Remember when Facebook’s News Feed was chock full of apps like Zynga’s FarmVille? That era, in the early 2010s, was Mark Zuckerberg’s first big attempt at making Facebook much bigger than just a social network and more like a platform for developers akin to Windows.
It was a formative period for the internet, when mobile phones and the app economy were just taking off. For Facebook, it was the “Move Fast and Break Things” era — an early motto of the company — when it grew to hundreds of millions of users and made decisions that still haunt it to this day. What did Zuckerberg get right in this period that set Facebook up for dominance, and what did he get wrong along the way?
That’s a tease of what you can expect in the second episode of the new season of Land of the Giants, Vox Media Podcast Network’s award-winning narrative podcast series about the most influential tech companies of our time. This season, Recode and The Verge have teamed up over the course of seven episodes to tell the story of Facebook’s journey to becoming Meta, featuring interviews with current and former executives.
Our first episode, on the creation of the News Feed, told the story of Zuckerberg’s original vision for social media. Episode two looks at the consequences of pursuing that vision at full speed. We explain how the era that brought us FarmVille and “Log in with Facebook” would lead the company into one of its biggest scandals: Cambridge Analytica.