[ by Charles Cameron — shouting caveat lector in a crowded theater ]
I don’t know what a wise algorithm is, whether any such algorithms exist, how they would qualify for that title, what the definitive definition of wisdom is, and so forth. Some algorithms in contemporary use, however, strike me as foolish.
WaPo, Three days after removing human editors, Facebook is already trending fake news
Fusion, Facebook recommended that this psychiatrist’s patients friend each other
It is in this context that we might wish to read:
NY Times magazine, Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine
Readers who clicked through to the story were led to an external website, called Make America Great Today, where they were presented with a brief write-up blended almost seamlessly into a solid wall of fleshy ads. Khan, the story said — between ads for “(1) Odd Trick to ‘Kill’ Herpes Virus for Good” and “22 Tank Tops That Aren’t Covering Anything” — is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood and a “promoter of Islamic Shariah law.” His late son, the story suggests, could have been a “Muslim martyr” working as a double agent. A credit link beneath the story led to a similar-looking site called Conservative Post, from which the story’s text was pulled verbatim. Conservative Post had apparently sourced its story from a longer post on a right-wing site called Shoebat.com.
I wouldn’t trust Shoebat as far as I could bat a shoe. But then, how much does it matter whether we’re led by the left ear or the right ear?
This has been an addendum to Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.