The Myth of Big Tech Potential

The Myth of Big Tech Potential

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here . is a collection of last column.

We expect a lot from the rich, smart and powerful technology companies, but they are not safe from mismanagement. And when talent fails, it can upset the employees of those companies and be disastrous for those left behind by mistakes.

A Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) Yesterday detailed the ways in which Facebook essentially allows influencers to violate company rules that apply to everyone. In one example cited in the article, Facebook initially allowed soccer star Neymar to post nude photos of a woman without her permission, despite rules against such behavior.

It has been clear for some time that Facebook has given preference to some high-profile people, including Donald Trump. The Journal’s reporting suggests that Facebook’s use of kid gloves for VIPs is a systematic practice that has affected millions of people, that Facebook has mismanaged the execution of this policy, and that special treatment has ended it. Facebook’s efforts to

Anyone who’s worked for a large organization has probably got a taste of what happened at Facebook: The company devised a logical plan for influencer users, which when implemented, was muddled — and then the company as a whole. was unwilling or incapable of recovering from. went wrong.

Stories such as Facebook’s poor VIP system, Amazon’s chaotic management of warehouse employees, and Apple’s repeated false starts in car manufacturing suggest that even superstar companies can suffer from the bureaucratic quagmire and the mess in decision-making that plagues many large institutions. can do.

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What’s different about tech giants is that those companies believe in their highest potential – and so does the majority of the public. This makes their missteps more apparent, and perhaps makes companies more reluctant to admit their mistakes.

The basic idea of ​​Facebook’s VIP policy—taking a second look at decisions affecting high-profile accounts—makes sense.

The company knows that in the crush of billions of Facebook and Instagram posts every day, its computer systems and employees make mistakes. Facebook’s computers may remove a photosensitive photo from a child’s birthday party because the system misreads it as sexual imagery that violates the company’s rules.

Taking another look at influencers’ posts isn’t necessarily a bad idea; Unfortunately, the policy is not implemented very well. According to The Journal, because Facebook doesn’t deploy enough moderators or other resources to review all posts, many teams “choose not to enforce the rules with high-profile accounts.” found it? VIPs were exempt from the company’s rules, which were less with malicious intent than neglect.

The Journal reported that Facebook had known for years that it was unfair and unwise to allow high-profile people to operate under a different, more loose rule book, but the number of people effectively exempt from punishment continued to grow. The article said that at least 45 teams on Facebook began adding names to the VIP list, until it reached at least 5.8 million people last year.

I’ll admit that on the scale of Facebook’s billions of users, no theory or practice of this would be true. Facebook and its former head of civil integrity The company has made changes to address some of the problems in its VIP list. But The Journal’s reporting ultimately points to a more fundamental error: A large organization displayed astonishing mismanagement, and could not or could not fully fix its problems.

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It is not shocking when Congress or the cable company acts incompetent. But we tend to see tech giants with gazillion dollars and big brains as special and all-seeing and smarter than everyone else. It seems all the more surprising when the tech giant grumbles at employee pay and won’t accept it, as Google did, or falters for years trying to sell groceries, as Amazon has done. .

Tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, have unstoppable power, but their growing wealth isn’t stopping these giants from being, at times, ridiculously inept.


This wallaby named Pocket will want to remind you to eat your leafy green vegetables.


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