Who does Facebook serve?

Its recent action in blocking Australian news sites runs counter to its claim to connect communities and help people "discover what's going on in the world".

Facebook's reaction in Australia by blocking the news outlets that bring information to people is counter to its self-espoused mission of helping people "to discover what's going on in the world". Limiting access to journalism only serves to cover up
Facebook's reaction in Australia by blocking the news outlets that bring information to people is counter to its self-espoused mission of helping people "to discover what's going on in the world". Limiting access to journalism only serves to cover up the truth and provide cover for disinformation, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS

The arm-wrestling in Australia, with Facebook and big tech taking on the government and much of civil society, crystallised a question of global concern: What is the purpose of a firm that is based on the sharing of content, which it neither pays for nor takes responsibility for, despite earning US$85.6 billion (S$114 billion) last year?

Although only a decade and a half old, Facebook already seems out of step with new environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards that the world demands from global companies. Instead, it seems focused entirely on turning in huge profits, regardless of the cost to the democracies and societies it claims to serve.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2021, with the headline 'Who does Facebook serve?'. Subscribe