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:
- Tech billionaire: Facebook is what’s wrong with America
- Former Zuckerberg adviser: Facebook’s problem is its business model
- ‘We need to admit reality,’ Facebook whistleblower says. Here’s what might happen next
- Facebook’s public relations strategy seems increasingly desperate
- Facebook’s alarming plan for news feeds
- Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files series prompts comparisons to Big Tobacco
- Facebook is having a tougher time managing vaccine misinformation than it is letting on, leaks suggest
- How to protect ourselves against Facebook’s failures
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.