Fixing Facebook: Fake News, Privacy, and Platform Governance

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Publication Date:
October 15, 2019

Industry:
Technology

Source:
Harvard Business School

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook based on the idea that connecting people was a fundamentally good thing-and a way to turn a handsome profit. But from the beginning, Facebook received criticism both for how it handled user privacy and how it curated user-generated content. These two issues coalesced in the aftermath of the 2016 United States presidential election, after Facebook’s role in the spread of political misinformation and the leak of Facebook user data to political consulting firms began to receive significant media coverage. In 2019, Facebook announced it was shifting to a “digital living room” model that would focus more on private, encrypted conversations and less on sharing viral content. Several important questions remained. Would the digital living room ease users’ privacy concerns? Would Facebook still be able to effectively curate content? Would its advertising model still work? Or were financial success and good governance mutually exclusive? This case explores the parameters of governing an internet-based platform.

Copyright © 2021 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

Fixing Facebook: Fake News, Privacy, and Platform Governance

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