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Matt Levine

Facebook Makes Profits, Shareholders Complain

Also market manipulation, body language, DJs and NFTs.

Here is the New York Times on Facebook Inc. whistle-blower Frances Haugen, who disclosed a bunch of internal documents about all the bad stuff that Facebook allegedly does:

Okay fine. Facebook is a for-profit company with obligations to its shareholders, and at various points it has a choice between doing pro-social things that are expensive or doing anti-social things that maximize its profits. Sometimes (she asserts, and I don’t particularly disagree) it chooses profit over public good. This is not a huge surprise, incentives being what they are, but it is good for policymakers and the public to know about the particular cases. It is good because, if we know about these choices, we can make informed decisions about regulation and enforcement. If Facebook sometimes chose to break the law to maximize profit, then regulators should punish it. If everything that Facebook does to maximize profits is legal, but some of it is horrible, then we should write new laws to make the horrible stuff illegal. If Facebook does things that are bad for the world then policymakers should try to make it stop. Basic stuff.