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Technology

Facebook addresses political polarization, exploitation allegations

  • Clegg was of the view that at the center of such concerns is an assumption that in the relationship between human beings and complex automated systems, ‘we are not the ones in control.’
06 Apr 2021

Facing criticism for fueling misinformation and increasing global polarization, social media platform Facebook has come out calling out for the need to introduce new rules of the internet.

“It is alleged that social media fuels polarization, exploits human weaknesses and insecurities, and creates echo chambers where everyone gets their own slice of reality, eroding the public sphere and the understanding of common facts. And, worse still, this is all done intentionally in a relentless pursuit of profit,” wrote Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communication, Facebook in a blog post.

Clegg was of the view that at the center of such concerns is an assumption that in the relationship between human beings and complex automated systems, ‘we are not the ones in control.’

He said that such criticisms shouldn’t be just ignored and stressed on the need of making the technology system more transparent. “In the long run, people are only going to feel comfortable with these algorithmic systems if they have more visibility into how they work and then have the ability to exercise more informed control over them,” he wrote.

Clegg added that companies like Facebook need to be frank about how the relationship between you and their major algorithms really works. “And they need to give you more control,” stated Clegg.

The techie also dismissed the notion that social media platforms including Facebook will collapse and we’ll all revert to previous modes of communication. “Even if Facebook ceased to exist, social media won’t be — can’t be — uninvented. The human impulse to use the internet for social connection is profound,” wrote Clegg.

He said that data-driven personalized services like social media have empowered people with the means to express themselves and to communicate with others on an unprecedented scale.

However, “The internet needs new rules — designed and agreed by democratically elected institutions — and technology companies need to make sure their products and practices are designed in a responsible way that takes into account their potential impact on society,” stated Clegg.