Facebook is late to fighting an existential threat for the second time in its 14-year life. Poor security, low-quality content and excessive advertising are as big a danger to Mark Zuckerberg’s company as the 2012 growth of mobile. Facebook finally appears focused on the threat, but it won’t be as easy to solve via acquisitions and improved apps. The social network’s value comes from holding the attention of its many customers. That’s what advertisers follow, but the converse isn’t true, which is why mobile’s growth before Facebook’s IPO frightened the firm. The app was clunky, and upstarts built around mobile photography, such as Instagram, threatened the company’s desktop-predominant audience.

What followed was a massive, successful response. Zuckerberg spent $1 billion for Instagram when it had no revenue. Likewise he frantically tried to make Facebook’s core app user-friendly. Now Instagram is worth an estimated $80 billion, according to a Breakingviews analysis in April, ...

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