What went wrong with Facebook?

The social media giant Facebook has 2.27 billion (monthly) active users. Compared to Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users and Twitter’s 326 million monthly active users, this increases Facebook’s risk of being hacked as it is a much larger target than other platforms such as Instagram or Twitter (as hacking it would cause greatest impact globally).

In 2018, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his personal challenge was to ‘fix’ problems with hate speech,election interference and the promotion of terrorism through their servers.

Mark Zuckerberg – CEO of Facebook

The social media company has faced several scandals over the years. One of the biggest was when the data of 87 million users was shared with the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica and the organisation failed to destroy the data.

Facebook has also been involved with the fake news phenomenon which was prominent at the time of the Election of the US President Donald Trump in 2016, which created much bad publicity for the organisation. Facebook cannot police the quality of its news feed content and the algorithms cannot recognise the difference between real and fake news, only trending articles, so fake Facebook articles may be viewed as true due to the power and influence of Facebook, but Facebook is making progress with AI to tackle this

According to BBC news, the leak of a memo from Facebook a executive, Andrew Bosworth, in 2016 caused further embarrassment for Facebook. The sentiment of the memo essentially said that the company would go to any lengths to grow and ‘connect users’ even if someone died from terrorism linked to Facebook. This message shows that the social network service understands its problems, but is not tackling them robustly enough, and especially since management have observed what is happening.

The overall conclusion is that Facebook cannot police the content found on it’s servers due to the vast number of members on the platform and the fact that the algorithms cannot distinguish between good and bad content. Another failing of Facebook is when the algorithm finds banned material but does not take it down quick enough or at all. This suggests that the software giant has a lot of work to do to fix the issues that face the company.

Although they are the largest social media platform in the world, Facebook still have many controversies to solve. Despite Facebook management acknowledging their issues, it seems they are not doing enough or anticipating the future variety of problems that they could come across.

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