Výkonný ředitel společnosti Facebook pan Mark Zuckerberg měl minulý týden velice špatnou náladu, ale s ohledem na zbytek mizerného celého roku byl ten minulý týden skutečně výjimečně špatný.
Týden špatných zpráv začal 8. března a nebylo to způsobené nepovedenou oslavou mezinárodního svátku žen. Způsobil to návrh senátorky a presidentské kandidátky Elizabeth Warren, aby došlo k vynucenému rozdělení společnosti. Pokračovalo to historicky největším a nejdelším výpadkem všech služeb a digitální platformy celé sociální sítě, což mediálně překrylo kriminální vyšetřování protiprávních dohod o prodeji osobních údajů uživatelů sociální sítě dalším příjemcům dat.
Technické problémy sítě Facebook se podařilo vyřešit právě včas, aby se daly zveřejnit informace o odchodu dvou klíčových výkonných ředitelů společnosti, přičemž jeden z nich je úzce provázán na klíčový produkt. Dovršil to nešťastný pátek, kdy se Facebook stal platformou pro volné šíření video streamu z masakru 49 lidí na Novém Zélandu.
Podrobný rozbor situace a další informace se dočtete v převzatém článku od Mary Anne Franks ze zpravodajství Bloomberg.
“Hedge funds who were previously complacent about the recent negative headlines are raising eyebrows on the news overnight,” Lynx Equity Strategies analyst Jahanara Nissar wrote in a note. The departure of two top executives also was “concerning — especially given that the conflict was over strategy.”
The snowball of bad news is catching up with the company. The shares had their worst day in more than two months Friday, falling 2.5 percent to close at $165.98.
Negative sentiment toward Facebook, as measured in tweets on Twitter, rose to the highest in almost eight months on Thursday. While sentiment can rise and fall with the thousands of daily tweets about the company, Facebook hadn’t seen that many negative comments since July, the day after disappointing revenue and user growth figures prompted the stock’s biggest-ever selloff.
And that was before the tragedy in Christchurch, New Zealand, which alone would have been enough to prompt soul searching in any CEO. For Zuckerberg, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Days after Warren unveiled her breakup plan, Facebook pulled her ads on the platform for the proposal. It wasn’t a good look for Zuckerberg’s defense of the social network as a place for public debate and people of all views. Facebook said Warren’s ads violated company policy against the use of the corporate logo, but “in the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.”
Just as concern over the outage was reaching its peak, the company was beset by news that an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department was broadening to include a federal grand jury in New York, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. The grand jury has subpoenaed records from at least two smartphone makers and other electronic devices that had partnerships with Facebook, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the requests.
“As we’ve said before, we are cooperating with investigators,” Facebook said.
The company is facing ongoing probes around the world into alleged privacy violations revealed last year stemming from its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that obtained the data of millions of the site’s users without their consent. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said last month it was creating a task force to look into possible anticompetitive conduct by Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other technology companies and several state attorneys general also are probing Facebook’s privacy practices.
“We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so,” Facebook said.
Chris Cox, who had worked at the company for 13 years, announced he was leaving in a Facebook post on Thursday. Cox had helped invent and develop the news feed, the main channel for personalized life updates for more than 2 billion people — essentially the algorithm-based editor-in-chief of users’ digital lives.
Cox’s departing post alluded to a different view than Zuckerberg’s about Facebook’s future. “We are turning a new page in our product direction,” Cox said. “This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through.” Chris Daniels, who ran WhatsApp, is also leaving Facebook, the company said.
The slaughter in two mosques came after someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a lengthy racist manifesto on the site and a forum known for extremist views. His first-person view of the carnage as he wreaked it immediately was spread across the internet. Facebook said it “quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts,” and was taking down any mentions of praise or support for the shooting. But this was exactly the kind of event Zuckerberg has pledged to work harder to avoid. The company has hired thousands of people to manually screen offensive and dangerous content and plowed money into technology like artificial intelligence to more efficiently analyze and filter live video content. And yet.
Zuckerberg, 34, has acknowledged the difficulty of policing content from the 2.7 billion users that power Facebook’s wildly profitable advertising engine. The company’s business model depends on showing people posts they’re most apt to have an emotional reaction to, which often has the side effect of amplifying fake news and extremism.
Mary Anne Franks