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Facebook's Flubs: A brief history


In the tech industry, a company like Facebook likes to say that it "iterates." Old products are killed. New ones are rolled out one at a time, rather than bundled together in a huge annual relaunch. Experimental features emerge and disappear. This is one of the main reasons why Facebook's been so successful: it's kept up with the times.

And an iterative product, rather than one that plods out in occasional, finely-honed editions like a textbook, will invariably see many of its mistakes and foibles played out in the public eye. In Facebook's history some of its product decisions have been driven by lawmakers' threats, user indifference, or plain old negativity--and now we're waiting to see what will happen in response to the backlash against its most recent modifications.

On one hand, over time Facebook has shown a lot of flexibility in the face of legitimate user and lawmaker outrage. On the other hand, it also shows that as it's grown in power, Facebook has looked less and less likely to really backtrack again. Less than a decade ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be silenced by university administrators. Now it's unclear whether U.S. senators who have taken issue with Facebook's latest privacy policy modifications will be able to chip away at Facebook's armor.

Let's take a look at some of Facebook's notorious and not-so-notorious misfires over the years, and its subsequent attempts to patch them up. It all starts, really, even before Facebook itself did.

Read the rest of this article at CNET

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