A new study by the Wall Street Journal revealed that in 2018 Facebook made a change to its algorithm, which sparked hate and profanity reactions on the social network, contrary to the company’s original forecast to change the discourse and take it to a healthier place. According to the investigation, when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was exposed to the results, he refused to change the algorithm, so as not to hurt the number of Facebook entries.
Facebook researchers have found that many advertisers, including political parties, have taken advantage of the new algorithm, designed to promote previously resonant posts in order to post angry and hateful information among users. This tactic has led to wider exposure for them, as these responses are gaining a lot of resonance on the net. The researchers found that the new algorithm causes mostly resonance of responses containing “misinformation, poison and violent content.”
According to the investigation, Anna Stefanov, who was in charge of the team that presented the data to Zuckerberg, also presented a number of possible changes to the algorithm that were designed to deal with the phenomenon. According to what she said in April 2020, Mark Zuckerberg “does not believe we can continue to expand if we make the changes.” It should be noted that last month, a year and a half after Stefanov’s remarks, Facebook announced that it was “expanding the tests” in a number of areas, including how people react to political content.
In addition, according to documents revealed in the investigation, when the results of Facebook’s research were presented to Zuckerberg, along with the proposed changes, which have already entered into force in several test countries, the Facebook CEO claimed he was not interested in change “if that means Facebook user involvement would decrease.”