top of page

Facebook: What the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

These are serious and complex issues, and it is absolutely legitimate to be held to account for how FB deal with them.


Facebook: What the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong
Facebook, Photo- Timothy Hales Bennett

A lot has been said about Facebook this week. A series of articles published by the Wall Street Journal has focused on some of the most difficult issues FB grapples with as a company — from content moderation and vaccine misinformation to algorithmic distribution and the well-being of teens. But these stories have contained deliberate mischaracterizations of what FB is trying to do, and conferred egregiously false motives to Facebook’s leadership and employees.



At the heart of this series is an allegation that is just plain false: that Facebook conducts research and then systematically and willfully ignores it if the findings are inconvenient for the company. This impugns the motives and hard work of thousands of researchers, policy experts and engineers at Facebook who strive to improve the quality of the products and to understand their wider (positive and negative) impact. It’s a claim which could only be made by cherry-picking selective quotes from individual pieces of leaked material in a way that presents complex and nuanced issues as if there is only ever one right answer.


With any research, there will be ideas for improvement that are effective to pursue and ideas where the tradeoffs against other important considerations are worse than the proposed fix. The fact that not every idea that a researcher raises is acted upon doesn’t mean Facebook teams are not continually considering a range of different improvements. At the same time, none of these issues can be solved by technology companies alone, which is why FB work in close partnership with researchers, regulators, policymakers and others.


But none of that collaborative work is helped by taking a deliberately lop-sided view of the wider facts. For example, to suggest that misinformation has somehow overwhelmed the COVID-19 vaccine response ignores the most important fact: that vaccine hesitancy among Facebook’s US users has declined by about 50% since January. The Journal article goes on to discuss at length how pro-vaccine posts are undermined by negative comments, once again burying a crucial point: that health organizations continue posting because their own measurements show how their posts on the platforms effectively promote vaccines, despite negative comments.


Similarly, to suggest that the research community is settled in its view on the intersection between social media and well-being is simply not the case. The truth is that research into the impact social media has on people is still relatively nascent and evolving, and social media itself is changing rapidly. Some researchers argue that FB needs more evidence to understand social media’s impact on people. Each study has limitations and caveats, so no single study is going to be conclusive. FB needs to rely on an ever-growing body of multi-method research and expert input.


What would be really worrisome is if Facebook didn’t do this sort of research in the first place. The reason FB do it is to hold up a mirror to themselves and ask difficult questions about how people interact at scale with social media. These are often complex problems where there are no easy answers — notwithstanding the wish to reduce them to an attention-grabbing newspaper headline.



Facebook understands the significant responsibility that comes with operating a global platform. FB take it seriously, and FB doesn’t shy away from scrutiny and criticism. But FB fundamentally rejects this mischaracterization of their work and impugning of the company’s motives. Nick Clegg wish there were easy answers to these issues, and that choices FB might make wouldn’t come with difficult trade-offs. That is not the world FB live in. FB will continue to invest in research into these serious and complex issues. Continues to ask themselves the hard questions. And will continue to improve the products and services as a result.


Source: Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs(FB)

Read more from the below TAGS


People also reading-

25 views0 comments

Comments


Planner 5D- Interior design app

Planner 5D- Interior design app

Flipkart Online Shopping App

Flipkart Online Shopping App

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

July 12, 2022 at 6:57:56 AM

15 November 2022 is predicted to be the day that the global population reaches eight billion. The projection is revealed in the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report, which also shows that India is on course to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

June 22, 2022 at 7:20:50 AM

Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder, according to the latest UN data – a staggering figure that is even more worrying if you consider that it includes around one in seven teenagers.

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

April 6, 2022 at 10:51:48 AM

The current war in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, has sparked all sorts of questions about the United Nations, particularly the role of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General.

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

April 6, 2022 at 8:22:29 AM

UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday added his voice to the growing international calls for a war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

March 31, 2022 at 8:29:57 AM

Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday night condemned recent terrorist attacks in Israel that have claimed the lives of at least 11 Israeli citizens.

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

4/4/22, 7:00 AM

Chinese auto manufacturer BYD announced Sunday that it has already ceased the production of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles starting from March.

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

3/27/22, 10:42 AM

All new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI starts at ₹ 16.19 lacs

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

9/25/21, 6:16 AM

CARS24, India’s leading e-commerce platform for pre-owned vehicles, announced today the closing of a $450M round of funding including a $340M Series F equity round alongside $110M debt from diversified financial institutions.

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

7/18/21, 6:13 PM

Tata Motors, one of India’s leading automobile manufacturers, today announced the launch of a new brand ‘XPRES,’ exclusively for fleet customers.

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

7/18/21, 5:56 PM

Special Service Plans, Extended Warranty and Buyback for a hassle-free ownership experience

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

9/28/21, 8:56 AM

TikTok mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

6/23/21, 6:11 AM

Because cryptocurrency is still new, we are often asked about the biggest myths surrounding it. It’s common for a new market or product to confuse people until they get familiar with it. Think about Airbnb: the idea of staying in a stranger’s home seemed crazy until it didn’t.

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST

6/19/21, 4:40 AM

KRAFTON, Inc. to open pre-registration for the game on Apple’s App Store in Q3 2021

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST
bottom of page