Facebook Suffered It's Worst Day Ever

2년 전

The amount of scandals, blunders and bad news that Facebook has accumulated over the past 11 months would give to create an epic stories on Instagram , one of those with dozens of moments that come to haunt the most enthusiastic user of the platform .

Practically there has not been a single month of the year in which the company of Zuckerberg, for one reason or another, has not been forced to accept any error, apologize or make up the departure of an executive. These are events that have even overshadowed the stagnation of some of the company's platforms , both in the number of users and in the time they remain connected, or their fall in the stock market that is already close to 40% from the maximums registered in the month of July.

The last blow, and one of the most severe, was received last week. A devastating article in the New York Times, the result of a multi-month investigation by a team of five journalists, revealed the company's strategies to try to cleanse its image both by Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and by the improper use of the data of its users by Cambridge Analytica .

While Zuckerberg traveled to different countries to apologize and explain to governments - a tour that included an official appearance before Congress and the US Senate - the company would have hired the services of an important political analysis firm with republican affinities , Definers Public Affairs, to try to change the public perception of the company in the US.

This firm, known in Washington for specializing in research work of political candidates, began working with Facebook in mid-2017, but its activity has intensified in recent months , as media pressure on Facebook increased.

Among other actions, Definers Public Affairs tried to link the most critical voices of the social network with a supposed political strategy directed from the shadow by the magnate George Soros . Facebook would have gone from allowing the proliferation of false news to, directly, creating them to try to save their public image.

After publishing the details of the strategy in the 'New York Times', Facebook cut ties with the company but has acknowledged - in a statement issued just the night before Thanksgiving - that he ordered Definers to investigate Soros and his motivations for the criticisms made publicly by the multimillionaire, a frequent target of the extreme North American right and anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi groups.

The article also reveals the numerous attempts of Facebook to try to minimize throughout the year its role in the Russian interference that occurred during the campaign of the US presidential elections of 2016 and that gave the victory, by a narrow margin, to Donald Trump.

Alex Stamos , then responsible for Facebook security, was in charge of preparing an internal report on what happened, but, according to the New York Times, the conclusions of that report were edited repeatedly to reduce the role played by the social network in communications public by direct order of Sheryl Sandberg , right hand of Zuckerberg and head of operations of the company, and the own advice of administration.

Stamos left his post as head of security for Facebook last August.

The scandal

With each new revelation on the case, Facebook falls a few meters more in that bottomless pit in which 2018 has become.

The year started with the decision of the social network to change the algorithm that decides what the user sees when accessing after criticism received for encouraging the distribution of false and sensational news . The decision, Zuckerberg said then, would cut the exposure of the media and reduce the time users spend on the network.

Within weeks the company had to face the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a company that would have abused access privileges to elaborate detailed political profiles of US users that were used in propaganda work during the US elections.

In the midst of this controversy, Facebook had to accept the resignation of Jan Koum , co-founder of WhatsApp , who decided to leave because he did not agree with the strategy the company will follow to try to make the popular messaging service profitable .

The approval of the European data law, the GDPR, was another important setback. Facebook had to admit that it would lead to a decline in its advertising revenue projections and a drop in traffic in its different properties.

In September, the company reported a security breach that would have resulted in access to private information for more than 50 million users, while accepting the resignations of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger , founders of Instagram, for reasons similar to the of Koum.

And to top off Zuckerberg's annus horribilis , which continues to consider its creation as "a positive force for society", this same month of November Facebook had to admit that it did not do enough to stop the hate speech that fueled the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Consequences

Zuckerberg, which still controls 60% of the voting shares of the company , has assured that it does not intend to resign, even though in several circles it is already considered that it should at least delegate some of its functions or, as it has done Elon Musk at Tesla, maintain the direction of the company but waived the chairmanship of the council.

Sandberg also seems confident in her position as head of operations despite being the ultimate responsible for Facebook's action on these issues. In a phone call to analysts and media to try to explain his version of the facts, Zuckerberg says that "he is doing a good job" and that thanks to it is progressing in the right direction.

The only resignation has been, for the moment, that of Elliot Schrage , responsible for the communication policy of the company in Washington and responsible for the hiring of Definers Public Affairs. "During the last decade, I created a management system that delegated to these companies the authority to escalate their performance if they did not feel comfortable with a project, that system failed on this occasion and I regret having disappointed them, I regret my own failure", yesterday I recognized before the workers of the company.

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