A study to be released by Counter Extremist Project shows that the Facebook algorithm is actively connecting Isil terrorists with each other, possibly even helping them recruit new members according to the explosive new study.
Besides the obvious trouble with these findings, there is another issue to be dealt with, and that is why Facebook seems to be so actively limiting the reach of political speech in America it doesn’t like, but seems unaware or unwilling to prevent Isil recruiting on its platform with the same vigor.
In an example of just how much Facebook assists in Isil terrorists connecting with each other, Gregory Waters, one of the publishers of the study described how he was bombarded with friend suggestions of pro-isil individuals after simply contacting one member of an extremist site.
Even more disturbing, one of his colleagues visited a non-extremist site about uprisings in the Philippines. Soon he was being given friend suggestions by those who WERE extreme. As you can see, this would be an easy recruiting tool for Isil to turn otherwise non-extremists and radicalize them.
Now if we contrast this seemingly open exchange of extremists with the situation of popular political commentators Diamond and Silk. For those that don’t know, Diamond and Silk are two African-American women whose politics lean to the right, and as such they are Trump supporters. However, even with over a million followers to their Facebook page, recently their posts would only get 5-10 views. The reason is because Facebook limited their “reach”. Reach is how Facebook controls what content gets shown to others.
Diamond and Silk complained about this issue with Facebook and the response they got stated that their content was deemed “harmful to the community”. So apparently, Facebook feels that supporting Trump is more damaging to the community than Isil extremists, or at least the Facebook algorithm does.
Facebook later said the issue with Diamond and Silk was simply a “mistake” by their auto filtering process and they have since reversed their position. But this was only after a huge outcry in conservative media circles and even Diamon and Silk appearing before congress.
But as we all know, Facebook often lies about how much of the content on its platform is handled by algorithms and how much is actually curated by humans. For example, their trending news page was often touted as being totally run by an algorithm based on what actual users where viewing, but later it was revealed by those who actually worked on that section that it was curated by humans, and they had meetings as to what news stories they wanted to promote, sometimes based on political motives as was suggested by those involved in the project.
Of course, the notion of a large technology forcing their political beliefs on the public via censorship on their platforms is nothing new. But this latest revelation shows the starkest contrast between what Facebook feels is the most dangerous content and what they feel can slip through the cracks. Apparently, Facebook feels that two African-American women are more dangerous to the community than Isil recruiting efforts.