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Is Facebook Too Big to Fail?

Rinse and repeat. Every week, Facebook courts new controversy through either willful misinformation or obviously possible things related to their need to super admin block content.

Where do you begin?

Recently, there has been a great excavation of the failure to introduce Internet.org in India. Perhaps in the insular confines of Facebook HQ, it seemed a purely altruistic endeavor, one that would never been seen as an opportunity for the company to gift its way into creating a Facebook-dependent experience for millions of Indians who had not experienced the open web. But they were suspicious and it failed. 

Then, take the trending topics debacle. Facebook intimated for a long time that the trending topics were algorithm based. That was not true. And since that was the expectation, they never needed to or thought to explain how editors picked stories. And when one former employee explained the issue (either explaining it perfectly or poorly, depending on what the true reality was), the lost complete control of the story. 

And then! Facebook’s ad policy banned a body positive ad for a feminist group on the basis that the image “doesn’t comply with our Health and Fitness Policy. The image depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner,” an email from a Facebook Ads Team staffer said.

All of these things have happened within the past couple of months (while Internet.org happened early, the postmortems have been happening recently).

Perhaps the public’s short attention span due to social media means that any major corporation engaging in such varied and embarrassing missteps can easily wait out the fallout. But Facebook seems specifically capable of enduring such mistakes because… where else are people going to go to waste their time for hours at end by looking at the lives of friends and acquaintances? Perhaps Facebook is too big to fail.

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