本周出版的《经济学人》有篇文章Censors and sensibility 指出:随着 FB 影响力的扩大,政治人物越来越开始质疑其对政治走向——比如美国大选,再比如阿拉伯之春的「操纵」:Facebook is no longer just a destination for virtual socialising but a media company that can shape public opinion:

Yet the hullabaloo points to an indisputable fact: Facebook is a juggernaut, with growing political influence. The social network has 1.6 billion monthly users, around 200m of them in America. On average, Americans spend 30% of their mobile-internet time on Facebook’s platforms, which include Instagram and WhatsApp. Around 90% of American adults who use Facebook pass the equivalent of two workdays a month on the social network.

不过《经济学人》也承认,扎克伯格的政治喜好(目前是个秘密)并不足以影响到用户所看到的内容:

Like Google, which uses an algorithm to rank its results, Facebook has refined algorithms to generate a personalised newsfeed based on what they know about each user, with the goal of keeping them interested for as long as possible.

这个问题的核心在于,FB 的算法就像一个黑盒子,外人根本不知道。更重要的还在于支持民主党的用户根本不知道自己和支持共和党的用户所看到的内容完全不同。

这种不明不白的政治立场也促使 FB 在今年美国大选的网络广告收获颇丰,《经济学人》指出,相比于 2008 年,今年美国两党在互联网广告投入方面大幅增长,Facebook 与 Google 都是重点投放领域:

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一家名叫 Burson-Marsteller 的技术公司负责人 Don Baer 这样评价 FB :

The paradox of social media is that we are able to reach more and more people in ways that appeal to each of them individually, but less able to reach people as citizens of one country.”