Mark Zuckerberg is fighting to save Facebook

If there's one thing Mark Zuckerberg has consistently excelled at as Facebook's CEO, it's destroying his enemies....

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 7:24 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 7:24 PM

If there's one thing Mark Zuckerberg has consistently excelled at as Facebook's CEO, it's destroying his enemies.

When Google launched Google Plus, a rival social network, Zuckerberg put Facebook in a state of "lockdown" and informed employees that "Carthage must be destroyed," according to one tell-all book from a former employee.

After Snapchat began gaining traction several years ago, Zuckerberg tried to buy the company and, failing that, pushed out a long list of features and new apps to clone the disappearing messaging app.

Google Plus is no longer viewed as a threat to Facebook. Snapchat is struggling to grow its audience. Now, Zuckerberg is turning his focus to a new enemy: Facebook itself.

On Thursday, Facebook announced a major change to News Feed, its central feature, to prioritize posts from friends and family over posts from publishers and brands.

The goal, according to Zuckerberg and Facebook, is to boost the "well-being" of the billions of people who use the social network by encouraging users to have more conversations and connections with peers, rather than being bombarded by brands.

In short, Facebook wants to show the world that it can still be a positive force in peoples' lives -- or at least show that it's really, truly trying to be.

Since the 2016 U.S. election, Facebook has come under fire for stories about fake news, Russian propaganda, filter bubbles and social media addiction. Facebook has also been described as enabling ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and Facebook's WhatsApp was cited as a cause of beatings in India after a fake news story went viral.

Suddenly, the most existential threat Zuckerberg faces isn't some rival service. It's his own.

Related: Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers and brands

The media is increasingly fixated on the dark, unintended consequences of Facebook and other social networks. Regulators are scrutinizing the company more than ever before. Former Facebook executives have spoken out to express regret about what they built. And so has Zuckerberg.

"For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post for Yom Kippur in September.

"Controlling the narrative at this juncture is critical, particularly when it comes to the press and regulators," James Cakmak, an analyst with Monness, Crespi, Hardt, wrote in an investor note Friday morning about the News Feed change.

Perhaps with that goal in mind, Zuckerberg has already gone on a listening tour across the country, revised the company's mission statement and pledged to cut into Facebook's profits to prevent abuse of the platform.

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said his personal goal for 2018 is to focus on "fixing" Facebook's many problems. The short list he cited includes "abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent."

The News Feed update is the first of those fixes, refocusing the company on the quality of time users spend on the platform, rather than the quantity.

Even if it ends up helping Facebook's public image, there are other risks here for Zuckerberg. The News Feed change has already rattled publishers and investors who worry about it now being harder for businesses to reach customers on the platform. Facebook's stock fell 4% in early trading Friday.

Then there are the societal concerns. If the last year has shown anything, it's that seemingly banal product decisions can yield tremendous unforeseen consequences. By prioritizing content that sparks conversations with friends, Facebook could risk promoting more polarizing and opinionated posts that generate lots of comments, only adding to the filter bubble.

But inaction isn't an option for Zuckerberg either. Not only is he trying to protect Facebook's image, he's also trying to protect his own.

In one interview published Thursday, Zuckerberg suggested a renewed interest in his legacy following the birth of his two children: "It's important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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