How we Broke Democracy

Most people in today’s world that receive news acquire it from the internet, specifically from Facebook. This website is a social media platform that feeds information and news to us. In 2017, Facebook was just then reaching two billion users. These people are interacting with others who obtain the similar facts or news. Outlined in “How We Broke Democracy” are the ethical issues of how humans receive, filter, and process information that is given to us.

Facebook filters the information that is given out to society and the world. Facebook has small files which are stored on a user’s computer; this is called cookies. This nifty little tool is designed to hold and store a modest amount of data which is pinpointed to a particular client and website. It can then be accessed either by a web server or the client computer. In other words, cookies provide a way for the website to recognize us and help keep track of our preferences. For example, when we click on an ad for a specific article of clothing, there will be more ads similar to that ad that will show up more often just because we viewed their website. Since we visited the site, the cookies store that information in its database so for the next time an ad pops up, it will be relevant to the one we previously had visited. Therefore, what we are really looking at when we visit Facebook are ads that we only find appealing to our eyes. This is because cookies filter out the websites and people that we do not visit and follow. Facebook would not keep giving us advertisements that we do not like because then we would never want to see them and that would make Facebook have less followers and less money. All the news we receive through this website is only news that we enjoy. As long as what we read made us feel good and looked the same as traditional news, we kept reading them. According to the article “How We Broke Democracy”, “…[we] consume a big portion of [our] news through Social Media—62% of us get news this way. Facebook’s news feed is now the primary driver of traffic to news sites.” The Filter Bubble was created by internet activist Eli Pariser which the items that are delivered to us are filtered and they do not challenge us.

Facebook should consider deprioritizing sites that peddle in fake or unreliable sources which are easy to implement. When this social media platform processes the information we receive, it should be a neutral ground. Another way Facebook should filter what we see in our newsfeed is giving each ad equal attention. Facebook has ways of tracking exactly how long we spend on their platform consuming the media they provide to us. Also, they know how likely we are to be, how old we are, and the sort of media we tend to like or even dislike. If the content we view is strictly of what we like, Facebook needs to have what we view on a regular basis transparent; allowing space for sources that have opposing political views to enter our feed. Therefore, giving us different opinions from others rather than just what we like and enjoy. Furthermore, being transparent about this methodology will reduce any claims of us being bias.

Facebook has been one of the world’s leading social media platforms in today’s world; giving us millions of articles to read where we can stay on top of what is happening around us. This helps connect others with each other. Just because a friend on Facebook disagrees with the way we believe does not mean we should delete them. This will help us understand their perspective. If we do this, then we will not have a wall built in between us and others who disagree. Facebook has our full attention, which also deserves scrutiny in equal measure.

Did you like this example?