Graham is concerned …
… that Facebook, which he uses a lot, has lost its way. Worse still, it is identifying the wrong problems, and imposing stale solutions even to those.
From Zuckerberg’s embarrassing efforts at “stewardship for the long term” in Hawaii — which came across as a plantation-owner-style land grab and seem to have led to a very public walkback (and which we have discussed on this very blog) — to allegations of racially-based censorship, wink-wink toleration of (very profitable) fake news, and disingenuous responses to these and many other criticisms, it seems sometimes like a brand outrunning itself.
Perhaps the real problem, though — and Graham thinks FB just exemplifies a wider problem — is the corporate brush-off response of appointing an “ethics officer.” Let’s be clear — many of these issues start at the top, in terms of what is tolerated, and make their way to the bottom as “acceptable if profitable/easy.” There’s all too much evidence that when “doing the right thing” clashes with “making a buck” — ahem, sorry, “shareholder value” — the buck will win. (Indeed, there is a school of corporate thought that insists the only legal duty of corporations is to make money for “shareholders.”) And in the absence of an institutional moral stance, backed not just by a culture and a few reports but by institutional governance with the clout to enforce those ideas, your “Ethics Officer,” however “Chief,” is going to be grand-looking lipstick on a bloated pig.
John never expected …
… to read ‘Facebook has lost its way’ … for to ‘lose one’s way, one needs to have an idea as to where one is headed. And of course, I am well aware that Facebook’s only reason for existence is to ensure that grandparents don’t lose the all important connection to their grandkids – well – at least until they are 12 – by which time said grandkids have moved onto their next platform.
And of course, they have to monetize their platform. And of course, that is going to be through advertising. And of course, their product is all those Facebook people to who they can hand over to all those brands that want to sell to all those unsuspecting
patsies … sorry, customers.
That is their direction. That is what they are doing. They are on their road. All the rest is mis-direction.
Adding Ethics Officer to their recent appointment of Cambell Brown as head of news partnerships … (or are they actually the same position …. it is unclear to moi) …this seemingly is all in direct response to global complaints against the behemoth for failing to block fake news.
Then again – Trump is still tweeting – because Jack hasn’t blocked him – and if you want one of the prime sources of fake news – you really need to look no further.
I have nothing to offer on this front, except that I trust them no further than I can throw them. I am sure Campbell is a lovely lady – but if you want a news partnerships person … Go get a news partnerships person – not a news anchor. If you want an ethics head – then look outside of business.
Me – been gone from Facebook for a while now – thought I am considering a re-entry. But that will be so I can use Facebook – as in USE. They wont be using me. No matter how hard Zucky tries.