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Matt Stoller Faecebook

Matt Stoller: “Facebook is a financial conglomerate. People think of Facebook as that website you use or the app that you use, but really Facebook, as a political institution, is a financial conglomerate and owns dozens of different companies, including Instagram and WhatsApp and Facebook, the social network. And it’s a giant advertising company. They have roughly three billion users. And they try to get their users to do things that their advertisers want them to do, because that’s how you sell advertising. The business model is to divert revenue that used to go to newspapers and publishers to themselves. By manipulating people in this specific way that they do, which is to keep them using their system and keep surveilling them so that they can target them with ads, they are, in the process, crushing newspapers and publishers, which no longer have any financing, particularly local newspapers and niche publications like Black-owned newspapers. Increasingly, those kinds of publications don’t exist. You don’t have reporters covering statehouses and city halls and whatnot. Instead, people are now consuming things that Facebook likes them to consume because it keeps them using, and it keeps them available to sell ads to them, which are antisocial publications or posts, like anti-vax stuff or QAnon or whatever it is. It’s a $70-, $80-, $100-billion-a-year revenue company that’s destroying newspapers and publishers all over the world and getting people to pass conspiracy theories to each other so that Facebook can make money on advertising.”

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