The Awesome Hypocrisy of the "Facebook Papers" Moral Panic
A "consortium" of Slack-chatting, would-be journalistic competitors feign outrage at a social media platform that does exactly what their companies do, only better
Come on down, Facebook, you’re the next contestant on America’s Latest Moral Panic!
“Havana Syndrome” and Netflix were also on the rack, but Facebook is society’s clear new bogeyman. In an age of manufactured manias, we’ve seldom seen as openly stage-managed a crisis as the “Facebook Papers.” What began as a series of 11 articles in the Wall Street Journal detailing revelations by a whistleblower named Frances Haugen has since given birth to what Ben Smith at the New York Times is calling “a new kind of journalistic network.”
Essentially, Haugen gave her best stuff to the Journal for a month-long news blitz, but is now stringing together sequel cycles of outrage by looping in more than 17 news outlets (new members are reportedly being added as I write) who are being given access to the scraps in her cache of documents. In return, participants agree to abide by the same embargo and other rules. The story of Haugen — guided by a communications firm of former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton …