Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What Facebook Did to American Democracy

Classmate Nehal Mehta just forwarded on this piece, published by Alexis C. Madrigal in The Atlantic. It looks at how Facebook shaped the outcome of the last election -- and why that effect was so difficult to predict. Key quote:
The information systems that people use to process news have been rerouted through Facebook, and in the process, mostly broken and hidden from view. It wasn’t just liberal bias that kept the media from putting everything together. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars that was spent during the election cycle came in the form of “dark ads.” 
The truth is that while many reporters knew some things that were going on on Facebook, no one knew everything that was going on on Facebook, not even Facebook. And so, during the most significant shift in the technology of politics since the television, the first draft of history is filled with undecipherable whorls and empty pages. Meanwhile, the 2018 midterms loom.

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