While social media companies court criticism with who they choose to ban, tech ethics experts say the more important function these companies control happens behind the scenes in what they recommend.
Kirsten Martin, director of the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center (ND TEC), argues that optimizing recommendations based on a single factor — engagement — is an inherently value-laden decision.
Human nature may be fascinated by and drawn to the most polarizing content — we can’t look away from a train wreck. But there are still limits. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter constantly struggle to find the right balance between free speech and moderation, she says.
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