By Aaron Miller-
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, will have to step up their game in 2019 after a challenging year marked by criticisms. Much of the criticisms were sparked by serious breaches of conduct by unregulated members of the public. Breaches carried out by the public are no fault of the big guns who own these social media platforms, but it is essentially their responsibility to solve a problem on their platform. Both men have achieved remarkable feats, but face the inescapable task of cleaning up their social media platforms, presenting a high standard to the world
Zuckerberg himself was humiliated when he was forcibly summoned before lawmakers in Washington and Brussels this year to answer important and difficult questions about the social media platform he ingeniously founded and turned into a global attraction. Zuckerberg resisted efforts to by Uk lawmakers investigating facebook to meet up in Washington last February for a special hearing, maintaining his refusal in November when lawmakers from eight countries also invited him for a grand hearing.
Amid an imposed fine from a regulator in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is fighting for its professional credibility, its financial success not factored into the analysis.Twitter also has alot of work to do to improve its reputation in 2019. It has already started to take more concrete steps to tackle hate speech and harassment on their platform, after years of becoming known as a platform where users sometimes faced sexist and racist attacks. Surprisingly, twitter appears to have provided some competition for facebook when it comes to breaches of acceptable conduct.
This is clearly an ironic statement, but the sudden outcry this year that both celebrities and politicians were being target by anonymous twitter users for hate crimes has been most shocking and disappointing. The extended time for which some of the speeches have remained on twitter has been most disturbing. The number of complaints that have been posted against twitter is also disappointing. Twitter has a telephone number on google which often goes straight to voicemail. Established sources say the number is never received by any human agent, raising questions as to why it exists at all online.
Simple things like this give an impression of mendacity, a seeming dishonesty that can be escaped by stating that the phone line leaves a voice message allowing the public to leave a message. It can never be proven whether the lacing of a phone number online was intended to convey a fallacy of accessibility by phone.
In September, Twitter announced a new policy prohibiting “dehumanising speech” banning direct attacks or threats of violence based on race, sexual orientation or gender. These prohibitions should have been in place from the very outset, but twitter has the added requirement of finding away to identify offenders of their rules and punishing them. This will require another level of technological genius for them to ensure that only users who identity has been verified beyond any doubt are able to post anything on their platform.
Facebook and Twitter faced serious criticism when it was revealed that foreign actors had used fake accounts, sometimes computerised”bots” to try and influence elections around the world or just to sow divisions.
Twitter has taken steps to delete suspicious accounts with a hostile political motive, imposters, and those caught spreading misinformation deliberately. Infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was banned from most online platforms, including Twitter, after CNN pointed out that Jones’ videos and posts flew directly in the face of tech companies’ rules and statements about their battles against misinformation. With the amount of money and influence these social media kingpins have, they can substantially improve the standard of their platforms if they really desire to. The unknown factor is how long it would take to achieve the desired standard, and which of the two Zuckenburg or Dorsey, will get their first.
YOU TUBE CRITICISM
YouTube was criticised for trending video algorithms. This was after a video suggesting one of the high school students who survived the Parkland, Fl. shooting was a “crisis actor” appeared as the number one trending video for hours. Subsequent inquiries revealed a pattern in the operation of the site’s algorithm. The site’s algorithm often recommended conspiracy theory videos to users following major news events, even if the user had not searched for it. The
site announced in July that it was making changes to put more “authoritative content” in front of users. A few months prior the site also announced it would begin labelling content arising from state-sponsored outlets, like Russia’s RT network.