Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook's Leaders Fought Through Crisis
Sheryl Sandberg was seething
This is an incredible story and explodes the mythology of silicon valley titans biased to the left. The bias, it appears, is whatever works. For all the talk of saving the planet, at the end of the day, it's just naked commerce.
Too big to Trust
Astounding how arrogant the Facebookers are. They feel they can do no wrong, and yet they got played like country hicks. This article makes the case for regulation, oversight and the breakup of a new breed of company: tech giants that are too big to trust.
Excellent report showing how little misinformation mattered to Facebook. It gives the lie to Zuckerberg’s wannabe technocratic philosophy. It just doesn’t work.
It's pretty thinly sourced - but one of the most shocking parts to me is where Chuck Schumer got the Senate to back off regulating Facebook because of family connections.
Also, no hate to young Schumer, but it reinforces the feeling I got when I worked at FB. Lots of people there don't do a lot and are essentially political appointees. I guess most large businesses are like that though on some level.
The problems at Facebook (and Google) are systemic. The business model requires the company to monopolize attention. Surveillance makes the ads valuable. At the scale of FB and Google, the damage to democracy, public health, privacy, and competition is huge. If you want to end the damage, you have to change the business model. You have to eliminate surveillance and cross-subsidies for affiliates. Changing executives will only help if the new ones change the business model and business practices. Everything else is just PR.
Damning investigation from the Times, looking particularly bad for Sheryl Sandberg.
This story just gets worse & worse: “Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.”
McNamee’s comment gets to the essence of the issue — the conflict between values and business model usually gets resolved in favor of the business model. Farhad Manjoo’s column earlier this month (and my comment on that) discuss the overreliance on founders’ visions and how two-class ownership structures make it hard to overcome them. Frontline’s recent two episodes on Facebook are illuminating and are a good complement to this story: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/facebook-dilemma/
What strikes me most is that I am comment #19, and every single one of the posts before me is negative—some of them dripping with visceral anger. Lack of Trust + Anger is Facebook’s biggest challenge moving forward. They created this situation, and now they have to see if they can fix, or at least improve, it.
The only thing missing from the great lead on this story is describing Sandberg as "leaning in" to the assembled execs crowded around the table. That would have made the story more awesome than it already is; a harrowing tale of greed and power unchecked and unencumbered by silly things like morality and personal responsibility.
Some incredible intellectual dishonesty from Facebook: Zuckerberg and Sandberg rightly appalled at being targeted in anti Semitic protest signs implying they’re secretly running the world. But then they pay lobbyists to spread stories about anti-Facebook activity being run by George Soros—the favorite target of the most virulent anti Semitic conspiracy theorists out there.
Little here is terribly surprising, but the details are stunning, strung into a very compelling narrative. It strikes me not as a tech story or a privacy story or a data story or a politics story, but as a human story. Shakespearean, even.
These people lack self awareness and empathy. Frightening, IMHO.
Move fast and break things usually doesn't work when 2 billion people are involved
Not really a surprise here, Facebook and the other companies mentioned are amoral, the rest is marketing, These companies rely on people not fully understanding what their personal data is worth, and how that can be used to manipulate them. People ultimately need to know what their data is worth, and accordingly control how much they choose to share with all platforms.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, but somehow I still am. Another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely.
This is how Borg collectives get started.. Shut em down before it's too late.
The Facebook apology tour will continue, and it’s getting harder and harder to see how anyone could forgive them. This is just mad.
This type of PR is extremely difficult to maneuver because the accusations overshadow and undermine progress.
Has Facebook done anything to protect the privacy of its users and combat misinformation? Who knows, no one is going to remember. This is likely the beginning of intense negative backlash.
I’m already hearing talk from advertising agencies about pulling their media off of Facebook.
Interesting how releasing hacked emails is a “disinformation” campaign. How is truth “disinformation”?
So these two leaders, when presented with evidence that the organization they run and are responsible for was being used for ethnic cleansing basically shrugged, said it’s not our problem, let’s hope no one finds out. The problem isn’t the inanimate Facebook; the problem is these two morally bankrupt self-serving individuals playing God for the sake of money and fame.
Shows what can happen in the new technocracies - where people at the top put too much faith in AI doing the work and making the decisions. Took a long time for execs to really know what was happening on the platform even though there was different knowledge, suspicion and erosion of trust the further someone was from the boardroom.
This is amazing reporting. For me the most bizarre detail is that Facebook hired an opposition firm that has used a tactic that Facebook enables—writing and distributing negative stories about targets.
Its leftist cognitive dissonance. It won't stop until conservatives and republicans have their own Facebook. Steve Wozniak pulled his account from Facebook sighting their inherent security flaws.
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