Facebook needs to pay the global price of its scale

Facebook continues to avoid paying for the scale it has achieved.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Frederic Filloux makes an interesting point about the role of Facebook in populist unrest worldwide:

While Facebook can’t be held responsible for the hijacking of its platform, it rests on its shoulders to correct the mishaps.
It’s an understatement to say that the social giant is doing the bare minimum. Aside from a dose of cynicism — the only incentive to move seems to be the fear of PR damage — , Facebook’s numbness is rooted in its insularity. Mark Zuckerberg has yet to understand that you don’t fight global misinformation from the shores of the San Francisco Bay. As demonstrated by a New York Times investigation, Facebook is unable to think beyond its hyper-centralized system when it comes to fighting the junk that litters its pages

I think this is a really important issue in understanding Facebook's lack of progress on this issue. Like most of the big platforms, Facebooks wants all the advantages of scale without the problems. As reporting has shown over the last year, the nature, characteristics and spread of disinformation and propaganda very wildly worldwide, and algorithmic solutions coded up by  non-diverse workforce in one of the richest parts of the world are not really going to cut it.

If Facebook were really serious about combatting the problems with its platform, it needs to hire a lot more people in the regional markets - and give them actual power over the way Facebook's services operate in those regions.

In other words: if they want to continue to be a worldwide player, they need to stop being a West Coast US player, and become a truly global one.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.