Facebook’s biggest problem isn’t ethics, hate or fake news. It’s Facebook.

It’s all about dwell time

The self-service conundrum

Facebook’s biggest problem

  • The economic foundations of Facebook are dependent on dwell time driven (at least in part) by provocative and controversial content.
  • The company’s ad revenues are under pressure, meaning they can’t make any meaningful move that undermines dwell time or self-service ad sales.
  • Historically, Facebook has not accepted its ethical responsibilities. The company has repeatedly demonstrated that it only responds to a problem after it has been caught.

The only thing that matters

  • Many major tech companies are increasing their Washington presence through lobbying efforts (chart via WSJ).
  • Some lawmakers say big internet firms could lose key aspects of the special legal protections they enjoy under U.S. law. There is even talk of possible antitrust scrutiny, following the European Commission decision to issue a $2.91 billion fine against Google for abusing its power as the dominant search engine.
  • Tech firms have faced intense fights over issues such as user privacy, net neutrality, antitrust, intellectual property and their legal immunity for unlawful third-party posts such as those linked to sex trafficking.
  • In 2017, the House and Senate passed GOP-backed legislation that rolled back Obama-era rules that had benefited internet companies by tightening user-privacy rules for their nascent rivals in the wireless and cable sectors.



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Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer


Keynote speaker, strategy consultant, Rutgers University marketing faculty and author of 9 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Cumulative Advantage.