How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups

Some stories about Russian election hacking accidentally become stories about how good an advertising platform Facebook is. This one, though, is such a story ... on purpose!

“Facebook created the world’s greatest infomercial,” says Roger McNamee, a founder of Elevation Partners, who invested early in Facebook but has since become critical of the company’s influence. “It’s really inexpensive to produce ads and unbelievably inexpensive to reach exactly the market that you’re looking for.” As a result, Facebook has become especially lucrative for companies trying to sell new products online. The leaders of more than half a dozen new online retailers all told me they spent the greatest portion of their ad money on Facebook and Instagram.


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