Facebook’s Algorithm Change Confuses and Alienates

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FEATURING RAMESH SRINIVASAN – The US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats issued a warning about potential interference in the mid-term elections on Tuesday in his testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In referring to the 2016 general election, Coats said, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations.”

The warning comes weeks after one of the world’s most popular social media platform, Facebook, changed its secret algorithm for how newsfeeds appears. Facebook had come under fire from Congress for not catching fake news posts and provocative ad content from Russian sources that apparently helped artificially polarize the electorate in 2016. But Facebook’s emphasis on posts from family and friends over news publications may have the opposite effect.

Just days ago, Brazil’s largest newspaper announced it would no longer publish news reports to its Facebook page. The paper’s editor said, “In effectively banning professional journalism from its pages in favor of personal content and opening space for ‘fake news’ to proliferate, Facebook became inhospitable terrain for those who want to offer quality content like ours.”

Ramesh Srinivasan, Director of the Digital Cultures Lab and Associate Professor of Information Studies and Design and Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Author of Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World. His new book, co-authored with Adam Fish is called After the Internet.

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