Facebook rejects its most creative skeptics

Yesterday, I explained how Brian Acton and David Marcus saw the acquisition of WhatsApp and what it meant for the future of Facebook. Others have read another part of Marcus Memo, and this is worth mentioning.

The section that has attracted so much attention is the end:

As a former entrepreneur and founder, there is no other large company I would like to work in and no other leader for whom I would work. I want to work on difficult issues that have a positive impact on the lives of billions of people around the world. And Facebook is really the only company that cares about people. Not about selling equipment. Not to deliver goods with less friction. Not to talk to you. Do not help find information. Only people. This sometimes makes it difficult because people do not always behave predictably (algorithms), but it is worth it. The union of men is a noble mission, and evil is far superior to evil.

Ben Thompson says the message is considered “dangerously blind at all to the possibility that Facebook can be anything but a force for good ($)”:

Any view of the world that leaves no room for doubt, whatever its motives, is problematic. To fulfill such a vision of the world with a missionary fervor and a mentality of “justifying the means” is tense. Raising this vision of the world to a leading company with the power and reach of Facebook is downright dangerous.

Matt Levine is also disturbed by the eagerness of Marcus. Business-focused Silicon Valley companies can lead to darker places than good old-fashioned dedication to maximizing shareholder returns, he wrote. (May I say again: Matt Levine wins a Pulitzer Prize this year for his comments.) “Shareholder value is anyone’s idea of ​​a mission of inspiration,” he writes. “Its good!”

If Facebook’s goal is to maximize sales by selling targeted ads to apparel companies and its features allow for genocide, turn them off because the ads are not worth it. When Facebook talks about the “noble mission” of “connecting people”, the compromises are darker. If “Facebook is really the only company that cares about people”, then … what else … how do you measure how much you feel for people? If you are the only company that focuses on people, then all you do is necessarily good; Your end is so vague and noble that it can justify any means. And despite all the interference of Facebook with Instagram and WhatsApp, it does not take into account sales maximization considerations. Facebook is not really accountable to its shareholders and its explicit ideology rejects shareholder value as its goal. “Facebook was not originally created as a company,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote when it was published. “It was built to fulfill a social mission.” Okay!

In this perspective, the departures of Brian Acton, Jan Koum, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are a little different. On the one hand, yes, it is only the founders who finally left the big company that acquired them. At the same time, they are better known for resisting Facebook’s ambitions. For the founders of WhatsApp, the focus was on end-to-end encryption and a strong belief in non-advertising business models. The founders of Instagram wanted to preserve the application’s independence from the growing demand to denature it with Facebook notifications and other corporate graffiti.

Mark Zuckerberg has always had the legal authority to run his business according to his wishes. But for about half a decade, he has a handful of controversial and self-sufficient product managers who deconcentrate him to experiment with new business models and models. At a time when Facebook was experiencing an extremely low participation rate in leadership, these perspectives were crucial.

And now they are gone. Kara Swisher points this out in her latest article in The New York Times:

Mr. Systrom and Mr. Krieger were named by some on Facebook as “team players”. In the whimsical corporate culture, they were considered irritating.

It’s a shame, because that’s exactly what Facebook needs. In other words, people who were willing to challenge the group thought that for too long, stubborn resistance consisted in admitting and correcting society’s mistakes.

The company says there are already many strong disagreements on a workplace of 30,000 people. (I published a series of disagreements earlier this year based on internal staff contributions on a controversial memo.) And the company is looking for several executive positions, including those responsible for communications and policy and marketing managers. , which could new positive friction in the mixture.

After all, Zuckerberg is surrounded by people who see Facebook as well as Marcus: as an unqualified force for good. It could be good for all of us if he were forced to work more regularly with people who are not so sure.

Facebook Policy Head makes a startling appearance at the Kavanaugh hearing

Joel Kaplan supported his friend Brett Kavanaugh at today’s hearing. Matt Yglesias argues that Facebook, as global policy maker, can not “personally” support Kavanaugh given the regulatory problems the company faces. What do you think?

Vietnam sentenced second person this week for anti-government Facebook messages on Facebook

Melanie Ehrenkranz has news of an undemocratic trend in Vietnam:

The sentence reflects Vietnam’s efforts to crack down on anti-government statements. According to the ministry, Dong was guilty of “abusing democratic freedoms to violate state interests,” Reuters said. According to the police, his duties undermined the prestige and leadership of the party and the state. ”

Dong’s detention comes days after a similar verdict for Facebook posts. Activist Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison for “violating democratic rights and freedoms,” police said. He said he has already posted and shared articles on Facebook in recent years, authorities have criticized the country’s communist party. And in May this year, 56-year-old Vui Hieu Vo was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for Facebook posts that allegedly “skewed” the country’s political situation.

Dispel 5 (More) viral rumors about Kavanaugh’s attorneys

The day Christine Blasey spoke to Ford before the conference – with Facebook’s main lobbyist, who was also supposed to support Brett Kavanaugh – Kevin Roose completes even more the misinformation that conveyed them.

It’s Google’s turn to watch Washington

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Cecilia Kang look forward to meeting Sundar Pichai with lawmakers on Friday:

On Friday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet with California representative Kevin McCarthy, chairman of a majority of Republicans in the House and a Google voice observer, as well as more than two dozen Republicans to discuss complaints that give conservative votes Wants to shut up.

“Google has a lot of questions about bias reports in its search results, breaches of user privacy, anti-competitive behavior and repressive regime operations like China,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Technology and advertising giants join “Fake News” on Europe’s first weak point

The executive body of the European Union has issued a code of conduct aimed at reducing the spread of misinformation. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Mozilla have all registered, reports Natasha Lomas. The Code suggests that these companies do a lot of things they already do.

Elon Musk sued by the SEC for securities fraud

As of today, Elon Musk may be prevented from starting a new business because of a tweet.

Bumble asks court to invalidate Tinder’s patents

Ashley R. Carman has the latest version of the drama of the Bumble-Tinder law:

Bumble responded to the Match Group complaint earlier this year regarding the alleged infringement of certain Tinder patents. Bumble now says that these patents for inflammation are invalid and can not be heard in court.

Engage the communication head to leave, following the departures

Mary Ritti, one of Snap’s earliest employees, follows the lines of the strategy and funds the door. Mary was always cool to me. Long live Marie!

Fans have cheated millions of dollars with fake celebrity accounts

This poor woman (named Mary!) Sent $ 11,500 to a person she thought was Bruce Springsteen, who had contacted her on Facebook via a fake account. It’s a bit disturbing that Facebook’s famous fake detection software did not come into action when a new Springsteen account appeared and started sending friend requests to random people:

“Fake Bruce” wrote him a picture of his gold stock and said he needed money to bring him back from Dubai. He said it was a huge amount of gold, worth millions.

“My mind was just that, so maybe brainwashing or something I said, okay, how much money,” Mary remembers.

The existential emptiness of the “experience” Pop-Up

Amanda Hess explores the phenomenon of pop-up experiences such as the Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream, which are basically little more than an Instagram background:

The main disappointment of these rooms is not that they are so narcissistic, but that they have such a disappointing view of visitors. Watching a work of art or climbing a mountain invites us to make sense of our life. But in these spaces, the idea of ​​interacting with the world is so transactional that our role is severely limited. Sneaking into the colorful corridors of New York’s “experiences”, I felt like a bowl of a person. It was as if I was witnessing the total erosion of the very meaning. And when I posted a selfie of the pink manor, all my friends liked it.

Tweendipity: Serendipity stories on Twitter

I liked this story of Madison-Malone-Kirchner about these cases, when two Twitter users tweeted on opposite sides of a story about it and then were happy:

A Lyft woman explains to her driver why she explains what she wants from a hairdresser when she sees another woman on the street with the exact look she is looking for. The driver, who is moving something that your embarrassing father or mother might have done to you in college, lets go of the window and lets the woman in the street know that the woman in the car is looking at her. The woman in the car tweets about this interaction. Meanwhile, the woman in the street also tweets about this interaction. She thanks “the lady of the Hyundai Sonata” for her day.

It could have been the end of the story of the embarrassed woman and the complicated woman – Stephanie and Denice – if Twitter did not have the ability to make the world very small. Thus, a user who followed Stephanie saw his tweet and the tweet of Denice. And then, someone who followed this person scanned them and tweeted them to tell them a charming story about twerendipity.

Oculus Quest took us on an “arena-sized” Wild West shootout and it was great

Almost everything that Oculus showed at Connect this week has received good reviews from my peers, including this wild multiplayer game that takes place in a purpose-built arena.

Facebook’s reputation as a good place to start is suddenly attacked

Kurt Wagner wonders if #Krexit will make future founders less likely to sell to Facebook. (Like Josh Constine.) I think they will continue to sell to Facebook as long as it’s the best option for them and their employees. Given the frequency with which to sell the business is a last resort and the few options available at that time, I would not be too worried if I were Facebook.

Billionaire LA Times owner: “Fake News” and how it spreads cancer

Patrick Soon-Shiong denounces social media:

Bald Shiong, a former surgeon, told Squawk Alley that counterfeit messages were the “cancer of our time” and that social media was a form of metastasis of information. We must change that. ”

He said people can not say “bad news”, “real news” or “opinion news” on Facebook.

So, you want to do something against the Russian interference in the elections?


I included this link in yesterday’s newsletter, but I forgot to give you the reason: it was written by Alex MacGillivray, better known as Amac, who was the main Twitter consultant during his maximum speaking time. He and his co-author, Joshua Geltzer, argue that the US should take a NATO-like approach to tackling voting errors:

In this case, an effective government-to-government response would set an international standard against Moscow’s behavior, form a coalition in favor of that norm (perhaps initially through its expression by a unit such as the G-7), and ensure that countries do it. The coalition was ready to act quickly and decisively whenever Russia or other actors violated the norm. While some wonder whether what Russia did in 2016 really sets them apart from the US’s previous intervention in foreign elections, we think there is a difference between promoting democracy and democracy. ‘attack. In addition, we believe that it is certainly possible to set out at least one minimum standard to which the United States and other governments should refer in the future.

At a fundamental level, governments should not seek to influence misinformation by misinformation, or by disseminating false information (for example, “Pope Francis Shocks World, Trump”), or by disseminating true information under a false attribution. (in other words, no identity theft or fabrication). This would at least reject the kind of interference that the United States experienced in 2016 and that other democracies experienced in their elections. At this moment dangerous for the democracies of the whole world, it is important to indicate very clearly that Moscow must put an end to the destructive behaviors of the democracy and that the countries must agree in advance on what should be the “red line” to react quickly. powerful and concerted in case of violation.

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