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We Need to Talk About Gary…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 today will look at how Elon Musk Twitter fight with a sacked employee and then ended up saying sorry will talk to Kara swisher on that will also look at algorithms.

They play a huge part in deciding what media content we all consume the head of content producers factor that into what they make when so little is known about what these algorithms are doing and we need to talk about the BBC says.

It's having a Frank conversation with him Rd tweeted about the language setting out the government's new plan for small boats crossing the channel and said it was not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s which are by the BBC the Gary Lineker has been spoken to about his responsibilities and Roger Mosey former head of BBC TV

Is former head of BBC Sport nav Mazda Selwyn College Cambridge University hi Roger thanks for coming back onto the media show what would you do about Gary Lineker well? I think what we now have fundamentally incompatible positions so the BBC says it has its editorial guidelines and Tim Davie said if you want to be a social Media campaign buying but you can't work for BBC then have Gary Lineker saying it's about freedom of speech and it's almost like and respect but at the moment.

He doesn't seem to be willing to Taylor is used what the BBC for its guidelines or so, I think this is something of a car crash on the phone and if it's that if you were director-general, what would you do about it? Well? I think it's an incompatible positions anyone seen the BBC could do is say actually Gary Lineker for various reasons that he's a national figure or historical reasons around his contract he is outside.

Livelines and he Alone Can differ from the BBC policy.

It's only you could do spider meal or if you say you have to live by the end of the BBC has been a bit weak and wobbly about this for that sort of five or six years in the it's been pretty obvious that Gary isn't really complying with the letter of the law the BBC upheld complaints against him and fretted about it all the time and it sort of pretend that is alright, but a lot of people have felt.

It's not have been people in BBC sport and BBC News and said that I get fired and the right really so it's very hard to have that outlier Gary Lineker well as you allowed to Roger the issue of Gary Lineker Twitter non-clinical subjects come up before in fact it came up when he knows spoke for the media show in 2021 and this is what he told me.

I don't really know much about.

A little bit I'm interested in politics, but I don't you know I tried to be sensible.

I think that's that's why I tried to be and I think I don't know I've never had any phone calls from the 10-day when he came didn't conversations with me since he's been in but he said you can't talk about that you can't when did he did he talk to you on my own person that was 2021 and today Gary Lineker's not taking this tweet down.

He hasn't apologise and his treated the hill continue to try and speak up for those poor soul have no voice and apparent reference to those on the small boats all of which is given the BBC plenty of the think about not as Roger was saying for the first time and Gary Lineker's opinions came in a parliamentary select committee in September last year when MPs ask the BBC director-general Tim Davie about this Gary and I've had a conversation says and I think.

Improvement to where he was a few years ago in terms of his entry into the party politics.

I think the banning people completely from going to any issues based is probably the wrong position to do but there's a standard there.

We talk about it.

I'm very supportive team David of September this is Tim Davie today being doorstep by BBC journalist.

I haven't spoken to him, but what you been saying to him.

I wouldn't have anything.

It's think it's totally appropriate that we speak privately to members of the team.

How many strikes will someone get writing on social media and I wouldn't talk thanks very much the BBC is also sent the media show this statement saying the BBC has social media guidance which is published individuals who work for us are aware of their responsibilities relating to social media we have appropriate.

Processes in place if required but Roger Mosey isn't the problem here that while 4 News journalist the rules are very very clear on what can and can't be said it's not that this clear for people who work for the BBC in particular in a freelance capacity who are outside the news division.

Well, let me see I like respect so much many people were saying this program will think actually they agree with him on quite a lot and so do I I think the problem is if you mention it was somebody tweeting the opposite if they're saying is right and refugees should be turned back and actually know what brexit is working.

I think people would find that difficult coming for a BBC presenter paid by the licence fee and if you take 1.4 million pounds a year from licence fee payers.

There are some obligations on you to keep your views more private always have done if you do want to dance on the head with him.

It's going a tweeted.

I support refugees refugees should be treated humanely that might have been ok the problems once attacking skill broadman and then the reference to Nazi Germany 1930s comes in the subsequent point it's very hard indeed see how that fits with BBC guidelines on being.

On current politics as a BBC presenter and as your unpacking for us.

This is just a media story.

It's a political story as well here in the media show Studio with me as Alvarez the place Westminster Insider podcast and in a week over that the government and Rishi Sunak wanted to talk about small boats the story I guess gives additional momentum to yeah.

I think so absolutely I mean I think there's a probably feeling and Number 10 and they were quite happy with the front pages this morning pretty much an equal division of people and I'm seeing too small boats policy itself and seem quite positive times 2 times and the Express sort of saying that she said that was laying down the law be clear we decide who comes here and then some other papers leading on the Gary Lineker story, but should have suggesting that maybe you should be sacked from his role, so I think that they they've been kind of happy with the with the spin on it so far and sort of on the loo.

Gary Lineker on BBC Breakfast earlier her parents all Appearances by ministers will be controlled by the Number 10 comes operation communications operation help us understand how that's running at the moment will it's very interesting so because this is a media so we can get into a bit more of the person behind all this is a woman called and for the bottom who used to be the head of home news that TV which is abstract title really shoes on the most senior people one of the people behind all the party get stories and really well known around Westminster really well regarded Politician's tried to post her before unsuccessfully to run their homes, but she finally made the move into number 10 to help Rishi Sunak having essentially brought down Boris Johnson with her own journalism, so she's really highly regarded the people know her really well someone like Beth Rigby or Robert Pattinson you see on TV would have a really close personal relationship with her from working with her before I'm really she's coming and has brought in a number of.

I think the main which listeners might have no sis is really kind of try to slow down the news agenda.

I think basically they done some polling which suggest that people are sick of hearing my politics.

I don't want to have this sense of chaos.

We've had three really the past few years and so they made this decision not to put ministers up on the morning broadcast times every every morning and basically just slow down the news agenda, and they really feel that's working and how do you judge her and Rishi Sunak approach to the BBC because some of their predecessors have made no secret of their ability towards the BBC on certain issues.

I think very clearly leaning into this division over Gary Lineker and thinking that maybe they expose a bit of a dividing line between themselves and labour also supposed and the bottom is not a BBC person even though she's a media person she was on ITV on a Sky person.

I think that comes through and some

Choices around who's given an interview and answer and so on and bring you back in here another dimension.

That's awkward for the BBC here.

Is that it doesn't want to be on one side of an argument as Elvis just been describing with reference to this small boat story doesn't want to be having one of its main stars seen as being on one side or the other no, I think the difficulties of BBC's the people lining up to say Lineker must be sacked and not people were they wouldn't stick to be a griever Norwood I am unfortunately you know they have some argument about impartiality the BBC BBC has to take seriously and impartiality is difficult because again I sympathised very great with me.

Then we make this for her views on the door coming thing but to me the Script wasn't right.

It wasn't quite impossible should be and therefore the BBC's complaints process sometimes has took all that out and it's a story plot.

It's not.

It's just that you will always get critical pressures the BBC has to do the right and independent thing and if it's going to be right now dependant needs to show if so impartial thank you very much indeed for albaray.

Who can listen to on politico, Westminster Insider podcast thanks for coming in Albert but let's talk about algorithms.

We've all become familiar with how algorithms the content that were offered on social media and on video and audio streaming services to and this relationship between algorithm the people who make the content and all of us to consumers is fundamental to all of our Media experiences put bluntly the algorithm shape.

What media we see and yet, there's quite a lot.

We don't know how they work softened far from clear what the rules of the game are both for the consumer and the content creator let's bring it 3 people who can help us with this beginning with Kara swisher journalist.

A couple of Hit podcast on with Kara swisher and pivot great to have you back on the media show thanks for your time.

Thank you.

Does it seem strange to you with someone who's followed text form? Is this vital element of the media equation the algorithm is not brilliantly understood either by consumer or creator.

No it doesn't make it a secret sauces Kentucky Fried Chicken what kind of thing but these things to Terminal lot of of how we behaving influences and everything else and it's really important to have transparency around and how it's working then of course again as I said they tried to protect them vehemently but they do have an impact socially and politically and everything else and we don't know what they're doing with our data and very important to understand how these algorithms are working and make them available to consumers say they do understand how the brain manipulated bringing someone who knows them very well no adjoins or Cruiser is a sociopath.

Mathematics at the university and the States and professor John Cusack you're an expert on media algorithms.

Do you think those behind them understand their power? I mean? I think one interesting dynamic with is algorithms.

Is that they mention? There's a lot of complexity in mystery around them, but at the heart.

There is really just kind of a simple math formula that explain this was what struck me the most I started in in theoretical mouth and moved into this more so familiar.

I'll get them stuff and I think I left out is there is basically the same formula that drives Facebook Instagram Twitter and tiktok another very different platforms and the basic idea.

You don't need much my background is the algorithm uses artificial intelligence to predict what kind of you're going to do.

I need to post if you're going to like a retweet and comment on it and behind-the-scenes the engineers assign a certain number of points to each his actions we know.

These points for Facebook because of the Whistleblower like Frances haugen a y = 1.8, 12:30 points but other than that leak.

We don't know what this point calories are sofa tic-tac-toe.

How many points does to comment vs.

Watch a video but there's really just this formula that tries to see how many points do you think each of these poster videos learn from each user and whenever I posted the most points is one of our first to the simple ideas simple idea, but of course not simple to know the values being a signed let's also bring in Katy Leeson managing director of former managing director of social chain which is a social media marketing and tech company in case you've recently become CEO of the media division Gary Neville's relentless group and it sounds like someone in your job has and your time trying to second guess what the algorithms doing yeah, and it changes all the time as well.

That's the thing it's very unpredictable what they're all doing is watching each other and then change in the av.

Effectively because ultimately the main thing is each platform want you to stay on there as long as is possible, so they will change it.

What what the others are doing and then so a lot of time trying to understand how to hack the algorithm so to speak what you just stay, but at the same time.

They're keeping you guessing.

They want you to stay at the advertising money so with the long as you're on platform the more likely they are to be able to preserve your dad's which is something that drives the revenue for the platforms.

Yeah, but they don't tell you what it is.

That's going to keep your content that they think all the computer thinks you're interested in you.

Tell me about conversations.

You've had all you've listened into when media content creators of all sorts from big operation like international media organisations write down to individuals say come on tell us more help us know the rules of the game.

The famous Media mobile it's not red or blue.

It's green.

It's about money and making money.

He was talking obviously about the lies that Fox News events has been telling around January 6th and more in the election denial is really important to understand that we as a society have it advertised as were allowed to do anything all to manipulate people on radio or television this was not allow there are rules on advertising all over the world is a lot of them in the United States to and in this case there's no rules of what they doing to sy20 as a I become ever more powerful it gets even worse cos I can be used to be able to send the million different message to million different people now.

They can just do it endlessly and in ways that are that make you a relationship with these algorithms and so boring that in mind lowered.

You think there should be some great a form of transparency.

So the anyone who is creating content who's placing it on these big plaits.

Understands the system that they're about to take part in yet, and I think this is where the shady business as that comes in they tried at the Tech companies try to hide the smell of corporate secrecy that we have proprietary algorithms.

We did all this research were entitled to this intellectual property, but there's so much more they could reveal that the algorithm that would help us as users have better experience content producers.

Just to give her an example as I mentioned that this basic math for know they try to predict things your comment on and lichen and dudu visa response of Engagement I think they should tell us what types of data are they using to make these predictions my gender my age my friends on Facebook my history if I'm on YouTube by using my Google search history even if they don't what's the secret sauce recipe of how they make these predictions to fancy a either developed just telling us the basic ingredients.

What goes into that prediction.

I think that would be fair game it wouldn't give her a competitors alike up and

No, what what are listening to and what are using to manipulate us and so that's the look at the the equation from the perspective of content creator but Katie what about the consumer is an appetite from people to understand better.

Why they're being served up what they're being served or do you think actually on the whole people will go along with however the algorithms working this one way you're actually getting so things that you want to watch but unfortunately because the algorithm is a machine.

There is a risk with her as well and one of my everything's is young people not understanding that there are things that they watch so they're getting if they're watching something dangerous to them the algorithm doesn't know whether that's good or bad.

They'll get some more of that and then they'll trapped in this loop and that is really a problem but on the other side of he can look at it in a way where it's very tailored to you and you're getting some things that is actually very relevant.

So say you're into Bolton Golf content.

You get served more of that we're

You in that longer, but it's great you're right.

It's very tricky because we don't know what it is.

That is making the algorithm work and people are very naive to to it as well and the Dangerous Thing and I'm struggling to all three of you, how much power these platforms have because they're keeping people guessing that people are keeping coming back but Kara we talked before on the media show on Twitter and Elon Musk taking over and it's been striking on that platform how you see people everyday complaining I used to do this and it did well on Twitter and now it's not happening and I just have no idea.

Why do you think there's some platforms the people in the end will get sick of that experience? That's why they want to keep that one part.

It's really important.

So the constant knowing of what upsets are or it's like I was like being at the casino essentially with the with the machines.

They know which makes you wanna put

Over again the second thing is the addictive nature of it is with the problem right because if you do our that's right you get very addicted.

It's not unlike cigarette.

If not unlike a lot of things that are addictive works on that goes cross tallaght brainstem and makes us want to click more.

That's the same with Twitter about parties about product and the products getting worse because the unmerciful everybody and can't make changes to the pub collapses and so that's going to be a problem the Promise lot of people very tempted to Twitter and I like the enragement.

That's really was the game there right now.

So good thing is too small and I know it doesn't the media and I know what isn't to politicians, but it's a really small and small footprint in the world that has an influential now one and it's terrible terrible business and husband for most of it.

I've got a couple more questions for You by Elon Musk on Twitter which will get through in a couple of minutes, but Katie before I let you go.

I just want an insight into how you and your colleagues work and how you used to.

Social chain as well you sit down each day at the beginning of the day with the range of content you might want to put out there and try and work out try and pick out the trends of how the algorithm that day or is that overstating no not at all.

That's exactly what we did we had two names of people who were just constantly looking at what was working what types of content for example now at the minute and referring people to really learn something from the contents of this on there so saving of content and sharing it and commenting.

It is really high value.

So it's we have people who literally sat there all the times wondered what was going on each platform how to make the most out of it for the content we were created for a client's so that's quite different from the more traditional background which you started your career in a very much.

So just buying a magazine or newspaper was very easy or you getting.

Play there's a big policy shift every few months or if there's something that's constantly evolving for the platforms.

There's macro changes that are you know maybe once a year every few months were they really revamp something but they're constantly running these experiments thousands of experiments everyday all the time if you don't medical studies the best way to do a medical studies randomised controlled trials were they are the people on to Placebo treatment groups.

Will they have all the years they have all the data.

They can run endless number of experiments.

So that's what they do non-stop and they use that data to tweak their product to treat the wrong to do as carer said to keep people as addictive as possible.

So that status applies.

They leverage it as much as they can 2000 inside into the core really of the media experiences through the big tech platforms.

Thank you very much to know John siracusa from Bentley University thanks the Katy Leeson as well from the Relentless group Kara you're staying with me.

Just a couple of minutes longer because you've got to talk about you had another.

Elon Musk inside on Twitter this time it was a twitter employee you tweeted that he wasn't sure if you've been sacked or not must replied made a number of disparaging comments including about this man health turned out the man had been sacked he also revealed that he has muscular dystrophy and then after a while Elon Musk apologised again with any other so so this could be just extraordinary, but somehow this isn't particularly surprising Patrol I don't know what to say.

He was wrong as usual frequently wrong but never in doubt most of the time.

It's an expression we used and so he attack someone relentlessly and quite Crawley this man is muscular dystrophy a terrifically regarded technologist in an entrepreneur.

Didn't know we're talking about as usual and then realised he possibly have lost it on his hands.

Give him what he was saying with lack of information.

I had bad information.

Give me a break.

He said he tweets when everyone so he doesn't check in.

There is no consequences for this behaviour and that's going on for years and years and years and how does that's ok.

Play into what your hearing broadly about the culture within Twitter and the efforts that you're on musk is making to change it as a business and a product you know he's making it worse will see if you can cut to the bone to create a cash flow positive situation if that's great.

It's been there before he's managed to make it worse and he's made into sort of a a free-for-all.

It's you know.

He's course bragging about what he's doing and blaming the previous administration for all the problems that he himself is that's typical of a belly rise 10-year old and so so I think we'll see what happens when they make something out of it.

I'll probably try to take a public again and make some money in.

The overpayment he made the 44 billion dollars by you know selling it to the next soccer down the street and I will see where it goes and just for those listening.

You didn't follow this this exchange just one of the things that Elon Musk said he said the reality is that this guy who's independently wealthy did no actual work claim does is excuse to the has a disability that prevents them from typing get will simultaneously treating Up A Storm can't see I have a lot of respect for that.

That was a since then.

We have an apology.

I would like to apologise to her for my misunderstanding of the situation.

It was based on things.

I was told the one true or is true, but not meaningful he is considering remaining at Twitter now my question for you here Cara is as we see you on must behaving like this.

Is this different to the st.

John Bosco you've reported on for yes.

He's always trying to do things like that about 10% of Personality he seemed to curl into some sort of Weir

Right wintrobe Bono lawyer got him and said he now has a terrific case to see you and then he tried to walk It Back it's always in their self-interest and so you didn't hear you never apologises in Leicester some risk to him financially and obviously we get one view of Twitter through and Elon Musk through the headlines that he generates but in terms of the products the media right in this case the Twitter product.

Can we say that it's fundamentally shifted because of him being in charge beyond the headlines now.

He hasn't done anything.

There's nothing new we can't watch anything.

He's not believe how much would a blue and by the way all of these ideas were things that Twitter was working on so it's probably pulling things out of the cover nothing Fashanu is happening here on this platform is just got to be able to experience now a lot of people but you know what see what happens approved by you know he should probably go back to cars and Rockets for the actually has some expertise and actually makes great price.

Play by the way tehsils under Siege cause what's a car companies are catching up not totally yet, because he's had manufacturing technology.

They will there's so many good cars out there now and at an affordable price mean well.

There is just a new report that steering wheels fall off of Tesla so he's got a focus on the stuff is good at like cars and The Rockets and everything else.

That's my feeling but he seems to want troll all day long.

I think that's the best use of his considerable brain just for Let You Go car just too quick question last time we spoke you said he's stopped replying to messages from you for a little while back from him since he called me and asked and I feel like I don't want to talk to someone who emails that couple years ago algorithms.

You've got two very successful podcast you rely on algorithms to generate some of that success you feel exposed but no now I'm doing great storytelling and Rachel isn't that.

Hi on.

It's really hard.

I was on Facebook tried to drag me into there are one of the news test many years ago and how does it help me and I didn't do it was like it's a waste of my time.

I don't know there's any efficacy.

Love you.

Have you want it? Thank you very much indeed.

That's Kara swisher.

Thanks to Roger Mosey alvarino John siracusa and Katy Leeson would be back at the usual time next week.

Bye bye.

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