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The Myth of Big Tech Competence

  • September 18, 2021

The Journal reported that Facebook knew for years that it was unfair and unwise to let high-profile people operate under a different, more lax rule book, but the number of people who were effectively exempt from punishment kept growing. The article said that at least 45 teams at Facebook started adding names to the V.I.P. list until it reached at least 5.8 million people last year.

I will acknowledge that at Facebook’s scale of billions of users, none of its principles or practices will be perfect. Facebook and its former head of civic integrity said that the company had made changes to address some of the problems of its V.I.P. list. But The Journal’s reporting ultimately points to a more fundamental error: A large organization displayed stunning mismanagement, and could not or would not fully fix its problems.

It’s not shocking when Congress or the cable company act incompetently. But we see tech giants with gazillion dollars and big brains as special and all-seeing and as being smarter than everyone else. That makes it feel more surprising when tech giants mess up worker pay and won’t admit it, as Google did, or fumble for years trying to sell groceries, as Amazon has done.

Tech companies including Google, Facebook and Amazon have seemingly invincible power, but their growing wealth is not stopping these giants from also, at times, being ridiculously inept.

This wallaby named Pocket would like to remind you to eat your leafy green veggies.

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