Facebook continues to suffer from the consequences of two years of crisis and drama is internal. The latest bad news it has been a long article in the New York Times -prepared for six months for five journalists and more than 50 interviews - where it is obvious that Facebook, despite its rhetoric, it behaves like a large company: the growth and prestige, above all.
The New York Times revealed that the reaction of the number 2 of the company, Sheryl Sandberg, to the Russian research was to minimize it. I wanted to avoid linking the name of Russia with the success of Donald Trump to not alienate republicans. At the beginning of 2017, the intelligence agencies had already announced that president Putin had ordered a campaign of influence to help elect Trump. Facebook published a report in April 2017 and did not cite to Russia. It was not until September, when he internally was blatant the Russian campaign in Facebook ads and posts viral, when Zuckerberg decided to give the face.
The company disputes the intensity and the timing of the New York Times: "I have said many times that we were too slow to stop the interference of Russian. To suggest that we were not interested in knowing the truth, or to conceal what we knew is just not true," said Zuckerberg on Thursday in a press conference telephone.
The former chief security officer for Facebook, Alex Stamos, said on Twitter that no one prevented him from investigating the Russian campaign. But the real question is whether or diluted its work. Your thread on Twitter does not clear the background, although it doles out blame to everyone, also to the media for publishing stories about the emails from the campaign of Hillary Clinton regardless of who came of the intelligence of russia. Stamos also not clarified if its agreement of settlement with Facebook includes prevent me to criticize them.Creators of disinformation
The reaction to the Russian campaign, was not the worst revelation from the article in the Times. The news even more disastrous was the hiring of a public relations company, Definers Public Affairs, to spread the alleged financing dark of activists against the company -Freedom from Facebook, for example - or to criticize some of its rivals, such as Apple.
Zuckerberg said he learned that Facebook was working with Definers to read the New York Times: "Why are tactics are typical of Washington," he said. That same day he broke the contract with Definers. The information is, at the very least, embarrassing. Definers work in the limit of the misinformation. Has a web, NTK Network, with 120,000 followers on Facebook, where he publishes stories that are often replicated by other publications conservative with more traffic. Facebook, therefore, was at war with a hand in his platform, the expansion of the fake news, and with the other, drove against their rivals.
The great rival who allegedly accused him of financing Freedom from Facebook is George Soros, a constant target of anti. In its statement on the report of the New York Times, Facebook supported this objective with Definers: "The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a campaign spontaneous basis, as they said, but supported by a critic of the company's well-known [Soros]. To suggest that this ea an attack anti-semitic is wrong and false".
The president of the Open Society Foundation, Patrick Gaspard, funded by Soros, had already responded to the information of the Times with a letter Ngsbahis to Sandberg, the number 2: "There is an effort by conservative concerted drive to demonize George Soros and his foundations, that I", he wrote. "The idea that his company was actively involved in that same behavior to discredit people exercising their right to protest the role of Facebook in disseminating propaganda vile is frankly amazing to me," he added.what now?
The revelations are serious, but their consequences can be worse. Sheryl Sandberg had worked in democratic administrations. The article suggests that democratic politicians had been a little aggressive with Facebook. The news resulted in the same Thursday, an avalanche of criticism from the Congress that may lead to greater fear to Facebook: the regulation. If the politicians dare, there are two ways to slow down Facebook: a more complex, that it is to step in to legislate the functioning of the social network. Another more direct and definitive: force Facebook to apart and get rid of their gold mines future, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Until now, the argument was that the best option was to pressure Facebook to regulate itself. That was in part, the content of the press conference Zuckerberg Thursday. Announced two new developments that may change the direction of the company, but which were buried by the questions about the Times.
First, your algorithm would fail to reward the content more sensational, that he made this admission remarkable: "One of the greatest problems of social media is that, when left without control, people attaches disproportionately to the content more sensational and provocative. It is not a new phenomenon. It is widespread in the cable tv and it has been a basic feature of the tabloids. If scale, can undermine the quality of public discourse and lead to polarization. In our case, it can degrade the quality of our services". To see how the artificial intelligence that detects and degrades these contents in the page of Facebook of each user, but the intention aspires to change the network as we know it. Zuckerberg compared, in fact, the operation of Facebook to a tabloid.
The second piece of news that gave Zuckerberg is the creation of a Supreme Court of Facebook is to decide on the removal or not of the content of debates. The intention of Zuckerberg is to publish the decisions of this new body. The goal is that is launched during 2019.
The case of Facebook illustrates the maturity of the tech giants. No longer can argue that his great mission is to "make the world more open and connected" is inherently good. More when it is obvious that the company is focused on doing what companies do best: make money. When Facebook has had to choose between grow and grow up or be more transparent, sincere or humble, has chosen the first option. Now Facebook gets the treatment reserved for governments or large companies: suspicion, suspicion, demands for accountability. The new status can hurt you with the moral of their workers or the capacity to recruit young talents with the desire to change the world.
But not everything is just bad: if it manages to overcome the worst consequences, its relevance suggests that it is closer to becoming a stable company and dominant for years.