On the one-year anniversary of Facebook’s notorious Cambridge Analytica scandal, which weaponized Facebook users’ private information for politicians, the tech giant found itself mired in a fresh batch of trouble. The social media company removed ads critical of Facebook and failed to catch and remove a livestream of the deadly mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand – and lawmakers in the U.S. and the E.U. are raising concerns about its power.
First, the ads. Senator Elizabeth Warren ran a series of ads that called for a breakup of the social media network, claiming that the company – along with other tech companies – hold too much power. Facebook took the ads down, claiming it was “because they [the ads] violated our policies against use of our corporate logo.” However, a Facebook spokesperson said it restored the ads “in the interest of allowing robust debate” once the social media company was censoring speech.
Warren’s position is that companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more should not be allowed to sell ads on their own platforms, and she says she’ll take steps to fight “anti-competitive mergers” like Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.
It wasn’t just Facebook that Warren took issue with, though – she also set her sights on Amazon and Google.
Then, the livestream. Facebook, along with Twitter and YouTube, struggled to catch up with a livestream video that showed a white supremacist murdering dozens of people at mosques in Christchurch, NZ in mid-March. The footage, according to New Zealand police, was “extremely distressing.” Law enforcement professionals asked people not to circulate it, but it was widely available on all three platforms.
Facebook says it’s “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware,” and Twitter and Google’s YouTube said they were removing that type of content as well. The same thing has happened elsewhere, too, including in the U.S., Denmark and Thailand.
And between all that, Facebook suffered the longest outage in its history, its data-sharing policies are the subject of a criminal investigation, and two of its top executives – Chris Cox and Chris Daniels – are on their way out the door. Other executives have recently left, too, including its chief security officer and its top policy and communications executive.
What Do You Think?
Do you use Facebook? What do you think of all the scandals that have been plaguing the company over the past year or so? I’d love to hear your take, so please join the conversation on my Facebook page (yes, I know!) or on my Twitter feed.