When algorithms become politics

Are Facebook, Google, and Twitter politically biased? The jury seems to be out on that one. But one thing is clear – Facebooks algorithms do have political consequences.

It’s very simple: If enough people flag a Facebook post as offensive, it will automatically disappear. If this happens frequently, a user or a group can be banned from the platform – sometimes forever.

This is often used by various parties to silence others, for the simple reason that they do not agree with the information posted. It can be for e.g. political or religious reasons.

In my world disagreement is something positive. It promotes debate, fosters logical reasoning, widens our views, often adds relevant information and encourages progress.

That might be exactly why some find other people’s opinions offensive. They do not want to have their views questioned. They do not want people to think for themselves. They cannot defend their positions in a free and open debate. So, they try to silence dissent.

And crappy Facebook algorithms makes silencing others extremely easy.

Silencing people will have consequences for society. It will hinder human advancement, thwart enlightenment and make the world a poorer place.

Facebook is a private company, and we all have agreed to (but not read) their terms and conditions. They can do more or less as they like. But they can never escape criticism when acting in an imprudent way.

My recommendation would be for Facebook only to delete posts, users and groups if clearly illegal. And even that would be a slippery slope.


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