Rethinking Facebook: We Need To Make Sure That 'Good For The World' Is More Important Than 'Good For Facebook'

from the these-things-matter dept

I’m sure by now most of you have either seen or read about Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s appearance on 60 Minutes discussing in detail the many problems she saw within Facebook. I’m always a little skeptical about 60 Minutes these days, as the show has an unfortunately long history of misrepresenting things about the internet, and similarly a single person’s claims about what’s happening within a company are not always the most accurate. That said, what Haugen does have to say is still kind of eye opening, and certainly concerning.

The key takeaway that many seem to be highlighting from the interview is Haugen noting that Facebook knows damn well that making the site better for users will make Facebook less money.

Frances Haugen: And one of the consequences of how Facebook is picking out that content today is it is — optimizing for content that gets engagement, or reaction. But its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it’s easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions.

Scott Pelley: Misinformation, angry content– is enticing to people and keep–

Frances Haugen: Very enticing.

Scott Pelley:–keeps them on the platform.

Frances Haugen: Yes. Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money.

Of course, none of this should be surprising to anyone. Mark Zuckerberg himself said as much in an internal email that was revealed a few years ago, in which he noted in response to a suggestion to make Facebook better: “that may be good for the world but it’s not good for us.”

Over the last few years that line has stuck with me, and I’ve had a few conversations trying to think through what that actually means. There is one argument, which partly makes sense to me, that much of this actually falls back on the problem being Wall Street and the (false) idea that a company’s fiduciary duty is solely to its shareholders above all else. This kind of thinking has certainly damned many companies that are so focused on making quarterly numbers and quarterly results that it makes it impossible to focus on long term sustainability and how, in the long term, being “good for the world” should also be “good for the company.” So many companies have been destroyed by needing to keep Wall Street happy.

And, of course, it’s tempting to blame Wall Street. And we’ve certainly seen it happen in other situations. The fear of “missing our numbers” drives so many stupid decisions in corporate America. I’m still nervous about how Wall St. is pressuring Twitter to make some questionable decisions. However, blaming Wall Street conveniently leaves Facebook off the hook, and that would also be wrong. As Haugen admits in the interview, she’s worked at other internet companies that weren’t like that.

I’ve seen a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I’d seen before.

So what is it about Facebook that leads them to believe that, when given the choice between “good for the world” and “good for Facebook,” it must lean in on “good for Facebook” at the cost of the world? That aspect has been less explored, and unfortunately Haugen’s revelations don’t tell us that much about why Facebook is so uniquely bad at this. I think some of it may be tied to what I wrote last week: Facebook’s internal hubris about what the company can and cannot accomplish — including a belief that maybe it can walk the fine line between pleasing Wall Street and beating its numbers… and not supporting genocide in Myanmar.

Part of me, though, wonders if the problem is not just the drive to meet Wall St.’s numbers, but that Zuckerberg, senior management, and (perhaps more importantly) Facebook’s Board actually believe that short term fiduciary duty to shareholders really is more important than being good for the world. Looking at Facebook’s Board, it’s not exactly composed of anyone who you’d think would step up to highlight that maybe “doing the right thing for society” outweighs keeping Wall Street happy. And that’s particularly disappointing given that Zuckerberg doesn’t need to keep Wall Street happy. The corporate structure of Facebook allows him to basically do what he wants (within certain limits) and still retain pretty much full control. He could come out and say that Facebook is going to stop worrying about its growth and focus on being better stewards. But he doesn’t seem interested in doing so.

This is obviously armchair psychologizing someone I do not know, but one of the most interesting traits that I’ve observed about Zuckerberg is that — more than just about any other CEO since Andy Grove — he truly seems to have internalized Andy Grove’s mantra that “only the paranoid survive.” I’ve talked before about how Facebook really seems to have completely bought into the idea of the Innovator’s Dilemma, and how competition can come from unexpected places and completely overwhelm incumbents before they even realize it. That has very clearly explained Facebook seeming to “overpay” for Instagram and WhatsApp (and then desperately try to buy out Snapchat, TikTok and others).

But that same thinking might easily apply to some of its other decisions as well, including a belief that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And, as the NY Times notes, some of the recently leaked documents show real cracks in Facebook’s monolithic facade:

But if these leaked documents proved anything, it is how un-Godzilla-like Facebook feels. The documents, shared with The Journal by Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, reveal a company worried that it is losing power and influence, not gaining it, with its own research showing that many of its products aren?t thriving organically. Instead, it is going to increasingly extreme lengths to improve its toxic image, and to stop users from abandoning its apps in favor of more compelling alternatives.

You can see this vulnerability on display in an installment of The Journal?s series that landed last week. The article, which cited internal Facebook research, revealed that the company has been strategizing about how to market itself to children, referring to preteens as a ?valuable but untapped audience.? The article contained plenty of fodder for outrage, including a presentation in which Facebook researchers asked if there was ?a way to leverage playdates to drive word of hand/growth among kids??

It?s a crazy-sounding question, but it?s also revealing. Would a confident, thriving social media app need to ?leverage playdates,? or concoct elaborate growth strategies aimed at 10-year-olds? If Facebook is so unstoppable, would it really be promoting itself to tweens as ? and please read this in the voice of the Steve Buscemi ?How do you do, fellow kids?? meme ? a ?Life Coach for Adulting??

So if you’ve been brought up to believe with every ounce of your mind and soul that growth is everything, and that the second you take your eye off the ball it will stop, decisions that are “good for Facebook, but bad for the world” become the norm. Going back to my post on the hubris of Facebook, it also feels like Mark thinks that once Facebook passes some imaginary boundary, then they can go back and fix the parts of the world they screwed up. It doesn’t work like that, though.

And that’s a problem.

So what can be done about that? At an absolute first pass, it would be nice if Mark Zuckerberg realized that he can make some decisions that are “good for the world, but bad for Facebook” and he should do that publicly, transparently, and clearly explaining why he knows that this will harm their growth or bottom line, but that it’s the right thing to do. To some small extent he tried to do something like that with the Oversight Board, but it was a half measure, with limited power. But it was something. He needs to be willing to step up and do more things like that, and if Wall Street doesn’t like it, he should just say he doesn’t care, this is too important. Other CEOs have done this. Hell, Jeff Bezos spent the first decade or so of Amazon’s life as a public company constantly telling Wall Street that’s how things were going to work (people now forget just how much Wall Street hated Amazon, and just how frequently Bezos told them he didn’t care, he was going to build a better customer experience). Google (perhaps somewhat infamously) launched their IPO with a giant middle finger to Wall Street in noting that they weren’t going to play the bankers’ games (though… that promise has mostly disappeared from Google, along with the founders).

Of course, in doing so most people will dismiss whatever Zuckerberg decides to do as a cynical nothingburger. And they should. He’s not done nearly enough to build up the public trust on this. But if he can actually follow through and do the right thing over and over again, especially when it’s bad for Facebook, that would at least start things moving in the right direction.

There are plenty of other ideas on how to make Facebook be better — and Haugen actually has some pretty good suggestions herself, first noting that the tools most people reach for won’t work:

While some have called for Facebook to be broken up or stripped of content liability protections, she disagrees. Neither approach would address the problems uncovered in the documents, she said?that despite numerous initiatives, Facebook didn?t address or make public what it knew about its platforms? ill effects.

That is, breaking up the company won’t make a difference for reasons we’ve discussed before, and taking away Section 230 will only give Facebook way more power — since smaller companies will be wiped out by the lack of liability protections.

Instead, Haugen notes, there needs to be way more transparency about how Facebook is doing what it’s doing:

In Ms. Haugen’s view, allowing outsiders to see the company’s research and operations is essential. She also argues for a radical simplification of Facebook’s systems and for limits on promoting content based on levels of engagement, a core feature of Facebook’s recommendation systems. The company’s own research has found that “misinformation, toxicity, and violent content are inordinately prevalent” in material reshared by users and promoted by the company’s own mechanics.

Tragically, Facebook has been going in the other direction and trying to make it harder for researchers to understand what’s going on there and study the impact.

I think there are some other structural changes that would also have some impact (a bunch of which I’ll lay out in an upcoming paper), but getting Zuckerberg, the Board, and the senior management team to be okay with focusing on something other than short term growth would be a huge step forward. Years back I noted that human beings have an unfortunate habit of optimizing for what we can measure and downplaying what we can’t. Engagement. Revenue. Daily average users. These are all measurable. What’s good for humanity is not measurable. It’s easy to prioritize one over the other — and somehow that needs to change.

There have been a few external steps in that direction. The Long Term Stock Exchange is an interesting experiment in getting companies past the “meet the quarterly numbers” mindset, and two big tech companies recently listed there — including Asana, which was founded by Zuckerberg’s co-founder and former righthand man, Dustin Moskovitz. That’s not a solution in and of itself, but it does show a direction in which we can look for solutions that might get past the constant focus on growth at the expense of everything else.

In the end, there are many complicating factors, but as noted earlier, Facebook seems pretty extreme in its unwillingness to actually confront many of these issues. Some of that, no doubt, is that many people are complaining about things that are unfixable, or are blaming Facebook for things totally outside of its control. But there are many things that Facebook does control and could do a much better job in dealing with. Yet, Facebook to date has failed to make it clear on a companywide basis that “good for the world, but bad for Facebook” is actually okay, and maybe it should be the focus for a while.

This is not to say that there aren’t people within the company who are working on doing such things — because there clearly are. The problem is that when a big issue needs a decision from the top, the end result is always to choose what’s good for Facebook over what’s good for the world. And however that can change, it needs to change. And that’s really up to one person.

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Comments on “Rethinking Facebook: We Need To Make Sure That 'Good For The World' Is More Important Than 'Good For Facebook'”

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mvario (profile) says:

I am reminded

I am reminded of when in my youth, high school, early 70s, my Social Studies (do they still call it that?) teacher, the one who promised us a 4-day work week was right around the corner, praised the Japanese corporate system for its 5 and 10 year plans, and not chasing quarterly numbers, and how American corporations would all soon follow suit. He was of course wrong, and by the 80s Japanese corporations were modelling themselves on US companies and Wall Street. We were all full of hope and dreams back then.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I am reminded

They did eventually engage in more long-term thinking.That is how Jeff Bezos got so goddamned rich, not chasing quarterly profits but reinvesting for decades. And boy that made people mad for not doing a thing everybody was complaining about.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: I am reminded

Yeah, if there’s something that’s truly damaging to modern life, it’s the fact that corporations will happily chase an unsustainable state of constant growth from quarter to quarter instead of looking long term. Everyone would be better off if investments were considered long term, but the reality of markets today is that day traders will make or break a company, sometimes without a human decision being involved in that trading.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I am reminded

The unsustainable growth cliche annoys me. Even if we were back at medieval levels of progression we should expect to see growth year after year from gains in experience alone and the slow optimization. Even with today’s manufacturing there is a flat out "learning curve" where production improves making products cheaper on a per product produced level, not simply a supply one.

That has been a constant throughout history – not experiencing any growth at all is a deeply abberant state which implies all institutions so completely messed up that they prevent implementation of /any/ learning.

Not to mention growth isn’t in pure mass. We may be far richer than bronze age ranchers but most of us do not own millions of goats each.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I am reminded

You seem to be somehow conflating growth of knowledge, experience and general progress with financial and sales growth. They are nothing like the same thing.

The former is a natural progression, depending on how you define "growth". The latter is unsustainable in the long term, especially if you’re only looking at growth quarter to quarter rather than as a long term progression. Even if you reduce your manufacturing costs to next to nothing, you can’t grow forever simply due to market saturation and consumer buying habits. At some point you’re going to plateau or even lose money in given quarters.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: I am reminded

"He was of course wrong, and by the 80s Japanese corporations were modelling themselves on US companies and Wall Street. We were all full of hope and dreams back then."

As it turns out he was right all along and the Chinese have used that mindset to get to where they are today – the supply chain no nation in the world can afford to truly piss off lest their industry at home collapses.

It’s just that the timespan was never 5 or 10 years. It was far, FAR longer.

When Japan ran US TV and auto manufacturers off the market way back when it was a strategy which took over thirty years in planning, investment and execution. Because selling cheap TV’s and cars below cost while relying on massive loans to cover expenditure and R&D in production until you start breaking even and making profits takes time. And a willingness to make a strategy and hand it over to your heirs to see to conclusion while eating a constant loss until the strategy comes through.

China made the decision to "become the manufacturing centre of the world" in the bloody 50’s. At first they just sold cheap crap, flooding every market with cheap plastics and shoddy electronics. Gradually the quality of those products rose. Now they’re the world standard of quality, the products aren’t cheap any longer, but no other country could, by now, afford to go elsewhere for their production needs.

Long-term strategy isn’t made to ensure quarterly profits. They’re to ensure when the payoff comes it’s about having all of the market locked in a solid grip no competitor can afford to even try to break.

These are winning tactics only a hungry nation can accomplish. Japan switched to the US model because, having made sure Toyota, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc had rid itself of 9/10ths of it’s US competitors, it was suddenly a market where chasing quarterly profits made sense. China has greater control over its markets but would find it very hard going today to repeat its measures of undercutting US cost price. Fortunately for them they don’t need to, the US having voluntarily abolished most of it’s pool of skilled factory engineers.

Hunting quarterly profits will usually outpace the guys with a five-year plan. It’ll be a guaranteed loss against the guys with a generational plan.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Watching the testimony to Congress.

There is something unhinged about Ted Cruz complaining about political censorship and false information when he wouldn’t know the truth if it took him on a sunny warm vacation while his state froze.

When so many of the members speaking support the Big Lie, and stamping their feet about misinformation & the harm caused by what FB is doing while they were calling it the kung flu.

Its addictive to kids & bad for them… and?
Take a walk down the cereal aisle with me, lets hit the candy aisle next.

The whistleblower talking about how taking care of this sort of problem is her jam & they need to have a government agency to do the things on her action list.

‘If Facebook won’t support the kids, we need to support the parents to support the kids."
So we need to pass laws to make FB parent better than parents.

Maybe I’m just confused… usually whistleblower trials in Congress are used to demonize the whistleblower & pretend the bad things aren’t that bad even as people are falling over dead.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Its addictive to kids & bad for them… and?
Take a walk down the cereal aisle with me, lets hit the candy aisle next.

Whataboutism notwithstanding, there are government regulations limiting what ingredients children’s cereals can include, what information has to appear on their boxes, and how the companies that make them are allowed to market them.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There were also government regulations when Peanut Corporation of America opened a factory they never divulged & never had inspected as they killed people across the country with their peanut salmonella.

I wasn’t trying whataboutism consciously, I was just pointing out that the demands of regulation and do something are never evenly applied.

Its addictive to kids & bad for them… and?
So are video games, pron, and a long list of things throughout history, some actually are some are not.

I grow weary of people demanding more laws on everyone because a baby can’t eat a steak without choking.
We need to have devices in all new cars to remind parents their kids are in the back seat.
We need to ban flavored vapes b/c kids & those who needed lung transplants (because we still refuse to admit those people were smoking illegal THC vapes & insist it was a regular vape that did it.)

The pretend game that Insta invented anorexia, bulimia, bullying, fomo, addiction, and everything else bad is tiresome.

Perhaps the greatest problem in all of this is somehow parents/congress seem to think that corporations are supposed to give a shit about people above their bottom line.

Equifax destroyed peoples lives & handed out credit monitoring which does nothing to fix the massive debt they can end up on the hook for because Equifax handed out their identity.

American Home Products had an idea that FenPhen might be bad.

Sackler Family… Oxycontin they still have most of their money.

Insys Therapeutics Inc. 5.5 yrs 250,000 fine for destroying peoples lives & killing them with Subsys.

At some point it would be nice if the first response was, parent your child. Perhaps giving your 13 yr old a $2000 phone with unlimited access to any app they want & never checking in on them actually is child abuse. Depending on a corporation to protect your child when they aren’t a daycare provider you are paying is insane.

Perhaps if people could define the problem in actual terms without predeciding it is all going to be FB’s fault it would be less dishonest.
Kids had problems before FB was ever a twinkle in Zucks mind, we never did much about them back then & now suddenly when you can blame the big boogeyman for all the problems & demand they solve them for the good of society as long as society doesn’t need to do anything.

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is a bit overblown. You throw a lot of stuff together that aren’t necessarily linked. The problem at it’s core, is people willingly or coincidentally, entirely missing what’s happening in a situation and yet trying to regulate it anyway.
Thus, the problem isn’t the regulation or a lack thereof, but the heavy-handed results.
Abdictating the regulation to "parent better" isn’t really an answer to the situation either.
All of this basically ignores that Facebook could do better. It’s not just that people need to do better themselves as well, and the one is not mutually exclusive of the other.

kallethen says:

Re: Re:

Maybe I’m just confused… usually whistleblower trials in Congress are used to demonize the whistleblower & pretend the bad things aren’t that bad even as people are falling over dead.

That’s cuz usually FB and "Big Tech" in general is today’s Bogeyman. Both R’s and D’s want to beat their drums about how "Big Tech" is bad so this is playing right into both of their collective playbooks.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bruce C. says:

Re: Re: Re:Whistleblower trials...

No, the whistleblowers that get demonized are the ones that blow the whistle on the government.

The ones that blow the whistle on private companies can get demonized as well, but when so many pols have an axe to grind with Facebook the whistleblower comes out pretty good.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I often say this, but if you whine about "big tech", but don’t include most of the big tech companies (Oracle, ISPs, Salesforce, etc.) then you’re not concerned about big tech, you’re concerned about a small number of companies that have grown large in sectors aimed at domestic consumers, using a deliberately misleading term intended to pretend falsely that consumers have as little choice and power as they did with "big oil" or "big pharma".

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"There is something unhinged about Ted Cruz complaining about political censorship and false information when he wouldn’t know the truth if it took him on a sunny warm vacation while his state froze."

I’m not sure why people keep giving Cruz benefit of doubt. He, Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, etc ,know perfectly well they’re bullshitting people. It’s their stock in trade and has been for their entire career. With the rare exception of unfortunate political accidents like Marjorie Taylor-Green who may or may not believe partially or fully in jewish space lasers and the lizard people running the liberal cannibal cult, most republican politicians are con men and grifters who know damn well their career relies completely on trumpeting fear-inducing bullshit to gullible morons.

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Ceyarrecks (profile) says:

Good for Whom?

‘Good For Facebook’?
You do know that, as per the decades(millennia?) old agenda, the baby (FB in this case) only need SCREAM!!! at the top of its lungs, and the momi will break her neck to give the baby EVERYTHING it wants, regardless; rinse/repeat ad nauseum.
And so they grow into an adult body, and expect the exact same treatment,.. whine to get one’s way, regardless of who ELSE that way hurts, maims, kills,…

Anomalous Cowherd says:

Anti-FascBook vaccination

I dunno. When I was in middle school in the early 1960s I read Vance Packard’s books. He was warning about corporate data collection and corporate research into influencing the public well before the Internet. Those glimpses of business strategy have stayed with me and, as a result, I keep a low profile – no Twitter, no FascBook, no LinkedIn, etc., etc.

However, every time I examine my web data FascBook is in number one slot in terms of cookies and whatnot. They are literally stalking me on the Internet. My only choice to avoid them completely would be to get off the Internet completely. That’s a difficult thing to do in this modern age; however, it might be worthwhile.

My other option might be to sue them for cyberstalking. Does anyone here know a good attorney who would be willing to represent me on a contingency-fee basis? While you’re at it, please get me a unicorn.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

…yeah and it’s equally embarrassing every time some alt-right fuckwit shows up and accuses Mike of precisely that every time he brings a case where FB isn’t the Big Bad.

It’s as if the alt-right consists of people who, faced with a man convicted of grand larceny, will scream imprecations at the judge for clearing that man of a littering charge…

ECA (profile) says:

Another view

Who here has Roku?
HOw many free channels, and adverts do you see.
Allot of them I have never seen on TV(I quit TV about 10 years ago).
But there are channels that have 1-30 sec advert 1 time during a 30 min show, then there are those that every 5 min have 3-4 adverts, and Some that Pound 5 min of adverts to you.
ANd most of the time that 1 channel has the SAME adverts over and over.

Really seems the same as FB.
Still, wasnt the Stock exchange for Major companies designed for Temporary Use? Other wise use it to stabilize FARMING ONLY. As most of the Original stocks were for/from Long range shipping to bring goods to Home and for sale, and PAID off fairly quickly.
Why in hell, do these corps Need Stocks enough to use as long term loans, that Never get paid back. They Create to many for most uses, then have to inflate the market to seem like they are paying back, but you(as an investor) have lost money based on the Economics and value of the money.

If you want to scare the corps, Have a Market value on the stocks, based on the economy and Equal return of Value.
A $30 Stock in 1960, If it never went up in Price is still worth $30, And abit of dividends. Based on the Economy, it should be valued at $120-180. But thats not how it works. There is no repayment schedule, and no Value increase based on the economy.

Back to any corp in the USA, thats media oriented. HOW to make money? If they Dont pay for your service they ADVERT. If they arnt selling a product themselves, they have to SELL others products and services. THAT is the market we have created.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nobody who regularly reads this site could honestly believe only "assholes" ever get moderated.

In this era of ban-bots, all you have to do is talk about the wrong topic or say the wrong word to trigger some algorithm. Hell, I just watched someone on TV talking about the outage, and mentioning they once got banned from FB because some algorithm decided they were typing too fast to be human.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Only assholes? No. But, the vast majority of people who are affected are unrepentant toxic assholes who everyone else is trying to tell to get the hell away from them.

"Hell, I just watched someone on TV talking about the outage, and mentioning they once got banned from FB because some algorithm decided they were typing too fast to be human"

…and you believed them?

Typically, when someone makes such a claim it’s my experience that they got banned for another reason and are either fooling themselves or misrepresenting what actually happened. Especially if they’re bringing it up in a conversation that has nothing to do with such moderation (and, no, Facebook screwing up their own DNS has nothing to do with their moderation practices except to people who want an excuse to whine)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Nobody who regularly reads this site could honestly believe only "assholes" ever get moderated."

Last hundred "hidden" posts I clicked on and read casually turned out to be either outright assholes or spam adverts.

So by "nobody" you mean "most people"? Because context matters and I doubt there’s one innocent persistently caught in the FB moderator algorithm for every thousand trolls and/or bigots.

Yeah, the wrong word may trigger the banhammer on a given post but those on this site who have experienced that for themselves – LGBTQ advocates using a word triggering moderation, for instance – just shrug and reformulate their message. This is usually possible since most rational opinions can be phrased in polite language.

The only people to froth and rant over auto-moderation in general appear to be the alt-right fuckwits who can not, no matter how they try, manage to turn their opinions into polite suggestions or avoid trigger phrases.

Anonymous Coward says:

So then, what is good for the world? Ask a thousand people, get a thousand answers, most of them mutually exclusive. Who gets to decide? Zuckerberg?

Him not being interested in being the world’s "steward" is admirable in my opinion. Because if there is one thing the world can agree on concerning Facebook, is that nobody wants Facebook to rule the world. Yet that’s exactly what people are promoting by demanding Facebook "do something" about everything and the kitchen sink.

People should stop trying to demand Facebook fix the world’s problems. That’s not what it’s for. And we really shouldn’t want it to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Same thing really on several levels. You breathing contributes to at least three different problems. Even if you are on a remote island the world is fundamentally deeply connected. The Sahara provides nutrients to the Amazon and mocks any notions that you can ever have a self-container subsection of the world to make it easier to understand.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"You breathing contributes to at least three different problems."

Piss-poor analogy. The online ecology shares almost no common factors with the real-world ecology.

Facebook throwing bigots, racists and conspiracy vendors out the door will indeed provide a self-contained subsection where the most outrageous of opinions aren’t considered acceptable argument material.

It’s no more strange than your local bar owner deciding nazis aren’t welcome in his establishment.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Yet that’s exactly what people are promoting by demanding Facebook "do something" about everything and the kitchen sink."

They’re not.

The world as a whole just wants FB not to cater to inflammatory bigots, racists and trolls. FB is, of course, free to ignore those demands, but that would be at the cost of the world finding another platform which does abide by their request.

The requirements to participate are written on the door. Abide by them or go patronize Parler and Gab instead where the rule on the door instead says "Only Assholes Welcome".

Bruce C. says:

My personal experience...

bears this out. Tons of stuff Facebook displayed to me was conspiracy theories from people with an axe to grind.

The one hope I have is that most people eventually get tired of being angry on/at the internet, and Facebook will eventually be left looking for "anger whales" to fund their business model, the same way that some game vendors rely on whales to fund their free-to-play business models.

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