Facebook paid Teen Vogue to run a fake article praising Facebook for "helping ensure the integrity of the 2020 election"

Everyone knows Facebook is doing the opposite of helping ensure the integrity of the 2020 election, so it makes sense it would pay Teen Vogue to run a fake article titled “How Facebook Is Helping Ensure the Integrity of the 2020 Election.”

When the article ran on Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s machiavellian chief operating officer posted on her Facebook page, "Great Teen Vogue piece about five incredible women protecting elections on Facebook. Since 2016, we've worked to stop the spread of misinformation, fight foreign interference and voter suppression, improve transparency, and encourage people to vote." Lol.

Shortly after the byline-free "article" ran, a notice appeared at the top, which said, “Editor’s note: This is sponsored editorial content.” A little while later, the piece disappeared entirely.

The curious piece, and its sudden disappearance, became a topic of online conversation, prompting Teen Vogue to issue a statement that read, “We made a series of errors labeling this piece, and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We don’t take our audience’s trust for granted, and ultimately decided that the piece should be taken down entirely to avoid further confusion."

The New York Times looked into it and got the story:

Facebook pitched the idea for the article last year, when the social media network and the online magazine were in talks about the Teen Vogue Summit, a three-day event that took place in Los Angeles in November, with speakers including the YouTube star Liza Koshy and the film director Greta Gerwig.

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CollegeHumor laid off almost everyone because they trusted Facebook's inflated metrics

Almost 100 people working for CollegeHumor in Los Angeles and New York were let go yesterday, reports Bloomberg. The owner, Barry Diller's IAC, sold the brand to its chief creative officer. Only "five to 10 people" remain employed.

CollegeHumor suffered the same fate as Funny or Die, which went through rounds of layoffs in recent years. Why did these media companies, which make good content, fail so spectacularly? Because they trusted Facebook, which wooed them to its platform with grossly exaggerated viewer metrics.  CollegeHumor and Funny or Die staffed up to meet the imaginary demand, then Facebook pulled the rug out from under them.

Adam Conover, who worked for CollegeHumor, explained the situation in a Twitter thread:

Facebook, which was sued by advertisers for cooking its stats, settled out of court for $40 million and steadfastly refuses to admit any wrongdoing. Read the rest

Facebook's value has crashed 30% since July

"Investors are bailing" from Facebook, writes CNN Money. The share price for the disgraced social media firm has dropped 30% since July. Facebook has had a hard time shaking its image as a firm that happily violates users' privacy, manipulates users emotional well-being, doesn't take proper steps to secure users' data, courts advertisers interested in targeting white supremacists, and sells users' behavioral information to unscrupulous entities.

Despite hours of testimony, a blitz of executive interviews and numerous tweaks to its privacy settings, Facebook has yet to put the Cambridge Analytica issue behind it. And now, Facebook faces the prospect of additional regulatory scrutiny after disclosing a new security breach affecting nearly 50 million users.

The longer the privacy backlash continues, not to mention ongoing concerns about election meddling, the more potential for damage to Facebook's core business.

"For the first time, we've heard some grumblings from the advertiser community that the hot water that Facebook is in politically is creating some hesitation on budget allocations (for some)," Ross Sandler, an analyst with Barclays, wrote in an investor note this week.

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Safebook: Facebook without the content

Artist Benjamin Grosser created a browser plugin called Safebook, which removes the content from Facebook. Useful!

Given the harms that Facebook has wrought on mental health, privacy, and democracy, what would it take to make Facebook “safe?” Is it possible to defuse Facebook’s amplification of anxiety, division, and disinformation while still allowing users to post a status, leave a comment, or confirm a friend? With Safebook, the answer is yes! Safebook is Facebook without the content, a browser extension that hides all images, text, video, and audio on the site. Left behind are the empty containers that frame our everyday experience of social media, the boxes, columns, pop-ups and drop-downs that enable “likes,” comments, and shares. Yet despite this removal, Facebook remains usable: you can still post a status, scroll the news feed, “watch” a video, Wow a photo, or unfriend a colleague. With the content hidden, can you still find your way around Facebook? If so, what does this reveal about just how ingrained the site’s interface has become? And finally, is complete removal of all content the only way a social media network can be “safe?”

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Good news: Facebook's web traffic has dropped by almost half in the last two years

A new study revealed that monthly page visits to the user-hostile social media site Facebook have dropped from 8.5 billion to 4.7 billion since 2016.

From CNBC:

"Although Facebook's app traffic has grown, it is not enough to make up for that loss, the study said. Facebook took a market tumble last month when it reported that the number of daily active users remained flat in North America in the second quarter, and declined in Europe."

Meanwhile, traffic growth on YouTube is booming and will overtake Facebook as the second most popular website. The top spot is held by Google, which also owns YouTube.

Image: Brian Solis/Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Read the rest