Conviction in the Philippines Reveals Facebook’s Dangers

Mark Zuckerberg likes to say that Facebook does more good than harm in the world. But Facebook’s effect on the world is multifaceted and complicated, and the good can’t simply make us forget the bad.

Without Facebook or a digital hangout like it, we might never have seen the bystander video of George Floyd pinned under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, undermining the official account of Floyd’s death. Facebook gives everyone — even a 17-year-old — a printing press. Yes, that is often very good.

But on the flip side I think about the Philippines, where Facebook has been weaponized by powerful people to vilify and harass their enemies, and where the social network has contributed to a poisoned atmosphere in which even basic facts are in doubt. It is in poorer countries without strong democratic institutions where the good but also the harm of Facebook has been magnified.

To read this New York Times report in full, see:

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