Yahoo failed because they were out-innovated. They weren’t the only ones. Lots of highly successful search engines got their lunch eaten by Google. Yahoo also suffered from a lack of leadership and some very poorly conceived acquisitions.
I don’t see any of that with Facebook. In fact it’s the opposite- people are uneasy with how effectively they’ve acquired users and their data and monetized it.
Further, they’ve pretty much only made incredibly savvy acquisitions and managed their integration into the Facebook ecosystem masterfully. Instagram not only exists today but has quickly become arguably the most valuable property. What about Tumblr? Flickr?
Say what you will about the ethics of the company but Facebook has demonstrated they have vision and the ability to execute and adapt. Yahoo didn’t. Most companies don’t. They have their existing business and customers and exist as long as the winds don’t change.
The worst part is that Yahoo innovated a lot ... In incubators, side projects, etc ... But they failed to bring their innovations to their main products, or to turn their side things into full blown products.
They had no plan, neither overall or per product.
Take emails for exemple, for the longest time (and still now, although not as dominating) THE key to user identity on the internet. Google had a plan to leverage their Gmail userbase and integrated it, Microsoft took its time but they ultimately had a plan to leverage their hotmail userbase, but Yahoo sat on yahoo mails (one of the "big three" of emails basically) for the longest time and did ... Nothing.
Same with flickr, they had people who loved the platform and begged them to take their money and move the product forward as a paid product and instead they let it rot for years. Lots of yahoo properties are like that. It's not that they tried something crazy and it failed, it's not that they got beat by a new comer, they just let their stuff die on their own. Pictures is now even more relevant than ever, and Yahoo should have been at the forefront and yet they let themselves be sidelined by doing nothing.
The best non-yahoo similarity I can find is what Google is doing with Blogger.
That's a good point. But to be fair everything "social" that Google has touched has died with the exception of YouTube.
In fact Google really hasn't done a great job holding onto many other arenas than their main ones. Blogger has been blasted by Medium. Knol was outlasted by Quora. Google Code was beat by Github. Their "shopping" attempts have always been eclipsed by Amazon. They can't get an edge with Google Cloud compared to Azure and AWS.
Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and Android are all success stories. But if you look at their "social" products YT is really the only success story.
EDIT: I use and love Google Photos but I can't remember the last time I heard someone talking about it. Instagram did it with a social spin.
Knol wasn't a competitor to Quora. It was meant to go after Wikipedia, Answers.com, and the various how to sites. Quora wasn't founded until June 2009. Knol's traffic had peaked in early 2009 and already fallen off a cliff by June 2009. By the time Quora got up to scale, knol had been long dead. By Google's own admission, they were shocked by the success of Wikipedia, which spurred their attempt with knol.
Yahoo didn't even try, when they got something cool, they went "ah, nice" and then closed it or forgot about it.
> EDIT: I use and love Google Photos but I can't remember the last time I heard someone talking about it. Instagram did it with a social spin.
Same, but as the same time, I would wager pretty much every android users uses it, and has more photos on it than on instagram. It seems the value of google photos for google is not to monetize it directly, but as a way to 1. have data to mine, 2. know more about each user to improve their other revenue source and 3. to keep the user tied to his google account and ecosystem. From that point of view, it's a massive success (and it explains why they went that route and pretty much killed picasa instead of the opposite).
Controlling an operating system is a massive such moat, see Microsoft, Google and Apple. As is the first effective search engine - once you have both the eyeballs and the advertising revenue, it's almost impossible for any competitor to displace you.
On the other hand, an email service is not such a thing. Gmail is a good product but it's easy to duplicate or disrupt by other email providers and various messengers. A content hosting platform, be it for pictures, videos, or simple html websites, will not produce strong network effects by itself - this where the "social spin" you talk about becomes essential.
Yahoo persistently failed to create and defend these network effects. Messenger was such a strong network effect-inducing product, but they failed to adapt it to the mobile era and destroyed it through heavy advertising and blatant disregard for the user experience.
Facebook are currently in no such danger, they have a few massively addictive products built on strong network effects. Sure, some people might move to other forms of socialization - but billions more are going online, in countries with rapid economic growth. There is nothing on the horizon that significantly threatens Facebook's moat.
Android exists for the same reason.
I would agree
They just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. What that means is, I don't mean it in a small way but in a big way.
- Steve Jobs.
(of a big phone) "you can't get your hand around it...no one's going to buy that." -- Steve Jobs
Maybe it's better to have strong opinions, even if some are wrong, than to just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.
Or maybe Jobs got really lucky that some of his taste resonated really well.
Hard to tease out the effects of survivorship bias.
I had an epiphany the other day that the secret of life is being able to simultaneously hold-believe-do contradictory ideas -- micro-applying whichever is apt for the immediate task.
Apple / Jobs history isn't something I'd consider myself well-versed in, but both of your points seemed to be present and required.
Having a maniacal dedication to a product during development (ie strong opinions), while also being willing to amortize risk over many project and ultimately call a failure in consumer acceptance a failure (ie see what sticks), seems as apt a description of the "secret sauce" as anything.
Google's problem is that they seem to fundamental believe there's a RIGHT way to do something (as engineers do). When for many things, there are a lot of right ways and its intangibles that cause a product to succeed or fail in the market place (aka taste, as artists do).
Obviously generalizing over a company as large as Google, but you see it when the market pushes back against their offerings. It seems like there's a core cognitive dissonance (eg with the Chrome UI simplification) because they're damn sure they built it "right."
Facebook, for all their cool tech, seems to be suffering from the Soviet problem. Reward by the numbers, and teams reporting up to you will come up with numbers.
I'm surprised the article attributes to top-down dictates (skew the ad numbers in Facebook's favor) what the Soviet Union learned in the 70s and 80s -- ask an impossible or overly difficult thing, and there will be bottom-up metric fabrication in response.
It's true that they are prone to thinking that there is one right way, like engineers; they are equally, however, prone to thinking that empirical testing is the best way to discover the one right way, and to accept that their hypotheses about the right way will sometimes be wrong.
In the engineering / GCP space, their open-beta -> GA flow seems to work sanely.
But I don't think anyone on the consumer side would have said G+ felt, at any point, like a corporate priority.
What I was trying to capture was the dedication and faith to push things with full effort... right up until you decide to pull the plug. A la iTunes, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, or FBA.
I would say Google started out with a "Spirit of Enlightenment" but lost the plot.
- Steve Jobs
I had been thinking of them as “the kid that did everything right on paper: hires the best tutors, got a 4.0 GPA, perfect SAT scores, yet didn’t understand why they weren’t the most popular and liked student”
I seem to remember some leadership there being adamant that they're weren't a tech or internet company, but a 'media' company. I can't remember which one (or ones?) but this embrace of hollywood/media vs technology seems to have been a key factor in their perpetual slide.
They had no idea what they were doing or what being a media company in the Internet age meant. They flailed about for a decade with confusing ideas of what their strategy and end goal was.
How did they go about pretending to be a media company for so many years, while watching others dominate streaming music and video? Incompetent leadership. How did they miss the numerous opportunities to acquire a real Internet media business like Netflix, for relatively cheap? They could have picked it up for most of 2007-2013 for $2b to $4b (early 2007 being when they launched their streaming service).
Yahoo innovated a ton! Everything from the software infrastructure level (a few submissions to the Apache Big Data suite), to the hardware infrastructure level (data centers) to acquisitions (had they just made a mobile app of Flickr they would've had Instagram years before Instagram).
But yes, their biggest problem to me, seemed to be by far and large lack of leadership (e.g., the CEO turnover)
Disclosure: previously worked at Yahoo
I'm a former attorney who worked in the investment industry and one of the shitty things I had to do when I first got out of law school was review footnotes on marketing material. In that industry there is one footnote that is basically the gospel: "Past performance not indicative of future results."
Has Facebook demonstrated their vision and ability to adapt? Absolutely. So did Kodak, Sears, and Apple. Though Apple managed a turn-around they certainly had a point where they very likely would have gone the way of Sears until they brought Jobs back.
Prior ability to innovate and execute means nothing. The important thing is continuing innovation. What the company is doing _right now_ is orders of magnitude more important than the longest track record of success. If anything, I think innovation becomes more difficult the bigger a company gets and the higher customer and investor expectations get.
The $150M investment Microsoft gave Apple had a lot to do with saving Apple, as well. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/steve-jobs-and-bill-gates-wh...
The people I know who uneasy are not so much concerned with the fact that FB has done this; but how. Phrases that come up are: reckless, unethical, lack of transparency, immaturity, etc.
Their most popular property ended up being Flickr, and they let it rot when smartphones and apps started being popular 10 years ago. Instead pro users fled to 500px and other communities, and social users wen to Instagram.
Flickr came from Game Neverending. It was an in-game feature and it did so well, the game was never released. That came from Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield's team and their innovative work at Ludicorp. It was purchased and then became a squandered opportunity by Yahoo!
And they absolutely let it stagnate. The apps that were available for phones (once there were apps) were often pretty terrible, from my recollection.
Certainly Facebook is not Yahoo. I think you are right, Facebook is almost exactly the opposite of Yahoo in every way, from the founder sticking around to how acquisitions were picked and managed.
I don't particularly like Facebook or agree with it. I prefer the communication platforms on the internet looked more like the internet, decentralized. Unfortunately for both Facebook's proponents and critics we are now in a negative news cycle echo chamber.
If something is in The Economist, is isn’t breaking news, and it’s more like an assessment of a newsworthy situation from the neoliberal viewpoint. I find it very interesting compared to other news sources, definitely worthy of my subscription.
Say what you will about the ethics of the company but
Thanks. They have always been entirely lacking in ethics, from they trust me, to zynga, to fake ad metrics, to illegal Russian ads, to Soros smears. This makes it hard for anyone to trust them.
Yahoo! failed on email issues, not on search engine issues.
Are you implying that's no longer true?
I don't think that a company's success is based on the views of the outsiders. This is like picking B instead of C in a multiple choice test because there were to many questions with the answer C.
I chuckle at how repeatedly human nature leads to surprise when “our son of a bitch”  turns out to be its own son of a bitch.
The jist is, people are extremely bad at basic logic. Unless it's really in their best interest within the context of the story (ie, catching someone cheating you) to be good at them.
It makes the difference between <50% of people getting the question right, vs >90%.
Presumably, everyone wants to get these logic puzzles correct. It just so happens that we're conveniently hard-of-reasoning except when it suits us.
For reference, the "logic puzzle" is Wason's selection task: which pieces of information do you need to test "if A then B"?
The choices (choose exactly as many as needed):
(1) A => ?, (2) !A => ?, (3) ? => B, (4) ? => !B?
For me (spoiler alert), all of the questions had the exact same correct answers. Given the number of permutations, it seems highly unlikely that the test is randomized and I just happened to get this arrangement.
As far as I know, there's no conclusive evidence for reasoning modules, but there do seem to be analogous modules in our visual processing system.
Unless there's been new research I haven't heard about, it's still an open question of whether there's similar biological specialization for, say, specific logic problems.
I think Zuckerberg and Facebook in general, are very aware that Facebook is on the decline, they need to diversify. That's why they bought Instagram and used it to flight Snap. That's why they spent such an insane amount on WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg knows they need to create or acquire the next big thing to make it in the long term. At least, that's what it seems like to me. I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere soon because of this.
Isn't that exactly what yahoo did?
WhatsApp announced that they'll introduce ads, and the co-founder left the company due to privacy concerns.
Depending on the intrusiveness of the ads, users may opt to move to another platform, which will lead to more people being pulled away from Whatsapp. FB will have to monetize aggressively to recoup investments and keep wallstreet happy, but users may not be very receptive to ads within their messaging platform.
Yahoo could not keep up the quality of any product that was acquired by them.
AFAIK end to end encryption was actually part of the acquisition deal.
And now they regret it ;-)
Zuck smartly buys his competitors.
It wasn't clear at the time Google would be any kind of success, you are looking at things with hindsight.
Compare with Google: Maps (Where2), Earth (Keyhole), Waze, YouTube, DoubleClick were all acquisitions they grew to be far larger under Google than they were before.
Disclaimer: I work for Google, although I have nothing to do with acquisitions.
Anti-trust legislation is scarcely enforced these days. No matter if in the US or Europe.
I'm surprised Facebook hasn't been hit with EU antitrust already. But the EU is already talking about forcing Facebook to split up.
Still seems to be gone, and seems like Apple have banned the data stuff they were doing.
"Facebook? You still use that? Everyone's on MyFaceWebsiteBookThing now..."
My bet would be Facebook might disappear and Google has more of a chance of diversifying their business enough that they may survive. The reason is that ad driven business models are long term problematic for both but Google at least has alternate revenue streams (e.g. cloud infrastructure revenue, mobile phone revenue, content subscriptions, b2b sales for analytics, development tooling, etc). They have a much more diverse portfolio of products and services than Facebook. And that's discounting the stuff they do under the Alphabet umbrella. Facebook has just ads. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, ....
The odds are stacked against pure ad driven business models. It's a race to the bottom. There's privacy legislation, browsers are being upgraded to counter tracking, and users are slowly getting a clue about it being kind of scary that big companies know a lot of shit about them. Add to that the stream of negative news about them and you are looking at serious challenges to what is the only business model Facebook ever had: create addictive engagement driven properties and claim as much time of their users as possible on it so they can measure what they do and feed them ads, fake news, sponsored content, and other stuff 24x7.
Facebook needs to diversify their revenue streams and not just their user facing properties. If they fail to do that, they'll peak and eventually decline.
My guess is that the pressure on Mark Zuckerberg to resign will keep on building until he eventually resigns. Then if they fail to change course under a new CEO, they could suffer the exact same fate as Yahoo where shareholders milk the existing business dry and eventually sell whatever remains for scraps. In the case of Yahoo, this only took a decade or so.
This is not true.
Across the West powerful firms are becoming even more powerful - Report published last week by the Economist
I had a profitable petroleum refining company in my equities portfolio that has been gobbled up and issued a new ticker symbol four times in about five years.
Had to laugh a little at this. Alphabet made $9 billion in profit in three months.
And if Zuck ever goes, the entire company goes with it.
I predict that FB will continue to push ads for short term profitability, slowly leak active users and find that a bunch of competitors will beat them by accepting a lower margin than FB are willing to accept.
The main hope for FB is that they can identify and acquire these competitors before they get a large enough network to take them out.
Not FOR WhatsApp it isn't. I don't know of an app that all my family/friends would switch to if WhatsApp decided to put ads on it. Switching chat apps with your entire contacts list is very cumbersome.
I got my friends and family to switch to iMessage and Signal. The method was simple: I stopped responding on WhatsApp and spun up new threads, when planning something, on those apps. WhatsApp’s stickiness is overrated.
Signal, at least on Android, looks like a stock SMS text app. That turns "normal" people off because it looks and feels different from a "messaging" app like Slack/Messenger/Whatsapp etc where doing stuff like group chats, attaching video/audio/images is easy. When people see a standard SMS text interface, they feel it's for one-to-one communication only with limited multimedia capabilities (remember MMS?).
A free chat app does not have much lock in. Just look at what happened to e.g. MSN.
Signal is a pretty good drop-in replacement for WhatsApp, given that WhatsApp is pretty much a Signal clone (it uses its protocol, etc).
Being better than Facebook doesn't mean just replicating its technology, it means having a better social graph.
That's a hard problem to solve.
Now facebook is your public profile, where your aunt, parents and employer can see everything you do and judge every post you make. That's why we have nice pictures of cityscapes, nature, holidays and of food on our profiles. Because anything intimate or controversial would be exposed to a too big audience for comfort.
So the market for smaller circles of "parent free zones" is wide open. I personally believe that's one of the reason Instagram got traction, your parents and employer weren't there in the start but your friends were. Just look at Tumbler.
Most FB users probably aren’t “power users”.
Facebook could have become an engine that allowed society to maximise human capital and but they sacrificed all that potential at the altar of growth hacking and bleeding advertisers dry.
Socially, it is extremely out of touch to even offer such a service to individuals.
The article is by The Economists, but I tend think the societal costs outweigh the financial to shareholders and employees.
As more and more democracies realize that Facebook and the likes are toxic for them  (democracy is people taking informed decisions not 'engaged' decisions) Facebook will get regulated just as smoking. Which means banned.
And people will move on to healthier alternatives. And Zuck will probably end in jail or under heavy litigation for beeing complicit in so many crimes. This is just beggining now.
 - funny that Russia and China realized what Facebook really is right away years ago and banned it or used to their advantage. But to 'free' countries it is always profit above social consequences.
As Lenin remarked - 'Capitalists themselves will sell to us ropes that we will hang them on'
Care to elaborate? I can't think of anyone.
However, this must not be captured by an entity who's sole target is profit, neither a state owned entity. Both will hamper the communication at some point, either by manipulating or censoring information.
My only hope is that a benevolent AI will coordinate this, having prime directives not to harm humans ( by the means of interfering with the communication ).
EDIT: some typos, and also mentioning that the affirmations from above should be read in the perspective of Facebook disappearing/dying and being replaced by something else.
>My only hope is that a benevolent AI will coordinate this, having prime directives not to harm humans ( by the means of interfering with the communication ).
It would have to be some kind of public infrastructure, if you want to avoid the profit motivation. I don't see how an AI would solve this.
Mmm...who's going to write that benevolent AI? :)
That's called "pulling a Myspace".
Facebook has reached the point that nothing above the fold is about my friends. Remember, sharing is spamming.
It sounds useful, but it's not really that useful, because it's not really measuring the interesting thing, it just sounds like it is.
For example, I think the stat you're quoting is monthly active users. If everyone used to engage with FB 20 times a day but now does so once a day (or once a week, or once a month) the active user count will stay the same, but the reality is very different.
People communicate with me via FB messenger, and I respond to them. Otherwise I don't use the app. Am I an active user?
Once a day I open it, realise it's shit and vacuous, and importantly my SIL (the only person I still use it to keep up with) hasn't made any useful updates, so I close it 20 seconds later (this one is me, fwiw). Am I an an active user?
I don't post anything, I just scroll through the same 200 friends I'd had for 10 years, with no movement or differing usage. Am I an active user?
I don't use facebook as a social tool, I have no friends etc, but facebook groups are used in my area to buy and sell things. The second people move to another site I'd happily move. Am I an active user?
Am I an active user?
It--- at least to me--- proves my point that active user is not a useful metric, as all of those people have very different values and drive growth (or don't) in very different ways, and so have no use being clumped together.
We didn't even get to talk about differing user demographics or time, data by country, trends inside countries etc.
Your value is not in reading the articles but in viewing the ads. For FB display advertising, you opened the app and viewed ads. Eyeballs captured! Value unlocked! Sure they’d rather have you spend 5 hours on the site, but even your slight attention is valuable.
Facebook has expanded to new countries in the last decade which has brought these millions of users, but younger generations in countries that have had Facebook for a long time are not using it anymore.
In the US most Facebook users are between 25-34. There are barely any teenagers.
This trend is a bit less pronounced in global demographics, but I think it's clear that younger generations don't like Facebook.
Facebook just has to be the social network people end up on.
I'd at least look at college-aged people, not the weird, limited social life of high schoolers.
If they stop showing up, it really doesn't matter.
MUAs are better than static profiles, but if the motivation is fear or guilt, rather than active affinity, the connection is tenuous.
1. I counted them:
You can't grow with an audience base filled with 50 year olds.
I honestly don't know the quality of data that statista produces, so take it with a grain of salt. The curve does appear to be dimming towards the end of Q3 '18, but it certainly doesn't appear to be as dire as people make it out to be.
I think there's a heavy dose of IT-industry echo chambering going on here to be honest.
Point of interest: I severely dislike facebook, so not trying to justify anything on their behalf. I just don't see the idea that "facebook is dying" among any peers in any social circles I'm part of. I do wonder if it's different in the United States.
I think what really matters is something like user actions/day. Anecdotally, Facebook engagement seems to be growing down but perhaps not yet in a way that would show up as a DAU drop (which I assume counts someone with even the barest interaction with the site as "active").
It wouldn’t surprise me if the real number was under a billion. Which is still a big number but it means growth was over along time ago.
The question is can they make enough cash to make the model perpetual.
Hopefully antitrust law will stop them, because with a behemoth like Facebook buying up every new, exciting social network real innovation, especially in monetization, will continue to be a myth.
> They are all old.
It doesn't appear to strictly be the case.
Does this passage make sense? With a high flying stock, Facebook would be paying more for mediocre employees while the rsu’s vest than if their stock is lower. If Facebook increases rsu’s to even out the employee’s comp, then the net cost to Facebook will be the same at the lower stock price.
Their only risk is if Facebook’s stock starts appreciating again and they are on the hook for more rsu’s at the higher price.
What she is (in hindsight) expected to have done is to have insisted that Facebook's news feed algorithm be used as a content filter to suppress stories promoted by politically marginalized groups.
This is much the same way China's government uses its Great Firewall to control which information reaches the people.
During the civil rights era, the Soviets supported the work of Martin Luther King. In the modern world, Russia supports certain third party views and anti-establishment perspectives, for obvious reasons, just as the US supports pro-Ukraine groups and other fringe political groups that are in close orbit to Russia.
So we are being told that Sandberg failed to utilize the firewall capabilities of Facebook to suppress anti-establishment content. We are told this is a big deal because Russia-linked entities spent money to promote some of the ads. Keep in mind the total spend by Russian-linked entities (could be NGOs, private citizens, oligarch-funded research institutes, etc.) was a miniscule $150K in an election with total funding approaching $2B.
Yet Sandberg may be relieved of her position because she failed to anticipate how such a small spend could dramatically influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
News flash: It didn't. There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about some aspects of Facebook -- my #1 concern is the extensive use of dark patterns designed to make people over-share -- but the "not doing enough" critique is
It is 100% motivated by political partisans in the US who unfortunately have a great deal of influence in possible regulation of Facebook and have made it very clear that they plan to use all of their power to force Facebook to act like the well behaved Great Firewall they want.
To be very clear, politicians want Facebook to be used at their bidding as a Great Firewall and they very much want to see certain views suppressed and others amplified. They also want to (and already do) use the massive amounts of metadata held by Facebook, Google, etc., to supplement whatever data they have when investigating Americans, who may or may not have committed a crime. It is, essentially, a transparent social credit system for US officials to use at their whim.
So the only difference between Facebook as politicians want it to be used and China's Great Firewall is that Facebook exists a bit higher up the protocol stack and its censorship/suppression is much more laser-focused and harder to detect.
There are plenty of short sellers who would benefit from FB’s plummeting stock. In reality, FB’s DAU/MAU are largely unchanged. The stories that young people “deleted Facebook” were downright falsehood. There is simply no viable competition for Facebook in market right now like what Yahoo had in terms of Google.
This is a weird meme that’s cropped up in tech circles over the past few years. It’s misleading and incorrect.
No short selling fund sells short and then secretly seeds negative PR pieces. If you’re short, your argument is always strengthened by disclosing you put your money behind your words. Short sellers hire private investigators, commission research and occasionally take out ads against companies. They do not put out hit pieces—it is too inefficient and expensive.
Disclosing the existence of a short makes people doubt the bias in every piece of information you bring up.
Keeping a position secret might be more effective than disclosing. I know when I watched that Herbalife documentary I assumed the whole thing was paid for by Ackman and therefore of dubious credibility.
It’s not a hard and fast rule. Just one enforced by economic interests.
> when I watched that Herbalife documentary I assumed the whole thing was paid for by Ackman and therefore of dubious credibility
You aren’t the target. Current shareholders are. Short-seller messaging is almost always primarily aimed at current long holders. (Since short sellers depend on long holders as a source for borrowed shares, a relationship which isn’t reciprocated in long holders needing short interest to make their investments work, inducing more shorts isn’t a feasible strategy.) The message shows bias from the position, but as an investor, someone betting on their message is more material than the bias. They decided, after all, to bet on the message before they themselves were biased.
(When long holders aren’t the target, regulators are. This was the Herbalife strategy. In those cases, too, a broad PR strategy is too expensive relative to the desired results.)
I don’t know if it’s your argument for the decline of facebook being false, but it doesn’t have to come from competition or viable alternatives.
People stopping doing something happens all the time, companies going down because of decreasing interest in their service is a normal thing.
That’s in part what happened to Kodak / Polaroid, or Blockbuster, ot Blackerry / Nokia. That’s not competition per se as other companies aren’t chalenging the incumbant, it’s the whole landscape that changes.
Why is there so many facebook propaganda crap everywhere now?
Everyday without fail, you can expect a few here. If we had real journalists in this world rather than propagandists, that would be an interesting investigation and article.
Why is the entire media/propaganda apparatus from the nytimes to the economist spanning both sides of the atlantic spamming non-stop propaganda about facebook?