A bad day has graduated to certifiably terrible for the suits over at Facebook, as its stock price declines by 4.89% in the wake of an unprecedented six-hour outage – which didn’t just torpedo the company’s flagship social media platform, but also impact its entire suite of online services. Plunging the NASDAQ: FB market cap below the trillion-dollar threshold, currently hovering around US$920 billion (AU$1.26 trillion), Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth alone has endured losses amounting to US$7 billion (AU$9.6 billion).
The mass sell-off actually began prior to the outage when whistleblower, Frances Haugen, stepped forward to issue a series of damning revelations regarding the “growth over safety” mentality fostered at Facebook. Across tens of thousands of leaked internal company documents – dubbed the Facebook Files – the intel revealed celebrities, politicians, and high profile users experienced preferential treatment. Additionally, moderation policies were applied differently, if even at all, to these accounts (a system known as XCheck / pronounced “Cross Check”). Facebook is also facing a “complex lawsuit” from a group of its own shareholders.
“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” says France Haugen.
“Facebook over and over again chose to optimise for its own interests, like making more money.”
Haugen confirmed the suspicions of many by stating how safety systems designed to control misinformation were temporarily disabled during the US presidential election. Even more egregiously, the operation is apparently quite aware of its potential to cause harm – in terms of the US election and beyond – while downplaying every single issue in public.
“As soon as the election was over they turned them back off, or they changed the settings to what they were before – to prioritise growth over safety – and that really feels like a betrayal of democracy.”
According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg now has a net worth of just US$121.6 billion / AU$167.1 billion (“just”… lol).