Facebook As Ferguson Firewall

When protests were erupting in Ferguson, Missouri (and in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Washington DC and Seattle) after the Darren Wilson Grand Jury ruling in his fatal shooting of unarmed Michael Brown, my Twitter timeline was nothing but Ferguson. (I also had Ferguson-devoted Twitter lists to dip into.) But same as in August, when the shooting spurred protests which were met by a disproportionate show of force from a militarized local police, my Facebook timeline was animal videos.

In his reply, Tobin Davis is referring to the Orwellian scrubbing of the media that occurs in the Facebook newsfeed algorithm, which controls 30% of the news accessed by more than a billion people: 

“As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of the Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in it’s stead. This process of continuation alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs–to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to be correct; nor was any item of news, or expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to be on record.”…George Orwell, “1984″

And it's Facebook's declared intention to become "'the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world'." 

Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci writes: "algorithms have consequences."