In my book, Please Scream Inside Your Heart, I describe how tech was both one of the best things about the pandemic (it kept us connected, working, schooling) and one of the worst things (it divided us, amplified falsehoods, nearly destroyed democracy). With that in mind, let’s take a look at two AP headlines today. Ex-Facebook employee says network hurts kids, fuels division. And, Outage highlights how vital Facebook has become worldwide.

+ Frances Haugen made some solid points during her Congressional testimony. “The dangers of engagement-based ranking are that Facebook knows that content that elicits an extreme reaction from you is more likely to get a click, a comment or reshare.” I shared a few takes on the Facebook saga yesterday. But let me add a little more context: To corral the damage Facebook does to democracy, we need government action. It complicates matters that half of that government has done far more damage to American democracy than Facebook ever could. (Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are going to rein in Facebook for the good of democracy? Really?) It’s also notable that many of the key stories about Facebook’s malfeasance have been published by The Wall Street Journal, owned by Fox News mogul, Rupert Murdoch. And Fox News has done more damage to American democracy than Facebook. (Rupert Murdoch is going to rein in Facebook in the name of truth and transparency? Really?) Frances Haugen has done a good job connecting Facebook to the Jan 6 insurrection. But again, punishing Facebook for damaging democracy while letting Trump and his enablers walk free would be the biggest farce in American history.

+ In the end, internet users have to decide what they are and aren’t willing to put up with. In an act of perfect timing, these issues are topping the headlines on the day Dave Eggers’ sequel to The Circle is dropping. It’s excellent, timely, and will make you think about something you really ought to be thinking about. Grab your copy of The Every from McSweeney’s or your local bookstore (it’s not for sale on Amazon).