Where does Facebook go from here?

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Let’s be really liberal to Facebook and consider that 50% of what Frances Haugen testified before Congress was misunderstood in some way.

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Regardless, Facebook will argue their case (as they always do), deny everything (as they always do) and claim that no one really understands them (as they always do). We do). Everyone will look at what he says with extreme skepticism, and nothing will change.

Maybe Facebook doesn’t care. Maybe the potential for the repeal of their liability protection from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the threat of antitrust lawsuits, the implementation of the US privacy framework existing in Europe, and Washington’s inability to authorize Libra (Facebook’s digital payment system) all don’t matter.

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Facebook is rich and powerful. They may think they can handle anything that comes their way. But the United States government and the media combined are much more powerful. And so Facebook needs to change its strategy on politics, regulation and everything related to the media.

While Facebook’s lawyers and lobbyists dig for the next phase of an epic, costly confrontation, they should instead devise an alternative course of humility, introspection and transparency as their best and only strategy for sustaining growth.

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What does this look like? Well, it starts with an apology.

It is unbelievable that a smart person like Mark Zuckerberg can have so much difficulty expressing genuine remorse when it is needed. Not every mistake will force the CEO to drag himself over the coals. But this time? He has to change his posture and start accepting responsibility and then actually implement the real change.

Take, for example, Haugen’s testimony about a internal study Finding out that Instagram has a negative impact on the mental health of teenage girls.

it’s a problem facebook Is to own. they should want to own it. Because even though the federal government is unlikely to step in and censor Instagram, parents probably will. The more my wife and I try to let our teenage daughter make our own decisions, the more we know about Instagram, the more convinced we become that its negative effects far outweigh any useful purpose in her life. . And we are not alone. At some point soon, we may be the majority.

Second, it’s time for Facebook to be more clear about its underlying business model. Consumers are not fools; We know that we get nothing for nothing. So instead of pretending that they don’t monetize people’s data in every possible way, Facebook should be honest about it.

“If you want to use Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp for free, we are going to sell ads based on your data.” And then give the public a choice: “If you want to keep your data safe, you’ll have to pay the platform a monthly fee to make up for lost revenue.” People may not like it at first, but they will understand and appreciate being treated like adults.

Third, Facebook needs to acknowledge the truth about content moderation: “We thought we knew better than everyone else about everything; we dug in when we had to honestly examine and change our practices and policies.” Should have done. We are really, really sorry for that. We are ready to change.”

Some of this may mean sharing oversight responsibilities with third parties such as regulators and academia. This probably means eliminating some of the content that generates clicks and ad revenue. It could also mean removing some of the top executives responsible for stubbornly implementing the negation-reality strategy over the past 10 years. Of course, it would hurt. They still need to.

In the end, if Facebook is going to engage in federal law around issues like privacy restrictions, new antitrust standards or the repeal of Section 230, they should stop trying to freak everyone out and spend money.

Instead, Facebook, along with its critics – both in both parties and in both houses of Congress – should work towards a solution that embraces the ideals of existing privacy frameworks such as Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA That you have complete immunity from anything said on the platform. have to change. Be a part of the change, not an obstacle to it.

This is not China. Our government will not make Facebook or Instagram illegal just one day. But that doesn’t mean Facebook won’t be subject to new laws, regulations, standards, and social norms.

Facebook has separated the media. They have lost progressive people. They have lost the conservatives. They have angered the Centre. And even if the revenue continues to grow, they have also lost the trust and confidence of the public.

Executives may worry that once the legislative flywheel begins to turn, it will never stop. But we are far beyond that point. If Facebook doesn’t begin to express remorse, accountability, and openness to change, they risk losing everything else they’ve built.

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