As Senator Cruz Asked Mark Zuckerberg, Is Facebook a Neutral Platform?
In light of Senator Ted Cruz’s incisive questioning of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, I thought it would be useful to share a series of emails I exchanged with our Facebook contact person. Nothing here is edited or changed, other than removing the name of the Facebook staff member. You can read this and decide for yourself. Is Facebook a neutral platform?
While I appreciate the prompt responses I received, with the rep writing back to me on a Saturday, I was not encouraged my what I read.
What’s your take?
March 23, 2018
I imagine you and your team are especially swamped these days, so I’ve been hesitant to contact you. But as our FB page, AskDrBrown, now about 560,000 strong, continues to shrink in its reach and impact, despite years of careful cultivation.
Can you how explain how today, we are reaching less people every week than we did when we had 15,000 Likes, four years ago? Or how it can be 1/100th of what it was at its peak, when we had less than one-quarter of our current likes?
We have also added regular live streams to enhance our FB page, yet our numbers continue to shrink, to the point that our reach can now be lower than our followers.
I’m not claiming that there’s a conspiracy against me as a Christian conservative. I’m simply asking if someone could try to solve this problem for us, which is terribly disconcerting after so much effort to build an effective platform on our end.
It’s clearly not just a matter of more Facebook traffic, nor did things change some time back when you told us our drop in numbers [was] due to us announcing our radio show every day. (Actually, we were not in violation of any rules, and when we made the changes you suggested, things quickly reverted to the steady decline.)
Again, I’ve waited for some time before contacting you, but things now are getting increasingly squeezed, hence this email.
Thanks once more for your help.
March 24, 2018
Hi Dr Brown,
This is likely due to the meaningful interactions changes we made in January https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/01/news-feed-fyi-bringing-people-closer-together/.
March 24, 2018
Thanks for the quick response. So, to be clear, FB now decides which feeds/posts should be pushed more than others? If so, how does one know whether FB will be helping you, hurting you, or doing nothing?
March 24, 2018
Our algorithm has always functioned by showing people the content we think they want to see the most based off of signals the users provide us. There’s hundreds of thousands of inputs we use. This explains more of the values: https://newsfeed.fb.com/values/
And this site has a lot of best practices, etc https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/
So, what do you think? What is Facebook saying here? What do you make of this sentence: “Our algorithm has always functioned by showing people the content we think they want to see the most based off of signals the users provide us”?
It’s good to see that Zuckerberg admitted before Congress that Diamond and Silk were not “unsafe” for the Facebook community (after they had been censored). And it’s good that he acknowledged how far left Silicon Valley leans.
The question is: What will be done from here? Will Facebook (along with YouTube and Google and Twitter) make the necessary changes? Or will they function as political tools – even more, political leaders – of the radical left?
It would be great to see these internet giants make some major adjustments. But one way or another, we must be determined more than ever to get our message out.
The world needs to hear from us.
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