URL https://Persagen.com/docs/facebook.html
Sources Persagen.com  |  Wikipedia  |  other sources (cited in situ)
Date published 2021-09-20
Curation date 2021-09-20
Curator Dr. Victoria A. Stuart, Ph.D.
Editorial practice Refer here  |  Dates: yyyy-mm-dd
Summary Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. As of 2021, Facebook claimed 2.8 billion monthly active users, and ranked seventh in global internet usage. The subject of numerous controversies, Facebook has often been criticized over issues such as user privacy (as with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal), political manipulation (as with the 2016 U.S. elections), mass surveillance, psychological effects such as addiction and low self-esteem, and content such as fake news,   conspiracy theories,   copyright infringement, and hate speech. Commentators have accused Facebook of willingly facilitating the spread of such content, as well as exaggerating its number of users to appeal to advertisers.
Main article Meta Platforms, Inc.
Key points
Main article
Comment Show
Comment Show
Keywords Show
Named entities Show
Ontologies Show

Founded 2004-02-04 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
CEO Mark Elliot Zuckerberg
Parent Facebook, Inc.
Board of Directors
Type of site
  • social networking service
  • social media
  • publisher
EIN (Tax ID)
Location United States
Areas served Global, except blocking countries
Users 2.85 billion monthly active users (March 2021-03-31)
Net assets
Known for
  • conspiracy theories
  • copyright infringement
  • digital surveillance
  • disinformation
  • erosion of privacy
  • fake news
  • hate speech
  • internet addiction
  • mass surveillance
  • misinformation
  • political interference
  • psychological manipulation
  • social media
  • social networking
Website Facebook.com

  • This article is a stub [additional content pending ...].

  • Background

    Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc.

    Founded in 2004 by Mark Elliot Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Luiz Saverin,   Andrew Aaron McCollum,   Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, its name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students. Membership was initially limited to Harvard students, gradually expanding to other North American universities and, since 2006, anyone over 13 years old. As of 2021, Facebook claimed 2.8 billion monthly active users, and ranked seventh in global internet usage. It was the most downloaded mobile app of the 2010s.

    Facebook can be accessed from devices with Internet connectivity, such as personal computers, tablets and smartphones. After registering, users can create a profile revealing information about themselves. They can post text, photos and multimedia which are shared with any other users who have agreed to be their "friend" or, with different privacy settings, publicly. Users can also communicate directly with each other with Facebook Messenger, join common-interest groups, and receive notifications on the activities of their Facebook friends and pages they follow.

    The subject of numerous controversies, Facebook has often been criticized over issues such as user privacy (as with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal), political manipulation (as with the 2016 U.S. elections), mass surveillance, psychological effects such as addiction and low self-esteem, and content such as fake news,   conspiracy theories,   copyright infringement, and hate speech. Commentators have accused Facebook of willingly facilitating the spread of such content, as well as exaggerating its number of users to appeal to advertisers.

    Facebook's Content Ranking: Spread of Misinformation, Hate Speech, and Violence

  • [MIT TechnologyReview.com, 2021-10-05] The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here's whyFrances Haugen's testimony at the Senate hearing today raised serious questions about how Facebook's algorithms work - and echoes many findings from our previous investigation.

  • Facebook User Interaction With Borderline & Questionable Content

    This subsection is germane to the Climate Change Denial: Facebook article, in which the following statements are attributed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg."

    Lacking a Facebook account, the source for those assertions appear to be from a 2018-11-15 Facebook "note" (blog post) by Mark Zuckerberg, "A Blueprint for Content Governance and Enforcement"   [Archive.today  snapshot

     |  local copy  |  alternate URL: https://www.facebook.com/notes/751449002072082/].

    The statements in question appear to be in the "Discouraging Borderline Content" subsection of that document, reproduced here ["MZ" = Mark Zuckerberg].

    Discouraging Borderline Content

    [MZ] "One of the biggest issues social networks face is that, when left unchecked, people will engage disproportionately with more sensationalist and provocative content. This is not a new phenomenon. It is widespread on cable news today and has been a staple of tabloids for more than a century. At scale it can undermine the quality of public discourse and lead to polarization. In our case, it can also degrade the quality of our services.

    [MZ] "Our research suggests that no matter where we draw the lines for what is allowed, as a piece of content gets close to that line, people will engage with it more on average -- even when they tell us afterwards they don't like the content.

    [MZ] "This is a basic incentive problem that we can address by penalizing borderline content so it gets less distribution and engagement. By making the distribution curve look like the graph below where distribution declines as content gets more sensational, people are disincentivized from creating provocative content that is as close to the line as possible.

    [MZ] "This process for adjusting this curve is similar to what I described above for proactively identifying harmful content, but is now focused on identifying borderline content instead. We train AI systems to detect borderline content so we can distribute that content less.

    [MZ] "The category we're most focused on is click-bait and misinformation. People consistently tell us these types of content make our services worse -- even though they engage with them. As I mentioned above, the most effective way to stop the spread of misinformation is to remove the fake accounts that generate it. The next most effective strategy is reducing its distribution and virality. (I wrote about these approaches in more detail in my note on Preparing for Elections.)

    [MZ] "Interestingly, our research has found that this natural pattern of borderline content getting more engagement applies not only to news but to almost every category of content. For example, photos close to the line of nudity, like with revealing clothing or sexually suggestive positions, got more engagement on average before we changed the distribution curve to discourage this. The same goes for posts that don't come within our definition of hate speech but are still offensive.

    [MZ] "This pattern may apply to the groups people join and pages they follow as well. This is especially important to address because while social networks in general expose people to more diverse views, and while groups in general encourage inclusion and acceptance, divisive groups and pages can still fuel polarization. To manage this, we need to apply these distribution changes not only to feed ranking but to all of our recommendation systems for things you should join.

    [MZ] "One common reaction is that rather than reducing distribution, we should simply move the line defining what is acceptable. In some cases this is worth considering, but it's important to remember that won't address the underlying incentive problem, which is often the bigger issue. This engagement pattern seems to exist no matter where we draw the lines, so we need to change this incentive and not just remove content.

    [MZ] "I believe these efforts on the underlying incentives in our systems are some of the most important work we're doing across the company. We've made significant progress in the last year, but we still have a lot of work ahead.

    [MZ] "By fixing this incentive problem in our services, we believe it'll create a virtuous cycle: by reducing sensationalism of all forms, we'll create a healthier, less polarized discourse where more people feel safe participating."

    Facebook Papers (Facebook Files)

  • Wikipedia: 2021 Facebook leak.

  • [📌 pinned article] [CommonDreams.org, 2021-10-25] Profits Before People: The Facebook Papers Expose Tech Giant Greed.  "This industry is rotten at its core," said one critic, "and the clearest proof of that is what it's doing to our children."  |  "It's time for immediate action to hold the company accountable for the many harms it's inflicted on our democracy."  |  "Kids don't stand a chance against the multibillion dollar Facebook machine, primed to feed them content that causes severe harm to mental and physical well being."

  • [📌 pinned article] [theAtlantic.com, 2021-10-25] How Facebook Fails 90 Percent of Its Users.  Internal documents show the company routinely placing public-relations, profit, and regulatory concerns over user welfare. And if you think it's bad here, look beyond the U.S.

  • [📌 pinned article] [WSJ.com, 2021-10-01] the Facebook Files.  |  [discussion, 2021-10-01+] Hacker News

  • [NPR.org, 2021-10-25] The Facebook Papers: What you need to know about the trove of insider documents.  |  Editor's note: Facebook is among NPR's recent financial supporters.

  • [CTVNews.ca, 2021-10-25] Whistleblower Frances Haugen says Facebook making online hate worse.  Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told British lawmakers Monday [2021-10-25] that the social media giant stokes online hate and extremism, fails to protect children from harmful content and lacks any incentive to fix the problems, providing momentum for efforts by European governments working on stricter regulation of tech companies. While her testimony echoed much of what she told the U.S. Senate this month, her in-person appearance drew intense interest from a British parliamentary committee that is much further along in drawing up legislation to rein in the power of social media companies. It comes the same day that Facebook is set to release its latest earnings and that The Associated Press and other news organizations started publishing stories based on thousands of pages of internal company documents she obtained. ...  |  Amid fallout from the Facebook Papers showing it failed to address the harms its social network has created around the world, Facebook on Monday [2021-10-25] reported higher profit for the latest quarter, buoyed by strong advertising revenue.

  • [Financial Times: FT.com, 2021-10-25] Four revelations from the Facebook Papers.  Thousands of pages of leaked documents paint a damaging picture of company that has prioritised growth.

  • [Financial Times: FT.com, 2021-10-25] Employees pleaded with Facebook to stop letting politicians bend rules.  Documents obtained by whistleblower suggest executives intervened to let contentious posts stay up.  |  Discussion: Hacker News: 2021-10-25

  • [CBC.ca, 2021-10-25] Facebook knew about and failed to police abusive content globally: documents.  Efforts to keep Facebook products from being used for hate, misinformation have trailed its growth.

  • [NPR.org, 2021-10-23] Facebook dithered in curbing divisive user content in IndiaFacebook in India has been selective in curbing hate speech, misinformation and inflammatory posts, particularly anti-Muslim content, according to leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press, even as its own employees cast doubt over the company's motivations and interests. From research as recent as March of this year to company memos that date back to 2019, the internal company documents on India highlight Facebook's constant struggles in quashing abusive content on its platforms in the world's biggest democracy and the company's largest growth market. Communal and religious tensions in India have a history of boiling over on social media and stoking violence. ...

  • [theVerge.com, 2021-10-22] A new Facebook whistleblower has come forward with more allegations.  The anonymous person says the company repeatedly put profits first.

  • [theConversation.com, 2021-10-18] Why Facebook and other social media companies need to be reined in.  In 2021-09, the Wall Street Journal released the Facebook Files. Drawing on thousands of documents leaked by whistle blower and former employee Frances Haugen, the Facebook Files show that the company knows their practices harm young people, but fails to act, choosing corporate profit over public good. The Facebook Files are damning for the company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. However, it isn't the only social media company that compromises young people's internationally protected rights and well-being by prioritizing profits. As researchers and experts on children's rights, online privacy and equality and the online risks, harms and rewards that young people face, the news over the past few weeks didn't surprise us. ...  |  Harvested personal data  |  Surveillance capitalism  |  Removing toxic content hurts the bottom line

  • [theNation.com, 2021-10-18] Mark Zuckerberg Knows Exactly How Bad Facebook Is.  Whistleblower testimony proves the social media giant is harmful and dishonest, and can't be trusted to regulate itself.

  • [JacobinMag.com, 2021-10-09] Facebook Harms Its Users Because That's Where Its Profits AreFacebook has been the target of an unprecedented flood of criticism in recent months - and rightly so. But too many critics seem to forget that the company is driven to do bad things by its thirst for profit, not by a handful of mistaken ideas. ...

  • [CTVNews.ca, 2021-10-09] Philippine Nobel winner Ressa calls Facebook 'biased against facts'2021 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Maria Ressa used her new prominence to criticize Facebook as a threat to democracy, saying the social media giant fails to protect against the spread of hate and disinformation and is "biased against facts." The veteran journalist and head of Philippine news site Rappler told Reuters in an interview after winning the award that Facebook's algorithms "prioritize the spread of lies laced with anger and hate over facts." ... Ressa shared the Nobel with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov on Friday [2021-10-08], for what the committee called braving the wrath of the leaders of the Philippines and Russia to expose corruption and misrule, in an endorsement of free speech under fire worldwide. ...

  • [NPR.org, 2021-10-05] Watch Live: Whistleblower tells Congress Facebook products harm kids and democracy.

  • [CTVNews.ca, 2021-10-05] Ex-Facebook employee says products hurt kids, fuel division

  • [CBC.ca, 2021-10-03] Facebook whistleblower alleges social network fed U.S. Capitol riot.  Former product manager appears in 60 Minutes interview, as top exec derides allegations as 'misleading.'

  • [OpenSecrets.org, 2021-10-01] Facebook maintained big lobbying expenses ahead of Senate hearing on teen social media use.

  • [CBC.ca, 2021-09-30] U.S. senators grill Facebook exec about Instagram's potential harm to teen girls.  Whistleblower leaked internal research studying links between Instagram, peer pressure and body image.

  • [WSJ.com, 2021-09-29] Facebook's Documents About Instagram and Teens, Published.  The Senate holds a hearing Thursday [2021-09-30] about the social network's impact, prompted by The Wall Street Journal's coverage.

  • This article is a stub [additional content pending ...].

  • Jedi Blue: Google-Facebook Antitrust Collusion

  • [Forbes.com, 2021-01-19] .  The Jedi Blue case, exposed by The Wall Street Journal and followed up on  [source] by The New York Times, is a clear example of the abuse of Google and Facebook's dominant positions, and definitive proof as to why the tech giants need regulating. It's pretty much a textbook case of everything that can go wrong an industry. What is Jedi Blue? Basically a quid-pro-quo scheme that starts with Google's 2007 acquisition of DoubleClick, and ends with Facebook, in 2018, agreeing not to challenge Google's advertising business in return for a very special treatment in Google's ad auctions. ...

  • Meta Platforms Inc. | Metaverse

  • [📌 pinned article] [JacobinMag.com, 2021-10-28] Facebook Is Now Meta. And It Wants to Monetize Your Whole Existence.  Mark Zuckerberg's turn toward the "metaverse" claims to put an extra digital layer on top of the real world. But 's new Meta brand isn't augmenting your reality - it just wants to suck more money out of it.  |  "Welcome to the Zuckerverse - a place nobody asked for but in which we may soon all be spending a lot of time."  |  "Meta wants to extend its reach from a mere global social network to become the digital infrastructure of everyday life."  |  "The end goal for Meta is that it is no longer a service you use, but instead, the infrastructure upon which you live."  |  "This isn't just about collecting data, it's about owning the servers and the digital worlds."

  • [MIT TechnologyReview.com, 2021-11-16] The metaverse is the next venue for body dysmorphia online.  Some people are excited to see realistic avatars that look like them. Others worry it might make body image issues even worse.

  • [theVerge.com, 2021-11-12] Meta CTO thinks bad metaverse moderation could pose an "existential threat".  Meta aims for "Disney" safety, but probably won't reach it.

  • [NPR.org, 2021-10-28] What the metaverse is and how it will work.

  • [theAtlantic.com, 2021-10-21] The Metaverse Is Bad.  It is not a world in a headset but a fantasy of power.

  • [CBC.ca, 2021-10-20] Facebook to rebrand itself and focus on the metaverse.  Company under fire seeking to reorganize the way Google did with Alphabet parent company.

  • [JacobinMag.com, 2021-09-25] Mark Zuckerberg's "Metaverse" Is a Dystopian Nightmare.  The Facebook founder intends to usher in a new era of the internet where there's no distinction between the virtual and the real - and no logging off.  |  "If the Metaverse sounds like something ripped from the pages of a science-fiction novel, that's because it was."  |  The Gargoylification of Society  |  "For gargoyles, who inhabit the Metaverse at all times, there is no 'logging on' and 'logging off.'"  |  "Ever wonder why we need the word 'lived' as a modifier placed before 'experience' now?"  |  "Facebook's own history proves that it's much easier to colonize minds than Mars."

  • [MatthewBall.vc, 2020-01-13] The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite.  |  "Note: This piece was written in January 2020. In June 2021, I released a nine-part update, 'The Metaverse Primer'." -- Matthew Ball

  • Facebook and Climate Change Denial

  • See main article: Climate Change Denial: Facebook

  • This article is a stub [additional content pending ...].

  • Additional Reading

  • [📌 pinned article] [BMJ.com, 2022-01-19] Facebook versus The BMJ: when fact checking goes wrong.  The BMJ has locked horns with Facebook and the gatekeepers of international fact checking after one of its investigations was wrongly labelled with "missing context" and censored on the world's largest social network. Rebecca Coombes and Madlen Davies report.  |  Discussion: Hacker News: 2022-01-20

  • [📌 pinned article] [BMJ.com, 2021-12-17] Open letter from The BMJ to Mark Zuckerberg

  • [📌 pinned article] Facebook Oversight Board.  The Oversight Board is a body that makes consequential precedent-setting content moderation decisions (see Table of decisions) on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. Facebook CEO Mark Elliot Zuckerberg approved the creation of the board in November 2018, shortly after a meeting with Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, who had proposed the creation of a quasi-judiciary on Facebook. ...

  • [📌 pinned article] Reuters.com Special Report - "Hatebook" - 2018-08-15: Why Facebook is losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar.  WInside Facebook's Myanmar operation.  Reuters found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments and pornographic images attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims on Facebook. A secretive operation set up by the social media giant to combat the hate speech is failing to end the problem.

  • [NPR.org, 2022-02-23] Facebook fell short of its promises to label climate change denial, a study finds.

  • [NPR.org, 2022-01-11] Judge allows Federal Trade Commission's latest suit against Facebook to move forward.

  • [NPR.org, 2022-01-06] Sister of slain security officer sues Facebook over killing tied to Boogaloo movement.

  • [CNIL.fr, 2022-01-06] Cookies: the CNIL fines GOOGLE a total of 150 million euros and FACEBOOK 60 million euros for non-compliance with French legislation.  Following investigations, the CNIL noted that the websites Facebook.com,   google.fr, and youtube.com do not make refusing cookies as easy as to accept them. It thus fines FACEBOOK 60 million euros and GOOGLE 150 million euros and orders them to comply within three months.

  • [ProPublica.org, 2022-01-04] Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to 2021-01-06 Attack, Records Show.  A ProPublica / Washington Post analysis of Facebook posts, internal company documents and interviews, provides the clearest evidence yet that the social media giant played a critical role in spreading lies that fomented the violence of 2021-01-06.

  • [CBC.ca, 2021-12-09] Facebook has a massive disinformation problem in India. This student learned firsthand how damaging it can be.  Facebook has more than 300 million users in India, and disinformation runs rampant.

  • [Trust.org, 2021-12-07] Rohingya refugees sue Facebook for $150 billion over Myanmar violence.  Rohingya refugees to sue Facebook for inaction against hate speech but Facebook says it is protected from liability under a U.S. internet law.

  • [Vox.com, 2021-11-11] Facebook is quietly buying up the metaverse.  Can Mark Zuckerberg M&A a new monopoly?

  • [theVerge.com, 2021-11-06] Facebook reportedly is aware of the level of "problematic use" among its users.  Leaked documents show a team of internal researchers that suggested fixes was disbanded.

  • [WSJ.com, 2021-11-05] Is Facebook Bad for You? It Is for About 360 Million Users, Company Surveys Suggest.  The app hurts sleep, work, relationships or parenting for about 12.5% of users, who reported they felt Facebook was more of a problem than other social media.  |  Archive.today snapshot

  • [Vox.com, 2021-11-03] Facebook is backing away from facial recognition. Meta isn't.  The social network is scaling back facial recognition, but similar technology could show up in the metaverse.

  • [Reuters.com, 2021-11-02] Facebook will shut down facial recognition system.

  • [theIntercept.com, 2021-10-12] Revealed: Facebook's Secret Blacklist of "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations".  Experts say the public deserves to see the list, a clear embodiment of U.S. foreign policy priorities that could disproportionately censor marginalized groups.  |  Facebook's   Dangerous Individuals and Organizations (DIO) policy has become an unaccountable system that disproportionately punishes certain communities.

  • Newsweek.com, 2021-10-04] 1.5 Billion Facebook Users' Personal Information Allegedly Posted for Sale.

  • [Doctorow.medium.com, 2021-09-30] Facebook thrives on criticism of "disinformation".  They'd rather be evil than incompetent.  |  [discussion, 2021-10-01+] Hacker News

  • [WashingtonPost.com, 2021-09-29] Recovering locked Facebook accounts is a nightmare. That's on purpose.  Social media companies are juggling account security and recovery - and failing users in the process.  |  [Hacker News, 2021-10-19] How to get back into a hacked Facebook account.

  • [theAtlantic.com, 2021-09-27] The Largest Autocracy on EarthFacebook is acting like a hostile foreign power; it's time we treated it that way.

  • [NPR.org, 2021-09-23] What Leaked Internal Documents Reveal About The Damage Facebook Has Caused.  WSJ reporter Jeff Horwitz says Facebook executives often choose to boost engagement at the expense of tackling misinformation and mental health problems, which are rampant on their platforms.

  • [ProPublica.org, 2021-09-22] Facebook Grew Marketplace to 1 Billion Users. Now Scammers Are Using It to Target People Around the World.  ProPublica identified thousands of Marketplace listings and profiles that broke the company's rules, revealing how Facebook failed to safeguard users.

  • [theMarkup.org, 2021-09-21] Facebook Rolls Out News Feed Change That Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data.  The tweak, which targets the code in accessibility features for visually impaired users, drew ire from researchers and those who monitor the platform.

  • [theGuardian.com, 2021-09-16] Facebook steps up fight against climate misinformation - but critics say effort falls short.  New efforts will let vast amounts of false material slip through the cracks, according to climate advocates.  |  Almost all of the climate misinformation about the 2021 power outages in Texas went unchecked, one study found.  |  "We cannot solve social media disinformation by playing an endless game of Whac-a-Mole with known liars."

  • [MIT: TechnologyReview.com, 2021-07-29] She risked everything to expose Facebook. Now she's telling her story.  Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook, revealed that it enables global political manipulation and has done little to stop it.  |  local copy

  • [MIT: TechnologyReview.com, 2021-03-11] How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation.  The company's AI algorithms gave it an insatiable habit for lies and hate speech. Now the man who built them can't fix the problem.  |  local copy

  • [Slate.com, 2020-01-15] The Evil List. Which tech companies are really doing the most harm?  Here are the 30 most dangerous, ranked by the people who know.

  • Return to Persagen.com