Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Much of the World Looked at the Facebook Papers and Shrugged

A multi-bylined report from Rest of World:

“Very little of what I have read about the Papers comes as a surprise,” said Rosemary Ajayi, a lead researcher at Digital Africa Research Lab. “It is, however, vindicating because a lot of people from developing nations have been working behind the scenes for years, investigating and flagging systemic failures, only to be gaslit by the platforms.”

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In Africa, civil society figures worried that governments could use the Facebook Papers as an opportunity to limit freedom online, rather than address misinformation.

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“Campaigns like #DeleteFacebook are highly unlikely to pick up steam on the continent,” said Ajayi of Digital Africa Research Lab. “How do you delete what many consider to be the internet?”

This article reflects an upsetting mix of understandable pessimism and deeper concerns. This product that the U.S. has exported and artificially advantaged in many developing regions is being used as a vehicle for authoritarianism. Internal discussions leaked from Facebook are only confirmation.

I still think these documents must be shared around the world. It is difficult for reporters in the United States or western Europe to accurately assess the importance of what they are reading about countries in Central and South America, Africa, and across Asia.