Books: Technically Wrong

Interesting article in The Guardian’s Social Media section about the missteps and efforts of the giant social media companies are trying to deal with the negative aspects of social media How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone. By detailing the many things that could go wrong with Facebook’s questionable process to thwarting revenge porn (sending in your own nude selfie to a Facebook team that then digitizes the pattern), the article characterizes the effort as an attempt to make users solve a problem the company created.

The article details several instances where Facebook inadvertently outted closeted college students or featured emotionally charged photos among the video photo collages it automates. While Facebook and YouTube point to billions of interactions and the inevitability of a few mishaps, the author of “Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms and Other Threats of Toxic Tech,” Sara Wachter-Boettcher concludes that “in their unblinking pursuit of growth over the past decade, these companies have built their platforms around features that aren’t just vulnerable to abuse, but literally optimised for it.”