I came across a recent news story on NPR about how Facebook is attempting either to take over competing apps or run them out of business. Zuckerberg’s popular social media platform has already bought and taken over several apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp (there are many, many more), while attempting to incorporate – or swallow as I see it – a variety of other outlets.
Take for example the media – several news outlets can now directly publish their stories on Facebook. Advertisers and marketers have better access to individuals likes and dislikes so that they can better target them. The much-hated algorithm attempts to tell you what’s most popular in your feed (although from what I’ve been told you can try to curtail this somewhat by applying various settings, but that sounds cumbersome to me).
Facebook has also curated the platform more so for “brands” in that they not only want you the user to brand yourself, but have made it a lot easier for companies and celebrities to do so as well. In fact, you the everyday individual, the one who helped build Facebook up into internet stardom, is actually now drowning in the loud corporate noises.
This is leading to individuals sharing less and not more (read this article from The Guardian). In fact I’ve heard several of my friends – actually the majority of them – say that they don’t post much on Facebook anymore, but rather observe what others post. (Although, if a lot of people are doing that now, then isn’t it true that most of the posts/re-posts on Facebook come from companies, the media, advertisers, and famous people? Just a thought.)
Facebook’s response to this problem has been to build new tools for sharing, such as the newly announced live video, instead of better tools for managing privacy – demonstrating Facebook’s prioritization of companies and brands at the expense of the needs and safety of individual users. – Anna Lauren Hoffmann, The Guardian
What started out as a sharing and connecting platform among friends and family has turned into an online venue – or ongoing convention – where marketers from a variety of companies, organizations, media outlets, political parties, big and small businesses, etc. are constantly hurling themselves at individuals, attempting to grab their attention in the hopes of selling their brand and product. It’s rather disgusting. At least to me.
Granted, let’s not forget I’m not on Facebook anymore and many of the above points I’ve stated is why I left (trust me, there are more).
It’s actually quite disappointing. For a while I liked the fact that I could connect with friends and family who were thousands of miles away, in other countries or states. That, to me, has been mostly lost – specifically on this particular social media platform. But that’s what business is all about isn’t it? The bottom line – money.