28 Comments

It also wasn't THE Vietnam Memorial, which all the yahoos thought it was.

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Good that corporate America is standing up against Facebook but make no mistake that in the USA (United States of Advertising), it's the kids refusing to buy these products that's fueling the corporations. Facebook has been behaving this way for years. Where were the corps then? Only now that their bottom line is starting to suffer are they acting. The protests must continue to put pressure on advertisers. The people will save this country or they will not. If democracy is lost come November it will be our fault, the peoples' fault. "We the People of the United States in Order to form a more perfect Union..." That's what it's always been about. We've lost sight of that by becoming complacent and letting corrupt politicians, especially the bought off Republican Party control the conversation. That's changing but the question remains is it too late?

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author

I certainly hope it’s not too late

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Just heard your interview on Stephanie Miller. I'm telling you, Trump is working for Putin. I've said this since the news came out that Russia helped his campaign. It's Occam's Razor.

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If advertisers can achieve what consumers could not, it's "follow the money" with a positive spin. Whatever it takes...

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author

agreed. I assume FB just figured it was immune to marketplace pressure

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founding

Advertisers are only doing this because their consumers, especially the young people that are their target demo - are outraged. If consumers didn’t care they wouldn’t either.

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author

absolutely—there’s a movement underway and activists are demanding advertisers pick sides

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FB is getting it's dose of schadenfreude now.

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“They don’t want to be regulated” is key. #stophateforprofit is having a real impact but it may be temporary without regulation. The technology platforms are under substantially more regulatory scrutiny in Europe than in the United States, including from data protection and competition authorities. European legislators are also focused on the technology platforms. For example, a few days ago the Lords Committee in the UK released a 153 page report urging the UK Parliament to enact new legislation to address the “pandemic of misinformation” - https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/407/democracy-and-digital-technologies-committee/news/147121/democracy-under-threat-from-pandemic-of-misinformation-online-say-lords-committee/. There’s quite a bit in this report that might be of interest to Press Run readers, particularly in connection with the Committee’s thoughts on the impact of platforms like Facebook on public interest journalism. There’s no chance of similar proposals here in the United States under the current administration. So, we’re left with the court of public opinion as the only way to move the needle. Is that enough for a real reckoning?

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founding

I really want to clarify for folks what is going on behind the scenes here. Due to the collapse in demand, ad budgets are being cut across the board. It is convenient, and some what justifies they fb and social media are the bogeyman here. You will notice that none of these brands had a problem over the past 4 years but hey. At the same time you have a zero sum war being fought for your attention. Every media company will pile on on Facebook as they view FB as a competition ad dollars and consumer attention capture. This has happened before and will happen again. Meanwhile as it has been pointed out in other posts the general media is in a deathly embrace with trump. The same outrage that media companies complain about on Facebook, are published or broadcast daily. Conflict creates engagement, engagement generates attention, attention is valued by advertisers. Because broadcast and print media advertising (commercials) is hard to measure, those dollars move online where they can (sometimes spuriously) be measured. This puts the news media in direct conflict with social and this drives editorial on media platforms. In some cases it’s personal, for example Rupert Murdoch wants to kill Facebook as pay back for the abortive Fox MySpace acquisition. In others multidimensional as Verizon and Facebook are at war on different sides of Net neutrality. FB’s stance on Trump is incomprehensible. Why they carved out the exemption just makes no long term sense. I can only speculate that the company was directly threatens by the Trump administration. Regardless they should be doing better. One final note, people don’t go to Facebook because of advertisers. Advertisers go to Facebook because that’s where consumer attention is. In the current dynamic Facebook has the upper hand regardless of the headlines.

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author

all good points, Thanks.

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founding

I wish I could edit for clarity ;)

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I wonder if Zuckerberg is being blackmailed. Let's see if he finally caves. Should be telling.

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founding

This is a good question. Beyond regulatory capture I can’t imagine what they have on him. They already outed the FISA warrant program so not sure what else there is.

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Zuckerberg did have Trump people embedded in FB during 2016 election. Who knows? He did take a lot of rubles, so maybe it's just the money. Right now, his policy is going to cost him dearly. Wouldn't be surprised if he is ousted in some way. Investors can't be happy.

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founding

The irony here is that the Clinton people had access to the same embeds for ad ops and targeting as the trump people did. The Clinton team turned it down because they felt their internal team could handle it better.

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That seems like quite an error in judgement. There was no push back on Clinton's side. Could have helped.

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founding

There was a lot of analysis of the Clinton campaign, however, Elan Kriegel, her head of data analytics never really talked about what happened. It was his team that turned down the offer from fb.

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Mr. Boehlert,

One of these days we need to debate whether Bill O’Reilly lost his job because of the advertiser boycott or the tens of millions paid by NewsCorp to settle the sexual harassment suits against him.

My problem with your call for Facebook to police its site is the vast amount of power it grants to a for-profit company. Under your plan Facebook decides what’s “ugly”. Facebook decides what’s “newsworthy”. Facebook can censor literally anyone, including the President of the United States.

How much authority do you want to give to Zuckerberg?

How much faith do you have in him?

Am I alone in seeing how your plan can go horribly wrong?

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author

good point but I think there are plenty of examples of large media companies (even tho technically FB is not one) successfully police content w/ common sense guidelines

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True, but large media companies “report the news”. As I understand it, Facebook is only a site upon which items are posted by the public.

It’s the difference between your writings here and the comments here. So far we are blessedly free from trolls; but is it fair to hold you accountable for their comments? Is it fair to demand that you police their comments? Is it wrong to fault you for sleeping and leaving an offensive comment up for hours?

You’d rightly fault me for spending too much of my career trying to figure out, “what could possibly go wrong here?” But turning over the power to determine what is “offensive speech” to a private company; scares me.

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founding

Eric, I think Facebook is almost in an un-winnable position. What people want is the platform to behave as a good citizen and police content that is deemed inappropriate. This pretty hard to figure out as you have now taken what should be a function of the state and ceded this to a corporation. It’s like Fox News being responsible for people not wearing masks. It was never there job. For some reason a whole lot of work the government should be doing, Russian misinformation, education, FEC political ad guidance has been left on the door step of companies, that are at their base level trying to provide with engaging content. Sadly like AM radio engagement goes up that content is polarized. Second it hard to read the coverage of this with out seeing the self serving of the media doing it l. For example Verizon pulling its advertising?? Verizon across its properties is in direct completion with Facebook, it wants other advertisers to come to its platform whether that be apps that you can’t delete from its phones, or the media companies it owns. Across the board the coverage of this comes from companies that are self interested in same advertisers. The NYT is “reporting” but in actuality a competitor for said engagement and advertisers. This always gets lost in the shuffle. The final point I’ll make is that with COVID 19 ad budgets have been slashed “pausing spend” is a very mora way to make it sound like your brand is aware. Remember when VerIzon cut of services for first responders fighting wild fire? I do. Remember when coke over charged for their Acqufina water in Flint, I do. While I certainly understand the outrage directed toward Facebook, I do object to the coverage which gives a pass to those “advertisers”.

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author

part of the problems is for last 5 yrs FB has continually carved out loopholes specifically for Trump to allow him to spread hate/misinformation. Just recently Twitter fact-checked an obviously false Trump tweet (I think re: mail-in voting) and instead of taking that simple step, FB said basically Trump’s posts are not allowed to be policed...even tho FB has existing guidelines in place

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founding

No disagreement here. When Glenn Beck led the charge and got the news time at Facebook fired in 2015, it left a vacuum that Joel Kaplan has filled in with his right wing garbage. You can trace the trump policies direct to him.

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founding

I disagree that it wasn’t Fox News’s job when it comes to face masks. They claim to be a news network which means giving people facts and the facts are clear that mask wearing helps stop this virus, a deadly virus that Fox News portrayed as no big deal. So yes they are responsible just as our government is.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/the-data-is-in-fox-news-may-have-kept-millions-from-taking-the-coronavirus-threat-seriously/2020/06/26/60d88aa2-b7c3-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html?itid=ap_margaretsullivan

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founding

Right, but with a functional government, Fox News would have been brought in line. The fact that they weren’t shows that we have granted them power on the level of the government. They are complicit and accountable but Fox never never should have been a position where they can lay claim to that authority.

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founding

It is very difficult for our government to control speech, especially when it comes to the press which has special constitutional protection. Maybe bringing back the fairness doctrine would help as would more aggressive lawsuits for slander. Our right-wing dominated courts would never stand for that so we have a long way to go to take that part of our government back from the extremists.

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