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每日跟讀#593: To Purge Some of Social Media’s Ugliness, an Unlikely Lesson From Wall Street

社群網站除弊 不妨學華爾街

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English
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每日跟讀#593: To Purge Some of Social Media’s Ugliness, an Unlikely Lesson From Wall Street

Exactly a year ago, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before Congress and apologized for his company’s role in enabling “fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech.”

整整一年前,臉書執行長祖克柏去美國國會作證,並為臉書使「假新聞、外國介入選舉和仇恨言論」有機會出現而道歉。

It was a memorable moment amid a broader reckoning that continues to inspire debate over how closely Facebook and other technology giants should be regulated.

這是範圍更廣的反省潮流中一個值得紀念的時刻,這股潮流持續引發人們討論,對臉書等科技巨頭的規範究竟該多嚴格。

As Silicon Valley grapples with its version of becoming too big to fail, Zuckerberg and his industry peers might take lessons from Wall Street, whose leaders have some experience with government scrutiny. (On Wednesday, bank chief executives were being grilled by Congress.)

此際矽谷正努力應付自己版本的「大到不能倒」問題,祖克柏與同業不妨學學華爾街,那兒的領袖對政府監督有些經驗。(幾位銀行執行長4月10日被美國國會找去盤問。)

Although it won’t address all of Big Tech’s problems, a simple rule that bolsters the banking system could do a lot to clean up some of the uglier aspects of social media that Zuckerberg felt compelled to apologize for.

有一條促進銀行體系發展的簡單規則,雖不能解決科技巨擘所有問題,卻能清除社群媒體較醜陋、祖克柏覺得必須為之道歉的一些面向。

The concept is “know your customer” — or KYC, as it’s called on Wall Street — and it’s straightforward: Given concerns about privacy, security and fraud when it comes to money, no bank is allowed to take on a new customer without verifying its existence and vetting its background.

這概念就是「認識你的客戶」,也就是華爾街所謂的KYC,含意簡單明瞭:由於擔心發生金錢方面的隱私、安全和詐騙問題,沒有一家銀行獲准在不查證真偽和審查背景的情況下接納新客戶。

The idea of applying such a rule to social media has been floated before, but it has so far failed to take hold. Now may be the right time.

有人提過把這項規則應用在社群媒體,但到目前都沒實現。也許時候到了。

Consider this: Facebook has said it shut down more than 1.5 billion fake accounts from April through September last year (yes, that’s a “B” in billion). That was up from the 1.3 billion such accounts it eliminated in the six previous months. To put those numbers in context, Facebook has a reported user base of 2.3 billion.

想想看:臉書說,從去年4月到9月,臉書共刪除15億個假帳號(沒錯,是億,不是百萬),比臉書前六個月刪除的13億個要多。把這些數字放到大背景下看,臉書號稱有23億用戶。

What if social media companies had to verify their users the same way banks do? You'd probably feel more confident that you were interacting with real people and were not just a target for malicious bots.

要是社群媒體公司必須像銀行一樣查證用戶真偽,那會如何?你可能會更相信你在跟真人互動,而不只是惡意機器人的攻擊目標。

First, let’s acknowledge the practical considerations. Vetting the vast universe of those on social media would be a gargantuan task.

首先,讓我們坦誠面對實務上的考量。審查多如恆河沙數的社群媒體用戶,會是極其繁重的工作。

When I broached the idea of applying a “know your customer” principle to their business, several senior executives at social media companies recoiled at the prospect, questioning how they would pull off such a huge feat, especially in emerging markets where many people lack credit cards, and even fixed street addresses can be hard to come by.

當我向幾名社群媒體公司高層談到應用「認識你的客戶」原則時,他們不以為然,質疑如何能完成這個壯舉,尤其是在許多人沒有信用卡,甚至連固定住址都難以取得的新興市場。

Then there are the legitimate complaints about Facebook and its ilk already knowing too much about users. Who would want them to know even more? And what would the companies do to protect personal information better than they have in the past?

此外,各界本已合理抱怨臉書這類網站對用戶所知太多。誰還想要這些網站知道更多?這些公司又該怎麼做才能比先前更有效保護個資?

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