Facebook Can’t Cope With the World It’s Created

Source: Facebook Can’t Cope With the World It’s Created – Foreign Policy, by Christina Larson

Asia is now Facebook’s biggest user base. … it’s become clear that the attitudes and policies the Menlo Park-based company adopted when it was primarily a U.S. social network are inadequate, or even perilous, when applied in authoritarian states, fragile democracies, or nations with deep ethnic divisions.

Because Cambodia is a small market of 16 million people, testing a new feature there may have seemed like a perfectly reasonable choice to an engineering product team. But when your product is not sneakers or toasters, but the single most important way that people in that country receive news and information, it bears a different kind of consideration.

“Move fast and break things” was Facebook’s mantra for developers until 2014, signaling the twin totems of speed and aggression that animate many programmers and venture capitalists in the U.S. tech industry. Yet it’s a lot less appealing when the things being broken are people.