Imagine There’s No Facebook

Ad in New York Times earlier this year.

By Amy Peikoff and Benjamin Chayes
(title in header here was as originally submitted to Fox Business)

Facebook was offline long enough on Monday for people to speculate, not only about what had incapacitated the social media behemoth, but also about life post-Facebook. For some that meant shopping for a competitor: Our company, Parler was one of them and experienced a surge of traffic.   

But we suspect others used the downtime to ponder the outage – also affecting Instagram and WhatsApp – coinciding with whistleblower Frances Haugen’s revelations appearing on front pages worldwide. Those revelations were the subject of yet another congressional hearing Tuesday, with Haugen repeatedly urging privacy-preserving congressional oversight for the platform’s “engagement-based ranking” algorithms, and explaining that, ironically, such oversight – which she assumes would yield more purely chronological feeds – would also be in Facebook’s long-term self-interest. 

Just as unconfirmed rumors have suggested for years, it appears that Facebook’s business model actually does depend upon amplifying conflict and divisiveness. According to Haugen, the company’s algorithms operate by stirring strong feelings – usually negative – about the content in users’ feeds. 

Read more at Fox Business


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2 responses to “Imagine There’s No Facebook

  1. I was wondering if you could shed any light on the idea that FB was originally funded by a private venture firm run by the CIA? I am finding stories about that when I do a search, but don’t know whether to believe or not that FB was venture capitalized to the tune of something like $3.3 million in its early days when they first realized (both the CIA and FB) that they could set up a system that would mine data. Here is a link:

  2. I did a further search and came across this Wiki entry on FB, which does not mention the CIA, so more fake news on either side?

    Is this idea that the FB was partially funded by the CIA a fake news item? In this history of FB on the Wiki, it does not mention it:

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