Wired reveals "hell" inside Facebook, "tensions" between Instagram co-founders and Mark Zuckerberg

Wired reveals "hell" inside Facebook

"Tension, perhaps jealousy" between Facebook and Instagram senior management led to the eventual departure of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, according to Wired editor-in-chief and CBS News contributor Nicholas Thompson. He co-authored Wired's May cover story, "15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook," revealing how the social media giant navigated one of its most tumultuous periods when they lost the public's trust.  

"The data showed that Instagram is growing faster than core Facebook, the 'Blue App,' and it looks like it may have in fact been cannibalizing the Blue App's users because they were leaving for Instagram. And so tensions start to mount between the two," Thompson said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.

According to the report, which included interviews with 65 current and former employees, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked for a list ways Facebook supported Instagram, from ads to link-backs. Then he told Instagram's leaders in 2018 that he was going to pull away the support.  

"That causes huge problems. Systrom goes away on paternity leave. He comes back, and he and his co-founder say, we're done," Thompson said. "And in some ways, someone overheard the conversation, Systrom was saying, 'I feel like Mark is treating me the way that Trump is treating Jeff Sessions, making life miserable so he leaves because he knows he politically can't fire him.'"

The story also discuss controversies involving Cambridge Analytica and the misuse of personal data, as well as the design of the news feed.

"So what happened with Facebook is they prioritize growth over all other values for most of their existence. That meant there were a bunch of bad deals, there was a bunch of data leakage, there was a bunch of stuff that came back to hit them as the public's trust of technology companies changed," Thompson said. "At the same time, they have a bunch of contradictory problems that are almost impossible to solve. They need to increase privacy. They need to increase safety. They need to clean up news feed and some of these things conflict. When you increase privacy, you make it harder to clean up news feeds, so they were totally struggling with that."

They were not set up to deal with those problems, Thompson said. "Then when crisis hits, they handle them the wrong way. So they have an impossible platform, huge problems, and crises they are not handling right – tough year."

But ultimately, Thompson said, "They are working hard to solve their problems." 

"They are hiring tens of thousands of people to try to clean up the platform. They are shifting policies," Thompson added. "They are thinking – and yet, scandals keep popping up. Every day, there's something new. And it's often, as we say, it's like an unexploded land mine that was planted 10 years ago that blows up on them."