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Facebook at Sixes & Sevens

Updated: Apr 23

In seemingly “the biggest crisis” in Facebook’s history, a whistleblower, who used to work there as a product manager, made shocking revelations about the Social Media Giant’s operations. The leaked documents were first shared with the Wall Street Journal and later with several other media houses from across the Globe, leading to myriad interpretations and fresh allegations. Some of the major revelations include:

  • Many celebrities and politicians had different rules, mostly favorable, governing what content they could post.

  • Facebook had adverse effects on countries outside of the US and deployed inadequate resources to address issues in those countries.

  • A detailed internal research conducted by Facebook revealed that Instagram is ‘toxic’ for teens, but the findings of the research were never disclosed.

The big picture: The most shocking revelations made by the whistleblower concerned Facebook’s biggest market: India, where it failed to adequately address harassment, mis- and disinformation, and incitements to violence fueling ethnic conflicts. Not much later, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt. of India, wrote to Facebook seeking information around the algorithms and processes used by the platform. Moreover, given the gravity of the situation and seriousness of the allegations made, the Apex court of the country might soon step-in and make Facebook’s ride bumpier.

While we’re here: Amidst all the flurry of allegations and fresh probes, Facebook recently announced that it’s changing its company name to ‘Meta’. According to Zuckerberg, the old name represented only a single facet of everything that the Company does today, and the new name more closely depicts what is going to be the company’s biggest bet in the future – “Metaverse”, which he is calling the “next chapter of the internet”.

The critics, however, have a completely different interpretation of the whole name change event, drawing parallels from Companies who have changed their names in the past amidst rising public pressure. But Facebook will have to do much more than a mere name change to save its tarnished public image, fading popularity amongst the youth and declining ad revenue.

 

This article is a part of October'21 edition of our Startup Newsletter. Here's the complete publication:


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