Facebook denies it’s ‘ripping society apart’

Facebook denies it's 'ripping society apart'

Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya recently addressed a Stanford Graduate School of Business last month that social media is destroying how society works. This got reported by many media outlets as Mr. Palihapitiya said ‘Facebook is ripping society apart’ due to his former connection with Facebook. However, his point was more nuanced than that.

But that’s not the story here. The story is that Facebook actually took time to descend from their ivory tower to address the masses about this latest round of negative press.

Chamath has not been at Facebook for over [six] 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.

Facebook has definitely grown exponentially since Mr. Palihapitiya was at Facebook, but it’s highly debatable that they’ve realized their responsibilities have grown too. If anything, Facebook has grown out of its own control. From the dissemination of flagrant falsehoods to accusations that their ads can be tailored to focus on or void certain ethnic groups, Facebook appears to have become the faceless corporation of dystopian fiction that only cares about the bottom line. Instead of growing uncontrollably like an amorphous blob that increases in size as it consumes, maybe they should dial things back until the company is in control again instead of being at the whim of bad actors.