With Great Internet Power...
Article on Facebook Sway reminded me of Uncle Ben
Social Media Today posted an article about Facebook's Trending section and how it may not be a true representation. I thought it was a thought-provoking article (the link is below so you can determine for yourself - kinda the point of my gist :-) and wanted to drop in my $0.02.
In a nutshell, the folks who write the Trending section - that area in the top-right of your News Feed page, may hold back on some topics and push others.
First of all, the word "News" doesn't appear there, although I'm sure nobody would bat an eye if we called it Trending News in reference to it. It's natural.
But when you call it "News" you're assigning a very high moral standard to it. "News" is supposed to be the truth, and not someone's opinion, nor someone's effort to persuade. That's the heart of journalism.
So if we all naturally think "News", does Facebook have an obligation to make sure it's legitimate to the best of their abilities and so they shouldn't make any editorial judgement on what's really trending vs what they'd like to be trending?
That's when Peter Parker's Uncle Ben came to mind. Way back when Spiderman first appeared in a comic book, Peter's uncle told him "With great power comes great responsibility."
So Facebook should make sure that what it's telling us is trending - i.e., "Hey! Everybody is looking at this!!" - should truly be what everybody is looking at, and not what they want us to look at.
I think they should. But I'm not naive, so I don't think they do; at least, I wouldn't doubt that there can be editorial sway in what they call trending.
What do you think about the responsibility of the powerful to the rest of us? Leave your comments below.