The fundamental laws of Facebook

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Facebook asked for users’ email passwords, then “unintentionally uploaded” people’s contact lists without asking for separate permission, according to Business Insider. Stop trying to explain these violations one at a time. A pattern is increasingly obvious. To that end: here are the fundamental laws of Facebook, which will explain not just this violation but all … Continued

Facebook: Too big to flail

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A decade ago, in the social media business book Groundswell, Charlene Li and I described online social technologies as an uncontrollable grass-roots movement. I had hoped social media would be a force for good. But now Facebook, along with its subsidiary Instagram, dominates that movement. It controls more of our collective attention – and gathers … Continued

My op-ed on Facebook for the Boston Globe

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Last week, the editors of the Boston Globe requested me to write an op-ed on Facebook and what needs to happen in the wake of its consistently poor behavior. Here’s a link to what they published, which will appear in Sunday’s “Ideas” section. (If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll have to provide your email address … Continued

Owning up to your Facebook codependency

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I’ve characterized Facebook as an addiction. I think I was wrong. After yesterday’s outage, now I think the correct way to describe our relationship with Facebook is as codependency. Codependency is “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition.” (Merriam-Webster). … Continued

Could Facebook read encrypted messages? Would it?

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A week ago, Facebook announced a shift to focus more on messaging (or as Mark Zuckerberg designated it, Facebook’s “privacy-focused” vision). I suggested that this would allow the company to personalized its ads even more. Would this even be possible if, as the company promised, the messages would be encrypted? A guy I respect on … Continued

How Facebook’s “privacy-focused vision” will further violate your privacy

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a major strategy shift towards messaging and “privacy.” Don’t be fooled. It’s not about making you feel safer — at all. At the center of this two-step are two different definitions of privacy. When you think about privacy, you are thinking “I don’t want my private information shared.” That’s not what … Continued

A monopoly always prioritizes strategy over customers. That explains a lot.

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The alternate title for this post was “Why things suck.” I’ve been analyzing corporate behavior for 25 years. I’ve covered Microsoft, Comcast, Facebook, sports leagues, and government. And one simple statement — monopolies prioritize strategy over customers — explains so much. Monopolies are not evil. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that once … Continued

If Facebook is so smart, why can’t it get rid of the catfish spam chicks?

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The strangest thing happened to me the other day. And I’m wondering why Facebook doesn’t have the (artificial) intelligence to catch it. This attractive woman who I didn’t know sent me a friend request on Facebook. Has that ever happened to you? It has? So it’s not just me? In fact, since I’ve been on … Continued