Twitter and Facebook No Longer Understand Twitter and Facebook

2 min read

Twitter thinks that ads are a problem on Twitter. 

Twitter - your ads might not be good, but I'm going to lay this out for you: the key problems with your platform are misinformation and abuse. You are equally bad at dealing with both, and your most recent response is deficient in multiple ways. Facebook is the platform with problems with advertising, and misinformation and abuse. 

As I have noted before in this piece co-authored with Kris Shaffer, Twitter is either misrepresenting the effectiveness of their ad network, or they are misrepresenting their ability to detect bots.

Facebook's ineptitude is summed up most succinctly in this quotation from Mark Zuckerberg. Zeynep Tufecki has a great thread about it, but Zuckerberg's own words provide insight about how top leadership within tech misunderstand the situation they have created.

Zuckerberg and both sides

To his credit, Zuckerberg managed to pack a large amount of misunderstanding into a short message, so he deserves kudos for concision. But Zuckerberg misses the point entirely: this is not about ideas and content. This is about power and manipulation. Zuckerberg was manipulated by Trump into responding to a baseless charge, and Zuckerberg fell back onto the "both sides" fallacy cited by, among other people, Trump himself when Trump was justifying white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Our tech industry has created platforms that are easy to game. For all the talk of disruptive innovation, how tech entrepreneurs are the smartest people in the room, etc, etc, we are now in a situation where billions of dollars have been spent creating platforms that the creators neither control nor understand. Given the outsize role these platforms play in delivering information and shaping public discourse, that should make us all very nervous.

PS: Twitter: want to identify some bots? Look at the networks pushing the "Zuckerberg/Podesta" and "Zuckerberg/Russia" stories, right now. Seriously, step up your game.