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Community 2.0? Facebook and Fenway

The Forrest Four-Cast: May 4, 2017

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later. It’s heartbreaking, and I’ve been reflecting on how we can do better for our community. If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

This is one of community-related improvements the social media giant is seeking to implement. On Monday, they revealed that Alex Hardiman will hear their news product division. Formerly with the New York Times, she will now lead Facebook’s efforts to combat viral distortion (aka, Fake News). The announcement about Hardiman was essentially previewed in a cover story in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Written by Farhad Manjoo, this piece focuses significantly on Zuckerberg’s recent “Building Global Community” manifesto, which begins to acknowledge and accept that Facebook isn’t simply an agnostic platform — but that it must be much more accountable for the content which it hosts.

Also yesterday, my favorite baseball team (the Boston Red Sox) took the very bold of issuing a lifetime Fenway Park ban to a customer who was identified as using a racial slur. This ban punctuated the complaints from Baltimore Oriole outfielder Adam Jones, who revealed that he was taunted with the n-word while in Monday evening’s away game against the Bosox.

These two May 3 developments are very different — and yet also very similar. Creating an open and interesting community is a challenge, but one that ultimately isn’t all that hard to accomplish.

On the other hand, policing the behavior of those who gather in a virtual or a physical space is a much more significant task. It is good to see that more community-builders are at least attempting to embrace this incredibly difficult commitment.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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