Last month Facebook announced a new one Initiative in which it is collaborating with a hand-picked Group of Scholars to study the influence of social media in the 2020 election. Unlike previous analyses of the impact of the platform Following an election, this effort will involve actively manipulating the Facebook and Instagram accounts of volunteers in the lead-up to November 3 with little transparency, raising important questions about the development power of websites on our democratic processes.
It is really worth noting that after nearly four years of national outrage over Russian interference in the 2016 election that Facebook will announce this step with just two months to go until one of the most controversial elections in decades.
At first glance, the new Facebook Initiative appear long overdue. The company is partnering with a group of academics to conduct “targeted, dispassionate, experimental research-based” into the question: “What influence does [Facebook] have on democracy?”
The rest of its announcement, however, frames efforts not as a traditional dispassionate of scientific analysis or an attempt to protect elections from foreign interference but one intended “to amplify all that is good for democracy in the media
What exactly does the company see as behavior that is “good for democracy”? In the eyes of Facebook, “polarity” and “units” are listed as negative, while being “better…