by Brandon Butler
Facebook doesn’t struggle to balance civility and growth because they don’t care about civility 11/24/2020

Kevin Roose, Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel for The New York Times:

Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users’ feeds. But several days after the election, Mr. Zuckerberg agreed to increase the weight that Facebook’s algorithm gave to N.E.Q. scores to make sure authoritative news appeared more prominently, said three people with knowledge of the decision, who were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

The change was part of the “break glass” plans Facebook had spent months developing for the aftermath of a contested election. It resulted in a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR, while posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats, became less visible, the employees said.

It was a vision of what a calmer, less divisive Facebook might look like. Some employees argued the change should become permanent, even if it was unclear how that might affect the amount of time people spent on Facebook. In an employee meeting the week after the election, workers asked whether the “nicer news feed” could stay, said two people who attended.

Of course Facebook wouldn’t want to keep a change like this. As their own studies have shown, keeping people angry keeps Facebook profitable.

I don’t think, as the Times’ headline states, Facebook is struggling to “balance civility and growth”. I don’t think Facebook — and specifically Mark Zuckerberg — cares about the destruction and harm he’s causing, not just to democracy but to society as a whole. When you have the amount of money that Zuckerberg does, it’s hard to be concerned with the person elected president or a trade war with China or promises for healthcare and tax cuts or racial injustice. It also helps to have a total lack of conscience.

“There are tensions in virtually every product decision we make and we’ve developed a companywide framework called ‘Better Decisions’ to ensure we make our decisions accurately, and that our goals are directly connected to delivering the best possible experiences for people,” said Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman.

Explain how a news feed that promotes conspiracy theories and terrorist groups is delivering the “best possible experience”. The only thing it’s delivering is massive profits to Mark Zuckerberg and investors. If Facebook was morally interested in delivering better experiences they’d start by shutting down the whole fucking company.