Facebook, Senator Cruz, Ted Cruz discussed on Forum
Of Joe Biden to the White House has the potential to shift the country's relationship with the rest of the world will check in on reactions in Central and South America and former President Barack Obama on his new book and his hopes for Biden administration. That's next time on here and now. And it's all ahead for you right after Forum here and now on this Monday morning, 11 to 1 this afternoon on member supported KQED public radio. This is forum. I mean, akin, Facebook and Twitter have clamped down on election misinformation. And it's public claims of bias against conservatives, even while right leaning voices continued to top Their lists of popular count content. Now conservative social networks are gaining new members and in droves, they say, and we're learning more about who they are, what they are and their implications for our already fractured politics. We have Arial parties with a senior writer at Wired and also joining us now is Rene duress to research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, where she investigates the spread of malign narratives. Across social networks and assists policymakers in understanding and responding to the problem. Thanks so much for joining us, Rene duress to It's for having me you know, One of the things that are real part is mentioned eyes that censorship comes up a lot that conservatives feel like they're being censored, and it's like a running grievance, and I remember Ted Cruz Back in June, slamming Silicon Valley for censorship and actually promoting parlor and I wondered if I could play a little bit of that for you and get your reaction. Big tech is out of control filled with hubris. And flagrantly silencing those with whom they disagree from conservative media organizations to the president of the United States. And millions of Americans in between. These actions don't just threaten our First Amendment rights and our free speech. Threatened the integrity of our elections and the future of our democracy. With another presidential election just months away. I'm working in the Senate every day toe hold big tech accountable to the American people. And to make sure that your voices are heard. That's why I'm proud to join parlor. This platform. It gets what free speech is all about, and I'm excited to be a part of it. Let's speak. Let's speak freely and let's end the Silicon Valley Censorship is 78 jurors. It is that one of the key grievance that really make these platforms compelling or really draw a lot of people. Yes. So the grievance think the conservative are censored grievance, particularly coming from Ted Cruz. Unfortunate. It's not born out by the actual data or the statistics on the platform, but it has become a very popular narrative. That does drive people to feel that they have been unfairly treated mistreated. And so it makes these calls to join alternative platforms quite compelling. Senator Ted Cruz. Interestingly, if you look at the publicly available statistics about his interactions on Facebook, one of the committees held a hearing recently, um I believe he's the Senate Commerce Committee on day. One of the things that that we looked at ahead of. That was how the engagements were shaping up for all of the different senators on the committee. Over the last year. And Senator Cruz, in his across his two pages had about 17 million interactions, which was close to I think No. Cash. The next most popular senator was Senator Amy Klobuchar with four million. So Ted Cruz was by far the senator with the most interactions on Facebook. He does quite well on Twitter s O the idea that Senator Cruz is in any way censored and needs to leave either of those platforms, eyes farcical. If you actually look at the The actual data, But the narrative place quite well, yes, the narrative place quite well, even when it isn't true, And that really is, in many ways, the point and the danger, right? Renee duress so that it really doesn't seem to matter anymore. What is true? Well, that's right. And that's because this is your one of the ways that people come to believe in narrative is through persistent repetition. And so since it became clear that the platforms were beginning to moderate and it's it's important to note that the moderation is not viewpoint based. It's often behaviorally based, and unfortunately, there were certain types of behaviors that the platforms determined to be harmful. That were kind of disproportionately carried out by conservative influencers. And so several of those people you know, such as the fake account networks or kind of coordinated cross posting two pages to try toe, you know, sort of juice their engagements on Facebook there A number of these behavioral Um, actions that were taken. That led to Facebook, taking down a few networks in mid 2018, and that was what really kind of precipitated this idea that the platforms were disproportionately targeting conservatives. Well, let me go to collar fill in Burlingame. Hi, Phil. Join us. All right, You know, Can we talk about free speech, You know, free speech doesn't include the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. To slander or the seas and only U. S. Citizens have protected speech. You know, Russian trolls have no us free speech rights, You know? What are we gonna have a conversation about what speech is protected. Bill thinks I mean this use of saying that parlor is a free speech platform. But we hear from our real partisans. Exactly what kind of speech is prioritized there? I mean, Have. We sort of lost the concept of what it really is. I mean, it's also very debatable, but it's also also had strong foundations in our nation and that leave the table to somehow. Have and hold without seeing the most recent proliferation that we've seen. Well, I think it's really important to not lose sight of the fact that free speech and free expression are cherished values and you know, paramount to our democracy on do you know globally, something that we've tried to export as as Americans for quite some time. The idea that Democratic governments that participation that freedom to express oneself is kind of a core human right. The challenge, and I think what people are uncomfortable with me in the age of social media is that you have phenomenal reach that goes along with your speech. So what That means is somebody post something, And there's an algorithmic amplification effect. Which means that the speech is no longer the equivalent of you know you expressing yourself in a public square. There are share buttons and like buttons, which again the original intent was to signal kind of like a signal quality. This is something that other people should be paying attention to. But since those engagements can be faked, what happened was, you know, bad actors realized that they could game the structures to amplify their content to give it disproportionate reach. In fact, And then when the platforms have curation and recommendation engines that further amplify certain types of content, unfortunately, quite often the most sensational types of content that also created on incentive, you know, kind of misaligned incentives where being sensational, being outrageous was rewarded by the algorithm. Faking some engagement to make the algorithm amplify you to then get real engagement. So sort of the fake likes begetting real likes. Was also a dynamic that was happening. You know, the caller mentioned Russia and, of course, well, that's a small percentage of the activity on the platform. One of the things that you're able to do today that you that you know people never really had the ability to do before is to run targeted ads grow a targeted engaged audience. Russia was constantly beseeching its audience toe like and share like and share like and share because they recognized that this dynamic would ensure that their content reached far more people. Organically. Then they could reach with paid ads. So the dynamic of what we call participatory propaganda, you know ways in which people participate in the dissemination of the content ways in which instead.