Facebooking

In the week of stories about Facebook, it is easy to get lost in the information. These links will prove helpful in figuring out the most important big picture elements of the story.

  1. James Allworth on Facebook’s misplaced strategy that led to them giving away all their data for free
  2. Ben Thompson with another angle on Facebook’s brand
  3. A podcast between Ben and James where they cover the issues and throw a nice amount of shade on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
  4. John Lancester in the London Review of Books with the best “What is Facebook” piece from a philosophical angle. More in the LRB regarding the timing of the outrage when Facebook was giving away data for free for so long.
  5. David Remnick with reasonable take on Silicon Valley’s ideology
  6. One of Zuckerberg’s many interviews, this one is the most awkward because Kara Swisher DGAF
  7. Inside some of the machinations in Facebook as the story came out
  8. A previous piece on Facebook (too) slowly reckoning with the problems they have
  9. NY Mag highlighting Facebook’s struggles to figure out their business model with some truly troubling quote that highlight the absurdity of their power

These stories all highlight that Facebook actually have no idea what they are doing. Very troubling. Particularly as they have a lot of power. The theme running through a lot of this is that Facebook doesn’t want to offend or put anyone off, which is how they go about making decisions. They strive to have no ideology, demonstrated by Zuckerberg not wanting to make any decisions about content. From the Recode interview:

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

“[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?” Zuckerberg said. “I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.”

They want everyone to use their platform all the time. But don’t want to make decisions about how the platform is used for fear of putting people off. Zuckerberg and co want all the power and none of the responsibility. Is this an ideology we can trust?

(Frantically trying to delete my Facebook data)

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