Saturday, May 14, 2016

Don't blame Facebook for those that have captured the affections of its customers.

May 13, 2016
By Ed Finn

The recent scandal (click here) with Facebook's Trending Topics news module goes deeper than the revelation that it was humans all along hiding behind the algorithm. It should come as no surprise that Facebook has bias -- every organization does. It's what you do about the bias, how you attempt to disclose it and manage it, that makes a difference. News organizations have been grappling with that question for a long time, creating formal and informal codes of conduct, oversight systems and transparency rules.
But of course, Facebook doesn't want to be a news organization (or be seen as taking a political stance). As Will Oremus pointed out in Slate, that would be bad for business: people think much more favorably of technology companies than they do of the Fourth Estate. So it should come as no surprise that in reacting to the scandal Facebook seems desperate to avoid looking like a news agency. It stands, according to VP Justin Osofsky, for "a free flow of ideas and culture across nations."...