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Zuckerberg and Facebook are in trouble

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member

Courtesy WIRED
New in-depth reports on Facebook portray Mark Zuckerberg as a tough negotiator and shrewd wielder of power — miles from the geeky whiz kid image that kicked off his public life, Axios' Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg write.

  • Why it matters: Zuckerberg controls Facebook's voting stock. And Facebook controls much of the world's information diet.
NBC's Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar reviewed 4,000 pages of documents — including emails, webchats, presentations and meeting summaries — mostly from 2011 through 2015, leaked from the proceedings of a U.K. lawsuit brought by the maker of a now-defunct app against Facebook.

  • The NBC story concludes that Zuckerberg personally oversaw plans years ago to use consumer data as leverage to disadvantage consumers, and that he worked with Facebook's communications team to help spin the narrative that changes to its policies were attributable to privacy concerns.
  • Facebook told NBC the documents were "cherrypicked" by its legal adversary.
A WIRED account of Facebook's crisis-plagued last year sheds new light on the company's seeming paralysis in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica revelations a year ago.

  • Reasons for the silenceincluded: Facebook didn't know all the facts, didn't understand how angry its critics and the public were, and believed that the data Cambridge Analytica accessed wasn't very valuable.
  • But also, Nick Thompson and Fred Vogelstein write: "Executives didn’t want a repeat of Zuckerberg’s ignominious performance after the 2016 election."
Since then, Zuckerberg has been on a roll.

  • His belated response to the Cambridge Analytica story was gaffe-free.
  • His answers a month later to fuzzy-minded questioning from Congress gave critics no further ammunition.
  • Today, he's on a PR offensive that includes hosting a series of conversations on the future of technology and society.
The big picture: Despite Facebook's endless trials, Zuckerberg has never been more in charge.

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
Facebook said it's planning for a possible $3 billion to $5 billion privacy fine by the U.S., an amount that would set a record for the Federal Trade Commission, Axios' Ina Fried and Scott Rosenberg report.

  • The amount is a kind of Goldilocks median for the two parties — big enough for the FTC to claim a record victory, but small enough for Facebook to take a brief earnings hit and then keep on minting money.
  • It was an unusual disclosure: We can't remember a company accounting for a regulatory fine that hadn't even been proposed.
Be smart: That amount likely would be just a flesh wound for a company that brings in roughly that much revenue every month.

  • And a fine alone provides no guarantee that the company will change.
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, a think tank that is a vocal critic of the power of tech companies:

  • "This would be a joke of a fine — a ... parking-ticket-level penalty for destroying democracy."


Staff member
Just wat until facebook and google start applying pressure to regulators with the private data they have on them. Or shaping what regulators actually see online to influence outcomes. It will happen if it isn't happening already.