On "Social Media Scheming"


While Donald Trump's critics hunt for smoking-gun evidence of his collusion with the Russians, they are content to condemn the latter for "posing as Americans" and spreading propaganda on Facebook. Communications prof Siva Vaidhyanathan doesn't buy it. The problem is Facebook itself, says he, whose targeted ads are so "affordable and easy" that "armies of volunteers and bots" now routinely use them to undermine democracy. Vaidhyanathan is hoping reform will come from the European parliaments that are challenging Facebook's business practices. It won't happen. Facebook is a for-profit behemoth. Citizens will be immune from its deleterious influence only when they voluntarily abandon the platform.