This week, we keep the focus on Facebook and its algorithms. As long as two thirds of us are using the platform, it is important. We start our discussion with Matthew Ingram’s recent Columbia Journalism Review article, Facebook’s latest changes will probably make misinformation worse. Facebook is indisputably a media company. A change in its algorithm will not change that. And so measures like its two question news questionnaire are something we should examine closely, like every move Facebook is making in this area. But as we do, we must recognize that Facebook’s algorithm is opaque to its users. There is no way we really can know what is going on under the hood. And that affects what we read. It’s a question of having control.
And, if you think that we are just baying at the moon, another piece of news worth noting, this time out of Canada. Think about the Right to be Forgotten. Then think about the GDPR. Think about CASL, the Canadian Anti Spam Law. Now read a discussion paper from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The need to give individuals more control over their data leads to a focus on de-indexing and source takedown. The bottom line: We may have a global internet, but we have national sovereignty over privacy and personal rights. So, pay attention. You may not want government regulation, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get it.
Finally, we talk about Google Bulletin, It reminds us that, before Facebook pushed into and then fled news, there was Google. And when we talk about innovation, let’s not count out Google.