NYT: Facebook Is in Trouble – Starting Before Its Catastrophic Outage

Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the second day of testimony before Congress by Zuckerberg, 33, after it was reported that 87 million Facebook …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a recent article, the New York Times outlines why the recently leaked internal Facebook documents indicate that the company is in more trouble than previously believed. The Times forecasts a storm brewing in Facebook’s future, and that was before the Masters of the Universe suffered a catastrophic outage of services that lasted about seven hours on Monday.

The New York Times reports in an article titled “Facebook Is Weaker Than We Knew,” that the recent “Facebook Files” series from the Wall Street Journal, which includes information obtained from leaked internal Facebook documentation, shows that the company is in a much more precarious situation than previously believed.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Breitbart News has reported extensively on the “Facebook Files” series from the Wall Street Journal which made a number of damning claims about the tech giant based on a series of internal company documents.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the internal documents reveal that the tech giant Apple threatened to remove Facebook from its App Store in 2019 following a report from BBC News that detailed the human trafficking taking place across the social media platform.

In another report titled “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show,” the Wall Street Journal claims that Facebook is aware that its photo-sharing app Instagram can have a negative effect on the body image of young women.

Sad desperate young girl suffering from bulling and harassment at school - stock photo

Sad desperate young girl suffering from bulling and harassment at school – (stock photo/Getty)

The Times claims that one way to view the leaks is that Facebook is a tech giant willing to disregard its damage to society in order to generate profit. But another way to view the leaks is that Facebook is in major trouble.

Kevin Roose writes for the New York Times:

Not financial trouble, or legal trouble, or even senators-yelling-at-Mark-Zuckerberg trouble. What I’m talking about is a kind of slow, steady decline that anyone who has ever seen a dying company up close can recognize. It’s a cloud of existential dread that hangs over an organization whose best days are behind it, influencing every managerial priority and product decision and leading to increasingly desperate attempts to find a way out. This kind of decline is not necessarily visible from the outside, but insiders see a hundred small, disquieting signs of it every day — user-hostile growth hacks, frenetic pivots, executive paranoia, the gradual attrition of talented colleagues.

It has become fashionable among Facebook critics to emphasize the company’s size and dominance while bashing its missteps. In a Senate hearing on Thursday, lawmakers grilled Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, with questions about the company’s addictive product design and the influence it has over its billions of users. Many of the questions to Ms. Davis were hostile, but as with most Big Tech hearings, there was an odd sort of deference in the air, as if the lawmakers were asking: Hey, Godzilla, would you please stop stomping on Tokyo?

But if these leaked documents proved anything, it is how un-Godzilla-like Facebook feels. Internally, the company worries that it is losing power and influence, not gaining it, and its own research shows that many of its products aren’t thriving organically. Instead, it is going to increasingly extreme lengths to improve its toxic image, and to stop users from abandoning its apps in favor of more compelling alternatives.

Roose points to documents leaked by the WSJ which show that Facebook was developing strategies to better market itself towards children, stating that preteens are a “valuable but untapped audience.” Roose asks if Facebook was confident in its market position, would it need to “leverage playdates” or develop marketing strategies towards pre-teens?

Read more at the New York Times here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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