Cory Doctorow: Facebook’s alternative facts — After a company called CrowdTangle helped journalists discover that Facebook is a far-right echo-chamber whose US users tend to be angry old conservatives — a group that advertisers do not love — Facebook bought CrowdTangle and neutered it.
This is part of a larger gaslighting strategy, in which the rich and powerful substitute wishful thinking for reality, and it’s far from unique to Facebook. Previous examples include climate denialism. Donald Trump has built his life on wishful thinking and gaslighting, most recently in the Big Lie, early denial of the pandemic, and his overall “alternatives facts” strategy.
And wishful thinking by the rich and powerful isn’t new. Consider “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”