There has been quite a shocking news making rounds. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, all is not well amongst the higher level of Facebook’s officials. There was an internal report that Facebook’s employees presented to the executives in 2018. That report suggested that Facebook’s recommendation engine algorithms are functioning in such a way that they are creating divisiveness and polarization amongst users, while mentally affecting them such that they are automatically coerced towards more dividing factors than being united!
When these reports were presented to Joel Kaplan, who is Facebook’s vice president of global public policy, and former chief of staff from President George W. Bush party, he rubbished them and royally ignored them.
Now Kaplan has gained a lot of influence on Facebook since 2016, so much so that he can sway Mark Zuckerberg easily too. And that is scary!
Facebook’s own employees think that these recommendation engine algorithms need to be fixed because they can have a very bad effect on society. To back their argument, they also present a report that suggests that almost 64% of people who joined extremist groups on Facebook only did so because those groups were recommended to them by Facebook!
They also claimed in their 2018 report that their algorithms can exploit the human brain’s innate attraction for divide, controversy, hate, and extreme polarization. If these algorithms are not fixed, they will continue to garner more user attention and time on the platform by serving them with more divisive content.
Despite continuous warnings, the higher officials led by Joel Kaplan continue to ignore because they believe that if they bring any changes, they might affect the conservatives and their user engagement will also take a fall.
Kaplan is quite a controversial figure, with his right-wing politics and his staunch stance on various issues within the company, which need to be resolved but could not because of Kaplan’s biased policies that are specially designed to appease the conservatives, without considering their effects on the overall society.
Kaplan is also partly responsible for the controversial ad policy that Facebook embroiled in, and this alone tells a lot about what kind of a person he is. He also disregarded the proposals that could bring changes in the platform by promoting social good and reducing the influence of overly aggressive partisan super shares. He did so just not to ‘hurt’ the right-wing pages, politicians, and the conservatives he cares about.
He also disbanded the team that was working on the Common Ground project, which was designed to promote neutral political content on the platform to bring people together in a harmonious environment of shared interests.
Why such a man is still serving a platform that is supposed to be completely unbiased and useful for its users is beyond comprehension.
Despite Facebook’s tall claims of their robust integrity and their efficient teams that work for the welfare of the community, it is still quite evident that they need to filter some people out now and review all their policies again. Because clearly, there is a lot of polarization and divisiveness within the company itself, owing to some of its controversial leadership!