I spent last weekend reading An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination, which was released last Tuesday. While the media has diligently covered much of what’s included in the book, it does present some new insights on how tightly Facebook has maintained its grip on its users and its competitors. At a minimum, it’s unnerving. At most, it’s terrifying. Much of why we interact with information in the way that we do today is based on a single Facebook feature we now take for granted: the NewsFeed. If you’ve been exposed to misinformation, if you’ve been lured into a partisan argument, if you’ve found yourself checking up on the number of “Likes” you earned on a post of your dog or your kids…the NewsFeed, and the algorithms behind it, is almost exclusively to blame. The concept of a never-ending stream of information is now part and parcel of how we consume information, which has substantial consequences in cognitive development, mental health, and discourse. I’ll be spending more time on this topic in the coming weeks.
Another key takeaway from the book: we will not have meaningful reform around the topics of privacy, data security, and handling of misinformation until lawmakers and regulators globally become much more versed in what these companies actually do, how it impacts the public, and how it is shaping other industries that rely on (or are adversely impacted because of) the level of power and control Facebook wields.
TEST YOUR FACEBOOK KNOWLEDGE: What year was Facebook’s NewsFeed launched? (Extra credit for the month and day – answer at the bottom of the email)
Leigh’s six-month-old Weimaraner, Hewson, taking a bite out of ‘An Ugly Truth’.
“Some days, as I am reading the news, I feel as if I am drowning. I think most of us do.” Yes. That statement resonates with me. There’s no single reason why the internet has become so toxic. And no, it’s not just politics. But it does have something to do with the control we’re given where there are essentially no barriers to saying what’s on our minds. Why People Are So Awful Online – New York Times (Opinion) – July 17, 2021
YOU WON’T READ THIS ANYWHERE ELSE
What can we learn from the poultry industry about how companies will operate in the post-pandemic world? Brands are experimenting in ways they’ve never considered prior to the pandemic. The old stalwart sauces, including BBQ, ranch, and whatever is in Chick-FIl-A’s secret sauce, may have worked while everyone was in quarantine. But now we’re going out again. To keep consumer’s attention, quick-serve chicken restaurants are experimenting with flavors like mango habanero, Korean, and lemon pepper. What’s your brand doing to change things up as we emerge from the pandemic? How COVID-19 shaped the future of chicken foodservice – WATTPoultry – July 19, 2021
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT TURBINE LABS
Tacking overload and misinformation for one of the top strategic priorities of the decade: In June, our product team launched a new 4-minute executive briefing covering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This really needs to be required reading for all executives and not just those in human resources. My own learning journey has been greatly enhanced by its contents, and my ability to speak openly with colleagues, investors, and friends about risks and opportunities in this area is substantially more informed. I invite you to subscribe to a free 2-week trial here and see for yourself.
TEST YOUR DE&I KNOWLEDGE: According to a recent Deloitte study, companies with a highly inclusive culture realize ____ times the cash flow of their non-inclusive peers? (Answer at the bottom of the email)
As we emerge from the pandemic, the future of work has yet to be defined. Since February 25, 2020, Turbine Labs has produced over 300 editions of our “Navigating the Pandemic” briefing benefiting thousands of executives. Last month, we shifted the focus to help leaders plan for and take advantage of the changing workplace. It is also our first briefing available by audio on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as via email.
Facebook’s NewsFeed was launched on September 5, 2006.
According to a Deloitte study, over just three years, companies that have a highly inclusive culture achieve 2.3 times more cash flow per employee.