FaceBook Whistleblower Frances Haugen Presents Idea (for Government Regulation) that All Search Engine Algorithms Should Display Search Results in Reverse-Chronological Order

Your Undivided Attention Podcast Episode 42: Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen in Conversation (with Tristan Harris & Aza Raskin):

Aza Raskin:

It also means that we’re talking about not just Facebook, but a business model more generally. And as you’re pointing out Tristan, that means it can’t be something that, the solution can’t be applied only to Facebook. It has to be applied to the entire industry at once.

Frances Haugen:

Yeah. I think it’s a thing where we’re going to have to have government oversight and have them step in and say, Hey, section 230 right now gives immunity for content that is supplied by users, right? So it’s like if platforms aren’t the ones creating content, then they’re not responsible for the content that gets created.

But platforms are responsible for the choices they make in designing their algorithms. And I think exempting those algorithm and choices from 230 and forcing platforms to have to publish enough data that people could hold them accountable. It’s an interesting strategy for forcing more platforms to go towards chronological ranking. Because the reality is, if people can choose between an addiction-based, growth-hacked, algorithmic engagement ranking based feed, or one that is time-based, they’re always going to pick the one that’s engagement based. Because it is stickier. It does make you consume more content.

But at the same time, it also makes people depressed. It also causes eating disorders in kids. There’s real consequences to these systems. And I just think in the end, if you actually talked to people and you said, “Do you want computers to choose what you focus on? Or do you want to choose what you focus on?” I think from a personal sovereignty perspective, we should all want to have control over what we focus on, not have computers tell us. Especially Facebook’s computers.


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