Facebook has played at times a negative role in the Political Discourse,” according to Facebook co-founder and Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard roommate Chris Hughes. “The algorithms are not neutral,” he said Thursday at a Bloomberg Beta event promoting his new book "Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn."

Hughes continued, saying, to Katie Roof from TechCrunch, “Facebook is finally coming to recognize the responsibility that they have to shape public discourse.”

Hold on a second here

In my world, Facebook should not have any responsibility in shaping public discourse.

Their job is NOT to set the course but to provide access to a platform that allows people to express their own opinion. Granted this past political season was the worst I can remember, however, Facebook should not be responsible for what people post. If there are issues with ads. As long as the companies have legal standing in the United States they have a right to state their opinion even if it is not agreed with.

The Russian influence

Russia has always tried to influence our elections just as we have meddled in other countries' elections. In this case, to actually see how Russia did it tech-wise, you have to admit they were more on top of electronic meddling than we were. If the U.S. had been tech-savvy we wouldn't have had half the problems that confronted us over the last 18 months including servers not being backed up, stolen e-mails, lost smartphones and more.

To make Facebook responsible for poster discourse smacks of Pravda, a Russian newspaper, formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party.

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Most people I know, do not want Facebook to shape our opinion, we want Facebook to stay out of our discourse and mind their own business.

Shared responsibility

In October of 2017, Facebook handed over 3,000 ads that were bought by one Russian company to influence the November elections, however, it must be noted that only 44 percent saw the ads before the election. Does Facebook have a responsibility toward its members when accepting money from a company trying to influence U.S.

elections?

Possibly, but it opens the door to censorship and then you must ask Facebook to determine, unbiased of their own Political Opinion, who is legitimate and who is not. In the face of such concerns, Facebook is hiring 1,000 ad reviewers who will spend more time looking into the background of suspect companies, but again, this begs the question: If the company is legitimate can stopping them not be considered censoring information as long as the information is accurate?

Then one must ask, who decides what is fake news and what is not?

I went out to my Facebook friends, many of whom have strong political opinions, and asked them their thoughts on whether or not they use Facebook as a political soundboard. Their thoughts and opinions surprised and pleased me. (Permission given to quote).

Alicia D.: " I don't typically share politics and if I find someone's views repellent, I hide them or unfollow, but I don't engage.

It's not worth it, I don't think that fb fights change anyone's minds, and it's too often a family member that I disagree with."

Maer W.: "I share things I know those who believe as I do might find interesting. To those who don't I pass on by their posts, no matter how ridiculous I find them, and I expect the same courtesy in return. I tried a very few times to show facts refuting something and was firmly told it was fake news. I have better things to do with my time than spend it on people who are not capable of civil discourse."

Jennifer P.:" I do not (use Facebook for a political sounding board). If someone holds extreme views that have the appearance of a warning or red flag of possible dangerous behavior, I'll unfriend or move on. There are, however, people whom I like and respect whose political views may be different from mine. I try to understand their point of view and hope that by showing respect and kindness they'll see that I, and others of my way of thinking, are not their enemy. It's what I hope will create and support common ground and understanding."

Louanne S.:" I never discuss politics to someone that I do not agree with. Old saying : Silence is is Golden with politics and religion."

Jeff C.: "Very strong opinions, but keep them private. I'm an election judge and don't feel it proper to broadcast personal views one way or the other."

Luanne W.: "I generally don't use it to try to change their mind - I post and hope that something that I post will get through to them. For those I know are hopeless, I just shrug and move on."

LouAnn P.: "Never do politic"s

Paula S.: "No time to argue"

Thank you for participating fellow Facebook friends. Together maybe we can bring civil discourse out of the hands of companies and back into our own.

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