Why Facebook Calls It An Arms Race



It’s the business model, folks. If we’re going to “fix” anything, we have to start there.

“We weren’t expecting any of this when we created Twitter over 12 years ago, and we acknowledge the real world negative consequences of what happened and we take the full responsibility to fix it.”

That’s the most important line from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s testimony yesterday – and in many ways it’s also the most frustrating. But I agree with Ben Thompson, who this morning points out (sub required) that Dorsey’s philosophy on how to “fix it” was strikingly different from that of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (or Google, which failed to send a C-level executive to the hearings). To quote Dorsey (emphasis mine): “Today we’re committing to the people and this committee to do that work and do it openly. We’re here to contribute to a healthy public square, not compete to have the only one. We know that’s the only way our business thrives and helps us all defend against these new threats.”

Ben points out that during yesterday’s hearings, Dorsey was willing to tie the problems of public discourse on Twitter directly to the company’s core business model, that of advertising. Sandberg? She ducked the issue and failed to make the link.

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Note to Self: Remember to Answer the Senators’ Followup Questions.


Following my Senate testimony last month, several Senators reached out with additional questions and clarification requests. As I understand it this is pretty standard. Given I published my testimony here earlier, I asked if I could do the same for my written followup. The committee agreed, the questions and my answers are below.

Questions for the Record from Sen. Cortez Masto (D. Nevada)

Facebook Audits

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Google Discovered the Highest Performing Teams Have These Two Characteristics


What makes a high-performing team? It’s not intelligence. It’s not seniority.

Google recently discovered that the highest performing teams are the ones with two characteristics:

  1. Individuals are able to sacrifice something they want for the good of the team.
  2. Each person feels safe to speak what’s on their mind.

Hidden underneath all of this is the foundation that makes it all possible: trust.

If a team lacks trust, everything else is impossible.

Think about your team. Think about each person on your team. Do you trust them?

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When Should an Employer Ask an Employee to Quit?


Companies spend a lot of time talking about retention strategies for good reason. High turnover is extremely expensive. The total cost to the organization for each employee who leaves can quickly reach between 100 and 300 percent of an employee’s salary.

On the flip side, we talk often about how and when to fire an employee. Likewise on the employee side, we talk about when it’s time for an employee to quit.

Yet, we don’t talk about the fourth option: When should an employer ask an employee to quit?

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European Union Calls Foul on Facebook


The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Esther Vargas | Facebook

Right now the European Union is a lot more serious than the U.S. about protecting users’ privacy. Signaling that it means business, the union has fined Facebook 110 million euros for providing inaccurate information to EU regulators about its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 (Reuters).

At the time, Facebook had said that it couldn’t match individual users’ Facebook accounts with their accounts on WhatsApp. But last year the social network did just that. Facebook says it made an unintentional error in its filings. The root of the issue lies in Facebook’s effort to reduce duplicate accounts, which skew the total-user numbers that its market valuation depends on (Quartz).

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When Called to A Senate Hearing, It’s Best to Wear A Tie


What I said when DC came calling.

Now I know how it feels. Kinda. (image)

Last Sunday was Father’s Day, and I never thought I’d say this, but I was glad to get a tie, because my wife knew I would need it (it’s been literally over a decade since I’ve worn one). Today I was called to testify before a Senate Commerce committee hearing on Facebook and the role of data in society. Apparently they’ve been reading my work and, well, that landed me in DC. My full written testimony, replete with dozens of links to my previous work and coming in at 2500 or so words, is published on Searchblog. Below is what I read into verbal testimony before the Senators got into a couple hours of questioning, which, by they way, I found to be well informed and enlightened.

Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks

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You Probably Shouldn’t Be CEO of Your Startup. Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Find Out.


Too often, I speak with founder-CEOs who have fallen out of love with their business, or whose business has fallen out of love with them. Yet they continue as CEO.

Why? Because it’s hard to look inward.

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Solving the Gender Wage Gap Is Hard. Here Are Four Things You Can Do Today.


On April 5, U.K. companies with 250 employees or more were required by law to reveal their pay data. The goal: Narrow the gender wage gap.

In response, many people across the world have shared their personal experiences, data, and opinions regarding gender pay differences. An Inc.com columnist, Heather Wilde, wrote about being paid 60 percent less than her male colleagues at the same level. The 2016 U.S. Census revealed it takes a woman one year, three months, and 10 days to earn what her male peer earns in one year. I personally quit a job once over a $5,000 gender wage gap.

Now that we’re really talking about this, let’s solve the gender wage gap once and for all. I believe achieving equal pay for equal work is possible. It takes time and effort and it isn’t easy, but it is a solvable problem. Creating true equal pay requires two things:

  1. Commitment to a system that evaluates each individual relative to their peers.
  2. Fluidness within the system created.

Through decades of trial and error, I believe I’ve found a system that works. It’s achievable by teams both big and small. It’s likely to raise a few eyebrows, and that’s OK. Sometimes, doing the right thing is hard.

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Presenting: The Shift Forum Ignite Series


NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Four remarkable and unique voices on the future we all share.

If you’ve never heard of Ignite talks, you’re in for a treat, as they’ve spread to hundreds of cities around the world and range across a heady set of topics. They’ve been called “TED talks on speed,” and feature a unique creative box: each presenter gets 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and impactful experience. At this years Shift Forum, as we did the year before, we partnered with the founder of Ignite, Brady Forrest, who curated four of the best Ignite talks around the theme of “the future of work.” We’ve now published each one, and curated them here as well. Each is worth your time and attention. Special thanks to Ignite founder Brady Forrest for curating these extraordinary talks.

Susan Mernitt — Hack the Hood

Karla Monterroso — CODE2040

Jen McClure — Consultants Collective

Brandon Santiago


To Change the World, First Change the Way We Manage Our Employees


NewCo Shift Forum 2018/Ignite Series

The impact of digital and social technologies on business, media, culture and society.

Jen McClure is founder of Consultants Collective and a speaker, board member, and program manager at the Conference Board. In this Ignite session at Shift Forum, McClure urges employers to rethink how they manage their most precious asset — their employees. (The full overview of Shift Forum’s Ignite series is here).

Jen McClure: Hi, I’m Jen McClure. I’m going to be talking about the complex relationship between digital and social technologies and humans at work. This is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about for 14 years when I helped to organize the first Congress on the Future of Work back in 2004.

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