The DCMS report shows them to be well-meaning, but digitally illiterate The long awaited DCMS report on Fake News and social media was published today, and while the tone of its criticisms of Facebook is notable in its harshness, overall the report is rather bland and toothless. While the recommendations may give parliament more regulatory rights over social media, the report also shows a disturbing lack of understanding of what Facebook is, its business model, its role in our lives and its participation in our democracy. The list of findings includes things like Mark Zuckerberg isn’t very nice, Russians are dodgy, multi-billion companies can’t be trusted to regulate themselves, and Brexit was hacked using secret funds. Really!? I am shocked. Meanwhile Facebook comes out of it all as a company who will sell your private data at the drop of a hat, or the click of a like, but when asked to share information about their algorithms, data sharing politics or just th
Just over half a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, the ongoing investigations into the criminal and nondemocratic role that illegal data-harvesting and targeted political ads have had on the election of Trump, and of course Brexit rumble on. At the same time there is clear disagreement as to what degree companies like Cambridge Analytica in cahoots with the far right and the Russians really skewed recent elections. It is now clear that what they did was on the edges of legality, but does that mean to say it was wrong? And if CA did not elect Trump, then what is the real political significance of data-based campaigning? Prof. Watkin, as ever, thinks we may have fresh insights into the debate.