Facebook’s 16 straight quarters of blockbuster growth and profits have made it a Wall Street darling. Investors traded Facebook shares up 33% in 2015, even as the company increased its costs to cover ambitious (and expensive) long term bets like virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, messaging app WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook’s early success with video ads and monetizing its photo sharing subsidiary Instagram have shown the company’s ambitious long term projects won’t hurt revenue growth in the short term. But with great power comes great responsibility, which Facebook has learned devastatingly quickly as the social network found itself as a battleground of trolls and fake news during (and well after) the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook Live, originally perceived as the future of the company increasingly depending on video, became a flashpoint after several broadcasts of police brutality, rape, suicide, and murder. Facebook has promised to hire human editors to keep the situation under control, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even promised to visit every state in the nation to take a pulse on the social conversation—and the political climate—sparking speculation that Zuckerberg is planning a bid for a higher office.
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