Facebook just can’t catch a break apparently.
After it’s CEO had to explain in a long post last week that his site was absolutely not anti-trump, after the company had admittedly sold some 3,000 ads to a Russian conglomerate wanting to influence the US election, after the EU had told it repeatedly to clean up its act or face consequences, after its management was told they will have to appear before congress together with Twitter and Google… After all that, you would think the company would do everything possible not to get on the wrong side of public opinion.
Until yesterday that is.
In the aftermath of the tragic events in Las Vegas, the Facebook algorithm, in its search for clicks and dollars, automatically started to promote stories that falsely identified the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre, linking him mostly to either “anti-Trump” Democrats or displaying pictures of a man who had nothing to do with the events.
This latest mishap underscores more than ever the ongoing failure of the internet's largest social network to correctly manage information.
A Facebook spokesperson explained: "Our Global Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them. However, their removal was delayed, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online. We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused.”
Whilst other more respected news outlets had the decency to wait for the Las Vegas Sherriff’s department before starting any useless speculation that could only result in upsetting the families and friends of the many victims, Facebook just let it’s algorithm run wild, trying to gather as much clicks (and thus money) as it could. We wonder already how Mr Zuckerberg will explain this latest cockup.
In a press release apologizing for what took place, Facebook stated: “We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused.”
My suspicion is that this, too, is Russian. The more they can make the lefties mad, make the righties mad and make the Trumpies mad, and cause them all to argue, the less time Putin thinks we'll have for uniting against his paranoid self.