Facebook Partners With Faith Groups [Content Made Simple]
Issue #231: FB's future is the metaverse, IG tries to block sensitive content, and more.
Facebook’s Next Target? The Religious Experience
There are privacy worries too, as people share some of their most intimate life details with their spiritual communities. The potential for Facebook to gather valuable user information creates “enormous” concerns, said Sarah Lane Ritchie, a lecturer in theology and science at the University of Edinburgh. The goals of businesses and worshiping communities are different, she said, and many congregations, often with older members, may not understand how they could be targeted with advertising or other messages based on their religious engagement.
“Corporations are not worried about moral codes,” she said. “I don’t think we know yet all the ways in which this marriage between Big Tech and the church will play out.”
Facebook wants to go deeper in its partnership with faith communities. This is concerning to me for the reasons explored in the quote above. We share such intimate, personal details about our lives with our faith communities. Do we really need Facebook looking over our shoulder while we do that? I don’t think it’s a great idea.
HITTING THE LINKS
Link #1: Will Instagram’s New ‘Sensitive Content’ Filter Censor Black Users?
I applaud FB/IG for taking steps to give users the ability to filter out content they may find objectionable. This is a good development. But filtering content often comes with negative side effects, and this article explores one of those possible problems.
The new filter is intended to keep people safe and allow users to curate their Explore pages by deciding for themselves how much content to filter, Instagram told NBC News. However, users won’t have a say in what content is considered sensitive. Depending on the level chosen, violent videos and posts featuring abuse might be filtered out, as well as photos of women in bikinis or posts in which activists condemn police brutality.
Link #2: Mark in the Metaverse
Really great interview between Casey Newton, one of the best tech journalists around today, and Mark Zuckerberg, the emperor of the social internet. Mark and FB have their sights set on the metaverse. Oh boy.
The metaverse is a vision that spans many companies — the whole industry. You can think about it as the successor to the mobile internet. And it’s certainly not something that any one company is going to build, but I think a big part of our next chapter is going to hopefully be contributing to building that, in partnership with a lot of other companies and creators and developers. But you can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.
Link #3: Facebook to Limit Ads Kids See
This is very good! Sad that kids had to be taken advantage of for this to happen in the first place. But good for FB making necessary changes.
Facebook announced on Wednesday that, starting in a few weeks, Instagram will stop advertisers marketing to teens under 18 based on their interests. Only their age, gender and location will be able to be used to target ads to them.
Lobby group Reset Australia recently reported being able to set up ads targeted at teens between 13 and 17 based on interests they had expressed including smoking, extreme weight loss and gambling.
THE FUNNY PART
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I have a question for you. I know Jonathan Haidt has been advocating for HARD restrictions when it comes to smartphones, social media, etc. I agree with him. But is there really any viable way for this to happen? Your last story made me think about that, because I agree the targeted ads shouldn't happen for teens...but should teens even really be online in these capacities? Sure, it's a case by case basis. I don't know. It's a mess.
Thanks for the write-ups, as always.