Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Facebook Producing Insufficient Tractors

In the Telegraph yesterday:

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is now under fresh pressure to provide evidence on fake news and ads after politicians in the UK and Canada today jointly called for him to appear before an International Grand Committee in London.

In a letter penned to Mr Zuckerberg today, Damian Collins, chair of the Digital Culture Media and Sports Committee and Bob Zimmer, chair of the Canadian standing committee on access to information privacy and ethics said: “We believe that your users in other countries need a line of accountability to your organisation – directly, via yourself. We would have thought that this responsibility is something that you would want to take up.

“The hearing of your evidence is now overdue, and urgent.”

Zuckerberg has until 7 November to respond to the summons.

Facebook is already on the side of the Establishment. Do you remember when it was revealed a few years ago that Facebook had a team of employees sifting their newsfeed and making sure it tilted left? Maybe you don’t, because that has gone down the memory hole; you hardly ever see it referenced any more.

So this current story is basically the modern equivalent of a Communist government asking why the tractor factory is not producing enough tractors to meet targets. Or questioning why the editors at Pravda are allowing some unapproved stories in. Facebook is mostly doing what the Establishment wants, only it’s not doing it thoroughly enough. Why is any ‘fake news’ — ie. stories that make the populist right look good, and the Establishment bad — getting through? That’s what this is really about. Pulling Facebook completely into line by pretending it’s enabling the counter-revolution when really it’s doing what it can to prevent it without it looking too obvious.

In the same story, we get this:

Facebook’s new political advertising tool is under fire after approving a fake pro-Brexit advert marked as “paid for by Cambridge Analytica”.

The ad was really taken out by Business Insider as a test to see if Facebook’s system, which is supposed to be able to determine whether the people who are taking out the ad really are who they say they are. To which my response is, who cares who paid for the ad? Why isn’t anyone entitled to put up an ad for what they want, if they pay for it?

Or, at least, I’ll care about this when they start caring about George Soros’s spending billions on propaganda campaigns all over the world.

And a final nasty little sting in the tail:

BeLeave was discovered to have broken electoral law in July.

This has nothing to do with the story, and that judgement was a highly dubious one which may still be overturned. But because the author is one of those soft-left millenials that the Telegraph is so fond of these days, in it goes. But there’s no mention at all of Facebook’s aforementioned little helpers who already tilt the news.

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5 years ago

So, Leave broke the law, poured millions of foreign money into the campaign, engaged in dodgy tactics, and there’s probably a ballot paper photocopier somewhere, and could only just manage to scrape home with a bounce off the crossbar. While Remain, who were able to write the law to allow themselves to legally spend twice the Leave campaign, STILL didn’t win. Is this really the best politics our money can buy?

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