Disinformation On Facebook | EssayIvy.com

Disinformation on Facebook

Disinformation on Facebook
Disinformation on Facebook
The article under discussion appeared in the New York Times on the 19
March 2018
under the title “Facebook Exit Hints at Dissent on Handling of Russian Trolls.” Facebook is one
of the largest social media platforms worldwide. It offers its services to millions of customers
spread out across the world. In spite of being among the fastest rising global companies, it has
come under scathing attacks in the recent past. Its critics argue that it is facilitating the spread of
disinformation to its users. It has further been accused of allowing some countries to misuse its
platforms in order to achieve political milestone. For instance, Facebook is accused of being
silent on the Russian interference in its systems in the run-up of the 2018 Russian elections.
The issue of disinformation in Facebook has elicited mixed reactions among its top
management. Some of the top officials are advocating for more disclosure on the Russian
interference with Facebook platforms. They further advocate that Facebook needs to do some
restructuring of its systems in order to avert further interference and the spread of disinformation
(Nicole, Sheera & Scott, 2018). However, the other Facebook officials vehemently oppose the
above approach. They fear that adopting such an approach would result to financial losses of the
company. In addition, they argue that such a move would result to Facebook having negative
publicity which is not good for business.
The allegations of Facebook spreading disinformation might have far-reaching
consequences to its wellbeing. First, the departure of high ranking officials such as Alex Stamos
who feel that the company is not doing enough to protect its users is going to taint the global
image of Facebook as a reputable organization. Secondly, the inaction of the Facebook
management is likely to increase cases of disinformation. In addition, the personal data of
Facebook users will be rendered vulnerable to illegal use and easy access by unauthorized third
parties. It is estimated that fifty million Facebook users’ profiles have already been harvested by
Cambridge Analytica and this trend is likely to continue. Lastly, the silence on this issue is likely
to affect the reputations and legacies already made by top executives in Facebook.
The safety and security of the Facebook users surpasses any financial or publicity
concerns that the management of Facebook might have. Consequently, Facebook should work
towards protecting its users from being bombarded with disinformation. This will be in line with
the company’s policies and its role to inform the masses as opposed to misinforming them. This
can be done by setting up mechanisms that deter states and other agencies from spreading
propaganda and disinformation through the platform. In addition, the firm should ensure that
private data of its users is not accessed and used by other parties without the consent of the users.
Some of the top managers have argued that it is not prudent to disclose to its users that
the company is facing security challenges such as the case of Russia’s elections. This is because
advertisers are likely to shy away from using Facebook to advertise their products due to fear of
data breaches to confidential and sensitive information. This in turn would result in Facebook
losing millions of dollars that it initially used to get from such advertisements. However, it is
important to note that honesty is one of the key pillars of a firm’s success. Rather than keeping
silent on this challenge, Facebook should fully disclose the information to its users. By doing
this, it will get users’ trust and loyalty.
Nicole, P., Sheera, F. & Scott, Shane. (March 19, 2018). Facebook exit hints at dissent on
handling of Russian Trolls. The New York Times.

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