Big Tech made the social media mess. It has to fix it
Analysis by David Goldman, CNN Business
Social media has given people a platform to spew hate speech and radical beliefs to other people, amplifying what are otherwise fringe opinions. A few have turned that hate into violence.
Silicon Valley has built the biggest, most powerful companies in the world. Now, tech leaders have a responsibility to rein in the creations that have grown too unwieldy for them to control.
These are businesses, and their leaders will have to And out how to do that without destroying their companies. So far, balancing Big Tech's responsibilities to society and its duties to investors has proven difficult.
A difficult balance
Facebook (FB) announced in July it would invest billions of dollars a year to improve safety and security on the platform. The company said the effort would come at the expense of user growth and profitability. The company's stock lost about a third of its value because investors were concerned about Facebook's growth stalling.
Twitter has largely rid ISIS recruiters from the social network. Facebook and YouTube have labeled fake news stories as such. Yet, the work isn't close to done. Google has also made significant changes to YouTube's advertising policies after ads from 300 companies and organizations ran on channels promoting hate groups.
"YouTube has strict policies that prohibit content which incites others to violence or promotes hatred," a YouTube spokesperson said. "We quickly remove videos violating our policies when flagged by our users."
What seemed to cross no one's mind a decade ago was the potential downside to building a platform with billions of customers. So many posts can't possibly be monitored in real time. The networks gave the dregs of society the ability to reach like-minded people and poison the minds of others.
Without that foresight, Silicon Valley allowed their creations to break down. They're not beyond repair, but fixing them will be costly and difficult. Whether Big Tech is up to the task will determine the fates of their platforms.
Available: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/29/tech/social-media- -hate-speech/index.html. Access: 30 may 2019. Adapted.
Glossary: spew: lançar; fringe: periféricas; to rein in: controlar; unwieldy: desordenado; duties: deveres; profitability, lucro;
stock: ação (no mercado); stalling: interrupção; flagged: sinalizados; dregs of society: pessoas inescrupulosas; like-minded: pessoas que compartilham ideias semelhantes; poison: envenenar;
foresight: visão; beyond repair: sem conserto; up to the task: à
altura da tarefa.