Facebook is the most appalling spying machine

 

How does Facebook decide when to take down controversial images and posts? Chelsea Beck/NPR hide caption

Mark Zuckerberg — one of the most insightful, adept leaders in the business world — has a problem. It's a problem he has been slow to acknowledge, even though it's become more apparent by the day.

Several current and former Facebook employees tell NPR there is a lot of internal turmoil about how the platform does and doesn't censor content that users find offensive. And outside Facebook, the public is regularly confounded by the company's decisions — around controversial posts and around fake news.

Facebook is the most appalling spying machine

In a new survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds that Facebook remains by far the most popular social media site. While its growth has slowed, the level of user engagement with the platform has increased. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn saw significant increases over the past year in the proportion of online adults who now use their sites.

Facebook continues to be the most popular social media site, but its membership saw little change from 2013. The one notable exception is older adults: For the first time in Pew Research findings, more than half (56%) of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook. Overall, 71% of internet users are on Facebook, a proportion that represents no change from August 2013.

Every other social media platform measured saw significant growth between 2013 and 2014. Instagram not only increased its overall user figure by nine percentage points, but also saw significant growth in almost every demographic group. LinkedIn continued to grow among groups with which it was already popular, such as professionals and college graduates, while Twitter and Pinterest saw increases in usership across a variety of demographic groups.

How does Facebook decide when to take down controversial images and posts? Chelsea Beck/NPR hide caption

Mark Zuckerberg — one of the most insightful, adept leaders in the business world — has a problem. It's a problem he has been slow to acknowledge, even though it's become more apparent by the day.

Several current and former Facebook employees tell NPR there is a lot of internal turmoil about how the platform does and doesn't censor content that users find offensive. And outside Facebook, the public is regularly confounded by the company's decisions — around controversial posts and around fake news.