There’s a cautionary tale in this story:
Facebook has created a ”playbook” to help its employees rebut criticism that the company’s products fuel political polarization and social division.
The document, which cites a range of academic studies but does not include recent data from the company’s own research teams, was posted to Facebook’s internal Workplace discussion forum by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Pratiti Raychoudhury, vice president of research, earlier this week. During a Thursday webinar for employees, Cox said the document would “equip all of you to go home and have dinner” with friends and family and explain why public perceptions of Facebook are wrong.
“Sure, we may be a dumpster fire, but you’re our employee and you will defend us,” they didn’t write. “Or else!”
And here’s the instructive quote:
While denying that Facebook meaningfully contributes to polarization, Pablo Barberá, a research scientist at the company, also suggested political polarization could be a good thing during Thursday’s presentation.
“If we look back at history, a lot of the major social movements and major transformations, for example, the extension of civil rights or voting rights in this country have been the result of increasing polarization,” he told employees.
Got that? Polarization is good.
And here’s the thought exercise: imagine if Facebook spent as much time/effort on fixing their polarizing propaganda platform as they do trying to whitewash it away and train the employees to lie to their friends and family about it.