Critical Analysis Of Facebook: The Rise Of Social Media

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The rise of social networking has been a hallmark of the early 21st century. In the past decade, sites such as Facebook and Twitter grew to become not only a tool for building personal connections, but also a powerful platform for spreading ideas and broadcasting expressions. Coinciding with this explosion of online social activities, meanwhile, is the public’s growing detachment from traditional corporate media. In a 2017 study, Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Americans now access news from social media, a significant increase from just one year ago (Shearer). Given the key role Facebook plays in delivering information and shaping the perspective of its users, it is important for the company to develop a cohesive framework that…show more content…
Using massive quantitative analysis of Facebook, a 2016 research study observed similar information consumption patterns among users of varying political leaning, namely the tendency “to select and share content related to a specific narrative and to ignore the rest” (Watry). Catering to the confirmation bias inherent in individuals, this tendency in effect drives users away from dissenting views. The formation of isolated, like-minded groups overwhelmingly benefits pieces that are intentionally crafted to manipulate said groups, thus initiating a vicious cycle of polarization: echo chambers provide the perfect environment for “fake news” articles, which then embolden extreme ideologies and hateful remarks, which in turn creates an even more polarized political…show more content…
The legal basis for the company’s action rests in section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (Timmer, 2017). In other words, online intermediaries that host speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise bind them legally to what their users say and do. For Facebook, that means the freedom to either enable or restrain expression as it deems fit, and the company has increasingly steered towards the latter in recent years. Its current policies regarding hate speech include sweeping regulations against attacks based on “race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation and serious disability” (Mangan, 2017). Whereas some view this as a necessary measure to combat growing intolerance online, others argue that censorships often target the wrong groups due to the inadequacy of algorithms to assess

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