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Facebook Is A Fundamentally Broken Product That Is Collapsing Under Its Own Weight

An article from Business Insider reporting on Benedict Evans's compelling analysis of Facebook's big challenge. Essentially, there is too much data, and Facebook's algorithms cannot cope. In fact, algorithms are part of the problem...

"today, you could post that you're getting married, but only half of your friends might see that posting because of the News Feeds' algorithms."

And algorithms are not the solution...

 "If you have 1,500 emails coming in every day, you wouldn't say, 'I need better algorithms.'"

So what next?

"By this time next year we could have 3,000 posts, links, videos, status updates, etc., all flowing through the News Feed. It's a struggle to sort through 1,500; how will Facebook deal with sorting through 3,000?"

Basically Facebook is broken and, unless its henchpeople and minions can come up with something radically new, it is not going to be fixed and it will just get worse. Sure, Facebook as a central service is not going away any time soon (probably - Metcalfe's Law works in reverse too, so I'd not want to place any bets on that) but it doesn't work as a social network any more, precisely because of the avaricious, amoral, single-minded network-building design that made it what it is today. I think it did a very sensible thing in buying, but not fully integrating, Instagram, because it can only grow now by moving into other ecosystems and dissociating the core from the satellites. It probably needs to go on quite a big spending spree now.

Seeing Facebook begin to fail, at least in its core, pleases me because it rose to success by cynical exploitation. It went places other social networking systems that predated it, as well as most that have come since, feared or had no inclination to go. You can't have too many predators or parasites of one kind in an ecosystem otherwise the whole system falls apart. Or, to look at it another way, Facebook got too fat eating its own users, and now it can't digest them any more. Either way, we're much better off without it.


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