Facebook Experiments With Being Less Awful, Says Not to Get Used to It or Anything

Illustration for article titled Facebook Experiments With Being Less Awful, Says Not to Get Used to It or Anything

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Has Facebook learned jack shit from the past few nightmare years? Not really, per a report in the New York Times on Tuesday. Facebook only started giving more weight to reputable publishers in the News Feed days after the 2020 election and doesn’t plan on making that a long-term thing. Executives on its policy team also blocked or sought to water down changes that would limit content the company defined as “bad for the world” or “hate bait,” as well as shot down a feature that would warn users if they fell for hoaxes.

According to the Times, CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed days after the election to tweak the Facebook news feed to emphasize “news ecosystem quality” (NEQ), a “secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism,” because of rampant misinformation spread by

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Fed up with the election? Science explains how politics got so awful

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One year ago, a report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security assessed the readiness of 195 countries around the world to confront a deadly disease outbreak. Topping the list of most-prepared nations was the United States of America.


But that forecast didn’t account for one crucial factor: the toxic degree of partisanship that would turn something as simple as wearing a face mask into a political statement.

How did things get so bad that Americans couldn’t come together to confront a universal threat like COVID-19, which has killed more than 227,000 of us so far?

A report in this week’s issue of Science offers an explanation—political sectarianism.

The authors of the new report explain that political sectarianism goes beyond mere disagreements about the nation’s goals and how they should be achieved. Nor is it a case of people being trapped in partisan echo chambers,

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