1. The world’s least exclusive club
“Facebook’s rules constitute a legal world of their own. They stand in sharp contrast to the United States’ First Amendment protections of free speech, which courts have interpreted to allow exactly the sort of speech and writing censored by the company’s hate speech algorithm. But they also differ—for example, in permitting postings that deny the Holocaust—from more restrictive European standards.” Pro Publica got their hands on a selection of internal Facebook documents that shed some light on how the company (with the help of its algorithms) differentiates between hate speech and legitimate political expression. Why is this such an important issue? It comes down to simple math. Facebook just passed the 2 billion user mark (that’s more than 25 percent of the world’s population). In some ways, the platform is becoming the new nation state. But what kind of global village are we building? Since it’s owned by a corporation, this one isn’t going to be a democracy—whether you ‘Like’ it or not.
+ “It worries me that so many of the builders of technology today are people who haven’t spent time thinking about these larger questions.” From Quartz: A Silicon Valley engineer explains why every tech worker needs a humanities education. (I was a Humanities major, and I’m still not sure I’m qualified to set the tone for 2 billion people.)