Casey Newton’s internet problems vs. platform problems

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Casey Newton: How Facebook helps predators find each other

This year Stanford found equally disturbing CSAM issues at networks including X, Telegram, Mastodon, and decentralized networks generally. That Meta is subject to more scrutiny on this subject is less of a commentary on the company’s unique negligence than on its vast scale and the responsibilities that come with it.


I’ve written in the past about the difference between internet problems and platform problems: “Internet problems arise from the existence of a free and open network that connects most of the world; platform problems arise from features native to the platform.”

The first quote resonates with me because of course scrutiny goes up the more successful you are. The stakes are higher too, so that’s one of the costs of operating at such a scale.

The second quote resonates because sometimes I see people defend the actions of Meta as being impossible and would impact any company of their scale. I’ve probably made similar arguments about this in the past, even! But Casey is also right to distinguish “internet problems” from “platform problems”. Being big doesn’t absolve you from all issues (like the ones referenced in Casey’s article) just because it’s you’re big. Sometimes it actually is your fault.