3. Big Tech red flags continually ignored
Researcher and technologist Aviv Ovadya, one of the first to identify the fake news catastrophe in early 2016, tells Buzzfeed he is worried about an “Information Apocalypse,” which could lead to “reality apathy,” or people just giving up on finding the truth because it is too indistinguishable from misinformation.
Why it matters: Red flags are being waved by engineers, academics, lawmakers and technologists about the dangers of big tech, yet very little is being done to actually stop the crisis:
- Marketers continue to spend more and more advertising dollars on these platforms, which led them to record earnings last quarter.
- Lawmakers are talking about the power of these companies, but no piece of legislation is likely to pass any time soon.
- Tech companies are trying to do damage control, but the bad content still sweeping their platforms shows they can’t get ahead of the problem.
"We're people. It affects us. Whether criticisms are from tech companies or former employees, or the media at large, we read all things and we stress about those things. It does affect us."— Facebook Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri at Recode's Code Media Conference
Our thought bubble: The information economy doesn’t incentivize marketers, web platforms, investors, etc. to prioritize consumer health and safety over innovation and prosperity. But some, like Facebook, are starting to see consumer safety and perception as a long-term way of sustaining its business.
Go deeper: David McCabe and I have more in the Axios stream.