Media Spends Years Insisting Facebook Makes Society Worse; Then Trumpets A Poll Saying People Think Facebook Makes Society Worse

from the nice-work-there dept

It still is amazing to me how many people in the more traditional media insist that social media is bad and dangerous and infecting people’s brains with misinformation… but who don’t seem to recognize that every single such claim made about Facebook applies equally to their own media houses. Take, for example, CNN. Last week it excitedly blasted out the results of a poll that showed three fourths of adults believe Facebook is making society worse.

Now, there is an argument that Facebook has made society worse, though I don’t think it’s a particularly strong one. For many, many people, Facebook has been a great way to connect and communicate with friends and family — especially during a pandemic when many of us have been unable to see many friends and family in person.

Either way it’s undeniable that the traditional media — which, it needs to be noted, compete with social media for ad dollars — has spent the last five years blasting out the story over and over again that pretty much everything bad in the world can be traced back to Facebook, despite little to no actual evidence to support this. So, then, if CNN after reporting about how terrible and evil Facebook is for five years, turns around and polls people, of course most of them are going to parrot back what CNN and other media have been saying all this time. Hell, I’m kind of surprised that it’s only 76% of people who claim Facebook has made society worse.

I mean, just in the past couple months, every CNN story I can find about Facebook seems to be completely exaggerated, with somewhat misleading claims blaming pretty much everything wrong in the world on Facebook. It’s almost like CNN (and other media organizations) are in the business of hyping up stories to manipulate emotions — the very thing that everyone accuses Facebook of doing. Except with CNN, there are actual human employees making those decisions about what you see. Which is not how Facebook works. Here are just a few recent CNN stories I found:

I mean, if all my info about Facebook came from CNN, I’d agree that it was making society worse. But I could just as easily argue that CNN is making society worse by presenting a very misleading and one-sided analysis of anything having to do with Facebook. Hell, CNN is owned by AT&T, which (1) has been trying and failing to compete with Facebook in the internet ads business, and (2) literally paid to set up an outright propaganda network known as OAN. I think there’s tremendous evidence to suggest that AT&T is making society way worse than anything that Facebook has ever done.

This is not a defense of Facebook, because I still believe the company has lots and lots of problems. But the idea that a poll from CNN tells us anything even remotely useful or enlightening is just pure misinformation.

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Companies: cnn, facebook

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Comments on “Media Spends Years Insisting Facebook Makes Society Worse; Then Trumpets A Poll Saying People Think Facebook Makes Society Worse”

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30 Comments
ECA (profile) says:

The Shinning light

NOW,
The most interesting part in this, is the Looking at WHO said what. Is a news paper anything more then NEWS?
To produce it as NEWS, and not editorial(From the news paper) it Must be said by someone else.
So, you create that Someone else, to report about.

And this has been happening for years. And Trying to get this thought/idea/information out in the wild to be Looked at, in the past, would have gotten stomped in the dirt.
With the internet and its ability to LET people talk about everything. Abit of knowledge May be had.

Unless we are the Turtle, and are so used to living in a hole, protected by our shells, and hibernating until things clear up and the rains come.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

The claim is not proof of the claim

I’m reminded of seeing the constant and repeated cries that the election is/will be rigged from certain people/groups, followed by those same people/groups pointing to the fact that a number of people believed them as proof that the claims had merit.

When you’re the one telling others that something is true the fact that some people might believe you is evidence that a number of people believed you and nothing else, you’ve still got all your work ahead of you actually supporting your claim.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Facebook changes elections as an active participant

Am I the only one who notices how incredibly sinister and worrisome the language calling speech which may influence elections a crime is? Whether it is companies or "foreign interference". That could easily be applied to "impudently pointing out government misconduct or lies".

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Facebook changes elections as an active participant

"Am I the only one who notices how incredibly sinister and worrisome the language calling speech which may influence elections a crime is?"

Nope. But that’s the level of discourse in the US right now. Fascism is on the right from what used to be the right-wing and the saner majority are increasingly reacting with desperation.

The time to fix this was, I believe, 50 years ago. Today we’re all just waiting for the alt-right to walk into the Capitol and start ignoring actual election results – at which point the liberals either answer with force or do as they did in Germany 1932; quietly cave, unwilling to meet naked aggression with any form of effective defense.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Difference between Facebook and online medias such as FOX news or CNN include the following:

(1) Facebook can publish any items with impunity, which if published by FOX or CNN leave them liable to lawsuits. For example, FOX is being sued for sullying the reputation of certain voting machine companies – while Facebook published the same news without any risk, thanks to section 230.

(2) Facebook uses user information to selectively show certain news to certain folks based on what is likely to get them hooked. Unlike CNN and FOX who have their own characteristic agendas which they push thought gut level stimuli, Facebook puts gut level stimuli first, and prefers to have as many parties as possible engaging in verbal warfare on their site.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

If you are going to point out differences between Facebook (and every other interactive internet service) compared to traditional media, why are you avoiding to mention the biggest difference that actually disproves your first point? Traditional media decides beforehand what to publish whereas on social media there is no central decision making on who can post what ahead of time, it’s all done after the fact. And this is true for almost any interactive service on the internet.

Your second point is kind of stupid, every type of organization try to cater to their users preferences for the simple reason it earns them more money, if they didn’t users would go somewhere else. Also, a majority of the
"gut level stimuli" that appears on Facebook (or social media in general) are by users posting stuff that originated from traditional media – just look to the nearest traditional news outfit that have talking heads presenting "entertainment" as "news" to the simpletons. Facebooks only agenda is to make money and staying relevant, all the while trying not to piss off too many people.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"…why are you avoiding to mention the biggest difference that actually disproves your first point?"

Because old Baghdad Bob first has to lie in order to make his point. Facebook is no more a publisher than a bar owner is.

Yet our dear shill up there posting in bad faith probably knows this and therefore has to first try to make people swallow the obvious lie that Social media are publishers.

And the only people who use that arguments are the utter morons drinking the alt-right kool-aid or alt-right shills. Whether he’s the one or the other Popehat’s rule of goats applies.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Regarding #1 no, they most certainly cannot. If Facebook published something someone at the company posted then Facebook could be sued for that. What they cannot be sued for is what someone else says, just like you don’t get to sue Walmart because some jackass is slinging racial slurs inside one of their stores or Fox if someone used a comment section they ran to post some defamatory content.

If you’re going to try to attack social media platforms maybe don’t go with the equivalent of ‘It’s not fair that people can’t sue car manufacturers for hit-and-runs’.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Difference between Facebook and online medias such as FOX news or CNN include the following:

With Fox, and CNN etc, a few people, up to a dozen, can and do decide what will be published, prior to publication, and for live interviews can have one person whose purpose is to monitor an if necessary cut the feed, with a 2 or so second delay between what they see and hear and it going on air.

With social media, millions of people publish, without prior approval by am editor, and it would take hundreds of thousands of people to control what is published to the same level as a newspaper.

Also, with a news organization, its employees write the stories, 2hich is the basis for the organization being held liable for what it publishes. With social media, individuals write their posts, and as they are not employees of the social media companies, there is no basis for holding them responsible for what is published.

Trying to equate the two either shows a total lack of understanding f the differences, or a desire to destroy the use of the Internet as a means of allowing people to publish without the approval of a few gate keepers.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Difference between Facebook and online medias such as FOX news or CNN include the following: <proceeds to present false analogies>"

Fixed That For You.

A publisher is the origin of what they publish. If a publisher slanders someone, the publisher is culpable.

A social platform only provides infrastructure.

You metaphorically blaming the city road grid for people speeding, and the mall owner for the pickpocket working the crowd in it.

"Facebook puts gut level stimuli first, and prefers to have as many parties as possible engaging in verbal warfare on their site."

Yet no more so than a bar advertising slam poet night, punk theme endorsements or any other featured events.

"Facebook published the same news without any risk, thanks to section 230."

No, someone posted that same news on facebook, which means that or those someones are the people legally accountable for the slander. Facebook is simply free to choose to moderate those people or not but like the bar owner they are not liable for what their patrons say to other patrons.

Take a hint; before you decide to post your argument, at least don’t present outright and obvious lies as the backing for it. You assuming everyone else is a moron just makes you the demonstrable idiot.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The greatest trick I ever pulled was making you blame anything but me.
Mind you I am not the corrupting force people like to pretend I am, they just love having a scapegoat to blame for their shitty decisions and actions to they can pretend they NEVER would have done this if not for me influencing them to do it.

While everyone is roasting FB for doing all the bad, would someone like to count the number of lies coming out of Congress since the start of Covid?
How about those pretending Jan 6th wasn’t a coup attempt?
How about those still pretending the vaccine is dangerous?
Whats FB’s bodycount vs Congress?

Its so nice that you have labeled a single thing as the cause of all the bad, its comforting to the immortal to see humans repeating their history of never accepting any responsibility for their complete failures instead thinking if not for this other thing humans would have done better… you wouldn’t have, you would have invested more in finding a scapegoat before actually attempting to fix the thing.

I mean really… why are their any lead service lines left in the nation?
How many more catastrophes are required before actually putting money in place to replace these lines that will pay misery forward for decades the longer they are left in place?
Why is there any possible debate that its not the right thing to do ASAP?

But yes dear little humans, its FB that causes all of the bad in the universe & you simple creatures can not be held responsible for refusing a vaccine & infecting other people who died because of your rights.

I might have the big chair in hell kids, but I’m no where near as cruel as humans are to each other.

Ed (profile) says:

Not just Facebook...

…but all social media makes life on Earth worse. Facebook is one of the larger problems, but all of it, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are an insidious and metastasizing cancer on all of humanity. The very few positive aspects are far outweighed by the negatives (like saying a cancerous tumor helps you lose weight, so it isn’t all bad).

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