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Facebook is not our friend, no matter what their adverts say
Facebook不是我们的朋友

克拉克:科技公司嘴上说,对你重要的事情对它们也很重要,但它们的行动明白无误地证明事实根本不是这样。

The word Orwellian is overused. Yet few terms better describe the barrage of adverts that Facebook has been unleashing on British billboards.

奥威尔式(Orwellian)这个词被用滥了。然而,没有比它更适合描述Facebook在英国广告牌上狂轰滥炸的广告了。

In London on Wednesday, to choose a day at random, the social media juggernaut told rush-hour train commuters that “what matters to you matters to us” and it was “removing offensive content faster than ever”.

随意选择一天,比如说上周三,在伦敦,这家社交媒体巨头告诉高峰时间列车上的通勤者,“对你重要的事情对我们也很重要”,并且它正在“比以往更快地删除令人反感的内容”。

The advert did not mention that 12 days earlier, a white nationalist gunman had used Facebook to live broadcast a horrific 17-minute video of his attack on worshipping Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead. Nor did it acknowledge the threats of boycotts and lawsuits the company is facing as a result. Or the email that New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, John Edwards, sent Facebook executives to decry the “deep, deep pain and harm from the live-streamed massacre” on their network.

这则广告没有提及的是,前一阵子,一名白人民族主义枪手利用Facebook做了17分钟的现场直播,展示了他在新西兰克赖斯特彻奇(Christchurch)袭击做礼拜的穆斯林的可怕情景。那次袭击造成50人死亡。这则广告也没有承认Facebook因此正面临的抵制和诉讼威胁,抑或新西兰隐私专员约翰•爱德华兹(John Edwards)向Facebook高管们发送的电子邮件,谴责在他们的网络上“现场直播的屠杀情景带来的深深的痛苦和伤害”。

The aggrieved and outraged are by no means new problems for the Silicon Valley titans that control so much of online life. But the tactics some are deploying to deflect their critics now share a chilly resonance with the doublethink George Orwell created in his Nineteen Eighty-Four novel.

对于在如此大程度上控制着人们的线上生活的硅谷巨头而言,这种悲伤和愤怒绝不是新问题。但是,现在一些硅谷巨头用来转移外界批评的策略,与乔治•奥威尔(George Orwell)在其《一九八四》(Nineteen Eighty-Four)小说中创造的“双重思想”如出一辙,这令人不寒而栗。

In another advert that was hard to avoid in the UK this week, Facebook said it wanted to help combat bullying, “so we’ve created a Bullying Prevention Hub, full of advice on how to tackle it”.

在另一则上周在英国铺天盖地的广告中,Facebook表示它希望帮助打击霸凌行为,“所以我们创建了一个霸凌预防中心(Bullying Prevention Hub),提出了各种各样如何解决该问题的建议”。

The company has spent years telling people how concerned it is about bullying. It has also worked with charities to curb the problem in schools. No wonder. A study of more than 150,000 young people in 30 countries over a 21-year period found last year that cyberbullying victims were more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behaviour.

该公司多年来一直告诉人们,它对霸凌行为是多么地关注。它还与慈善机构合作以遏制学校里的这一问题。它会这样做毫不奇怪。一项对21年来30个国家逾15万名年轻人的研究去年发现,网络霸凌受害者自残和实施自杀行为的可能性是一般人的两倍多。

Yet time and time again, Facebook has only changed its ways when confronted with an uncontainable tide of public outrage, like the fury that erupted this year over the suicide of British schoolgirl Molly Russell.

然而,在面对无法控制的群情激愤的时候(比如今年英国女学生莫莉•拉塞尔(Molly Russell)自杀引发的民愤),Facebook一次又一次地只是改变了其方式。

After her death, her family discovered material relating to depression and suicide on her Instagram account. In January, her father said he believed the Facebook-owned site had helped to kill his daughter. Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, later warned social media companies could be banned if they failed to remove harmful content. Last month, Instagram finally acted. It agreed to ban graphic self-harm images— a move campaigners said was long overdue.

在拉塞尔死后,她的家人在她的Instagram帐户里发现了与抑郁症和自杀有关的材料。今年1月,她的父亲说,他相信这个Facebook旗下的网站帮助杀死了他的女儿。英国卫生部长马特•汉考克(Matt Hancock)后来警告说,如果社交媒体公司未能删除有害内容就可能会遭禁。上月,Instagram终于采取了行动。它同意禁止发布自残的图像——活动人士表示早就应该这样做了。

Mr Hancock returned to the fray this week, revealing ministers were looking at new laws to force social media companies to take down false information about vaccines spread by “anti-vaxxers”. Health officials around the world are grappling with a surge in measles cases. Europe recorded more than 82,500 cases last year, the highest level in a decade and triple the number in 2017. Misinformation is rife on social media networks. But Facebook took little action, despite spending another small fortune on an ad campaign last year declaring “Fake news is not our friend”. Finally, this month it promised to curb anti-vaccine hoaxes.

汉考克上周重返战局,披露部长们正在研究新的法律,以迫使社交媒体公司删除“反疫苗人士”传播的关于疫苗的虚假信息。世界各地的卫生官员正在努力应对麻疹病例的激增。欧洲去年发现了逾8.25万个病例,是十年来的最高水平,是2017年的3倍。社交媒体网络上充斥着错误的信息。但是Facebook几乎没有采取任何行动,尽管它去年又花了不少钱搞了一场“假新闻不是我们的朋友”的广告宣传。最终,它在上月承诺将遏制反疫苗的虚假信息。

On Wednesday, nearly two weeks after Christchurch, the company said it would ban white nationalist content.

上周三,在克赖斯特彻奇事件发生近两周后,Facebook表示将禁止白人民族主义内容。

Facebook is not alone. Google has also deployed dubious tactics to persuade us it cares about the fortunes of companies that its rise has drained of revenues, not least newspapers. Together, Google and Facebook control nearly 60 per cent of the digital advertising market in the US, where so many papers have closed that “news deserts” have crept across the country. One expert reckons half the nation’s 3,143 counties have just one newspaper, usually a small weekly, and 200 have none at all.

Facebook并不孤单。谷歌(Google)也采取了可疑的策略来说服我们相信,它关心那些因自己的崛起而失去收入的公司的命运,尤其是报纸。谷歌和Facebook合起来控制着美国近60%的数字广告市场。美国有如此多的报纸关闭,以致于“新闻沙漠”在美国各地蔓延。一位专家认为,全国3143个县中有一半只有一份报纸,通常是小型周报,有200个县则连一份报纸都没有。

Both companies have launched measures to tackle the problem. Google last year pledged to spend $300m over three years on a “news initiative” to support subscriptions and fight fake news. This may help at the margins. But such sums are a paltry fraction of the billions the pair makes each year and pale before the scale of a problem which, let us not forget, is partly their own doing.

两家公司都采取了措施以解决这一问题。谷歌去年承诺将在3年内投入3亿美元,实施一项支持订阅和打击假新闻的“新闻倡议”。这可能有一点帮助。但是这样的数额与两家公司每年数百亿美元的收入相比实在微不足道,并且在如此严重的问题面前显得苍白无力。我们不要忘记,这个问题在一定程度上是他们一手造成的。

It is not unlike a gang of arsonists returning to the smouldering wreck of a library they just incinerated and donating a comic book to get it going again. The tech groups will doubtless keep trying to persuade us they mean well. Yet they should be careful.

这无异于一群纵火犯回到他们刚刚焚毁的图书馆废墟前,捐出一本漫画书来让图书馆恢复服务。毫无疑问,科技集团会一直试图说服我们相信它们的初衷是好的。但他们本来就应该小心。

The European Parliament just passed a copyright directive aimed at making them compensate the media for using their content. More regulation is inevitable. Silicon Valley’s powerhouses have proven beyond all doubt that despite what they say, what matters to us does not matter to them in the least.

欧洲议会(European Parliament)刚刚通过了一项版权法令,旨在让科技公司就使用的媒体的内容对后者做出补偿。更多的监管是不可避免的。硅谷巨擘已经明白无误地证明,不管它们嘴上怎么说,对我们重要的事情对它们一点儿也不重要。

pilita.clark@ft.com

译者/裴伴

版权声明:本文版权归FT中文网所有,未经允许任何单位或个人不得转载,复制或以任何其他方式使用本文全部或部分,侵权必究。

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