s bad enough. But to do the research, to know this is going on, and to deliberately not change anything. That’s downright evil, really.

The problem is: it’s not like they were keeping themselves ignorant about what was happening. They fully well knew, they just didn’t care. Or, worse, liked that.


A radicalized user is an engaged user.


You assume they thought that was a bad thing.



I really need to make a text file on my phone full of faceberg scandals over the years so i can easily refer to it when someone looks at me with incredulity and asks why i have never used faceberg because there is so much stuff.


Every single time I actually considered joining, that very day there’d be some brand new scandal due to privacy, data theft, user manipulation, etc. The very last time I was about to sign up, cambridge analytica’s evil meddling became public, which permanently put me off.


Similar story actually, i’ve come close to joining a few times because i’ve missed out on opportunities from not doing so but i’m holding out so far. Not that i’m naive enough to think they don’t have some sort of a shadow profile on me because people i know must surely have put some info about me on there somewhere and i imagine my photo exists on their servers and of course they run their facial recognition on them.


It infuriates me when fb users tag me on there w/my real name. Fortunately, few of them can spel my nayme.


About $0.25 per like is the going rate I think.


“making money and radicalizing Americans.”

Radicalizing the world. Facebook is a global company and its policy have ramifications everywhere, except possibly China and North Korea.


It seems crazy, this is Facebook’s Ford Pinto cost/benefit analysis memo surely?

If you were litigating on behalf of, say, survivors of a mass shooting you’d pray that something like this came out of discovery.


I look forward to the day when Facebook is regarded with the same disgust that Philip Morris is now. This toxic company could vanish this afternoon and the world would keep on spinning.


And yet, boingboing’s “SHARE” button still links right to Facebook. Anyone else have a metallic taste in their mouths? It tastes irony.

It gains them the world if they start out soulless.

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Joined extremist groups (i.e. in person), or joined extremist Facebook groups? It’s an important distinction though the WSJ itself isn’t as clear as it could be (though I’m pretty sure they meant the latter).

The 2016 presentation states that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools” and that most of the activity came from the platform’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms: “Our recommendation systems grow the problem.”

Apparently the reverse is equally true.

…then monetized the research.


Yeah. Certainly when it comes to trusting them with the responsibility of self-regulating and donating huge amounts of money to political parties.

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