Facebook Is Now a Sociology Lab
Thanks to the bright decision of the management at Facebook, the social media site is one step closer to the Wachowski creation – The Matrix. The machines are pumping out the trends, without (much) human intervention. The initial results lead to questionable situations, particularly when it came to junk news about Megyn Kelly.
While that was a picture perfect example of unintended consequences, it brings to light an interesting point about many Facebook users. Much of the time, they are like the blonde in the commercial who believes that everything on the internet must be true. Without significant intervention of human editors, trending topics become a sociology experiment, showing the collective craziness of Facebook users. It becomes a semi-scientific lab for studying the concepts of group thinking and viral topics.
Since we’re heading into a presidential election, if the machines are just pushing out what the masses are sharing the most, this could get very interesting. Forget about presidential polling. We’d just need to see what’s being shared the most on Facebook. Maybe there could be prizes for which campaign manages to get the most fake news on the trending topics lists. Based on the Megyn Kelly situation, it’s fair to say that the Trump camp is ahead in that dubious race. Who can push the most libelous news this election cycle? Americans need to know!
Of course, the logical business decision will be to have at least some human involvement in the trending topics choices to avoid lawsuits. But maybe Facebook will decide to offer the undiluted version somewhere, just for amusement value. We can only hope they do, for the sake of sociologists and comedians. If you aren’t amused by the fake news making it into the trending topic list, there must be something wrong with you!