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The Economist identifies critical steps for Facebook to move forward

The Economist – Editorial – “Facebook faces a reputational meltdown: This is how it, and the wider industry, should respond.”

“Facebook is not about to be banned or put out of business, but the chances of a regulatory backlash are growing. Europe is inflicting punishment by a thousand cuts, from digital taxes to antitrust cases. And distrustful users are switching off. The American customer base of Facebook’s core social network has stagnated since June 2017. Its share of America’s digital advertising market is forecast to dip this year for the first time. The network effect that made Facebook ever more attractive to new members as it grew could work in reverse if it starts to shrink. Facebook is worth $493bn, but only has $14bn of physical assets. Its value is intangible—and, potentially, ephemeral.”

  • “Facebook needs a full, independent examination of its approach to content, privacy and data, including its role in the 2016 election and the Brexit referendum. This should be made public. Each year Facebook should publish a report on its conduct that sets out everything from the prevalence of fake news to privacy breaches…”
  • “Next, Facebook and other tech firms need to open up to outsiders, safely and methodically. They should create an industry ombudsman — call it the Data Rights Board. Part of its job would be to set and enforce the rules by which accredited independent researchers look inside platforms without threatening users’ privacy…”

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