>The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. While the NTK Network does not have a large audience of its own, its content is frequently picked up by popular conservative outlets, including Breitbart.
Facebook employed content writers posing as journalists, as hired guns against their enemies. A page out of the playbook of the Internet Research Agency.
To me, this story reads a lot like a media narrative that has very little to do with users's actual lives. And I've been reading variations on "Why Facebook sucks" and "Why Facebook is doomed" for a very long time. It's like the "Why this is the year of Linux on the desktop," but for media companies.
Don't get me wrong: I'm barely a Facebook user and agree with much of the criticism. But what I do, anecdotally, is less significant than what users do and want to do.
I think the conventional media sources, including the NYT, doesn't want to confront its own role in the 2016 election (the relentless media focus on Clinton's email server was insane). We don't want to acknowledge that most people's epistemological skill is low. Why look at ourselves, when we have this handy scapegoat right... over... there?
It's mitigated to the extent those users migrate to other FB-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp, but there the negative media narrative increases the chance that antitrust regulators will break up FB and force it to divest those properties.
At the time Mark Zuckerberg didn't want to testify in the UK, he testified to the UK House of Commons commission to inform them about Fake News 
In the corporate world the strategy is to 'Engage employees', make them aware of the harms of technology and philosophy of Humane Tech. I found it enlightening to see him address the opening keynote at Dreamforce 2018 "How to Stop Technology from Destabilizing the World"  to a hall full of SalesForce customers.
The CHT now focuses primarily on fake news, disinformation, political influencing problems that arise from tech - i.e. the topics where the risk for civic breakdown is highest, but they have also played a role in bringing the concept of 'Time Well Spent' - focussed on healthy tech use - across at e.g. Google and Apple (but much to be done still in this area).
PS. I represent the Humane Tech Community, which is affiliated yet operates independently of the CHT, as a grassroots movement .
They "stole" quite a few points from the then-frontrunning outsider too. It wasn't enough because it was too-late-too-little; they were too far behind. And yet, the narrative that the outsider won because of fake news steve bannon donald trump russia stuck. International press reports of it are still around. What, is Glenn Greenwald going to own up to dirty maneuvering?
Been a while since I've heard that.
In point of fact, a quarter of the 4,594 people surveyed by Pew Research between May 29 and June 11 report deleting the Facebook app. Of those, half who qualify as young deleted the app.
Stop getting your statistics from news. This kind of casual stats citing frustrates me beyond belief. Audit your sources.
For a population of 330 million, if you want a 95% confidence level and a 2% margin of error, you need only 2401 people in your sample. This is assuming the survey sampled appropriately (i.e. random selection methodology).
It is standard to take well executed surveys and extrapolate to the population. Calling it out is calling the whole field of statistics out.
I'm criticizing exactly what you called out as an assumption - the methodology of the sample; namely that they survey's distribution matches the population distribution.
So thanks for the lesson in p values, but it has nothing to do with my point. I take issue with blindly citing sources without doing due diligence, especially when the survey was collected over a very small window of time across a population that most likely doesn't match Americans in toto.
Yeah, I’m reading your previous comment, and I’m still not seeing it.
Okay. I specifically called out the date range issue in my original comment. But it seems like people can't move past the impulse to (in)correct me about pop statistics. I never said the issue was small sample size.
Pew has established a reputation as an organization who conducts polls regularly and properly. You are a throwaway account on HN. To be Bayesian about it, the priors are way better for Pew than for you.
If you have specific, substantive criticisms of how Pew conducted that particular poll, by all means, share them and folks can discuss that.
I already made my substantive criticism. You cannot extrapolate the results of a survey evaluated over a 1 - 2 week period to the modal opinion of the American population. To spell it out for you: I vehemently disagree that you can adequately randomly sample a representative subset of the American population in a two week period.
Do you have a substantive rebuttal to that criticism? Evaluate my point on its own merits, not whether or not it's coming from a throwaway account (which this is not).
To put it bluntly, I'm a little stunned no one else is considering that survey as critically as I am. Even if it's ultimately a sound methodology, it's pretty frustrating for that to be taken as an uncontroversial fact without any challenge.
> a quarter of the 4,594 people surveyed by Pew Research between May 29 and June 11 report deleting the Facebook app.
Yes, the part where Facebook is paying people to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and supporting SESTA.
There isn't much short-term stock prices are good for. Determining if investors will bet there is a problem is one of them.
Facebook's stock is down 20% YoY . Unless you believe investors were blindsided by stalling rich-country MAU growth due to demographic saturation, the market is pricing something in. Facebook, too, appears to believe there something is awry--Q3 2018 operating income was down 8 points relative to the same period in 2017, due mostly to costs and expenses ballooning 53% over the same period .
If the New York Times' sources about Zuckerberg hiring PR firms to write hit pieces against those criticizing Facebook are accurate, it seems he, too, sees a crisis.
It requires multiple suspensions of disbelief to think this is a manufactured problem. Facebook has been a principal actor in major scandals and atrocities around the world, appears to have reacted petulantly, and relies almost existentially on not having Instagram and WhatsApp torn out of it by antitrust regulators. The final point makes political vulnerability salient to its future.
 144.55 on 12 November 2018 / 177.95 on 15 November 2017
 https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-revenue-and-user-gr... - Facebook's user base is declining in Europe, and that ought to terrify its American bosses
If everyone quit Facebook and replaced it with Instagram, that's a very different story.
This article ends with Facebook's COO testifying before Congress, so I'm going to say yes, there was a crisis.
Look, Facebook needs to get its act together. They are in need for serious reform. However, mainstream media knows that Facebook is under a ton of pressure and these types of stories generate a ton of clicks. I know people want Facebook to die, but Facebook's usage has remained pretty much the same during all these negative stories. The public is not hating Facebook as much as people want to believe.
But the media has its narrative and it'll continue this "Facebook is evil" beat. The same with Clinton's email server, and more recently, the same with that immigrant caravan coming up from Central America.
> But the media has its narrative and it'll continue this "Facebook is evil" beat. The same with Clinton's email server, and more recently, the same with that immigrant caravan coming up from Central America.
The media doesn't just report on the public's current taste; its also an agent for advising the public to change their taste. To throw light on darkness. The article is not just some slander on Facebook, it goes into detail about exactly how much Facebook execs knew about the problem and the (extreme, IMO) political steps they've taken to protect their interests.
The US is in a very weird spot right now with Democratic norms sliding. Once we exit this weird period and US Government returns to normal, lets see how the NYT's stock price fares then.
I don't think the US Government will ever return to what it used to be pre-Trump, and I think its a good thing. One thing we've seen is just how brittle our Republic really is; how much we rely on so many people doing the right thing. I suspect the new wave of younger Congresspersons, who campaigned in an environment with a completely undemocratic and vile POTUS, will be deeply suspicious of unchecked Presidential authority. And I would argue that's a good thing.
I agree there's little risk of users deserting Facebook en masse, but what we may see is lawmakers coming down on FB like a ton of bricks. It will be popular, too: Heavily regulating social media and slapping them with massive fines will be winning issues with constituents on both sides of the aisle.
Pro tip (no pun intended): never use residential cable service. Always sign up for business-class service. You will get more-or-less infinitely better support, less telephone tag when things go wrong, faster maintenance attention, and fewer hassles in general, all without paying much more. Anecdotally, this also keeps you off the radar of anti-piracy crusaders, since users in business-grade IP blocks are more likely to have the resources to fight back.
I still use twitter, but I keep my distance, and it’s hardly a social platform.
I'm definitely not one of them. I use it for networking. Pretty much everyone in the board game industry is on Facebook at the moment (publishers, designers, developers, artists, media, etc), to get feedback from each other, coordinate events, and reach out to fans and potential customers.
However, I cheated somewhat and switched to twitter and continued to stay on Instagram (for sharing photos) and Whatsapp (talk to social circle).
Of all the things to blame the media for, being too critical of Clinton is an unfamiliar one to me. Especially when conventional media sources were clearly hostile to Trump but enamored with Trump stories.
If we are going to blame the media for something, it should be feeding the trolls, which it still has a hard time with to this day. Trump got incredible amounts of free press despite having much lower funding levels than Clinton.
We could call the email controversy uninteresting but it is clearly a story about corruption and unevenly applied laws and regulations. The story was about the corruption and cover-up, not IT infrastructure.
Imagine more and more governments reading more and more stories about how this powerful platform is influencing elections, allowing hate speech, spreading lies and even causing genocides. You don’t have to have a too big imagination to see what they will do next.
Not to mention the influence of all these awful stories on how end users feel when they go on the site. Smoking, too, has many “daily active users”.
A crisis for Facebook surely can start with media narrative. “Growth solves all problems” is only for early-stage startups, not for social networks used by 1 in 4 humans.
> It's like the "Why this is the year of Linux on the desktop," but for media companies.
I don't think this is an accurate analogy. In fact, I think this analogy just muddies your argument. Its only analogous in that its a an event ("year of linux desktop" == "lets delete facebook") that pops up every now and then. But while the former argument is mostly one of technical adoption, usability and taste, the latter has morphed into a more insidious need to protect the public from targeted disinformation campaigns. The delete facebook movement is not just a technological/taste argument anymore, its a political one and you're doing it much disservice by comparing it to something which has much less impact.
> I think the conventional media sources, including the NYT, doesn't want to confront its own role in the 2016 election (the relentless media focus on Clinton's email server was insane). We don't want to acknowledge that most people's epistemological skill is low. Why look at ourselves, when we have this handy scapegoat right... over... there?
I think its important to not lump conventional news media into one big blob, just like we don't lump tech firms into one big blob. Cable News is, IMO, much more culpable for Trump's rise than NYT. NYT does actual reporting while CNN/MSNBC/FOX cable news have more punditry/opinions (NYT does have opinions too, but it doesn't dominate the medium).
> “We’re not going to traffic in your personal life,” Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. “Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty.” (Mr. Cook’s criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones, since the operating system has far more users than Apple’s.)
Coincidentally, nothing is stopping privacy-conscious users to use, for example, DuckDuckGo. It's right there in the options on both macOS and Safari.
Finally, it's pretty absurd to say that Tim Cook/Apple don't believe in privacy. Out of all major consumer software/hardware manufacturers, Apple easily takes the most privacy-conscious stance of them all - which isn't saying much until you see the extent that they've gone to protect user privacy - ranging from the Secure Enclave and the T2 chip to fingerprinting and tracking prevention in Safari 12.
DDG is actually smoother, it loads faster and is more lightweight on phone browsers.
You can see the difference between these two statements in action in cases where Apple absolutely needs government approval and market share (China) or a good product (search engine / Google), they immediately ditch this "human right".
The point about maps feels rather non germane as apple does have its own maps product.
I didn't say anything about maps.
Can't just be that as others sell more billions of phones, right?
> I didn't say anything about maps.
You're right, I misread that part of your post.
It's a bummer for fans of Freedom that it got blocked, but it's not accurate to extrapolate that into some general Apple opposition to ad blocking.
If I were running FB, my main worry would be the fact that it's devolved into a platform for baby boomers to yell at each other about politics. An angry Congress, even a really angry one, has a limited ability to kill FB. In fact, I'd posit that a bona fide War With The Man might even be good for employee morale, another Cartago Delenda Est moment.
User shrinkage, declining engagement and general loss of relevancy, on the other hand -- that would be the death knell, and it already kind of appears to be happening.
I think the draw of a Two Minutes Hate isn't specific to an age group.
"...if Facebook pulled down the Russians’ fake pages, regular Facebook users might also react with outrage at having been deceived: His own mother-in-law, Mr. Kaplan said, had followed a Facebook page created by Russian trolls."
Yeah, great idea, Facebook. Let's protect the users from the outrage of having been deceived by... initiating a much bigger layer of deceit/coverup. That will totally work!
That's why I don't trust anything I read in the news. If I don't hear it from a friend working at one of the SV companies (which isn't that hard to find, we're a much smaller community than one would imagine) then I consider it to be sensationalized, hyperbolic, and/or downright wrong.
Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros.
It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
Also can any mods tell me why all my comments are dead?
The Facebook-planted story, combined with their recent questionable reporting on hacked motherboard hardware that nobody seems interested in corroborating, doesn't paint a trustworthy picture of the Bloomberg organization as a whole. At least not IMO.
Write to 'email@example.com' and ask --- and report back what they say. It looks like it's because of your comment linking Russia and Assange, but it's not clear if this was because it was too pro, too anti, or just because it mentioned one or the other. I'd guess it's user flagging gone awry, but maybe it's a new automated system that's broken instead.
I don't think so, my guess is that it was due to one of the comments prior to the one you mentioned, or some activity that occurred on the same IP IBM was using.
And that's what matters. Everything else is just a cost of doing business.
For one, if you're not using their site, they can't show you ads there.
Also you could be targeted on any site in their Advertising Network.
In those cases they don't need specifics, just a profile/persona they can target or crosslink your browser fingerprint from like buttons and pixel tracking with a FaceBook user with the same IP address.
It is incredible that the NYTimes were able to obtain some very private information that was presented in this article. It must have been leaked through someone at a very high ranking within Facebook executive team.
The guest went into this topic some more: "While Facebook had publicly declared itself ready for new federal regulations, Ms. Sandberg privately contended that the social network was already adopting the best reforms and policies available. Heavy-handed regulation, she warned, would only disadvantage smaller competitors."
Ooh, what an insidious tension. I actually never considered it as a security risk of proprietary systems.
Can someone here on HN filter for posts that rankly speculate about how secure FAANG must be based on the high skill level of the security teams there? I know I've read some. I'd like to read back through them with this threat in mind.
This is the biggest corporate f'up I've seen in a while. Someone needs to own it and step down.
Though the article uses the Russian interference as the launching off point, in my reading, it seems that these attacks on our democracy are essentially waived off. That the most pressing issue for Zuck was not that the families of his senior staff were being fooled (along with the rest of the voting public), but that his company may be ruined. This extremely serious, and continuing, attack on the public seems to not really matter to any of the parties involved, only that they may get 'in trouble' or lose money.
Good Lord. Where is the maturity? Where are the adults? Zuck seems like he's still 24 here, bopping about feeding calves and 'listening'. At least write up a report on your summer vacation.
The dire situations that the company (and the government) is in seems to be only taken as far as the mirrors these actors look into.
What absolute children.
Given the decisions Facebook has made Zuck seems like a really good CEO and when FB makes something their focus they usually pull it off - fixing mobile, instagram moves against snapchat, etc.
The impression I get from people that work there is that it's not just talking points.
Because FB's outward behaviour and actions don't seem to reflect your statements
And hiring 'unlimited headcount' is usually a sign of ticking a box and not actually understanding what needs to be done, i.e. "what do you mean it's still a problem, look at all the people we threw at this!"
The headcount issue was a friend saying they were trying to get more people on their team and the integrity teams had it easy because they could get more people easily.
There was also a lot of internal recruiting to get people working on the integrity teams.
That's the problem, right there. FB, as a company, believes they can somehow stop propaganda/agitprop from being disseminated on their platform. They are desperately trying to apply pre-emptive filtering, and will fail.
They have no desire to actually work on improving the situation. Once someone has been subjected to this kind of messaging, FB will do nothing to educate the victims. The aim should be two-fold: to minimise damage (100% prevention is just not possible), and to heal the damage done. But no, that would require them to take responsibility.
I have talked with some FB people who are hiring for these integrity teams. When I asked about whether they are willing to take responsibility and educate their users to prevent further damage, the answer was - and I quote: "we don't do that".
Isn't that the modus operandi of every company. I'm just thinking in my head back through serious crises involving companies, and all of the ones I can recall have senior management concerned about the same thing. (Losing money, and getting in trouble.)
From Exxon Valdez, to Deepwater Horizon (BP), definitely crises like Taylor, Enron, and the recent banking system unpleasantness.
In fact, I remember a more bald faced arrogance out of the banker community. I still remember them sending the legislature of the United States a 3 page letter to sign off on, authorizing the transfer of $1 Trillion to them within the following 24 hours.
Now THAT was childish arrogance. (Or maybe just the reality of their power? I don't really know which?)
> Isn't that the modus operandi of every company.
Does that make it alright?
integrity implies that you are unified or "integrated" as a part of a stronger whole, and working towards the betterment of that whole
that you share certain core values and ethics with another group of people
in the past large companies might have been integrated and integral to a certain city, region, community, country, cause, etc. - or as you put it, "our democracy"
facebook, and most large tech companies, no longer have or need such ties towards individuals, communities, or countries
they pay their taxes in all different jurisdictions (or sometimes mostly just in ireland) and then are free to do as they like to their users who keep coming back for more screentime because they're addicted
facebook has no sense of care for the user, or a sense of being in it together as a relationship, nor is it really possible to have one at Facebook's scale
i wouldn't be surprised if Zuckerberg still considers the majority of Facebook's users "dumb fucks" and sheep to be monetized, an ethos that will inevitably trickle down through the company from the top
facebook's integrity is aligned with their customers, the advertisers, and that's about it
we can only hope that facebook employees are doing what they can to preserve their own integrity with their friends/family/community, and that this push is strong enough to shape the development of the platform for the better, instead of towards further addictive, attention-grabbing, echo chamber construction
But it is profoundly worrying in a next-two-decades-of-politics sort of way. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to see negotiation as a viable way achieving good outcomes, and it is difficult to see how that will end well.
If the Dems had launched this conspiracy that the Russians are scheming to do ... something ... completely out of the blue it would be good for a generation of lampooning, but it conceptually fits in with older Tea Party attempts to shut the government down, or the partisanship towards the end of the Obama presidency on issues like Supreme Court nominations. There isn't a loud force in American politics that is talking about compromise or finding common ground.
Nothing credible says that, or could say that. Counterfactuals of that nature are very hard and in an election that was decided by 70,000 total votes out of over 130,000,000 it's nearly impossible to assign causation.
> We still don't really know who hacked the DNC, whether it was Russia as a hand selected group of people from intelligence agencies included was likely, or whether it was an insider as implied by Assange and security experts who looked at how fast the information was downloaded.
Nah, we know it was Russia. The CIA said so from the beginning (learned via signals intelligence), independent security firms all said the same (by attributing the C&C servers and link shorteners to other attacks known to be from Russia), and the DOJ laid out the full detail in the indictments. We even know who specifically was sitting at the keyboard (presumably via Dutch intel who had literal real-time video access). The Bill Binney nonsense about download speeds was immediately discredited -- and further discredited once it turned out that the Russians were using US-based proxy servers.
> We know Russia did take both sides on issues like black lives matter to "cause division" We know they created a "Buff Bernie" meme, but it really feels like a massive excuse by the Democrats for an embarrassing failure.
They repeatedly expressed preferences for Trump, the divisions they were trying to cause were all for his benefit. They started targeting Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and then eventually moved on to anything that would harm HRC, such as propping up Bernie. The democrats obviously failed to win what should have been a very winnable election but to deny Russian influence at this point is to be deliberately obtuse.
If you have any doubt at all about the DNC hack, please just read the 'speaking indictment'. There's really no question at all: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4598902-DOJ-Russian-...
An indictment isn't proof. You aren't 100% certain of anything. Assange has never lied to us. The intelligence agencies have. Assange says it wasn't Russia. Its amazing how the left has turned on him.
Yes, Russia wanted Trump that was why the Buff Bernie meme was out there. My point is its probably a trivial impact. People who have the slightest ability to be open-minded about this issue generally can see that. $100,000 for facebook memes compared to Hillary getting questions in advance from U.S. media? https://www.cnet.com/news/russian-trolls-targeted-teens-on-f...
None of this stuff is certain and it really is amazing how blown out of proportion it is in people's minds.
Assange lies all the time, I doubt there's anything that I could do to change your mind on that point but just look at the comments his former coworkers made after they were chased away from WL, his backtracking about talking to Trump Jr during the election, his withholding of documents that would be damaging to Putin, his deceitfulness in the DMs that were exposed by Emma Best last summer..
Intel agencies have Russia dead to rights on interfering in the 2016 election. Please explain how Guccifer2 accidentally logged into Twitter from the GRU headquarters otherwise... or if you're a Seth Rich truther, how a DNC worker had access to Podesta's personal gmail? It's not just intel agencies, several private security companies came to the same conclusion.
You have to ignore the information available to you to claim the extent of their interference wasn't broad.
> Yesterday, The New York Times published an article about the past two years at Facebook. There are a number of inaccuracies in the story, including:
> 1. Russia Investigation: The story asserts that we knew about Russian activity as early as the spring of 2016 but were slow to investigate it at every turn. This is not true. As Mark Zuckerberg told Congress, “Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia … [including] a group called APT28 … we also saw some new behavior when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies.” After the election, no one ever discouraged Alex Stamos from looking into Russian activity — as he himself acknowledged on Twitter. Indeed as The New York Times says, “Mark and Sheryl [Sandberg] expanded Alex’s work.” Finally, we did not name Russia in our April 2017 white paper — but instead cited a US Government report in a footnote about Russian activity — because we felt that the US Director of National Intelligence was best placed to determine the source.
> 2. The Muslim Ban: We did decide that President Trump’s comments on the Muslim ban, while abhorrent to many people, did not break our Community Standards for the same reasons The New York Times and many other organizations covered the news: Donald Trump was a candidate running for office. To suggest that the internal debate around this particular case was different from other important free speech issues on Facebook is wrong.
> 3. Commitment to Fighting Fake News: Mark and Sheryl have been deeply involved in the fight against false news and information operations on Facebook — as they have been consistently involved in all our efforts to prevent misuse of our services.
> 4. Sex Trafficking Legislation: Sheryl championed this legislation because she believed it was the right thing to do, and that tech companies need to be more open to content regulation where it can prevent real world harm. In fact, the company faced considerable criticism as a result.
> 5. Android: Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.
I can't get enough of the Apple-Facebook beef. Also kind of a "cut off your nose to spite your face" kind of move from a security perspective.
People in high places really make me sick sometimes. This guy told the truth about an important matter and she chewed his ass for it. Super professional to take some (well-deserved) shit from the board, and then go proverbially kick your dog in retaliation. What an asshole.
At the very least, we certainly are never going to hear of the things Facebook is doing right. We aren't going to hear about the economic opportunity or positive connections it has produced. To say that something is completely one sided is a strong sign of bias.
If you claim all news sources are fake news, then the only winner in that race to the bottom are the ones making actual fake content.
And weep all you want, I'd rather people question the news then blindly accept everything they're fed on TV and in the papers. The news cycles have become extremely sensationalized.
That's fair. But it isn't what you're claiming to be doing. You're saying you blindly disbelieve everything unless a friend vouches for it. That is neither critical thinking nor rational thought--it's unquestioning faith in social proof .