[Ed. – Facebook is in need of ‘reining in’ in more than one way.]
We’re treated to fresh reports nearly every day about how Facebook’s efforts to keep bad actors from abusing its platform fall short. The latest include U.K. legislators’ inquiry into whether Russians used Facebook to influence recent British elections, and reports that atrocities in Myanmar may be incited in part by fake news on Facebook.
Even before this wave, Facebook’s role in the spread of divisive messages and outright falsehoods had inspired soul-searching at the company, and a newfound humility at the top. In a string of blog posts, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg promised to do more, including hiring 1,000 additional people to review political ads purchased on Facebook. Meanwhile, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was recently dispatched to Washington, D.C., on a charm offensive.
Yet many outside Facebook refuse to wait for the company to solve these problems—and others yet to be uncovered—on its own. Pressure is mounting, at home and abroad, from legislators, regulators and activists, all looking for various ways to nudge and, in some cases, shove Facebook to acknowledge and act on its responsibility as the most powerful distributor of news and information on Earth.