A possible way to read “The Facebook Files,” the Wall Street Journal. Excellent series of reports Based on Facebook’s internal research, the story of a non-stop liver note bulldozing society on the way to the bank.
The series exposes evidence that Facebook has a two-tier justice system, knowing that Instagram is tarnishing girls’ physical image issues and that, among other issues, its Misinformation about vaccines is a big problem in comparison. And to think that Facebook is terribly powerful, and that it can only be stopped by aggressive government intervention.
- Facebook whistle maker Harvard Alum says company ‘chooses profit over security’
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram are blocked worldwide.
But there is another way to read the series, and that is the interpretation that resonates in my mind as each new episode comes out.
which one: Facebook is in trouble.
Not financial trouble, or legal trouble, or even Senator-Scream at Mark Zuckerberg trouble. What I’m talking about is a kind of slow, steady decline that anyone who has ever seen a dying company up close can recognize. It is a cloud of existential fear that hangs over an organization whose best days are behind it, influencing every management preference and product decision and leading to increasingly frustrating efforts to find a way out. This kind of deficiency is not necessarily visible from the outside, but insiders see hundreds of small, disturbing signs of it every day – the growing hex of the enemy, the obsessive axis, the executive paranoia, the gradual lack of talented colleagues.
It has become fashionable among Facebook critics to emphasize the size and dominance of the company while defeating its mistakes. During a Senate hearing Thursday, lawmakers questioned Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of security, about the company’s drug design and its impact on billions of users. Many questions from Davis were hostile, but like most bag tech hearings, there was a strange kind of respect in the air, like lawmakers asking: Hey, Godzilla, would you please stop stumbling on Tokyo?
But if these leaked documents prove anything, that’s how Facebook feels like a non-God. Documents shared with Frances Hagen’s journal by a former Facebook product manager worry a company that it is losing power and influence, not gaining it, according to its own research Many of its products are not developing organically. Instead, it is increasingly moving to extreme lengths to improve its toxic image, and prevent users from abandoning their apps in favor of a more compelling alternative.
You can see this weakness on display in an episode of the journal series that aired last week. The article, which cites Facebook’s internal research, reveals that the company is strategizing on how to market itself to children, calling appearances “valuable but unused.” The audience is called. There was plenty of room for anger in this article, including a presentation in which Facebook researchers asked if there was a way to take advantage of playdates to reach out to children.
It’s a crazy sound question, but it’s also revealing. Will a trusted, evolving social media app need to “take advantage of PlayDates”, or create a comprehensive development strategy for 10-year-olds? If Facebook isn’t going to stop, is it really promoting itself as a twins – and please read it in Steve Bassimi’s voice “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme – “Life Coach for Adults?”
The fact is that the thirst for Facebook for young users is less about dominating the new market and more about preventing irrelevance. Facebook use among teens in the United States has been declining for years, and is expected to decline further soon – internal researchers predict that daily use will drop by 45% by 2023. Over the years, the core app has been losing market share to fast-growing competitors such as TickTalk, and young users aren’t publishing as much content as they used to.
According to internal documents, Facebook is for the elderly.
A good way to think about Facebook’s worries is that they fall into two basic tastes: the problems of having too many users, and the problems caused by too few users to create the culture they want. Doing, Trending Setting, Advertising Favorite Young American
There is evidence of both types in Facebook files. For example, an episode looks at the company’s nefarious efforts to curb criminal activity and human rights abuses in the developing world – a problem that has been exacerbated by Facebook’s habit of spreading to countries where it Has fewer employees and less local skills.
But this type of problem can be fixed or at least improved with a lot of resources and attention. The second type of problem – when taste buds leave your platform en masse – is what kills you. And Facebook executives seem to be the most upset.
Take the third article in the journal’s series, which reveals that Facebook’s decision to change its 2018 newsfeed algorithm only increased anger and rage, rather than emphasizing “meaningful social interaction.”
The algorithm change was then touted as a great push for healthy communication. But internal reports suggest it was an attempt to reverse a one-year decline in consumer engagement. Likes, shares and comments were falling on the platform, as was a metric called “original broadcasts”. Executives tried to redesign the Newsfeed algorithm to promote content that received a lot of comments and reactions, which meant “content that makes people very angry.”
“Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” said Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne. “Saying we turn a blind eye to the opinion ignores these investments, including 40,000 people working on safety and security on Facebook and our 13 13 billion investment since 2016.”
It’s too early to call Facebook dead. The company’s stock price has risen about 30 percent in the past year, driven by strong advertising revenue and an increase in the use of certain products during epidemics. Facebook is still growing in countries outside the United States, and may succeed there even if it stumbles domestically. And the company has invested heavily in new initiatives, such as enhanced and virtual reality products, that could change if they succeed.
But Facebook’s research tells a clear story, and it’s not happy. Its young users are coming back to SnapChat and TickTalk, and its older users are posting anti-vaccine memes and discussing politics. Some Facebook products are actively shrinking, while others are simply making their users angry or self-conscious.
Facebook’s diminishing relevance to young people must not necessarily disappoint its critics. History teaches us that social networks rarely prolong life, and that tech companies can do a lot of damage as they go down. (I’m thinking of MySpace, which was increasingly full of seeds and junk as it became a ghost town, and stopped selling user data to advertising firms.
Facebook’s next few years could be worse than its last few years, especially if it decides to reduce its internal research and integrity efforts in the wake of Lex.
None of this says that Facebook is not powerful, that it should not be controlled or that its actions do not deserve scrutiny. It may be true that Facebook is in decline and is still one of the most influential companies in history with the potential to shape politics and culture around the world.
But we must not make defensive mistakes for the sake of healthy madness, or confuse the frustrated flare of a platform for a show of strength. Godzilla eventually died, and as Facebook files show, so does Facebook.