FACEBOOK ON THE BRINK
Indeed, the problems are deeper and are not due to the exceptional failure of October 5 and the list is long:
– Frances Haugen, the 37-year-old former Facebook engineer, former member of a team dedicated to civic integrity within Mark Zuckerberg’s group, collected thousands of internal documents before leaving the company in May and testified before Congress on the day of Facebook’s huge technical failure and delivered a damning testimony against Facebook before the U.S. Congress, is convinced of her new mission: to make people understand that the social network can be as dangerous as it can be beneficial, and that it must therefore be curbed.
Her tone was clear, calm and incisive in front of the congressmen.
“It’s one thing to study misinformation, it’s another to lose someone to it,” she told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.
Hired at Facebook in 2019 with the hope of helping the company to correct some flaws, Frances Haugen has become increasingly concerned about the choices made by the group.
Profit is Facebook’s watchword, and thanks to ads, she explained, the social network must keep its members on the platform as long as possible. And to do this, hateful and divisive content is often the most likely to attract attention.
Facebook has put in place teams to limit misinformation during elections and modified its algorithms to reduce the spread of false information. Before the November 2020 elections, its employees were thanked
On January 6, the U.S. Congress was invaded by rioters.
Frances Haugen then really started to question the group’s willingness to put enough resources on the table to protect its members. Facebook, she concluded, would rather focus on its profits.
Frances Haugen moved to Puerto Rico hoping to continue working remotely. Human resources told her that was not possible. So she agreed to resign, she told the Wall Street Journal.
But there’s a need to bear witness to what’s going on inside the group, she firmly believes: the company’s own research makes it clear that spending time on Instagram can be detrimental to teenagers’ mental health.
She collects documents on Facebook until the last moment, expecting to be caught red-handed at any moment, and at the same time contacts an NGO specialized in helping whistleblowers.
Like a vigilante, she left a last written trace: “I don’t hate Facebook”, she typed on her keyboard. “I love Facebook, I want to save” the group.
Her testimony is very, very painful for Facebook.
– For a number of years, the best engineers have been leaving the Facebook ship and the hemorrhage is such that few people want to work at Facebook, which explains the repeated breakdowns.
The management makes promises that it does not respect, the algorithms of Facebook work very badly and put in peril the business model of Facebook because Facebook depends on its advertising revenues and they are in free fall, many customers complain about their absurd decisions, the technical service does not answer or badly, the same thing at the commercial level.
Facebook stops advertising accounts without giving any explanation, complains a news site based in New York.
The fire is also smoldering in Russia, Russia has threatened Facebook with fines that could exceed hundreds of millions of euros for failing to remove content deemed “illegal”, in a statement, the Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor said that this amount could reach “between 5% and 10% of the annual turnover” of the U.S. company in Russia.
This is a sign of a company in decline,” added for his part Jean-Hugues Roy, professor at the School of Media of the University of Quebec in Montreal. “We see that Facebook has difficulty recruiting, people are fleeing, distrustful, people inside the company are critical,” added Roy.
The major failure that paralyzed the social network would probably not have occurred if Facebook was a smaller company, believes Patrick Mathieu, computer security expert and co-founder of Hackfest.
In North America, Facebook is no longer growing and especially is down from 2020. For the first time, the number of users is decreasing in Europe (305M vs 307M). The two main markets for Facebook that bring in the most advertising revenue are down.
The future is very dark for Facebook and if nothing happens at the technical level, at the managerial level, at the commercial and strategic level, there is a strong probability that the famous GAFAM “Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon-