Human-rights rights group Global Witness recently revealed that Facebook pushes climate sceptics towards increasingly extreme disinformation and conspiracy groups.
The researchers created two users – climate sceptic “Jane”, and “John” who followed established scientific information. They then tracked what Facebook’s algorithm suggested to both accounts.
Jane soon saw content denying man-made climate change, including pages calling it a “hoax” and attacking measures to mitigate its effects. Meanwhile, John’s account began by liking the page of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations scientific body. In stark contrast to Jane, John was consistently shown reliable science-based content.
Why are algorithms so important to Social Media companies? Is there anyone in control of them?