Will Facebook face up to its failings?

By

Opinion

November 21, 2018 - 10:14 AM

Major corporations make big promises to potential customers. Beer companies sell refreshment. Insurance companies offer protection. Facebook, the social media network used by an astounding 68 percent of American adults, peddles a warmer, fuzzier concept: togetherness.

But what happens when a company runs afoul of its own mission statement? It either owns up to those failings by improving the product or it risks losing customers and relevance. That’s where Facebook is right now: a company that needs to fix its reputation in a hurry or invite government intrusion.

In the past few years, a series of scandals involving Facebook has raised questions about the company’s commitment to caring for its own customers. During the 2016 election campaign, Russian trolls invaded the newsfeeds of Facebook users, planting fake political postings and ads to influence voters. In another politically connected fiasco, Facebook grossly mishandled its own privacy protection guidelines by allowing a company called Cambridge Analytica to harvest personal information from millions of users. Like the Russians, that firm apparently sought to promote Donald Trump’s campaign.

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