Most companies define their business with a mission statement, a sentence capturing the essence of what the company does. The mission statement is communicated to staff with communication of goals and alignment of incentives with those goals, nudging workers to “do the right things” to achieve the company’s mission.
Some companies use internal propaganda messaging. I once worked in an organization that plastered the walls with posters saying “Every day you are working to change the world!”
At Facebook, their motto is “Bringing the world closer together“. Sounds admirable, doesn’t it?
When these phrases are plastered on the walls and frequently communicated to staff, you are seeing propaganda at work. And Facebook is a world expert at propaganda messaging!
Their mission statement has varied from “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” to “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them“. (See also a history of their mission statements.)
Again, that sounds positive for all. Most Facebook employees signed on board to support this mission statement. In light of their spying fiasco, Zuckerberg has doubled down on this mission statement.
No where is there a hint that Facebook’s actual business is surveillance and propaganda.
This week, Facebook staff learned their actual mission is to conduct mass surveillance on every one in the world and to leverage that surveillance into an ideal platform for the distribution of propaganda.
Many Facebook employees are discovering they were duped. This is leading to internal questioning and morale issues as they learn over half the population of the United States now has an unfavorable opinion of Facebook.
As CNET news writes:
In the wake of an explosive leak, there’s the growing sense that Facebook “isn’t the company it once was.”
Employees are splitting into groups:
- Those that still believe in the original myth of connecting people
- And those that realized they were duped into running a global surveillance and propaganda operation
Some will be calling for change while others will strongly resist.
Facebook is fighting a two front war – on the public facing side, half the country hates them and the other half is not yet decided. On the back, employee facing side, there is internal conflict and collapsing morale.