On 11/15 Mark Zuckerberg posted a note on his personal profile outlining how Facebook is approaching content management on Facebook specifically regarding polarizing, extreme, or borderline content. Below is a summary of his post. If you’d like to read the full post, you can find it here.
Purpose of the Change
This is a complicated situation where they are trying to balance the ideals of “giving people all the power,” and maintaining public safety. All while creating opportunities to build and strengthen relationships.
Historically, the work done to accomplish this has been manual and reactive. People have had to SEE and then REPORT content that they find objectionable. Moving forward, Facebook is relying on a combination of tools and resources to ensure that a balance is struck proactively. These include:
- Enlisting outside experts and organizations to understand the multiple economic and cultural perspectives influencing free expression and safety.
- Using AI to proactively find and “remove more harmful content and prevent borderline content from spreading”. This Including suggested groups and pages which are designated as borderline.
- Create a streamlined appeal process for content that has been suppressed, which includes the formation of an independent body “whose decisions would be transparent and binding.”
One of the findings that Zuckerberg revealed is that despite the fact that we as consumers profess to dislike borderline content, that type of content consistently receives the most interaction. It’s basically the same as asking your customers how they like to shop, and then when you sell to them that way, no one buys anything. We say we hate sensationalist content, but that’s what we engage with.
With this new mission, this kind of content will be harder to create (due to fewer fake accounts – Facebook removed more than 1.5 billion fake accounts in the last 2 quarters) and the AI will recognize it as inflammatory and will reduce its distribution and virality.
For those of you concerned about your freedom of choice, Zuck’s got you. His plan is to provide options for you to control what you see on your newsfeed. By default, it will be set to the more restrictive setting, but you will be able to change that.
Over the last few years Facebook’s stock and goodwill have taken a tumble. No doubt TBTB are trying to figure out what went wrong, and how to fix it. The fact of the matter is that Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. It looms very largely on the marketing and solopreneur horizon. So it’s in our best interest that an entity of this size has some controls in place to ensure that only the most relevant content makes its way into user’s newsfeeds. I don’t personally think that it’s Facebook’s decision though. What constitutes appropriate content can vary, so I’m optimistic about the institution of an independent committee. Even more so about the ability to control what shows up on my newsfeed.
That said, these are big words, and it sounds like a monumental task, so I expect that things will get more challenging for those of us running businesses before it gets easier. So regardless of when or how these new rules go into effect (many of which already are), it’s important that we keep a few things in mind to ensure that our entire lives aren’t disrupted every time Facebook makes a code change.
What to do
- Don’t allow your business to have a single point of failure. Continue to grow and nurture your other social media profiles – YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Don’t let them fall to the wayside just because Facebook is working.
- Familiarize yourself with the 18 types of content that Facebook removes from the platform. Be mindful of the consequences of posting content of that nature.