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Chris Hughes Says It’s Time to Break Up Facebook (nytimes.com)
542 points by tysone 46 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 288 comments



Useless idea. Social networks esp FB should come with a statutory warning: Excessive vanity can cause permanent brain damage leading to a dysfunctional real life with real friends/family who may actually give 2 fux about you.


Deleted Facebook a month ago. Didnt seem to miss anything. Still share pictures and memes and statuses on iMessage with friends relatives. And those that are not on ios using whatsapp by holding the nose. Didnt miss a thing.


The problem with breaking up Facebook or any big US tech companies, is giving China tech companies a huge advantage. Tech is global market/competitive space.


It is time to tear the Face Book down.


Common rich person move. Something only becomes unethical and awful after you get rich off it.


advertisers and web masters wanting analytics can get together and share cookies on users they want to track weather Facebook or google enable them or not.


While we're discussing Facebook and anticompetitive practices, I'd like to bring the effects of FANG/Unicorns and their current compensation.

I think we are seeing a drop in people leaving established tech to startups, but I think most of this is due to the _ludicrous_ amount of money an engineer/PM can make being a 9-5er at one FB/G. Engineers who meet expectations and get promoted at the minimum allowed rate can be an E5 engineer at facebook within 5 years of graduation where there's a median income of ~$300k. Engineers who are good can get promoted much faster/further than that and make absurd amounts of money. With Level 1 directors at FB making over a $1M a year.

It really doesn't make sense for an individual engineer to ever join a small startup nowadays. Being the founder of a successful startup now still makes sense, but considering that much of the low-hanging fruit of the mobile/internet era has been picked, I think being a founder requires more domain/technological expertise than it did in the era when our current unicorns were born.

I like the state of things as someone making good money relatively stress free at a FANG, but I hope a new fundamental technology wave comes soon and creates opportunity for a whole new set of companies, reigniting the startup scene's energy.


It's not clear that many of the people you are describing would have joined a startup anyway. There's big difference in the personalities who thrive in startups and those that thrive in large bureaucracies. An alternative view is that Silicon Valley and other tech centers are increasing dominated by the latter type of person.


> An alternative view is that Silicon Valley and other tech centers are increasing dominated by the latter type of person.

Definitely possible and likely true to some extent. Smart people who don't have a particular passion and may have chosen finance/consulting in another era are considering tech.

Though I do see a lot of people move in and out of being high leadership at smaller companies/startups and into manager/director positions at FANG.


I'd go further and note that online software discussions in general seem increasingly dominated by complete beginners who couldn't care less about code except as a stepping stone to money and fame.

How this is all going to lead anywhere worth going is anyone's guess...


I think the change will have two effects. The first is the cynical one, where tons of unqualified people come into the field just for the money, write poor software, and probably don't actually enjoy their lives that much because they're not good at what they do and lack that internal satisfaction.

But, a more positive change is that there will be some high-impact multitalented genius individuals that choose to pursue tech instead of high finance or politics or something like that. Jeff Bezos left a hedge fund to start Amazon. Now he may be a ruthless son-of-a-bitch when it comes to competing, but for consumers the positive impact has been enormous. He's likely done far more good than he would have being a lifer at D.E. Shaw.


At least you're paid well to contribute to the destruction of privacy, fair elections and human rights.


what's the median age (in your estimation) of a level I director at FB? and what's "absurd amount of money" for good engineers? Something like 400 - 600K?


From my (likely poor) estimation, an internally promoted director likely has ~10 - 15 years of experience, and externally hired directors can range from that little to much much more. These are usually very talented people who could be C-suite executives at smaller companies so their compensation makes sense.

When I said "absurd amount of money" it was more of a rhetorical device, I don't actually think that its unreasonable, and yeah I meant ~500k or so.

Considering the value good engineering and leadership bring to a tech company, this pay makes perfect sense, hell it still may be lowballing the value they generate for the organization. But it is still a high amount of money for a 9-5 individual contribution job compared with other industries.

I'm more making the point that tech used to pay middlingly compared to other professional jobs (doctor/lawyer etc.), and Mechanical/Electrical engineering for the most part still do pay middlingly. I think this encouraged the talented to strike out for startups far more often as the opportunity cost of doing so was lower, especially in times with new technology waves where there was a lot more "low hanging fruit".

I'm not saying the pay is anticompetitive or a bad thing, I'm merely commenting on a trend that I've seen where startups make less and less sense for talented individual engineers and I wonder how that will affect the tech scene in the next decade.


> I'm more making the point that tech used to pay middlingly compared to other professional jobs (doctor/lawyer etc.)

Outside of SV, how is it not "middlingly"? Where can you make $500k+/year in tech working at some corporation??


Outside SV, Seattle and NYC it pretty much does still pay middlingly. But these same places that don't compete with SV on pay also often don't have an many resources for the startup oriented as well.


No, Google first. NYTimes is throwing the sacrificial Facebook under the bus to save the real systemic surveillance menace to the future generations.


Even if you break Google up it won't really change anything (i.e. it won't stop wide tracking of users online).


Why is this article not being upvoted more? It's probably the most important piece that has ever been posted to HN; especially considering who the author is.


I don't know for others but personally, I think it's pure hysteria and scapegoating. If you don't like Facebook, don't use it. I don't think private property should be forcibly removed away because it is the current news cycle ennemy-of-the-day. The standards for overruling consent should be extremely high - if they should exist at all.

I got fed up with Facebook a while ago and deleted my account. No problem. If Facebook has influence it is because people voluntarily chose to give it to them.


You are really not missing the forest for the trees. Facebook has grown so large that it's no longer an individual's decision to be there or not.

Your data is there whatever you do, growing as a phantom profile based on data you give to advertisers or what your friends share. It's become such a huge power that it's a huge part of social life. It influences our society in ways we coulndt even imagine before.


This is insane. No, you don't have to use it. You can reset cookies and device identifiers whenever you want if you don't want "phantom profiles."


We're at a point where you are massively crippled from the rest of society if you do not use it.

There are so many uses that I just cannot afford to not be on the platform.


Look at the comments here. This website is essentially a bunch of Ayn Rand novels come to life.


I think it would be enough to ban Zuckerberg from running any public corp in his lifetime.

The Facebook problems are all Mark Zuckerberg problems, it starts with the people he pics for management the priority he sets for a business which provides an important part of american infrastructure.

Zuckerberg as CEO of Facebook is the same for the USA as putting a teenager in control of the United States Department of Energy.


I think I'd rather have a teenager than a guy who couldn't even remember its name when he tried to list it as one of three agencies he'd demolish. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https:/...


Not at all equivalent. I'm not forced to use Facebook (and don't). Whereas I'm forced under threat of arrest and violence to fund the DOE. If you don't like it just don't use it. If everyone stopped using Facebook it would be gone in under a year.


I wonder why you pick on the people rather than the business model inherent to social network. We could argue that making people pay to use a social network or an email would be better, but the experience has shown that reselling personal info to advertisers is the way major internet actors in the field had to pick if they wanted to succeed. i don’t think you can blame zuckerberg for the whole industry practices


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