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Facebook's Effect On Politics -- And Our Lives

In this April 18, 2017 photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif.  (Noah Berger/AP)
In this April 18, 2017 photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP)

Facebook under new pressure and scrutiny from many sides as it ends up in the middle of national, international politics.

Facebook now reaches a quarter of the world’s population. Two billion people. It’s a mind-boggling number, and it’s growing. So are questions. Abroad, about how Facebook will protect privacy or abet authoritarian oversight. At home, about Facebook’s role in American politics. In the 2016 campaign. About Russian ad buys, propaganda and manipulation. And ads themselves. Targeting hate groups. Up next On Point: Facebook under scrutiny, in politics and the world. — Tom Ashbrook.


Mike Isaac, technology reporter for The New York Times who covers Facebook. ( @MikeIsaac)

Julia Angwin, senior investigative journalist for ProPublica. Author of “ Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.” ( @JuliaAngwin)

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Author of the forthcoming book, “ The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.” ( @profgalloway)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web — “The Silicon Valley giant’s tussle with the fracturing internet is poised to escalate. Facebook has now reached almost everyone who already has some form of internet access, excluding China. Capturing those last users — including in Asian nations like Vietnam and African countries like Kenya — may involve more government roadblocks.”

ProPublica: Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’ — “Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

Yahoo Finance: How America’s Tech Giants Reached ‘Crisis Mode’ — “A decade ago, Facebook had already become “the web’s hottest platform,” as Fred Vogelstein wrote in Wired. The following 10 years shed light on the social network’s drawbacks even as it became more ubiquitous (i.e., more and more people’s moms were joining Facebook). Facebook’s targeted advertising creeped out some users, and the site could also be fertile ground for cyber-bullies. But those flaws paled in comparison to concerns that emerged following the US presidential election. That’s when it was accused of being a vehicle for spreading misinformation that helped defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.”

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.