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Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook's Leaders Fought Through Crisis

By The New York Times

Sheryl Sandberg was seething


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  • Kenneth Li
    Kenneth LiMedia and Telecoms Editor at Reuters

    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.

  • Peter Green
    Peter GreenFounder at FoodMakers.NYC

    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.

  • Joon Ian  Wong
    Joon Ian Wong Managing director at CoinDesk

    Excellent report showing how little misinformation mattered to Facebook. It gives the lie to Zuckerberg’s wannabe technocratic philosophy. It just doesn’t work.

  • Max Lockie
    Max LockiePlatform Editor at Quartz

    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.

  • Hanna Kozlowska
    Hanna KozlowskaReporter at Quartz

    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:

  • Jim Anderson
    Jim AndersonCEO at SocialFlow

    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.

  • Anthony Duignan-Cabrera
    Anthony Duignan-CabreraCEO at ADC Strategy

    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.

  • Max de Haldevang
    Max de Haldevang Reporter, Quartz Membership at Quartz

    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.

  • Holly Ojalvo
    Holly Ojalvotalent lab editor at Quartz

    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.

  • Alec Ellin
    Alec EllinCeo at Laylo

    Move fast and break things usually doesn't work when 2 billion people are involved

  • Ray Mac Cormack
    Ray Mac CormackR.Mac.Photography

    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.

  • Paul Lorsbach
    Paul LorsbachCTO at Great Hearts Initiatives

    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, but somehow I still am. Another example of absolute power corrupting absolutely.

  • John Commons
    John CommonsEditor and Writer at RCM News

    This is how Borg collectives get started.. Shut em down before it's too late.

  • Mike Murphy
    Mike MurphyTechnology Editor at Quartz

    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.

  • Helen Edwards
    Helen EdwardsAlways curious at Koru Ventures

    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.

  • Sarah Kessler
    Sarah KesslerQuartz

    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.

  • Gordon Broward
    Gordon Broward

    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.

  • Loukas Karnis
    Loukas KarnisEditor-in-chief at Typeroom

    Disgrace #facebook

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