Comment: Why Facebook can never repair itself


The Facebook engineer wanted to know why his dating partner did not reply to his message. Maybe there is a simple explanation-maybe she is sick or on vacation.

Therefore, at 10 o’clock one evening, at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters, he opened her Facebook profile on the company’s internal system and began to view her personal data. Her politics, her lifestyle, her interests-even her real-time location.

This engineer and 51 other employees who improperly abused company data access rights will be fired for his actions, and then everyone who works at Facebook can get this privilege, regardless of their job function or seniority. The vast majority of 51 people are like him: men look for information about women they are interested in.

In September 2015, after the new chief security officer Alex Stamos brought the issue to the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO ordered an overhaul of the system To restrict employees’ access to user data. For Stamos, this was a rare victory, and he convinced Zuckerberg that Facebook’s design should be blamed, not personal behavior.

So started The ugly truth, A new book on Facebook, written by senior New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang. With Frenkel’s expertise in cybersecurity, Kang’s expertise in technology and regulatory policies, and a wealth of resources, the pair provided a convincing description of Facebook’s years in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Stamos will not be so lucky anymore. The problems stemming from Facebook’s business model will only escalate in the next few years, but as Stamos discovers more serious problems, including Russia’s interference in the US elections, he has made Zuckerberg and Shelly Sand Berg faced the inconvenient truth and was ousted. After he left, the leadership continued to refuse to address a series of deeply disturbing issues, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the genocide in Myanmar and the rampant misinformation of the new crown virus.

Authors, Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel

Beowulf Sihan

Frenkel and Kang believe that Facebook’s problems today are not the product of the company’s disorientation. Rather, they are part of its design, based on Zuckerberg’s narrow worldview, the culture of careless privacy he cultivated, and the amazing ambitions he pursued with Sandberg.

When the company was still small​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ But since then, Zuckerberg and Sandberg’s decisions have shown that growth and revenue trumps everything.

For example, in a chapter entitled “Company Over Country”, the author records how the leadership tried to cover up the extent of the American intelligence community, Congress, and the American public’s interference in the Russian election. They reviewed the Facebook security team’s repeated attempts to publish details of what they found, and carefully selected data to downplay the seriousness and partisan nature of the problem. When Stamos proposed to redesign the company’s organization to prevent the problem from recurring, other leaders viewed the idea as “warranty” and focused their resources on controlling public speech and blocking regulators.


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