Is social media regulation inevitable?
SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson Joined Fox Business’s Stuart Varney to discuss the potential regulation of social media networks:
The pressure on technology companies continues to increase, with the news that the U.S. Justice Department and state Attorneys General are investigating platforms for suppressing conservative viewpoints. We talked with Stuart Varney on Fox Business and Bloomberg Business News Network about this, and argued these points:
- There is work to be done here to ensure that people are being treated fairly, but right now we’re having the wrong conversation.
- It’s really important to understand that your experience on Twitter and my experience on Twitter are almost completely different.
- The whole “tech companies unfairly target conservative posts” presumes that if my content is not being seen, that somehow I am a victim. Maybe. But I’m the CEO of SocialFlow, so when someone types the word “social” into the Google search box, I, of course, want them to see SocialFlow. If they instead see “Social Security or “Socialism”, does that mean I’m being discriminated against or shadow-banned?
We do need to focus on algorithms because the tech companies use them to make decisions about what you see vs. what I see. Twitter. Facebook. Google. Amazon. Netflix. They all use algorithms that deliver an experience that’s tailored to me. That’s the real issue we need to get our arms around.
Three questions that the Justice Department, or state attorneys general, could ask:
1. Are you prepared to explain exactly and specifically how your algorithms work? If not, why not?
2. You frequently “tune” your algorithms, having them pay more attention to some signals and less attention to others. How does that process work, and who is involved?
3. What controls do you have in place to prevent the opinions or biases of an individual employee from being reflected in your algorithms?