Facebook's Monday Meltdown

Quite The Monday

Dear Friends,

Everyone has had those Monday’s that just don’t seem to go your way, or you have those Monday Blue’s where you are really tired and sluggish.

For example, I spent this past weekend in Savannah, GA at one of my best friend’s wedding. Between the wedding, and a place named Benny’s, where a bachelorette party from the University of Alabama sang “Sweet Home Alabama” every other song aka I definitely had the Monday Blue’s this week.

However, I don’t think anyone had a worse Monday than Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder/CEO of Facebook along with his entire team. Facebook is facing an historic crisis.

Mark Zuckerberg lost a staggering $7 Billion of Personal Net worth on Monday due to the PR Fallout.

In most newsletters, I would discuss some of the main people being talked about. However, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most widely known people in the world.

Make sure you check out my personal views on this entire situation at the bottom.

60 Minutes Interview

On Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at Facebook sat down with 60 Minutes to discuss what may be the most threatening scandal in the history of Facebook that Zuck had to deal with on Monday.

Haugen, a Harvard MBA, worked at Google, Yelp, and Pinterest in the past. Her mission at Facebook was to study how the social network's algorithm amplified misinformation and was exploited by foreign adversaries.

In simple (Matt Allen) terms, she wanted to figure out how/if countries like Russia were using the facebook algorithm to manipulate the way we viewed things Politically. You might ask, why the heck would Russia care about my facebook news feed? A country like China or Russia believes that the only way to take down the United States is from within. China/Russia would love to divide our nation because it gives them power on the world stage so they would send out fake news that fueled violence and discourse.

Before she left Facebook, she stole and copied thousands of pages of confidential documents and shared them with lawmakers, regulators and the Wall Street Journal, which published a series of reports called the Facebook Files.

Facebook Files:

  1. Violence

One of the confidential internal Facebook documents that she copied says "we estimate that Facebook may action as little as 3-5% of hate and about 1% of violence and incitement on Facebook despite being the best in the world at it." 

Another Facebook internal document states: "We have evidence from a variety of sources that hate speech, divisive political speech and misinformation on Facebook and the family of apps are affecting societies around the world."

This is very concerning to me that a company would be responsible for this much violence in society. However, one of the most alarming things to me is what happened in 2018. Facebook was used for 'Ethnic violence' in Myanmar in 2018 when the military used Facebook to launch a mass genocide

(I am really hoping the map of the picture below is actually Myanmar)

  1. Young People

If you did not know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. The whistleblower leaked information about Instagram as well as Facebook.

One File found that 13.5 percent of U.K. teen girls in one survey say their suicidal thoughts became more frequent. Another leaked file found 17% of teen girls say their eating disorders got worse after using Instagram. About 32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse

  1. Law Breaking?

According to Haugen's legal team, Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, misstated and omitted key details about what was known about Facebook and Instagram's ability to cause harm. This would be breaking basic securities law and lead into crimes against the Facebook team.

I personally do not believe this was a violation of securities law. However, I definitely am not Johnnie Cochran.

Facebook Outage

In the middle of their already horrible PR day, Facebook had the worst and longest outage in company history on Monday. Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp were all down due to a possible employee attack on the Facebook data center. This lasted for around 6 hours.

This had a huge impact on businesses around the world, who use Facebook/Instagram to make money. In theory, these businesses lost a day of sales due to not being able to run ads. (I wonder how the Kardashians survived on Monday?)

Facebook Released a statement:

“To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage across our platforms,” said Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure

On CNBC, commentators joked that almost everyone in the Facebook office had to release a statement to put out some type of fire on Monday.

Facebook lost around $65 Million in Ad Revenue during this 6 hour outage.

My Thoughts

I have mixed views on all these issues above. I think these issues are incredibly complex. The easy response is to blame Facebook for everything. However, we have to ask ourselves, is Facebook the reason for this anger or do they just expose anger inside someone that is already there? For example, the users on Facebook CHOOSE what they want to engage with. Once the algorithm knows what a person engages with, the algorithm will show this person the same type of information over and over again. The problem is that a user sees around 100 things but Facebook can show them around 1000 things each time they log onto the app. Their goal is to keep you on the app as long as you can.

An argument is made that Facebook profits off showing content that incites violence, because it is more profitable. I do believe that they should dial this back without question.

However, we have tons of people who get super upset when Social Media networks censor other people. We cannot have it both ways.

In my opinion, the only solution is a DECENTRALIZED social media network.

I do believe that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are working around the clock to fix these issues. You have to remember that they were both 20 years old when they launched Facebook and Twitter. They built these platforms to connect college students, and these platforms became bigger than their wildest imagination. No-one has the answers to some of these problems except via trial and error.

In terms of the facebook outage, I had one crazy theory that I posted on twitter:

I hope you have a great week!

Talk next Wednesday!

Stay Hungry, Stay Long,

Matt Allen