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Facebook Businesses Social Networks

We've Toned Down the 'Destroying Society' Shtick, Facebook Insists (theregister.co.uk) 97

Facebook has taken the unusual step of responding to comments by former VP Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media giant was "destroying how society works." Palihapitiya said that executives ignored cautionary instincts when creating Facebook, and he now regretted the consequences. In a statement, Facebook said: Chamath has not been at Facebook for over 6 years. When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then, and as we have grown, we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We've done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we're using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and -- as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call -- we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.

We've Toned Down the 'Destroying Society' Shtick, Facebook Insists

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:24PM (#55725683)

    I'm a different man than I was 6 months ago when I fucked your best friend. I've grown SOOO much since then!

    • former VP Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media giant was "destroying how society works."

      No! No! Bad President-Elect Zuckerberg! You and your retinue, henchmen and hoodlums are supposed to say, "improving how society works."

      Go directly to jail. Do not pass "Go", do not collect $200.

      Buy a get out of jail free card.

      Hey, "destroying how society works" . . . isn't that the kind of stuff that ISIS is up to . . . ?

      Maybe my pals at Brooklyn Schmenge Brothers Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers can sue Facebook for these naughty shenanigans . . . ?

      So the NSA uses Facebook to spy on suspected

      • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @01:18PM (#55726225)

        >So the NSA uses Facebook to spy

        In fact, Facebook has to be the ultimate orgasm-inducer for anyone who wants to track relationships, and that probably includes every level of government, law enforcement and otherwise. You used to have to know somebody to know who their friends are, now there's an API for that.

        • by sinij ( 911942 )
          No, you have API to know who their peers are. You still have no idea who their friends are.

          Facebook Friends != Actual Friends.
        • >So the NSA uses Facebook to spy

          In fact, Facebook has to be the ultimate orgasm-inducer for anyone who wants to track relationships, and that probably includes every level of government, law enforcement and otherwise. You used to have to know somebody to know who their friends are, now there's an API for that.

          So much so these days that *not* having a social media history archived is a red flag to US TLAs, whether the person is foreign or domestic, inside or outside the US, and in their way of thinking warrants further/deeper surveillance.

          As you create more and more laws, regulations, taxes, fees, etc etc etc ad nauseam, the more and more-intrusive monitoring, surveillance, and enforcement that will be necessary to detect lawbreaking and trace/apprehend lawbreakers. What is occurring regarding the explosive growt

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:50PM (#55725925)

      >I'm a different man than I was 6 months ago when I fucked your best friend.

      I can't forgive you; the dog still isn't right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by jittles ( 1613415 )

      I'm a different man than I was 6 months ago when I fucked your best friend. I've grown SOOO much since then!

      They're being quite sincere here, thank you very much! Zuck has changed his plans from destroying society to controlling society. Zuck 2020. He was inspired by Trump himself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "We've done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service"

      Including buying a company called Dopamine Labs and hooking people to computers to monitor dopamine levels while manipulating way after former VP Chamath Palihapitiya left.

    • I'm a different man than I was 6 months ago when I fucked your best friend. I've grown SOOO much since then!

      One thing to consider is that corporations can and do change a lot faster than people, because corporations are just amalgamations of people. Swap out important decisionmakers, or let a different person rise to a decisionmaking position, and you may get completely different decisions. For that matter, if you ask the same question of two different parts of a corporation, you'll usually get two (or more) different answers.

      In the case of Facebook, it seems like corporate direction is still in the hands of th

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:25PM (#55725693) Homepage Journal

    Implement Slashcode's lameness filters and 30 second posting limit timer on facebook.

    It may not cool the flame wars, but it will at least make them more interesting to read.

    • I have a friend who put up a post on Facebook complaining that he had been blocked for posting for a little while by Facebook because he had done too many posts, so there is some kind of post time filter at work...

      It's odd though because I only saw the complaint post. One of the things I really dislike about Facebook is the randomness of it - I feel like I don't see all updates from everyone, and I know for sure that if I am on the feed of posts and I refresh, some things will vanish and others will appear.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        ...I know for sure that if I am on the feed of posts and I refresh, some things will vanish and others will appear. Sometimes I want to go back to something I read earlier, sometimes it's impossible to find.

        That's how they keep you scrolling. Also, I'm convinced that FB keeps track of what you've already seen and uses that to influence what they show you. "Going back" sometimes just isn't an option.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          They also tend to repeat posts in your feed - or start the feed over when they've used up the new stuff that should be at the top.

      • Agreed. Also, have you checked out the groups? I can't figure out how to browse through that damn things.

        There are a few things I follow tech side (mainly related to home automation). I see allot of useful stuff and comments but it is next to impossible to go back and find the post I was reading to unless I actually respond. And even that seems to disappear. (I miss forums.) It also sorts strangely. It's not by date or number of comments - at least it doesn't appear so.

        • I'm in a number of FB groups, but they are not at all useful the way a real forum is. As you say the sort order is not anything you can really make sense of, which stinks.

        • by thomst ( 1640045 )

          JackieBrown complained:

          There are a few things I follow tech side (mainly related to home automation). I see allot of useful stuff and comments but it is next to impossible to go back and find the post I was reading to unless I actually respond. And even that seems to disappear. (I miss forums.) It also sorts strangely. It's not by date or number of comments - at least it doesn't appear so.

          Two things may help you here:

          1. Social Fixer [socialfixer.com]. It's available for Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Firefox, and it lets you change a lot of the default behavior of FB (and other SM sites) in ways that make it a lot more user friendly. (Caution: FB frequently changes its code, sometimes in ways that break some of Social Fixer's functions - most notably CTRL+ENTER to post comments - but Matt Kruse, the developer, usually manages to figure out what happened and get a minor rev out to restore th

  • "Toned down" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkRookie ( 5030953 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:32PM (#55725735)
    The only way it would toned down is that they closed up shop.
  • What role? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frederic54 ( 3788 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:38PM (#55725785) Journal

    > We take our role very seriously

    What role? what is their purpose? What do they create? Are they useful?

    • Re:What role? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:45PM (#55725869)

      > What is their role?

      Their role is to gather as much data about people as possible

      > What is their purpose?

      To make money for their stockholders

      > What do they create?

      They create data packages for marketing and advertising firms

      > Are they useful?

      If you are one of their customers, yes.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      It's nice to be able to keep up with people you knew from college. But that doesn't mean I want to share in everything that goes through their heads. Pictures of and updates on their kids? Sure. Pictures of food at the restaurant they're at? Er... Their predictable reactions to political news? No thank you.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        It's nice to be able to keep up with people you knew from college. But that doesn't mean I want to share in everything that goes through their heads.

        You can tailor who's visible and partially tune what you see. For example, I have a friend who I sometimes have interesting discussions with but often shares posts from a Las Vegas animal shelter. I see everything from her except the animal shelter posts. I also have friends who post pics of their dinner. I see nothing from them. If you're seeing too much garbage, get rid of the sources of that garbage. If you're seeing too few informative posts, add informative sources. I often see posts from my favorite n

    • > We take our role very seriously

      What role? what is their purpose? What do they create? Are they useful?

      They convince millions of people that they are being heard and that their opinions are important, neither of which is true.

  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:42PM (#55725833)

    Now featuring 1/2% less Social Destruction. YAY

  • Yes indeed, there's no point to destroying society. Facebook fully realizes that doing so would not be profitable.

    In fact, what would be even more profitable would be if Facebook ran the world. And by the way, doesn't "Mark Zuckerberg for President" have a certain ring to it?

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @01:27PM (#55726309)

      And by the way, doesn't "Mark Zuckerberg for President" have a certain ring to it?

      Who scares you actually more . . . Donald Trump or Mark Zuckerberg?

      Donald Trump is a greedy business bastard like too many other folks in world economy. He might hurt us, but he is not going to kill us. Remember, he is a real-estate Shylock . . . he knows that nuclear wars decrease the value of real-estate. This is why he will never start a war with North Korea . . . unless he can find a way to make a business profit out of it, and that is a long bet. West Germany fought to digest the former East Germany, and that was something most of the Germans wanted, and were willing to pay a "Solidarity Tax" for it. Reuniting the Koreas will be a nightmare that no one wants. (Oh, yeah, the Chinese will be absolutely thrilled about having a second South Korea in their Economic Zone.

      Mark Zuckerberg believes he is on a mission from God. Whatever he does with Facebook improves the Human Condition. He's not in it for the money . . . he has enough of that . . . but he gave it away . . . or maybe not. When Zuckerberg is elected President, Air Force One will be ditched for Über. Your IRS returns will be done using Facebook.

      Um, . . . I hate to say it . . . but I'll take a Devil who admits that he is a Devil as opposed to a Devil who pretends to be Jesus Fucking Christ.

      • Who scares you actually more . . . Donald Trump or Mark Zuckerberg?

        It's six of one, half-dozen of the other. Although I think that Zuckerberg is more competent than Trump, so I guess I fear him a touch more.

  • Doesn't seem like there was real accountability for the harm they apparently caused people during Facebook's unethical psychological experiments on people... "Facebook apologises for psychological experiments on users " [theguardian.com]

    Hiding good news from people to see if it made them feel bad... just fucking with people because you can. Facebook having so much influence and control over people's personal relationships is a threat. It isn't just marketing.

  • Baloney (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We've done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we're using it to inform our product development.

    And yet their terms of service [facebook.com] still read like a privacy and classist nightmare. Too young? OMG nudity? Multiple accounts? On some retribution list? Fake name? Your IP becomes their IP, too. Compare with Slashdot's "Comments owned by the poster." There's plenty more. Go read at that link.

    Near as I can tell, the only reason anyo

  • Maybe editing a little? There's a reason there's a delete key.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:55PM (#55725969)

    Facebook has always been invasive and unethical, that part hasn't changed because their entire business model is built upon it. What has changed and grown is the number of people who have become aware of how Facebook operates. This isn't totally unexpected and it's still a small minority as plenty of people are still addicted to social media and their "smart" devices which are spying on them 24/7.

    I love technology and the web but social media and "smart" devices aren't worth what they actually cost.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @12:58PM (#55725997)

    If Zuck hadn't gone derp, derp, derp earlier this year about what was actually happening inside his company, some microscopic crumb of this story might now be believable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At the same time they're trying to go after the kids...

    Fuck facebook. We someone tells me they use facebook, I think of them less now.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @01:15PM (#55726193)
    Facebook still has a long way to go in comparison to Twitter. If some moron I went to high school with posts a link to an article that says "Hillary Clinton under the control of communist, ISIS loving illegal immigrants from Mars" and the dude says he believes it, many people just shrug their shoulders and conclude the guy is an idiot and get on with life. On Twitter, major sources (CNN, Yahoo, and many many more) post comments by nobodies ranting or raving about this or that and act like what this unknown person just said is just THE ... MOST.... IMPORTANT... THING... EVER... SAID ...IN... HISTORY. Facebook certainly does or did a lot to spread nonsense, but I still see Twitter as far more destructive because nobody in the media seems to think that anything on Twitter can just be ignored.
    • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @01:36PM (#55726399)

      You know, I think I agree with you. Twitter is the lazy reporter's go to when you don't feel like pounding the pavement looking for interesting stuff to report on.

      Case in point... Trump's incessant Tweeting.... The lazy reporters get all a twitter every time he calls them (rightly or wrongly) out or says something crazy. They go nuts. Remember the "coffeve" thing? We got at least two days of breathless reporting on what amounted to a troll tweet. It's like Trump's tweets are a laser pointer and the media are a group of cats chasing it. Remember the "wires tapped" tweet? How many days was that one? Surely it's obvious how Trump is using this to control the subject of the day to one he wants, yet they keep jumping at them like catnip.

    • by nwaack ( 3482871 )
      I couldn't agree with you more. Sites like HuffPost don't even write stories anymore. They just re-post a bunch of tweets from random people, create a click-bait headline and move on to the next bit of twitter "wisdom."
  • If Facebook is the cause, who thinks censorship on Facebook is somehow the cure? Yea, I don't think so.

    The problem here is cultural. What's on Facebook is just one symptom of many issues in the culture today.

    The concept that Facebook is at fault is as absurd as is Facebook's purported "fix". Anyway, I don't believe Facebook really cares about anything but avoiding bad PR. They are on a quest for profit, any profit, and good PR is but one of the means to get there.

    • by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @02:11PM (#55726777) Homepage

      The problem here is cultural. What's on Facebook is just one symptom of many issues in the culture today.

      I can't agree with this 100%. Yes perhaps the problem is cultural, but we were getting along pretty good prior to Facebook becoming a thing.

      Facebook amplifies social issues quite a bit. It makes little shit really big and ugly. It polarizes people deeply. It encourages disrespectful, crude, uncivil and rude behavior. There's no consequence for telling people stuff you'd NEVER say face to face.

      Prior to Facebook, if you wanted to say something really horrible about someone, there was a real risk of that person punching you in the nose. I'm not saying violence is a good outcome, what i'm saying is the possibility kept people a bit more civil and polite to each other.

      Now adays, we can say anything and hide behind our screens. Not healthy. And heavens forbid someone threaten someone else for being a total dickwad, the terrorist police will swoop down and be all over you like a bad rash.

      I hate Facebook, I hate everything it represents. It's outright evil. It needs to go away. Forget censorship, just shut the whole thing off, it's not doing anyone any good, except for the small handful of people making boatloads of money off society's malignancy site.

      • I don't disagree with your analysis except on one point. "Concurrence does not imply causation" and I don't see a direct link between Facebook and what seems to be an accelerated fraying of our society. Yes they seem to have happened at the same time, but I don't think Facebook caused it, if anything it was that the fraying caused Facebook to be a thing.

        If one looks to the underlying cause by pealing off the various layers of garbage we've stacked on the corpse, you will have to pull things like Facebook

    • The problem here is cultural. What's on Facebook is just one symptom of many issues in the culture today.

      The concept that Facebook is at fault is as absurd as is Facebook's purported "fix". Anyway, I don't believe Facebook really cares about anything but avoiding bad PR. They are on a quest for profit, any profit, and good PR is but one of the means to get there.

      I tend to agree with you - Facebook arose from mainstream culture and is now flourishing in it, so if FB is fucked, then our culture is, by definition, also fucked. On the other hand, it really is a very long chain of 'chicken and egg' events - so long that I can easily argue for culture having been thoroughly fucked from around the time we shifted from nomadism to agrarianism. We gained a lot - both good AND bad - when we adopted strongly hierarchical social structures and invented systems not only to stor

  • It's the "Real Name" policy that is destructive, resulting in all the virtue signaling, mob mentality and compulsive use, in a way which is not possible in the "natural" world. Facebook exploits our so-called "herding instinct", the social instinct all animals have, like the sugar/sweets industry exploits our survival instinct. Just look at any of the crap going on on a random FB feed and imagine what it would look like if everyone were anonymous like here. Almost none of it would make sense. I think we nee

    • > I think we need some clever blend of real name for when it matters, which is rarely, and anonymous.

      Imagine you were anonymous unless you were flagged by a large percentage of the public as trolling or spewing vitriol, in which case your name was revealed.

      "Be civil, or we'll let your friends and neighbours know what an asshole you are".

      Then you just need a special, protected forum for political speech where you can only be outed by court order.

  • Facebook was so massively invested in because its potential to break down society was realized by its big investors. It wasn't a shot in the dark with their billions of dollars. It wasn't a surprise that social media would transform our society. They knew what it was to become and it profits them immensely.
    Why do they want to break down society? Because they want to increase the level of control they have. Instead of programming society on the scale of groups, they want to control every atom; every individu

  • "We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. " They take their role of creating attention whores and drama queens seriously!
  • I get all my news on FB and Twitter.. said no well informed, rational person - ever.

  • I don't have a Facebook account and I encourage everyone to delete theirs. I've succeeded maybe a dozen times.

    This response just confirms that the guy was right at that time. I also don't think that big corporations can change that quickly, if at all.

  • Every successful parasite knows how to keep its host alive.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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