In a not-too-surprising move, the wunderkinds who run Facebook have decided to expand their efforts to ensure their users get only content that confirms their biases, doesn’t challenge them to think, and doesn’t require anything above their actual reading level to comprehend, and will start labeling more than just satirical articles.
Last week, the social media monolith announced that they would start helping their less savvy readers discern fact from satire by labeling articles from such sources as The Onion with the “[satire]” moniker. While some might rightfully point out that labeling satire as satire defeats the entire purpose of satirical material, others have lauded the decision. Timmy McGee, a Facebook user with over 3.2 million comments on articles that he’s never read beyond the headline before commenting upon said of the move, “This is good. Times are bad enough, and people are dumb enough, we don’t need to make stuff up to be funny. I insist that all my commentary be framed as serious prose of paragraphs made up of no more than four sentences.”
McGee is probably one of the many who emailed, called, faxed and paged Facebook with support in the days after Facebook started deconstructing one of the most historically significant comedic and literary art forms in the history of our species because as Facebook’s Director of Content Spoiling Collette Dans La Boue said during a recent press conference, “We received numerous emails, calls, faxes and pages in support of our satire labeling program.” La Boue continued, “So in the spirit of watering down content so as to make sure our users never feel uneasy about their baked-in cultural biases, we are going to start using a new algorithm to determine each user’s intellectual acumen, balance it against their political views, and then deliver labeled content based on those findings.”
The new program, called “Dumbing Down The World For a Better Tomorrow, will evaluate every single article you’ve “liked,” “shared,” or even just hovered your mouse over and will determine what level of intelligent commentary or news coverage you can handle, and will label articles accordingly. La Boue demonstrated the algorithm with a fake user account created for the demo. The pseudo-user spent six weeks liking and sharing content from sites like NewsMax, Tea Party News Network, and The Drudge Report. Soon, they started seeing related content from sites like The New York Times, Al-Jazeera America, and Slate as [Commie Bullshit], and the fake user’s feed was bombarded with ads for Budweiser beer, Cabela’s and Chick-Fil-A.
Then La Boue showed us what happened when the fake user liked only stuff from neo-libertarian sites like Breitbart, and Glenn Beck’s site The Blaze. Soon, articles from those sites were labeled [The Truth Statists Will Deny] while material from places like The Huffington Post or video clips from The Daily Show were labeled [Sheeple]. Six weeks of only liking stuff from the Facebook pages of Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann or Louis Gohmert resulted in anything above a third grade level of understanding being labeled as [Lamestream Media], and content from sources like Out Magazine or The Human Rights Campaign as [Those Uppity gays]. Meanwhile the feed of the fake user was flooded with content from Highlights Magazine and ads for pre-solved “Where’s Waldo?” books, creationism museums, and Ten Commandment statues to be put in every public school gym and courthouse throughout the nation.
After the presentation, La Boue said that Facebook expects that this change, like every other major change to the Facebook experience in the past will get people grousing for a few days, only to eventually accept it and not care anymore. “We understand that at the end of the day, humans hate things they don’t understand or don’t want to deal with. So we want to make sure that Facebook is as safe and milquetoast an experience as you can possibly hope for.”