How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right [Ben Smith at the New York Times].
In 2011, she went against the current to say the case for Twitter as a driver of broad social movements had been oversimplified. In 2012, she warned news media outlets that their coverage of school shootings could inspire more. In 2013, she argued that Facebook could fuel ethnic cleansing. In 2017, she warned that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm could be used as a tool of radicalization.
And when it came to the pandemic, she sounded the alarm early while also fighting to keep parks and beaches open.
Public health officials seem to have had an ulterior motive when they told citizens that masks were useless: They were trying to stave off a run on protective gear that could have made it unavailable for the health care workers who needed it. Dr. Tufekci’s faith in human nature has led her to believe that the government should have trusted citizens enough to level with them, rather than jeopardize its credibility with recommendations it would later overturn.
She says the answer to social media problems is that the world needs functioning governments again.
I’l be watching for her byline more closely on The Atlantic.