Kevin Roose’s take on the inside look at Facebook revealed by The Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” series, which in turn is based on Frances Haugen’s whistleblower leaks:
It’s far too early to declare Facebook dead. The company’s stock
price has risen nearly 30 percent in the past year, lifted by
strong advertising revenue and a spike in use of some products
during the pandemic. Facebook is still growing in countries
outside the United States, and could succeed there even if it
stumbles domestically. And the company has invested heavily in
newer initiatives, like augmented and virtual reality products,
that could turn the tide if they’re successful.
But Facebook’s research tells a clear story, and it’s not a happy
one. Its younger users are flocking to Snapchat and TikTok, and
its older users are posting anti-vaccine memes and arguing about
politics. Some Facebook products are actively shrinking, while
others are merely making their users angry or self-conscious.
Facebook’s declining relevance with young people shouldn’t
necessarily make its critics optimistic. History teaches us that
social networks rarely age gracefully, and that tech companies can
do a lot of damage on the way down.