Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Here — May We Interest You in Some Transparency?

Whitney Kimball, Gizmodo:

If you haven’t been on the receiving end of updates from Facebook comms, then you’re lucky to have avoided the equivalent of a weekly robocall pitching you new and exciting offerings. We got another one today, this time on the subject of “Recommendation Guidelines.”

These crumbs always seem to appear around when Facebook is implicated in something awful. In this case, it was leaving up the “Kenosha Guard” vigilante page which 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was part of, despite over 450 user reports. Rittenhouse is charged with two counts of homicide and one of attempted homicide after opening fire with an illegally-owned gun into a crowd of protesters. Leaving the page up was an “operational mistake” according to Mark Zuckerberg.

Anyway, here’s some transparency!

Kimball explains that these guidelines are not new. Facebook is merely making them public and spinning that for some positive coverage since, day after month after year, reporting has revealed how shitty Facebook seems to be at, well, everything.

Can Duruk:

With all the negative press around, you might think they are not doing a good job at avoiding criticism, but consider the alternative that they’ve been able to weather all this because they’ve been able to deflect the criticism and avoid scrutiny and accountability. I know this all sounds pretty unhinged right now, but, stay with me. This is a company who hires conservative politicians to its highest ranks in multiple countries, while maintaining a veneer of political neutrality. The same company pretends its not the arbiter of truth while employing tens of thousands of people to do exactly that. Ask yourselves: What has changed at Facebook?

[…]

At some point, the multi-dimensional reality will clash with the supposed two-dimensional narrative. The cute catchphrases and the sober speeches will no longer be able to act as the glue between what the company thinks it is, and what it really is. You can also wrap together so much PR ganache over what is a pile of turd. And who knows, maybe they are not even that good at that either. This, after all, is a company that once thought comparing itself to a chair was a good idea.

Facebook controls the news that billions of people around the world see every day but, along the lines of Duruk’s piece, it still seems to be responding to moderation failures by smoothing over public relations instead of, like, changing. Sure is easy to move fast and break things when you can claim that you know nothing about the mess and it is, in fact, not a mess but an opportunity — or whatever.