So the question is this. How do websites like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter determine topics that are relevant to you? Supposedly, this is based on how you use their websites. Based on your searches, history, and browsing, it will get information that it thinks is most suitable for you.
But there have been times when these platforms have been accused of being biased. This could be in terms of politics or towards favoring a company’s products, which is why Republican politicians are now asking the FTC to launch an investigation into how companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and others curate their content.
Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley say that these websites have a huge influence and have the potential to abuse their power to both amplify and downplay content, with the possibility of even swaying elections. It is a real concern.
In their letter, the Senators wrote, “Companies that are this big and that have the potential to threaten democracy this much should not be allowed to curate content entirely without any transparency. These companies can greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have no accountability to voters. They are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.”
This is not a formal investigation, so the FTC is not obligated to launch an investigation or even respond to the letter. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
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