Today, Mark Zukerberg released his 6,500 word manifesto via Facebook, covering everything from fake news to fears that people are leaving their connected communities, to growing anti-globalization sentiment.
While the national media focuses on his Trump-style play for presidency, there's a bigger issue at work here: freedom of speech. Social media has long been seen as a place where people can express their views, give their thoughts and share their knowledge and expertise on a particular subject matter - whether you agree with them or not.
As a B2B Technology PR this has been very useful over the past few years. National and trade media typically trail behind when covering technology, focusing on the theoretical use cases around certain technologies - like AI and Machine Learning, for example - which create a sensationalised idea about what they can really do. Social media has given my clients an outlet to talk about the practical - the things they are actually seeing while working with the technologies. While a media 'buzz' may intrigue business leaders to investigate certain technologies, it's the practical knowledge in how to recoup ROI that really matters.
Mark Zuckerberg is talking about putting"more" diverse content" which"show a range of perspectives" to "help people see a more complete picture". But make no mistake, this isn't the democratisation of news, it's the shaping of news by the latest publishing powerhouse - Facebook. And yes while the 'shaping' will be done via algorithms rather than human cultural bias, it will still be shaped in a way that Facebook sees fit.
Sadly, all social media is going this way. No longer is discovered content organic but instead dictated by tailored algorithms which favour pay-to-play users. While I mourn this as a consumer (please no more articles on lip kits or Kyle Jenner), as a B2B PR this isn't the end of the world.
Granular targeting tools make it easier for B2B tech companies to promote specialist content (whitepapers, blogs, and case studies) to the right audiences, helping to drive lead generation and supporting social selling. Something that's not yet truly measurable via traditional media outlets.
"But our goal must be to help people see a more complete picture, not just alternate perspectives. We must be careful how we do this. Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign. A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right." - Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook