Facebook Bully
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

Washington and Silicon Valley have been abuzz with the latest revelations about Facebook from a New York Times investigation that founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg leveraged lobbying might and personal clout to deflect responsibility from the social network for the spread of inflammatory content amid allegations that Russians manipulated the 2016 US elections.

Rana Foroohar writes that this shows Facebook's “top leadership is not liberal, but selfishly libertarian. Political ideals will not get in the way of the company’s efforts to protect its share price”. She argues that both Google and Facebook should have been well aware of the vulnerability of social media to manipulation and predicts the industry is facing a reckoning that involves regulation — much as the big banks were reined in after the financial crisis. 

Melvyn Krauss argues that the ECB should extend its bond-buying programme. The emeritus Hoover Institution fellow writes that slowing growth in the eurozone makes quantitative easing as important as ever.

Jemima Kelly digs into the latest dramatic crash in bitcoin prices and concludes that repeated splits are undermining its long-term value.

Wolfgang Münchau writes that market pressure will not save the Brexit deal and notes that there is a striking gap between analysis of investors and that of political commentators.

What you've been saying

Remembering another Sunday in November: letter from Steve Molloy, Berlin, Germany
I had just read Neil MacGregor’s rather good article on remembrance in Germany when I was frozen to the spot in Gatwick airport for two minutes of awkward public silence . . . I am a mild-mannered, centre-right, business-oriented Irishman of both Catholic and Protestant heritage. Quite to my surprise, my blood started boiling when I was forced to stand perfectly still in an airport security queue, and think about the British army for two minutes. Because our minds at least are free, mine wandered instead to the Croke Park Massacre, two years after the Armistice, when the army opened fire indiscriminately on an unarmed crowd in a football stadium in Dublin, killing 20 and injuring 60, in reprisal for IRA assassinations. It quite ruined my mood for the day . . . I can only underscore Professor MacGregor’s point: that the focus of remembrance must be civilian.

In response to MPs should reject a rotten Brexit deal , Ron-Ohio writes
Once many, many years ago when I was young and even dumber than I am now, I got married for all the wrong reasons. It was immediately obvious that my first wife and I had made a really stupid mistake, and so, as painful and personally embarrassing as it was, we ended it before any permanent damage, like a kid. Swallow your pride, exercise some pragmatic patriotism, admit Brexit is a completely avoidable disaster and do the obvious. Exit Brexit.

The Whole Foods election: letter from James R Owen, Paris, France
Edward Luce neglects to mention one possible answer to the question of US electoral overhaul in his Big Read article: namely, the National Popular Vote bill (see nationalpopularvote.com). This state-by-state legislation, when fully adopted by states comprising at least 270 votes of the electoral college for presidential elections, would ensure that the candidate winning the US popular vote would be elected president. Such laws have already been enacted by 12 states with 172 electoral votes, including some with Republican-controlled legislatures. While not addressing the urban/rural split that skews congressional representation, it would eliminate the election of a president who failed to win the popular vote . . . It is far from a “wild card remedy”. Regrettably, the remaining 98 electoral votes needed to activate this mechanism before the 2020 presidential election are unlikely to be found.

Today's opinion

Facebook put profits above care for liberal democracy
Silicon Valley faces a reckoning, just as banks did after the financial crisis

A weakening Europe will not be the global growth locomotive
Eurozone returns to ‘old normal’ after last year’s temporary surge

Bitcoin’s repeated splits undermine its long-term value
More than $600bn in cryptocurrency ‘market capitalisation’ has evaporated this year

Lex: Gene editing: careless Crispr
Investors can get exposure with less risk by putting money into bigger companies

Market pressure will not save the Brexit deal
There is a striking gap between analysis of investors and that of political commentators

The ECB should extend its bond-buying programme
Slowing growth in the eurozone makes quantitative easing as important as ever

Inside Business: How to stop nuclear costing the earth
The key spending variable to suppress is each project’s cost of capital

Workplace rivalry can become fragile friendship
Sports stars and couples can teach us to be more open about ambition with our peers

FTfm: Who cares wins in the brave world of ESG

FT View

The FT View: The stark message from California’s raging fires
Global warming is feeding the rising intensity of natural disasters

The FT View: The EU has nothing to celebrate in Britain’s Brexit plight
It is in Europe’s interests to avoid any temptation to be punitive

The Big Read

The Big Read: Opportunity knocks in the US for rundown areas — and investors
Supporters see the new zones as a bold plan to develop poor areas. But they could also deliver generous tax break for rich investors

Get alerts on Facebook Inc when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Commenting on this article is temporarily unavailable while we migrate to our new comments system.

Note that this only affects articles published before 28th October 2019.

Follow the topics in this article