If Then

Did Facebook’s Design Help Make It Toxic?

And could its redesign fix it?

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

In this episode, April Glaser is joined by guest co-host Max Read, an editor at New York magazine who covers technology and the internet.

First, April and Max talk about Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’ apostasy. Last week, Hughes wrote a long op-ed in the New York Times about why he thinks the company that made him so wealthy should be broken up.


Then, Katherine Lo joins the hosts to discuss how Facebook’s redesign will change how we communicate on the platform. She leads the content moderation team at a nonprofit called Meedan, which works with journalists on disinformation. While we talk a lot about how large social networks are governed—and misgoverned—it’s less frequent that we talk about how these platforms are designed, and how that can lead to toxic behavior.


Stories discussed on the show:

It’s Time to Break Up Facebook
Facebook Unveils Redesign as It Tries to Move Past Privacy Scandals

Don’t Close My Tabs:

Group Chats Are Making the Internet Fun Again
Alyssa Limperis, Comedian

Podcast production by Samantha Lee.

You can follow April @Aprilaser and Max @Max_read. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.