Diogo Queiroz Andrade, doctoral student at ICNOVA, has published an article published in OBS, v. 13, no. 3 (2019) entitled “Preparando o caminho para obter: como comparar o caso ao Facebook”. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS13320191388
The case against Facebook has been stacking up for some time now, but in the last two years it gained further consistency. The Brexit referendum and the American presidential elections brought to light the dominant social network as a threat to democratic processes and liberal societies, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal further undermining Facebook’s credibility. Now that the first official reports have been published and a growing stack of literature and scientific analysis is available, it is time for a systematized review of both the repercussions of Facebook on democracy and public speech, and the proposed ways to tame it. I start by framing the problem by using the first official reports on the use of Facebook as a tool to undermine democratic processes; I then proceed to explain how this social network has evolved from a champion of liberation across the Middle East into a weapon of mass interference and manipulation both by foreign governments and local agencies; finally, I trace the possible paths forward considering the referenced literature. The point made in this essay is that it became inevitable for liberal democracies to regulate big tech, starting with social media. Facebook is the case in point, due to its massive scale and seriousness posed by its several cases of misconduct – but the whole movement should lead to a new take on the role of technology in society.