With midterm elections looming, the folks at Facebook are still desperately trying to reverse a cataclysmic loss of consumer trust thanks to a massive privacy scandal that revealed a myriad of issues with the social media giant. Along those lines, the company is offering a unique level of transparency into its battle against hackers and other bad actors on the platform. The question, though, is will these actions be enough to mollify an increasingly distrustful public.
In a recent report, Facebook is said to have added “thousands of human moderators and advanced artificial intelligence systems” in an effort to remove “fake accounts” and “foreign propaganda” … but will this translate into more consumer confidence? Some experts say it’s too little, too late, and it’s these kinds of headlines and stories that Facebook needs to counter successfully if the company is going to regain consumer confidence.
One of the ways to do this is to reveal its successes. After making mind-blowing revelations about the sheer number of fake accounts on the service, Facebook recently added to that total, admitting to removing 32 fake accounts and pages in a single week. These accounts, which also appear to have cohorts on other social platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, are sending barrages of agenda-driven content across cyberspace at speeds and in quantities that the social platforms are finding difficult to match.
The result, according to the experts, is that the “bad guys” are getting smarter, learning how to sneak in more quietly and more effectively cover their tracks. The content is getting “smarter” too. Users are having more trouble distinguishing between the opinions of real people and of bots, thus creating echo chambers of fringe ideas, amplifying perspectives that tend to be more extreme.
This tactic continues to be effective. When people see opinions professed boldly and getting “likes” and “shares,” they are more likely to espouse similar perspectives, even if they are not quite in line with what they believe. It’s the natural human desire to fit politically weaponized.
The success of previous campaigns have, according to both Facebook and industry insiders, “emboldened” more groups to get involved. They have seen how something works, so they are mirroring these tactics and messages. This creates the need for an even wider net, even as Facebook is trying to be “smarter” and more targeted.
This puts Facebook in a perilous communications position. The fight they’re in is a long, hard one, but consumers are not likely to be patient, especially since they already feel they have reason not to trust the social media giant.