Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.
We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.
It is time to break up Facebook.
America was built on the idea that power should not be concentrated in any one person, because we are all fallible. That’s why the founders created a system of checks and balances.
More legislation followed in the 20th century, creating legal and regulatory structures to promote competition and hold the biggest companies accountable.
Starting in the 1970s, a small but dedicated group of economists, lawyers and policymakers sowed the seeds of our cynicism. Over the next 40 years, they financed a network of think tanks, journals, social clubs, academic centers and media outlets to teach an emerging generation that private interests should take precedence over public ones. Their gospel was simple: “Free” markets are dynamic and productive, while government is bureaucratic and ineffective.
American industries, from airlines to pharmaceuticals, have experienced increased concentration, and the average size of public companies has tripled. The results are a decline in entrepreneurship, stalled productivity growth, and higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.
From our earliest days, Mark used the word “domination” to describe our ambitions, with no hint of irony or humility.
Facebook’s monopoly is also visible in its usage statistics. About 70 percent of American adults use social media, and a vast majority are on Facebook products. Over two-thirds use the core site, a third use Instagram, and a fifth use WhatsApp. By contrast, fewer than a third report using Pinterest, LinkedIn or Snapchat. What started out as lighthearted entertainment has become the primary way that people of all ages communicate online.
The F.T.C.’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp. In 2012, the newer platforms were nipping at Facebook’s heels because they had been built for the smartphone, where Facebook was still struggling to gain traction. Mark responded by buying them, and the F.T.C. approved.
The News Feed algorithm reportedly prioritized videos created through Facebook over videos from competitors, like YouTube and Vimeo. In 2012, Twitter introduced a video network called Vine that featured six-second videos. That same day, Facebook blocked Vine from hosting a tool that let its users search for their Facebook friends while on the new network. The decision hobbled Vine, which shut down four years later.
unlike Vine, Snapchat wasn’t interfacing with the Facebook ecosystem; there was no obvious way to handicap the company or shut it out. So Facebook simply copied it. (opyright law does not extend to the abstract concept itself.)
As markets become more concentrated, the number of new start-up businesses declines. This holds true in other high-tech areas dominated by single companies, like search (controlled by Google) and e-commerce (taken over by Amazon). Meanwhile, there has been plenty of innovation in areas where there is no monopolistic domination, such as in workplace productivity (Slack, Trello, Asana), urban transportation (Lyft, Uber, Lime, Bird) and cryptocurrency exchanges (Ripple, Coinbase, Circle).
The choice is mine, but it doesn’t feel like a choice. Facebook seeps into every corner of our lives to capture as much of our attention and data as possible and, without any alternative, we make the trade.
Just last month, Facebook seemingly tried to bury news that it had stored tens of millions of user passwords in plain text format, which thousands of Facebook employees could see. Competition alone wouldn’t necessarily spur privacy protection — regulation is required to ensure accountability — but Facebook’s lock on the market guarantees that users can’t protest by moving to alternative platforms.
Mark used to insist that Facebook was just a “social utility,” a neutral platform for people to communicate what they wished. Now he recognizes that Facebook is both a platform and a publisher and that it is inevitably making decisions about values. The company’s own lawyers have argued in court that Facebook is a publisher and thus entitled to First Amendment protection.
As if Facebook’s opaque algorithms weren’t enough, last year we learned that Facebook executives had permanently deleted their own messages from the platform, erasing them from the inboxes of recipients; the justification was corporate security concerns.
Mark may never have a boss, but he needs to have some check on his power. The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.
We Don’t Need Social Media
The push to regulate or break up Facebook ignores the fact that its services do more harm than good
Colin Horgan, May 13, 2019
Hughes joins a growing chorus of former Silicon Valley unicorn riders who’ve recently had second thoughts about the utility or benefit of the surveillance-attention economy their products and platforms have helped create. He is also not the first to suggest that government might need to step in to clean up the mess they made
Nick Srnicek, author of the book Platform Capitalism and a lecturer in digital economy at King’s College London, wrotelast month, “[I]t’s competition — not size — that demands more data, more attention, more engagement and more profits at all costs
more on Facebook in this IMS blog
Gen Z is coming to your office. Get ready to adapt
Janet Adamy, Sept 6, 2018
Early signs suggest Gen Z workers are more competitive and pragmatic, but also more anxious and reserved, than millennials, the generation of 72 million born from 1981 to 1996, according to executives, managers, generational consultants and multidecade studies of young people. Gen Zers are also the most racially diverse generation in American histor
With the generation of baby boomers retiring and unemployment at historic lows, Gen Z is filling immense gaps in the workforce. Employers, plagued by worker shortages, are trying to adapt.
LinkedIn Corp. and Intuit Inc. have eased requirements that certain hires hold bachelor’s degrees to reach young adults who couldn’t afford college. At campus recruiting events, EY is raffling off computer tablets because competition for top talent is intense.
Companies are reworking training so it replicates YouTube-style videos that appeal to Gen Z workers reared on smartphones.
“They learn new information much more quickly than their predecessors,”
A few years ago Mr. Stewart noticed that Gen Z hires behaved differently than their predecessors. When the company launched a project to support branch managers, millennials excitedly teamed up and worked together. Gen Z workers wanted individual recognition and extra pay.
Much of Gen Z’s socializing takes place via text messages and social media platforms—a shift that has eroded natural interactions and allowed bullying to play out in front of wider audiences.
The flip side of being digital natives is that Gen Z is even more adept with technology than millennials. Natasha Stough, Americas campus recruiting director at EY in Chicago, was wowed by a young hire who created a bot to answer questions on the company’s Facebook careers page.
To lure more Gen Z workers, EY rolled out video technology that allows job candidates to record answers to interview questions and submit them electronically.
LinkedIn, which used to recruit from about a dozen colleges, broadened its efforts to include hundreds of schools and computer coding boot camps to capture a diverse applicant pool that mirrors the changing population.
more on Gen Z in this IMS blog
4 things you should know about digital portfolios
BY MATT RENWICK December 6th, 2018
1. Portfolio assessment is not new to education.
Digital portfolios came into prominence in the 1990s, around the time when computers became commonplace in classrooms. David Niguidula, a pioneer in this alternative form of assessment, coined the term “digital student portfolios.” He defines them as “an online collection of student work for a particular purpose and audience.” Digital portfolios cut the distance between student thinking and evidence of learning. There is no longer a need to represent understanding through a score or a grade.
2. . The best digital portfolios are process oriented.
A myth in education is that we should only showcase student’s best artifacts of learning. We might think of an artist’s body of work when considering digital portfolios as an alternative assessment.
3. It’s not a digital portfolio unless students are in charge.
4. Digital student portfolios are about more than just assessment.
The best digital portfolio processes do more than serve as an evaluation tool. They help the student develop a stronger sense of themselves as a learner and see their growth over time, such as through a series of drafts posted toward a final project and presentation.
more on eportoflio in this IMS blog
LinkedIn launches its own Snapchat Stories. Here’s why it shouldn’t have
No app is safe from the Stories plague
LinkedIn confirms to TechCrunch that it plans to build Stories for more sets of users, but first it’s launching “Student Voices” just for university students in the U.S. The feature appears atop the LinkedIn home screen and lets students post short videos to their Campus Playlist.
My note: Since 2012, I unsuccessfully tried to convince two library directors to approve similar video “channel” on the SCSU library web page with students’ testimonies and ability for students to comment / provide feedback regarding the issues raised in the videos. Can you guess the outcome of such proposal?
A LinkedIn spokesperson tells us the motive behind the feature is to get students sharing their academic experiences like internships, career fairs and class projects that they’d want to show off to recruiters as part of their personal brand.
more on LinkedIn in this IMS blog
What’s Your Social Brand?
What is social branding?
Social branding is the way you present yourself online. All of us have a digital footprint and a digital shadow—being cognizant of what these are helps you curate what kind of persona your potential employer sees when they Google you, look you up on LinkedIn, or find you on Twitter. Social branding is when you make a decision about what you want these results to be and what parts of your experience you want to highlight.
more on social branding in this IMS blog
How to Successfully Mine Your Social Media Data
by Alex York on June 22, 2016
social media has a strong return on investment (ROI) – how to
Social media data is the collected information from social networks that show how users share, view or engage with your content or profiles. These numbers, percentages and statistics provide better insights into your social media strategy.
social media analytics to make sense of the raw information.
media data as the ingredients to your meal and the analysis as your recipe. Without the recipe, you wouldn’t know what to make or how to cook it.
Some of the raw social media data can include:
- Hashtag usage
- URL clicks
- Keyword analysis
- New followers
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the various business metrics used to measure and analyze certain aspects of your business. Social media KPIs are the metrics that likely factor into your social media ROI.
Facebook business page, you can analyze some KPIs within the social network. The most essential Facebook metrics include (see entire article).
- Engagement Rate: Total link clicks, Retweets, favorites and replies on your Tweet divided by total impressions.
- Followers: Total number of Twitter followers.
- Link Clicks: Total number of URL and hashtag links clicked.
- Mentions: How many times your @username was mentioned by others.
- Profile Visits: Total Twitter profile visits.
- Replies: How many times people replied to your Tweets.
- Retweets: Total Retweets received by others.
- Tweet Impressions: Total of times your Tweet has been viewed whether it was clicked or not.
- Tweets: How many Tweets you’ve posted.
Here are the top LinkedIn metrics:
- Clicks: Total clicks on a post, company name or logo.
- Engagement: Total interactions divided by number of impressions.
- Followers: Total number of new followers through a sponsored update.
- Impressions: Total times your update was visible to other users.
- Interactions: Total number of comments, likes, comments and shares.
- Average Session Duration: Average session times users spend on your site.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of users leaving your site after one page view.
- New Users: Total number of new users coming to your site for the first time.
- Pages / Session: Average number of pages a user views each session.
- Pageviews: Number of pages loaded or reloaded in a browser.
- Sessions: Total times when users are active on your site.
need to decipher what’s most important.
If you wanted to track audience growth on Facebook, consider engagement rates, new followers, Post reach and organic Likes.
For example, if you launched a social media campaign, track data that highlights your ROI. According to Mashable, your ROI cycle for a social media campaign should be set up in three stages:
41% of companies and agencies no clue about their social media financial impact. It’s nearly impossible to figure out data overnight. Instead, it takes months of tracking to ensure your future business decisions are valuable.
Sprout’s suite of social media analytics tools give you presentation-ready reports on major social networks.
more on social media analytics:
more on social media stats in this IMS blog