Breaking up Facebook

Facebook Employee Handbook
  1. Power. Facebook power comes from the size and durability of its social graph. People are locked in because that’s what all their friends are using. Advertisers are locked in because that’s where most of their audience is. Politicians are locked in because that’s where most of their voters are. Even separating Instagram’s 1.3B MAP and WhatsApp’s 2.1B MAP from Facebook’s 2.6B MAP would by itself diminish Facebook’s power by creating significantly more viable alternatives for people and advertisers than Snapchat’s 230M, Twitter’s 330M, and even TikTok’s 800M.
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    Efficiency and scalability of Facebook’s infrastructure is a key part of its early success and continued profitability. Equal access to the same infrastructure would enable even more competing social networks reach and maintain viability, diminishing Facebook’s lock-in on people’s friends even further.
  2. Blast radius. Diminished power and stronger competition wouldn’t just improve market’s ability to hold the company accountable, it would also reduce the blast radius of bad product and policy decisions.
  3. Policy. If Instagram and WhatsApp could make independent decisions on community standards and political engagement, we’d be likely to see significant divergence from Facebook policy (e.g. stronger focus on safety in Instagram and on privacy in WhatsApp). They’d be able to implement a firewall between lobbyists and policy researchers. They’d have their own PACs or not have PACs at all. Maybe their CEOs might even refrain from inviting white nationalists for dinner to discuss how to make them more comfortable on their platform.
  4. Product differentiation. Independent social apps are more likely to innovate and differentiate and would be less likely to choose unification over interoperability.
  5. Competition. Better not just for users and advertisers, but also for workers who would have more employers to choose from and a better chance to land a full-time job instead of getting stuck in a precarious contingent contractor position for years.
  6. Monetization models. Having more large financially independent social networks makes it more likely that some of them will be willing to experiment with alternative monetization models that are not driven by screen time addiction and psychological manipulation.

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