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Facebook leaders are reportedly worried their service has gotten too big to control: 'We created the machine and can't control the machine'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 9/17/2021 insider@insider.com (Ben Gilbert)
Mark Zuckerberg looking at the camera: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Nick Wass/Associated Press © Provided by Business Insider Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Nick Wass/Associated Press

Facebook's impact on a planet where nearly half the people alive use its product has reportedly become a point of contention among the company's leadership.

A meeting of Facebook leaders in early September focused on "whether Facebook has gotten too big," and that the general tone was, "We created the machine and we can't control the machine, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A Facebook representative told Insider that the company disagrees with the report, but declined to provide an additional statement.

Facebook has faced criticism, and occasional Congressional hearings, for years due to the various effects of its massive size: The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which allowed data from hundreds of millions of users to be scraped from Facebook's servers; the months leading up to the 2016 US presidential campaign, where foreign actors used Facebook to sow discord and division among American voters; and most recently, insurrectionists' use of Facebook to plan and communicate during the storming of the US Capitol on January 6.

Some lawmakers have called for the regulation of Facebook, which could force the company to spin off services like Instagram, WhatsApp, and the Oculus VR hardware division.

Even if it did, that wouldn't solve the issue of Facebook's massive size - Facebook alone remains the world's largest social network, with nearly 3 billion users.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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