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Facebook Unfriends Free Speech

Page history last edited by Jose Jaime Bisuña 4 years, 8 months ago

Facebook Unfriends Free Speech


Author: Nikki Williams

Date: February 8, 2016

Link: https://www.digitalethics.org/essays/facebook-unfriends-free-speech


First Impressions: The essay probably discusses how Facebook handles their platform, what they are doing behind the scenes, and how they are flagging content based on their own preference.


Quote: “Even though Facebook is a privately held business that can set some rules regarding participants’ use of it, it should not be given carte blanche to censor the opinions, beliefs, news, products, services, events or causes with which it does not agree.”



Facebook is known as a platform where-in people can connect with friends, work colleagues, and people they do not know online. It is also a platform well known for the expression of one’s thoughts and opinions freely. It is good that we are able to share with one another what we think about a certain topic through our own opinion, but looking back at how Facebook sorts people’s news feed with the help of an algorithm, I do not think we will be seeing each others opinion anytime soon. I remember reading an article about Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank. EdgeRank is an algorithm that sets whatever the user sees on his news feed based on a number of interactions with different pages, posts, and comments. That means, whatever you interact with on Facebook, is what you’ll mostly see on your newsfeed, so everything you see on Facebook is determined by an algorithm. So when Mark Zuckerberg talked about giving people a voice, what he really meant was giving those people selected by Facebook’s algorithm a voice. I personally think that Facebook is not a platform for free speech if whatever the user sees is based on an algorithm. If Facebook wants to promote free speech, they should create another platform, maybe an extension to Facebook, that focuses on giving people free speech. Something that even they can’t flag or delete due to personal bias.


5 Things I Learned

  1. People think there is less freedom of speech on the internet.

  2. Mark Zuckerberg has a close relationship with big names in China.

  3. Facebook can flag any content, even if it is not illegal on their platform.

  4. Facebook also censors politically motivated posts with which it disagrees to abroad.

  5. Facebook’s next project could be manipulating public opinion.

5 Integrative Questions

  1. Why does Facebook plan on manipulating public opinion?

  2. Is it better to just stop using Facebook to avoid being influenced by others?

  3. How does Facebook come up with decisions like censoring posts about certain topics?

  4. Why is Facebook bias when it comes to determining which content appears on their platform?

  5. Will people come to a realization that using Facebook is unhealthy for their mind?


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