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Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: 2020
Version: 21 January 2020
Revision date: 04-Dec-2020

Abstract

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.
Location:
Industry:
Size:
> 1 billion; Fortune 500
Other setting(s):
2019

About

Abstract

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.

Settings

Location:
Industry:
Size:
> 1 billion; Fortune 500
Other setting(s):
2019

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