Bryan Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, remembers a chance encounter:
I remember almost 20 years ago, I was in Israel for Shimon Peres’ 80th birthday. Myra and I wound up in a car with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I took the opportunity to ask them to explain to me why social media platforms were not held to the same standards regarding the publishing of false, libelous and misleading news and information the same way newspapers, television, radio and magazines were.
They happily explained that the law did not find them to be publishers in the traditional sense. Since they did not ”curate” the information — meaning no humans made decisions about what to publish on their sites — they could not be held responsible for truth, falsity, defamation, lying, incitement and a whole host of other proscriptions that applied to traditional publishers.
I told them I didn’t agree; the way they disseminated information and news to their users was no different that what we did for our readers. And, I asked them, if you are not responsible, who is? They laughed as in they didn’t care.
More memories at the link.
Plus, here’s some more thoughts about the algorithm.