Zuckerberg defends Facebook to be the reason of societal division in the Munich Security Conference

In this digital era, it is hard for users to avoid any information that they see on social media. Since the Presidential Election of 2016, Facebook has long been in the talks due to its influence on people about changing their opinion, creating a social division and angst, etc.

However, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has tried to defend Facebook at the Munich Security Conference. Do you think that Facebook has an influence over people to change their views and opinions in an election or if this is something already present in society?

Zuckerberg said on the political activists' group that Facebook keeps on removing more and more fake accounts (over a million accounts a day to be precise) from their social media platform each day, but most of them are just spammers or people engaging in different types of things.

On the confirmation bias, Zuckerberg said that people are less likely to click on the links that do not interest them or are not their views. Zuckerberg called it a human affirmation problem rather than a technological one.

Also, on echo chambers, Zuckerberg commented that the people are more exposed to different views today as compared to the traditional media days. This comment comes from the study that showed that 26% of Facebook users are exposed to another point of view through the news content they see on their accounts.

In short, Facebook is not the one to blame for all this and Facebook’s algorithm is not responsible for showing them more of the content they agree with and less with what they do not agree with. Hence, Facebook is not to be blamed for the social division; however, Facebook is playing at least a small role, which cannot be ignored.

New York Times was able to get their hands on the leaked internal memo on Facebook in which the new Head of VR and AR, Andrew Bosworth suggested that users on Facebook are exposed to 26% more news, which they do not support. What happens when they see this content? They are more likely to dislike it even more.

The anger associated with an article is heavily related to how much it will make it to the most emailed list. The content that instigates anger among users is more likely to make the most to the emailed list and hence why Facebook knowingly exposes its users to such content.

Engagement is everything for Facebook and anger instigated content is what gets them that. The more people engage in comments and posts, they are more likely to spend more time on Facebook and then automatically viewing more ads. Although, one might expect that this a risk and people might not get such posts on their account, but this is what they are seeing most of the time on their wall.

Although inspirational quotes and other videos do well on Facebook, but anger is the most powerful emotion when it comes to virality. However, Facebook is not the only one taking advantage of this situation.

Today, most of the print newspapers are using online platforms for content distribution and they have also learned to focus on the factor of virality to get more clicks, likes, and shares. In short, publications are also creating a social division in the society to increase engagement in their content.

It is the first reason why Trump invested $20 million in his Facebook ad campaign for the elections. Politicians can utilize this technique of taking one side of the issue and developing a singular message and knowing the fact that some people will like you for it and some will dislike you for this.

Those who will hate you were never going to vote for you, but those who supported you can increase your vote count.

In this age of social media, it is necessary to drive engagement through emotional responses and delivering proper message to the people. You can also apply this in social media marketing to drive more engagement.

Although these techniques and tricks are helping you to increase engagement, but it is also creating a social division, which is not an ideal situation. Facebook is not the only one that is causing this social division, other platforms are also playing their role.

We also need to focus on our own behavior in order to understand what Facebook is demanding of us and how are we contributing towards their impetus behind it.

Read next: Facebook allows social scientists to get access to data about its role in political discourse
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