Facebook's algorithm is geared to radicalize American voters

What the Franklin

Jun 7 2024 • 47 mins

Online criminal activity expert Katie Paul joins What the Franklin, with Chip Franklin and Nikki Medoro.

In this jaw-dropping episode, Katie, the Director of Tech Transparency Project, lays out how Congress and tech companies have failed to address the deep and ominous threats of extremism and bad actors on Facebook, in what she calls the “Wild West” of social media regulation.

“There’s no backlash for these companies legally, or policy-wise, or regulatory, or even fines that are significant enough to actually harm their business,” Katie said. “So there's no incentive for them to invest in addressing child pornography, extremism, and the development of those harms on the platform.”

Katie, an expert in tracking online criminal activity on social media platforms, gives our listeners the frightening truth about blatant ongoing foreign interference on Facebook, and the reasons why Congress has been unable to do anything about it.

In this interview, Katie explains how the Facebook algorithm is geared to radicalize users and drive them to extremist groups. She also gives an easy to understand recap of tech regulation history, and tells us why the harm, misinformation, and calls to violence we see in ads on Facebook should not be considered protected free speech.

We’ll also talk about how tech companies like Facebook and Google are making the problem worse by dismantling their safety and security teams, and discuss how they have been fighting legal battles and lobbying hard to avoid any accountability for the crimes committed on their platforms.

“We know now that they have the finances, technical ability, and the experts out there to actually address these kinds of really harmful, damaging networks on the platforms,” Katie said. “And at this point, it is a choice not to do so.”

Katie also provides some extremely valuable tips on how to talk to your kids about the dangers of the profit-driven algorithms on social media.

Chip summarized it very well when he said, “I love when Amazon can tell me I'm going to like this movie, or rotten tomatoes can tell me if I like that. The problem is that if they're not honest with me, it leads me down a darker path.  And that's, of course, what we're facing.”

Be sure to check out Nikki’s show on YouTube and find out more about Katie’s work at techtransparencyproject.org.

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