Back in April, in the wake of a variety of scandals — including the now-notorious Cambridge Analytica breach — Facebook commissioned a theoretically heartwarming ad that attempted to apologize for the state of the platform and promised to get the site back to the way it used to be: bringing you and your friends together.
On the latest episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took it upon himself to fix Facebook’s schmaltzy ad with a dose of cold honesty: the massive social media company doesn’t really care about you, it cares about making money, and it’s almost certain that nothing will change in its business policies.
Facebook doesn’t care
Sure, Facebook is coming off the biggest one-day loss of any stock in US history, losing over $120 billion in market value overnight. But as Oliver points out, the things that Facebook apologizes for in its original ad — like rampant clickbait, data misuse, and virally trending false stories — didn’t happen in a vacuum. It happened because Facebook’s entire business model and algorithms were built on incentivizing sensational content and extracting as much data as possible from users to repackage to advertisers.
And given the success the company has seen so far, it’s hard to imagine that Facebook will really be enacting any major, sweeping changes. After all — as the updated ad asks — where else are you going to go?