The Collateral Damage of Facebook’s Flops

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Facebook acts like a little kid who falls in love with a new Lego set but then gets bored. It is up to the users and business partners to choose the mess.

Six years ago, Facebook said its next big thing was robots in its messenger app that send texts to help people order flowers or buy a pair of jeans. The idea is not absurd, but I’m guessing the messenger boat won’t like your pants.

The company also got hot and then cold on a feature that allows people to broadcast live from their phones and on a TV hub like Facebook Watch. On Monday, Facebook threw a towel at its planned digital currency, a project that forced financial and government institutions to respond, but it was half-baked from the start.

Experimentation and failure can be healthy. For Facebook and other corporate titans, flops or short-lived tunes usually don’t hurt much. (The company has changed its name to Meta, but I’m sticking with Facebook.)

But for the rest of us, Facebook’s stumbling block can be prolonged. Ask any business partner who has remodeled their customer service teams for messenger bots, or spent their limited resources creating videos for Facebook Watch, just to dampen Facebook’s enthusiasm.

This can be the inevitable cost of pain detection. But especially now – as Facebook puts the company at stake in a more immersive future of the Internet known as metavars – it is worth asking what we gain and what we lose when companies with the power and influence of Facebook persuade the world to follow them in the future.

In a way, it’s adorable how often Facebook gets excited about a new idea and then – well, Moving on to a different shiny object. Live video and Facebook Watch still exist. They are not just the high priorities they once were.

Other big tech companies lose interest in the things they once liked. (Heck, we all do this.) But maybe no other company has a combination of Facebook’s spread and its desire to announce that it’s going to be huge, persuade people to come along for a ride, and then … shrug.

That’s good, at least for Facebook. But when companies and organizations respond to Facebook’s promising ideas, there can be collective costs.

The Federal Reserve does not have the time and resources to study what happened to the cryptocurrency’s betamax. News organizations, government agencies, and most businesses have limited resources – imagine what they would have done if they hadn’t responded to Facebook’s latest passion.

Even for Facebook, can the staff and energy it is pouring into the metavars spend better to ensure its apps don’t spread election misinformation or allow authoritarian governments to abuse it?

I don’t know if there is a fix for collateral damage to Facebook tunes. Perhaps for starters, it would be helpful for Facebook to present its new projects as a prerequisite for testing, rather than definitive and permanent announcements of its priorities.

Fixation of Facebook on Metavers Is Different from his short-term projects in the past. For one, Facebook is not alone on the bandwagon trying to draw us to a more immersive Internet that blurs the lines between digital life and the real thing. And at least for now, a change in this direction is a more dangerous condition for Facebook than for the company’s users or business partners.

But I also understand Facebook’s tendency to believe – in short – that it can represent its vision in our reality. That is the power of big tech.

Apple and Google’s technology effectively determines how any company reaches potential customers online. When Amazon made free shipping free, Americans expected it from everyone. The US Internet is turning into QVC because that’s what the tech giants want.

We live in a world of big tech. Sometimes it brings us simple maps on our phones and online spaces to gather neighbors. The other side is that when tech giants like Facebook give up their dreams, everyone else is left to pick up the pieces.


  • A Big Month for Video Game Mergers: Sony is spending $ 3.6 billion to buy Bungie, the company behind the Halo video game franchise. That comes after Microsoft spent $ 70 billion to buy Activision, and Zinga, which makes Words with Friends, was bought for $ 11 billion.

    Semi-related? The New York Times is buying World, an online word game that has gone viral.

  • A lot of business in becoming the front door of government services: Bloomberg News tells us about ID.me, whose software IRS will start using for facial recognition scans to prove the identities of Americans. Bloomberg also reports that ID.me claims the company is increasingly likely to uncover $ 400 billion in theft from state unemployment insurance programs. (Subscription may be required.)

  • “Everyone bets on sports in New York” This is because a crush of new online wagering sites emerged after the state legalized the activity, writes Intelligencer of New York Magazine. My colleague Kurt Streeter’s game is a related column about the heartbreak of gambling addicts.

“It’s like bread and butter, you know?” It’s like Thomas’s English muffin with some jam. Nice spread. “I’d like to hear more snowfall from Andy the Massachusetts Snow Plow driver.


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