In a recent Wired article, Professor James Grimmelmann explained what Facebook’s new role as a media company would mean for its technology and its ability to remain neutral.
Not that Facebook hasn’t exercised editorial judgment before. “Facebook has never been a neutral platform,” says James Grimmelmann, a professor of law who studies social networks at Cornell Tech. “It has always helped some content spread better than others.”
Facebook’s technical and social decisions have had an observable impact on content before, Grimmelmann says. Supporting long, silent GIFs helped make cooking videos a viral genre (a technical construct), for example, and the company’s algorithmic prioritization of clicks helped salacious content rise to the top (a social one). “The fact that Facebook will be an explicit content creator won’t change the fact that it’s still going to pick winners and losers among content creators,” he says.
Read the full article on Wired.