Does Facebook tries to change users narrative and beliefs?
Facebook is one of the most well-known social networks, is able to create the narrative and shape public opinions. It does this by using the use of a variety of tools and features that include algorithms and content moderation policies and targeted advertisements. We will discuss belowDoes Facebook tries to change users narrative and beliefs?
The algorithmic feed on Facebook is the main way that users interact with the content. The algorithm decides what photos, posts and videos are displayed in the feed of a user in accordance with their preferences and previous engagement. This eventually results in users seeing content from their beliefs and values. In the end, Facebook could reinforce existing stories and echo chambers instead of challenging these.
One way Facebook can alter the perception of its users is through its content moderation policy. Facebook has been accused over the years for taking down posts or pages that challenge the status quo, or expose inequity across the board. There were instances when Facebook was even accused of censoring contents of Black Lives Matter movement and other social issues. However, Facebook is accused of permitting inaccurate and inaccurate information to be spread in unchecked ways, like in the aftermath of 2016’s US Presidential election.
Another method Facebook alters the story is by delivering targeted ads. Advertisers are able to use Facebook’s vast database of user information in order to create ads that target particular demographics and interest. This means that people could be exposed to advertisements that reinforces their current opinions and beliefs. Advertisers also have the ability to make use of Facebook to disseminate false or inaccurate information. As an example during this year’s US Presidential election Russian politicians used Facebook to disseminate false information and cause discord within American voters.
The influence of Facebook’s presence on the narrative is substantial. Studies have demonstrated that the exposure to echo chambers and confirmation bias can cause more polarization, as well as a lack of willingness to discuss opposing views. This may further deepen the existing social divisions and make it harder to discover common ground.
Additionally, the impact of Facebook’s influence over the narrative doesn’t only apply to the online world. When more and more people consume news and other information via online platforms, stories and the beliefs Facebook promotes can be carried over into the real world and affect actions. For instance, false information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the vaccines is rapidly spreading through social media which has led to an increase in vaccine caution and risk to the public health.
As a response to the concerns raised, Facebook has taken some steps to acknowledge its influence on the narrative. For instance, it has implemented measures for fact-checking and increased transparency in political ads. Additionally, it has developed tools that allow users to identify and report inaccurate information. But, these tools have been criticised as not enough and some have suggested that Facebook must take more steps to address the root causes behind their influence in the media.
In the end, Facebook has the power to create the narrative and shape public opinions via its algorithmic feed and content moderation policies and targeted ads. The influence of Facebook can strengthen the existing beliefs and opinions which can lead to a rise in tension and a refusal to discuss opposing views. With the increasing number of people consuming information and news via online platforms, the effect of Facebook’s influence on story can be reflected in actual conversations and actions which is why it’s crucial for Facebook to make steps to recognize its influence on the story.