This is Behind the Blog, where we share our behind-the-scenes thoughts about how a few of our top stories of the week came together. This week, we social media companies being in their “IDGAF Era" and a viral thread about California's ARkStorm.
EMANUEL: One nice thing about running our own company now is that this week I didn’t get a Slack message or email from someone who asked me what our coverage plans were for the congressional hearing over the alleged online harms to children, where tech CEOs were once again ritually and ineffectively roasted for an audience of what I assume were mostly Hill reporters and political news junkies. I honestly didn’t even know it was happening until Joe told me he was turning it on for entertainment value, which I heard was provided.
At the time, I was busy writing an article about how ads from fake accounts pretending to be Bill Ackman and other famous rich people were luring me into WhatsApp groups where they tried to get my money, yet another example of how Meta’s failing to moderate not only content users are posting to its platform, but content that Meta is getting paid to show users. Jason’s been highlighting this issue on Instagram literally since the day we launched 404 Media, and while Instagram will remove accounts once we publish a story, it’s obviously still a huge problem.
Anyone who is even slightly media savvy, or even if they don’t think of themselves that way but have consumed enough hours of cable news, knows that congressional hearings of this type are not designed to make any real changes in the real world or actually push forward legislation, but for politicians to grandstand any maybe have a clip go viral.