[Rushtalk] Zuckerberg Is Completely Ruthless..............

John Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Thu Dec 20 23:35:14 MST 2018

  The Facebook papers are a timely reminder that Mark Zuckerberg is
  ruthless about making money

Jake Kanter <https://www.businessinsider.com/author/jake-kanter>
Dec. 6, 2018, 8:01 AM

Mark Zuckerberg.JPG Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Reuters

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  * *The Facebook documents paint a picture of a company that is
    ruthless about making money.*
  * *They show that Facebook was prepared to stomp on rivals, cut data
    deals, make decisions that generate bad press, and obsessively track
    competitors as acquisition targets — all in the name of growth.*
  * *It's a timely reminder that Facebook is a money-making juggernaut,
    not a philanthropic endeavor.*

If you take one thing away from wading through 250 pages of Facebook 
documents, it is this: Here is a company that is ruthless about growth.

This shouldn't be a surprise, of course. You don't get to 2.3 billion 
users and $40 billion in revenue by playing nice all the time. But 
rarely do we see the inner workings of a company out to make money laid 
bare in such detail.

The documents, seized by British parliamentarians and published in a 
redacted form on Wednesday 
don't contain a catastrophic bombshell, but they do call to mind a barb 
slung at Facebook earlier this year.

While being questioned by the same group of lawmakers that published the 
Facebook papers, chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer was told by 
Paul Farrelly, a member of parliament, that Facebook reminds him of a 
famous quote about Goldman Sachs 

Turning to American author and journalist Matt Taibbi's 2009 attack on 
Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone, 
Farrelly read the article's gambit:

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's 
everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire 
squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its 
blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

The Facebook documents offer a patchy and incomplete picture of internal 
discussions, sometimes bereft of context. At the center of some 
illuminating moments is Mark Zuckerberg, a far cry from the gawky 
product guy who created Facebook from his dorm room. He cuts a 
thoughtful figure, who is involved in the details of Facebook's 
revenue-generating endeavors. Bloomberg's Shira Ovide refers to him as 
"The Godfather" in the Fully Charged newsletter.

The papers don't contain a smoking gun about Facebook selling the data 
of its billions of users. Indeed, Facebook has repeatedly said it has 
"never sold people's data."

    All the ways Facebook is ruthless

But the papers, which date as far back as 2012, provide evidence that 
Facebook cut deals that fell just short of selling data. Notably, it 
signed off on preferential "whitelisting agreements" with firms 
including Netflix and Airbnb, giving these firms great access to data.

And it wasn't just exploiting its own data that Facebook discussed and 
carried out. It was also ruthless about sucking up data, the papers 
show. Emails show Facebook collected Android call and SMS data to 
improve its algorithms and "People You May Know" feature — despite being 
aware that it would generate bad press.

Another feature of the documents is Facebook's willingness to stomp on 
rivals. This manifested itself in two ways: restricting their access to 
Facebook information and obsessively tracking competitors to see if they 
could make potential acquisition targets.

On the former, Zuckerberg personally approved a decision to cut off 
Vine's access to data 
in January 2013 — just as the Twitter video app, which was shuttered in 
2016, was starting out. Zuckerberg also presided over a list of rivals 
and decided whether they could access its platform information or not.

On the evening before the documents were published, Facebook reversed 
these kinds of restrictions as part of a policy review. The company said 
it's important that its "platform remains as open as possible." 

And the $19 billion deal to buy WhatsApp? Well, that came after Facebook 
carefully tracked the app using Onavo, a VPN and data-analytics tool. 
Onavo's data showed WhatsApp was outpacing Facebook Messenger on 
engagement and message sends, according to "highly confidential" charts 
in the papers. So Facebook removed the competition by bringing it in-house.

But perhaps the most telling example of Facebook's laser focus on growth 
came from Zuckerberg himself when discussing his attitude toward 
providing third-party apps with access to its platform in 2012. In an 
email, he made the stark admission: What's good for the world isn't 
necessarily what's good for Facebook 

It jars somewhat with Facebook's public credo to make the world "more 
open and connected." It's a timely reminder that Facebook is a ruthless 
money-making juggernaut, not a philanthropic endeavor.

      SEE ALSO: The secret Facebook documents have just been published
      by British Parliament

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