Connect with us


Authors of new book depict ‘Facebook’s dilemma and its ugly truth’



With scrutiny of Big Tech intensifying every single week, an ambitious new book is measuring Facebook’s missteps and miseries. As the title indicates, it’s not pretty:

    “An Ugly Truth” is the name of the book, co-authored by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, both of whom report for the NYT. The book comes out on Tuesday. As I perused an early copy, I was struck by the vastness of the story. Facebook is, as Kang and Frenkel write, an “unstoppable profit-making machine,” affecting all of Earth, from the US to Myanmar. The authors have produced a valuable record of what went wrong, when, where, why, specifically in the last five years.

      “No Filter” author Sarah Frier, who was tasked with reviewing “An Ugly Truth” for The Times, says the book documents a clear pattern: “The social media behemoth does as little as possible to prevent disasters from happening, then feebly attempts to avoid blame and manage public appearances.” That’s why the back cover of the book cleverly lists the company’s apologias over the years: “I’m sorry.” “We need to do better.” “We need to do a better job.”

          The authors conclude that “even if the company undergoes a radical transformation in the coming years, that change is unlikely to come from within.” Why? Because “the algorithm that serves as Facebook’s beating heart is too powerful and too lucrative. And the platform is built upon a fundamental, possibly irreconcilable dichotomy: its purported mission to advance society by connecting people while also profiting off them. It is Facebook’s dilemma and its ugly truth.”

          See also  Weekly Bytes | Ask Alexa for COVID-19 vaccine info, Facebook's tool for transferring posts, and more

          Key quotes from the book

          — The narrative focuses on both Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, as this excerpt in the NYT illustrates. Together, “they methodically built a business model that is unstoppable in its growth… and entirely deliberate in its design.”

          — From the prologue: “Zuckerberg’s three greatest fears, according to a former senior Facebook executive, were that the site would be hacked, that his employees would be physically hurt, and that regulators would one day break up his social network.”

          — The first chapter opens with an engineer at Facebook abusing his access to users’ private info to snoop on a woman who had ghosted him after one date. Numerous engineers were caught doing so with their work laptops — and were fired. But “it was unknown how many others had gone undetected.” The Telegraph has an extract from this chapter of the book…

          free widgets for website

          — Facebook security experts were alarmed about FB posts from “domestic extremists” in the run-up to January 6. Some FB execs “floated getting Zuckerberg to call Trump to find out what the president would say” at his rally. “They ultimately decided against the move, out of concern that the conversation would likely leak to the press. It could make Facebook complicit in whatever Trump did that day.”

          “The ultimate takedown”

          “This is a book intended to make you outraged at Facebook,” Frier wrote in her review. “But if you’ve read anything about the company in recent years, you probably already are. Frenkel and Kang faced the challenge of unearthing new and interesting material about one of the most heavily debated communication tools of our modern age. More than 400 interviews later, they’ve produced the ultimate takedown via careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. ‘An Ugly Truth’ provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: It confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company’s spin.”

          See also  Facebook crosses US$1 trillion market value for first time after winning antitrust dismissal

          Facebook’s response

          When I told a company spokesperson that I was writing about the book’s findings, I received this sharp-elbowed statement in response: “There have been 367 books published on Facebook, each claiming novel insight into how we operate. It seems this one is not only a rehash of history but relies on anecdotes supplied by mostly unnamed critics.”

          free widgets for website

          I can only think of a handful of books about Facebook, but that number, 367, is quite close to the number of sources Kang and Frenkel say they had…

            About their access

            In the preamble, the authors say they conducted more than 1,000 hours of interviews with execs, current and former employees, family members, friends, classmates, investors, advisers, and others. “While Zuckerberg and Sandberg initially told their communications staff that they wanted to make sure their perspectives were conveyed in this book, they refused repeated requests for interviews,” the authors write. “On three occasions, Sandberg invited us to off-the-record conversations in Menlo Park and New York, with the promise that those conversations would lead to longer interviews for the record. When she learned about the critical nature of some of our reporting, she cut off direct communication. Apparently the unvarnished account of the Facebook story did not align with her vision of the company and her role as its second-in-command. Zuckerberg, we were told, had no interest in participating.”

            Read More

            Continue Reading
            Advertisement free widgets for website
            Click to comment

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published.


            Introducing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0





            Today, we are releasing Facebook Graph API v18.0 and Marketing API v18.0. As part of this release, we are highlighting changes below that we believe are relevant to parts of our developer community. These changes include announcements, product updates, and notifications on deprecations that we believe are relevant to your application(s)’ integration with our platform.

            For a complete list of all changes and their details, please visit our changelog.

            General Updates

            Consolidation of Audience Location Status Options for Location Targeting

            As previously announced in May 2023, we have consolidated Audience Location Status to our current default option of “People living in or recently in this location” when choosing the type of audience to reach within their Location Targeting selections. This update reflects a consolidation of other previously available options and removal of our “People traveling in this location” option.

            We are making this change as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver more value to businesses, simplify our ads system, and streamline our targeting options in order to increase performance efficiency and remove options that have low usage.

            This update will apply to new or duplicated campaigns. Existing campaigns created prior to launch will not be entered in this new experience unless they are in draft mode or duplicated.

            free widgets for website

            Add “add_security_recommendation” and “code_expiration_minutes” to WA Message Templates API

            Earlier this year, we released WhatsApp’s authentication solution which enabled creating and sending authentication templates with native buttons and preset authentication messages. With the release of Graph API v18, we’re making improvements to the retrieval of authentication templates, making the end-to-end authentication template process easier for BSPs and businesses.

            With Graph API v18, BSPs and businesses can have better visibility into preset authentication message template content after creation. Specifically, payloads will return preset content configuration options, in addition to the text used by WhatsApp. This improvement can enable BSPs and businesses to build “edit” UIs for authentication templates that can be constructed on top of the API.

            See also  Better Buy: Facebook vs. Pinterest

            Note that errors may occur when upgrading to Graph API v18 if BSPs or businesses are taking the entire response from the GET request and providing it back to the POST request to update templates. To resolve, the body/header/footer text fields should be dropped before passing back into the API.

            Re-launching dev docs and changelogs for creating Call Ads

            • Facebook Reels Placement for Call Ads

              Meta is releasing the ability to deliver Call Ads through the Facebook Reels platform. Call ads allow users to call businesses in the moment of consideration when they view an ad, and help businesses drive more complex discussions with interested users. This is an opportunity for businesses to advertise with call ads based on peoples’ real-time behavior on Facebook. Under the Ad set Level within Ads Manager, businesses can choose to add “Facebook Reels” Under the Placements section.
            • Re-Launching Call Ads via API

              On September 12, 2023, we’re providing updated guidance on how to create Call Ads via the API. We are introducing documentation solely for Call Ads, so that 3P developers can more easily create Call Ads’ campaigns and know how to view insights about their ongoing call ad campaigns, including call-related metrics. In the future, we also plan to support Call Add-ons via our API platform. Developers should have access to the general permissions necessary to create general ads in order to create Call Ads via the API platform.

              Please refer to developer documentation for additional information.

            Deprecations & Breaking Changes

            Graph API changes for user granular permission feature

            We are updating two graph API endpoints for WhatsAppBusinessAccount. These endpoints are as follows:

            • Retrieve message templates associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account
            • Retrieve phone numbers associated with WhatsAppBusiness Account

            With v18, we are rolling out a new feature “user granular permission”. All existing users who are already added to WhatsAppBusinessAccount will be backfilled and will continue to have access (no impact).

            The admin has the flexibility to change these permissions. If the admin changes the permission and removes access to view message templates or phone numbers for one of their users, that specific user will start getting an error message saying you do not have permission to view message templates or phone numbers on all versions v18 and older.

            free widgets for website

            Deprecate legacy metrics naming for IG Media and User Insights

            Starting on September 12, Instagram will remove duplicative and legacy, insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API in order to share a single source of metrics to our developers.

            This new upgrade reduces any confusion as well as increases the reliability and quality of our reporting.

            After 90 days of this launch (i.e. December 11, 2023), we will remove all these duplicative and legacy insights metrics from the Instagram Graph API on all versions in order to be more consistent with the Instagram app.

            We appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received from our developer community, and look forward to continuing to work together.

            Please review the media insights and user insights developer documentation to learn more.

            free widgets for website

            Deprecate all Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 endpoints

            Facebook Wi-Fi was designed to improve the experience of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots at businesses. It allowed a merchant’s customers to get free Wi-Fi simply by checking in on Facebook. It also allowed merchants to control who could use their Wi-Fi and for how long, and integrated with ads to enable targeting to customers who had used the merchant’s Wi-Fi. This product was deprecated on June 12, 2023. As the partner notice period has ended, all endpoints used by Facebook Wi-Fi v1 and Facebook Wi-Fi v2 have been deprecated and removed.

            API Version Deprecations:

            As part of Facebook’s versioning schedule for Graph API and Marketing API, please note the upcoming deprecations:

            Graph API

            • September 14, 2023: Graph API v11.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
            • February 8, 2024: Graph API v12.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
            • May 28, 2024: Graph API v13.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

            Marketing API

            • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v14.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
            • September 20, 2023: Marketing API v15.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform
            • February 06, 2024: Marketing API v16.0 will be deprecated and removed from the platform

            To avoid disruption to your business, we recommend migrating all calls to the latest API version that launched today.

            Facebook Platform SDK

            As part of our 2-year deprecation schedule for Platform SDKs, please note the upcoming deprecations and sunsets:

            • October 2023: Facebook Platform SDK v11.0 or below will be sunset
            • February 2024: Facebook Platform SDK v12.0 or below will be sunset

            First seen at

            See also  Facebook has an invisible system that shelters powerful rule-breakers. So do other online platforms.
            Continue Reading


            Allowing Users to Promote Stories as Ads (via Marketing API)





            Before today (August 28, 2023), advertisers could not promote images and/or videos used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API. This process created unwanted friction for our partners and their customers.

            After consistently hearing about this pain point from our developer community, we have removed this unwanted friction for advertisers and now allow users to seamlessly promote their image and/or video media used in Instagram Stories as ads via the Instagram Marketing API as of August 28, 2023.

            We appreciate all the feedback received from our developer community, and hope to continue improving your experience.

            Please review the developer documentation to learn more.

            First seen at

            free widgets for website
            See also  Weekly Bytes | Ask Alexa for COVID-19 vaccine info, Facebook's tool for transferring posts, and more
            Continue Reading


            Launching second release of Facebook Reels API: An enterprise solution for desktop and web publishers





            We’re excited to announce that the second release of FB Reels API is now publicly available for third-party developers. FB Reels API enables users of third-party platforms to share Reels directly to public Facebook Pages and the New Pages Experience.

            FB Reels API has grown significantly since the first release in September 2022. The new version of the APIs now support custom thumbnails, automatic music tagging, tagging collaborators, longer format of reels and better error handling.

            FB Reels API will also support scheduling and draft capability to allow creators to take advantage of tools provided either by Meta or by our partners. Based on the feedback we received from our partners, we’ll now provide additional audio insights via the Audio Recommendations API and reels performance metrics via the Insights API.

            Our goal in the next couple of releases is to continue to make it easier for creators to develop quality content by adding features like early copyright detection and A/B testing. We’re also excited to start working on enhanced creation features like Video clipping- so stay tuned to hear more about those features in the future.


            If you are a developer interested in integrating with the Facebook Reels API, please refer to the Developer Documents for more info.

            free widgets for website

            Not sure if this product is for you? Check out our entire suite of sharing offerings.

            Tune in to Product @scale event to learn more about FB Video APIs and hear from some of our customers.

            First seen at

            See also  Tragic reason why man tried to live stream death on Facebook
            Continue Reading