News  |    |  September 15, 2021

Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.

News article by Keach Hagey and Jeff Horwitz. Part Three of The Facebook Files. Published in The Wall Street Journal. 

Facebook made a heralded change to its algorithm in 2018 designed to improve its platform—and arrest signs of declining user engagement. Mr. Zuckerberg declared his aim was to strengthen bonds between users and improve their well-being by fostering interactions between friends and family. Within the company, the documents show, staffers warned the change was having the opposite effect. It was making Facebook, and those who used it, angrier. Mr. Zuckerberg resisted some fixes proposed by his team, the documents show, because he worried they would lead people to interact with Facebook less. Facebook, in response, says any algorithm can promote objectionable or harmful content and that the company is doing its best to mitigate the problem. (Listen to a related podcast.)