A documentary on Facebook was on the telly last night, and it was genuinely bizarre.
While Facebook, Google and other tech giants are regularly in the news, they’re rarely the focus of a mainstream documentary. ‘Horizon: Inside the Social Network: Facebook’s difficult year’ promised to tackle the “difficult questions”.
And there are plenty that need tackling. The role Facebook played in the Brexit vote, the role it played in Donald Trump’s election, its role in the spread of hate-fuelling misinformation, a multitude of enormous data breaches, and the company’s tax and advertising practices − the list goes on.
Unfortunately, at times this felt much more like an extended ad for the site. And by the end I was almost sold.
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The standout moment was undoubtedly the bit where Kyle (no surname given) tried to convince a group of new hires (and viewers at home) that Facebook cares more about society than profits. I kid you not.
“Everything we do, we’re doing to connect people, and we’re doing to try and bring social value in that connection,” he said.
“That means that every product decision that we make is tuned for: ‘Does it do good in the world?’ We’re not a company that’s designed to make money. We’re a company that’s designed to create communities, and let those communities make a difference in the world. We think about money as a secondary thing.”
And @HarpoCanTalk wasn’t the only person that couldn’t quite believe what they’d just watched. Here’s a taster of how the documentary went down:
If you missed it, don’t worry because it’ll be available to stream on BBC iPlayer for the next 29 days. To tune in now, just follow this link.
It’s well worth a watch, if only for the laughs.
Oh, and if you’re on your holidays and not sure if you’ll be able to access iPlayer where you are, a common workaround is to use a VPN. We’ve rounded up three of the best VPNs for streaming below: