By David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jennifer Stromer-Galley, a professor at Syracuse says, “[Facebook is] so good at being a business, but really bad at recognizing its role in society…It is conceivable the company is so big and complex, there are dimensions and aspects of Facebook no one is paying attention to.”
Los Angeles Times
When it comes to business, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is undeniably a visionary.
He made a big bet that paid off on photo-sharing app Instagram, charged full bore into mobile when others stood pat, and recognized early on the fortune that could be made in advertising by mining all aspects of his users’ lives down to the square footage of their homes.
But Zuckerberg’s prescient skills seem to waver when the social and cultural intricacies of the real world leak onto his ubiquitous platform.
Defensive at times, like when he initially disputed the premise fake news on Facebook may have influenced the 2016 election, Zuckerberg can come across as someone yet to realize the true power and scope of the platform he built.
In just the last year, Facebook was caught off-guard when a report showed its advertising service allowed audiences to be targeted through offensive labels like “Jew Hater.”
It first denied, then recognized, it was being exploited by Russian propagandists to influence the presidential campaign with fake news and paid ads.
And it was slow to remove terrorist groups from its network as well as anticipate users would livestream murders and other acts of violence.
A company optimized for digital engagement, it turns out, may not have been primed to deal with the darkest aspects of humanity and society.
“They’re so good at being a business, but really bad at recognizing its role in society,” said Jennifer Stromer-Galley, an information studies professor at Syracuse University. “It is conceivable the company is so big and complex, there are dimensions and aspects of Facebook no one is paying attention to.”