Are you familiar with data privacy, GDPR, and IDFA? These policies have greatly affected social media networks. As such, the challenges behind people in social media lies in balancing freedom of expression and content moderation.
A social media agency Hong Kong has noted a recent controversy about Facebook. A former Facebook employee became a whistleblower exposing questionable files about Facebook’s algorithms and policies. It surfaced on The Wall Street Journal and was now under investigation by the U.S. Senate.
Due to similar incidents, Facebook and other sites now call for government regulation among social media networks. They clamor for standardization of content rules as they find it difficult to self-regulate. Let us have a basic look at such a call from Facebook!
THE FACEBOOK FILES
Last 16 September 2021, The Wall Street Journal published an article about Facebook’s double standard. It became the controversial content known as “The Facebook Files.” These are a series of leaked files exposed by Frances Haugen, a former Product Manager at The Social Network.
A digital marketing speaker Hong Kong summarize the key discoveries on the report as follow:
- Facebook has a different review process between high-profile and regular users.
- Facebook has been used by anti-vaccine activists to spread doubt and fear about the cOVID-19 vaccines.
- Facebook has not done anything to reduce the potential harm that it has caused in developing countries.
- Facebook studies revealed that Instagram can be harmful to mental health.
- Facebook’s algorithm update for family and friends in 2018 was divisive.
These revelations are not new. Entities who have made thorough researches about Facebook have already noted these. Facebook itself has been addressing these elements and evolving its tools to counteract such negative issues.
What made “The Facebook Files” more interesting is because a Facebook team member itself has made the exposure. Because Facebook greatly influence the American people, the U.S. Senate decided to make an investigation as a public concern.
CAN EFFECTIVE REGULATION REDUCE THE IMPACT OF DIVISIVE CONTENT?
Every social media platform has its own algorithm and regulations. As a private company, they are entitled to their own discretions and preferences. For Facebook, the main focus is what makes sense. LinkedIn sorts feed based on what gives more value. Twitter amplifies content that receives better engagement. While TikTok highly attuned ranking based on the interests of its users.
As per Frances Haugen, a reform on the Section 230 Law should be made to regulate Facebook and other social media networks when it comes to content moderation. The Section 230 law is otherwise called the “Communication Decency Act.” It currently protects social media platforms against any legal liability from users of their apps. Holding social media platforms accountable for the impacts of their content moderation can balance freedom of expression and content moderation. The reform will apply equality among all social media users, too.
Effective regulation can reduce the impact of divisive content. The idea will reduce brands and people from posting engagement baits. It is because they will also be held responsible for any harmful actions and misinformation. As everyone will have a voice, everyone will have a platform to share their opinions and thoughts.
THE CALL FOR GOVERNMENT REGULATION AMONG SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS
To set clear and fair rules, the king of social media is now calling for government regulation among social media networks. Facebook recently launched two short videos of their employees calling for federal regulations of social networks.
The first video clip is an open conversation on privacy. It features Rochelle Nadhiri, the Strategy Lead of the Facebook Privacy team. Rochelle notes that their job is to help people understand their privacy. As it means different things to different people, Facebook’s privacy team made it clear that people should understand who has their data and how they will use it. Rochelle further asserts that federal legislation should give Facebook and other social media platforms guidelines for a consistent privacy approach. These guidelines should support internet regulations, including privacy.
The second video clip is an open conversation on content regulation. Jack Clements from the Facebook Content team has been with Facebook for almost three years now. Jack notes that the job of a content moderator is tough. They make a lot of decisions, working in the spectrum of freedom of expression versus content moderation. Their toughest challenge is to constantly figure out where on that spectrum they should land. So, Jack mentioned that he does not know if it is right for a private corporation like Facebook to dictate those boundaries. Jack suggested that if the right adjustment will be made to Section 230 and improve regulation of the broader Internet industry, they can receive better guidance and help them with their toughest challenge.
Rochelle and Jack are just two of the 40,000 people working for the safety and security of Facebook communities. As they continue to take critical steps to secure the platform, they should be guided by government regulations to align with a consistent standard.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Through the years, social media has expanded and improved. With such a huge boom, there is really a need for government regulation among these social networks.