12 June 2020

Toxic as Hell

Facebook is starting to lose advertisers because they think that it is a toxic organization:
Nima Gardideh, the co-founder of a digital advertising agency, has encouraged his clients to hold back millions in advertising dollars from Facebook.


But there was something else weighing on his mind: Facebook’s hands-off attitude toward President Trump’s aggressive, misleading posts.

“We harshly disagree with how Facebook has approached this,” said Mr. Gardideh, the co-founder of Pearmill, a New York marketing agency with a dozen clients, mostly tech start-ups. “For the past couple of years, this problem has become bigger and bigger. These massive platforms have to care about free speech issues to some extent, but Facebook is on the extreme end of not caring.”

Unlike Twitter and Snap, which have toughened their stances against Mr. Trump’s online statements that contain misinformation or promote violence, Facebook has held firm on its decision to leave his posts alone. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has defended the policy, despite the resignations of some staff members and public criticism from current and former employees.

In recent days, many companies have cautiously returned to advertising, after having pulled back during the height of the pandemic in the United States. But some have decided not to advertise on Facebook, now that it has become clear that Mr. Zuckerberg will give the president a wide berth.
But it ain't just advertisers. Non-profit organizations are starting to reject funds from Zuckerberg's Panopticon too, which kind of boggles the mind, since evil captains of industry is a primary source of funding for such groups:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's refusal to apply platform policies to moderate rule-breaking posts by President Trump and other political figures has prompted a pair of tech policy groups to stop accepting money from the ad biz.

On Wednesday, Public Knowledge and the Open Technology Institute said they would no longer accept funding from Facebook because it refuses to moderate hate, misinformation, and abuse.

"I believe that different platforms can have different moderation policies," said Chris Lewis, President and CEO of Public Knowledge, in a statement.

"However, platforms shouldn't hide behind the First Amendment as an excuse to allow hate, misinformation, and abuse to run rampant on their services, particularly when they hold such a dominant position in the marketplace. Doing so distorts what the First Amendment means, and ignores the influence that moderation has on our civic conversations and system of democracy."
Facebook's relentless support of right-wing lies and exhortations are not an accident, nor are they an artifact of deeply held beliefs about free speech by Zuckerberg.

They are an artifact that right-wing mythology and violence get more engagement from the users than does the left wing equivalent, and so generates so generates more money, as both Zuckerberg and the Macedonian teens promulgating conspiracy theories in 2016.

It's all about the Benjamins.


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