Facebook unveiled on Thursday that many of its most popular and controversial accounts, linked to the far-right, have been shut down by the company. This comes as a step to take the critique Facebook has been dealt in the past few years. Many have accused Facebook of operating without understanding how the information they take from clients is being used and manipulated. This has brought up huge privacy concerns with regards to social media. Furthermore, social media is being credited with the spread of fake news and discrimination, all disguised under the banner of free speech.
The first controversy started when many suspected that the Russians used Facebook algorithm to sway the 2016 US election. By using bots or trolls to spread fake news, the Russians are being accused of helping create doubt about Hilary Clinton to get Donald Trump elected. The situation was so bad, Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to speak under oath in an very public investigation.
Then came the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which customer data was taken from accounts without their permission to target ads to the individuals. This interfered with the BREXIT vote; allowing for tailored made ads to be sent to people through mining their data, without their knowledge.
Then during the Rohingya crisis in Myanmmar, Facebook was again accused of allowing for a system that helped the military crackdown and spread propaganda.
The problem isn’t that Facebook abetted these problems, but that Facebook didn’t understand their system enough to know the ways to manipulate it. New studies have shown that social media has been a major factor in the rise of anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers i.e fake news.
This is not the first time social media has taken stands against offensive and dangerous content. Just last month, acocunts linked to the Pakistani and Indian authorities were taken down for misleading the public.