Facebook is bombarding rightwing users with ads for combat gear. See for yourself | Igor Vamos
Facebook announced that it will be temporarily banning some ads for gun accessories and body armor. It’s not enough
.With some 190,000 subscribers at its peak, Soldier of Fortune was barely in the mainstream. It was not on every magazine stand. You had to go to Soldier of Fortune; it did not come to you. As such, Soldier of Fortune reached and radicalized a relative few.
But today that universe seeks and surrounds you. When you first join Facebook you make a few choices of your own. But soon the algorithm starts narrowing your options and deciding what further choices to present to you. Because many of us rely on a limited number of news sources that populate our social media feeds, our information universe becomes more and more niche. For Trump supporters, that universe is often paramilitary.
According to a 2018 Pew study, seven in 10 US adults are on Facebook, and about half of all Americans check the platform every day. Those who have liked and shared pro-Trump posts, or who have mostly pro-Trump friends, are being bombarded with fear- and aggression-driven advertising warning them to stockpile weapons and accessories. Most of the paths presented lead deeper into the rabbit hole. Few lead out. headtopics.com
The problem we face as a society isn’t just fake news or political advertising. It is the math that drives the whole system. The platforms claim that their advertising algorithms give us what we want. That may be the case with the first few clicks or friends, but very quickly the algorithm is in control. Like the pied piper, it leads us into a land of extremes.
A screenshot of a Facebook advertisement, taken by the author on 13 January.Photograph: Igor VamosThe effect of being trapped is psychologically intense. A few months into maintaining my Trump online identities, I started feeling that I needed to buy guns. I knew it was irrational and impractical given my lack of training and urban lifestyle. Nonetheless I was convinced I needed them. When I told my girlfriend, her perplexed response made me realize how deeply my mind had been manipulated by my pro-Trump Facebook feeds.
Facebook’s account bans have dominated the news lately, but its advertising algorithm has received far less scrutiny.Ad revenue is the lifeblood of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and ads from companies peddling military-style gear are key to creating the hateful communities we see online today. To change the violent online world Facebook has created for “Trump’s Army” will require changing the algorithms themselves, the basic architecture of Facebook’s advertising – a market that is projected to bring the company nearly
$100bn in the coming year.There are fixes, but they are not about banning things. Facebook already bans ads for weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Extending the ban to tactical gear permanently just opens a can of worms. How do you decide what is tactical and what is not? It would be just another attempt to treat the symptom rather than cure the disease itself. headtopics.com
Better than banning more things would be to revisit how the algorithm makes its suggestions, and come up with a solution that provides more avenues out of the rabbit hole than in. Tweaking algorithms so that they still serve up variety and diversity is just one idea. If they are going to monopolize people’s media consumption, they should have to serve up some common ground.
But maybe we can be more ambitious and try to create tech that builds society. Can our algorithms privilege love over hate? Can we make equations that appeal to our humanity rather than preying on our fears?The Biden administration needs to establish a taskforce to tackle the issue. There is a long history of regulating the media in the public interest. If we let social media companies like Facebook continue to accelerate division, democracy is just going to bleed out.
Igor Vamos is a film-maker and activist known for his work with the Yes Men. He is also a professor of media art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Read more: The Guardian »
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daisysainsbury ‘The left aren’t actually supporting fascism; they’re just too stupid to spot it happening right in front of them. Our only hope is that they wake up.’ If they have a right to have combat gear, then everyone in America should have a right to have it too. It's time to ban combat gear and weapons at any function, marching, protesting, any out door gathering of any kind to make America safer for everyone.
AI for morons. Bottom Line: Another Attempt To Over- Throw The United States Of America Will Be Met With The Power of GOD Himself. Do Not Try It.. You Have Been Warned. Instead of Being Enemies Become One In This Great Nation and Flourish With Wealth, Love, and Honor Bicker No Longer- LOVE. LeChatNoire4 Alexa, how does Facebook use analytics for profit.
The algorithm seems to be working effectively 🤷🏻♀️ Best nip this in the bud before there is a problem escalating in the UK similar to the USA , recently Facebook keeps bombarding me with gambling adverts every 4 or 5 posts. Facebook, anything for a profit Facebook is restricting more than enoug nowadays
Businesses have the right to market their wares. You see ads on TVs, cable channel, magazines. No one seem to complain about ads there. Bet does not discriminate as to who can place the ad on their platform, does it? 👇😘 Drop shippers have all moved into the Tactical gear markets it would seem. It's so funny how many people have found ways to siphon what little bits of money most of these people have.
MontoyaMoment Antifa and BLM more at the Molotov end of the marketing scale? Great. No way! The algorithm works! 🤷🏻♂️ Who knew the internet would show you ads of things you were interested in! What are all those deviant lefties being served up!? 😂🤪 Twitter keeps showing me ads for booze after I told someone in a DM I was 3 years sober.