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  • so right.

  • Facebook is pervasive.

  • The world's population is over seven billion.

  • Close to three billion of us are active Facebook users, and that scale creates power.

  • The power to turn off the news In breaking news this morning, social media giant Facebook has followed through on its threat, restricting people in Australia from viewing news content the power to turn off those in power.

  • Facebook have extended their block on Donald Trump's accounts for at least the next two weeks until Joe Biden's inauguration, accusing the president of using the platform to incite insurrection and the power to change.

  • How we connect, how we communicate for better, says Facebook.

  • For worse, says this former employee.

  • We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.

  • Facebook is powerful, but it's Facebook.

  • Two powerful Well, this is how Mark Zuckerberg sees its role.

  • Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company.

  • For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can do idealistic, optimistic, focused on the good.

  • Let's keep those words in mind as we consider three stories.

  • The news ban in Australia, the storming of the Capitol in Washington, and first a coup.

  • Yeah, this is Myanmar's military, moving in to stop protesters gathering on the streets in early February, it had removed on San Souci a civilian government from power, and the man controlling the military is commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing.

  • He's a fan of Facebook, has been an active user for years.

  • Not so much now.

  • Facebook has taken down some of the military's pages because of it, says repeated violations of our community standards, prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating heart.

  • This looks straightforward.

  • If you launch a military coup and threaten peaceful protests, you lose your Facebook page.

  • But the story of Facebook's power in Myanmar is not straightforward.

  • Here's why.

  • This is a country of 54 million people, and over half of them have a Facebook account.

  • That didn't happen by chance.

  • One third of people in Myanmar live in poverty.

  • And to help people get online, Facebook removed all data charges and organized for the Facebook app to be preloaded on many phones.

  • It worked.

  • Listen to this technology reporter from The New York Times.

  • The entire Internet is Facebook, and Facebook is the Internet.

  • Most people don't necessarily know how to operate or get on and navigate regular websites.

  • They live, eat, sleep and breathe Facebook.

  • Soon, though, Facebook was accused of playing a determining role in grave crimes.

  • In 2017 Rohingya Muslim villages were ransacked, people were murdered, hundreds of thousands fled into Bangladesh, and the U.

  • N says Facebook's platform helped create this.

  • We know that the ultranationalist Buddhists have their own Facebook's and really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities.

  • I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into, uh into a beast than what it was originally intended to be used.

  • Facebook was the main platform for sharing horrific content that incited violence against the Rohingyas.

  • Mark Zuckerberg was asked about this in 2018, and he said, What is happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need to do more.

  • It has done more to remove content, and now it's closed the military's pages after a coup.

  • But this is the same military that attacked the Rohingyas and which continued to use Facebook, the point being in Myanmar.

  • Facebook dominates how information is shared and decides who gets to share it That's a lot of responsibility for one company.

  • And if that's Facebook's role in Myanmar, next let's turn to Washington and the storming of the capital.

  • All right, Yeah, this was early 2021.

  • America's fractured politics were laid bare, and we're the very opposite of Mark Zuckerberg's ambition for America and for Facebook, as he outlined them in 2017 today.

  • When we look around, our society is still very divided, all right, so now I believe that we have a responsibility to do even more, are not simply connect the world but also work to bring the world closer together.

  • But his Facebook actually doing that to consider that we need to look at how Facebook works.

  • This is a former president.

  • It's a social validation feedback loop that it's like a It's exactly the kind of thing that that a hacker like myself would come up with because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.

  • And then a version of those concerns were seen in a 2020 leak to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Internal Facebook documents warn our algorithms exploit the humans brains, attraction to divisiveness.

  • If unchecked, it would continue to serve Facebook users more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention and increased time on the platform.

  • But can we connect the experience of being on Facebook with real life actions?

  • Well, 38 Congress members think so.

  • In the aftermath of the storming of the capital, they sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg saying, Perhaps no single entity is more responsible for the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories at scale and for inflaming anti government grievance than the one that you started.

  • And this is Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio, Cortez, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook bear partial responsibility for Wednesday's events.

  • One New York Times columnist wrote.

  • Facebook pumps paranoia and disinformation into the body politic, the toxic byproduct of its relentless drive for profit.

  • And there again, is that accusation that technology designed to make a product popular has ended up undermining democracy and encouraging prejudice Well.

  • In response to the capital attack, Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg said, I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don't have our abilities to stop hate and don't have our standards and don't have our transparency.

  • This, though, highlights a truth about Facebook's power.

  • It is ruler of its vast domain, and it can remove whatever it likes being that hate speech or Donald Trump's account or the news.

  • This is an assault on a sovereign nation.

  • It is an assault on people's freedom, and in particular it is an utter abuse of big technologies, market power and control over technology.

  • The third story we're looking at is about how, without warning, Facebook removed all news content in Australia.

  • And let's go back to Mark Zuckerberg in 2019.

  • Facebook is about putting power in people's hands.

  • But there wasn't power in the hands of Australians who get their news via Facebook.

  • The news hood vanished.

  • Responding to this, Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, posted on yes, Facebook, saying They may be changing the world, but that doesn't mean they run it.

  • But Facebook is a company fighting for its interests, as companies do.

  • In this case, it's over around whether to pay news providers for content.

  • But the context of the row is Facebook scale.

  • It's estimated that 40% of Australians use Facebook as their primary news source.

  • That's a problem, according to this former Facebook executive.

  • I think he has too much power.

  • We're seeing a sovereign nations having to come up against Facebook.

  • Yet you know, we're not on the same playing field with Facebook's power, and that concern has reached the UK This is the head of the Competition and markets authority talking to the BBC.

  • I think it's a very worrisome development, and I think it really shows that we need to urgently do something to reduce this imbalance of power.

  • By turning off the news, albeit temporarily, Facebook showed its extraordinary power, and if countries feel they're at risk of being overpowered, a more fundamental issue arises.

  • Here's my colleague Rory Clifton Jones, the only real action that can really affect Facebook.

  • It is to break it up, and there will be growing discussion about that.

  • Even in the United States.

  • There there are moves by certain Democratic congressman to say this is the only way forward.

  • It is too powerful.

  • You can you can try little laws like this, but what you really need to do is less than its power, and that means breaking it up well.

  • What happens next will in part be driven by President Biden.

  • A man who we know sees Facebook as a problem.

  • But as we consider these questions of Facebook's power, I find it useful to go back to that famous clip of David Bowie talking to the BBC about the Internet.

  • I don't think we've even seen the tip of the iceberg.

  • I think the potential of what the Internet is going to do to society both good and bad, is unimaginable.

  • I think we're actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.

  • I wanted to play that because the issues raised by Facebook are really fundamental issues raised by the Internet.

  • The Australia story is about old business models being broken, economies being restructured.

  • The stories in Myanmar, in America in very different ways, show countries navigating the complete rearrangement of how we produce and consume information.

  • These are vast political, economic and social shifts, and Facebook's right in the middle of all that it does have extraordinary power.

  • Perhaps too much, but more powerful still is the Internet and how it's changing every facet of our lives.

  • That's the power that we're really wrestling with.

so right.

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Is Facebook too powerful? - BBC News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/27
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