Despite the fact that, before Facebook appeared, there were already other social networks with which you could interact with people from all over the world, it was not until this platform was created that the whole way of seeing digital communication and sharing all kinds of information changed.
However, we must accept that, from the beginning, the concept of Facebook was far from innocent (putting, say, Twitter way ahead in comparison). Just knowing that this platform was created as a way to classify how attractive women were on a college campus, we could label it as a stupid, sexist idea (People want to know if you are sleeping with anyone), as the protagonist put it in The Social Network). And, seeing where it came to over the years, we can but confirm this bias by saying that, in reality, Facebook sucks.
What is ironic, is that this idea doesn’t even occur to most people as Facebook today is not only the most successful social network but shares the highest corporate status along with such giants as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Audience consumed by the Facebook dictatorship
According to studies of the current year, it has been revealed that at least a third of the entire population of planet earth enters the platform at least once a month; and that 1.8 billion users enter at least once a day.
With these numbers, we could consider that Facebook has a population on its platform greater than China, and the United States. Besides, if we combine these numbers with the number of users who enter WhatsApp or “the wonderful world of Instagram” (Both platforms belonging to the Zuckerberg industry) on a daily basis, we would be talking about the fact that Facebook could have the population of the entire continent Europe, China and the United States of America simultaneously.
Nobody can deny that Facebook has become one of the largest empires in the world (digitally), and like any empire, it has one of the greatest dictators of the current decade: Mark Zuckerberg. This character, who is the founder of Facebook, loves power and control so much that his shares represent ~29% of the company. Besides, all the people allied with him add up to another 12% of the shares.
The controversial censorship algorithm
This is one of the biggest reasons why Facebook sucks. It is no secret to anyone that Facebook has a fairly strong and lax censorship algorithm simultaneously, depending on the case. For example, the people who moderate the Russian-speaking parts of Facebook are selected on a chauvinistic basis from the former Soviet Union’s peoples who speak Russian but hate Russia more than anything else (for example, the nationalists of Ukraine and Latvia). This ensures that any positive activity coming from that part of the world is securely covered with content portraying Russia and its president Putin in the least favorable light, causing fear among the naive users of Facebook who readily believe in the liberal propaganda that the platform pours onto them.
Speaking of the liberal propaganda. If you think that Facebook’s censorship is limited to overseas countries you are gravely mistaken. In the months preceding the 2020 presidential election in the US posts by Donald Trump, the president of the country, were labeled as “misleading” and excluded from search results on several occasions while anything coming from the democratic camp was quickly promoted on the social network. This sort of activity puts into question how much freedom of speech there really is in this country, and the answers that come to mind are all far from pleasant.
Paid Advertising is the name of the game
Of course, none of this would have happened had there not been a lot of money at stake, and that money comes from advertising. The logic is simple: if there is a place where people gather, you can put ads in that place and reap profits. This is why organic posts even from users with a large number of followers are not prioritized to be shown to the public if there are paid ads competing for the same spot. And you better believe that there are plenty!
Facebook posted a net income of $7.8 billion on $21.5 billion in total revenue for a net profit margin of 36.5% in Q3 2020, which ended September 30, 2020.
A net income of $7.8 billion in a single quarter??? That’s $2.6 billion each month, but let’s not stop the simple math there. Remember that Zuckerberg’s stake represents 29% of the company? So, $2.6B * 0.29 = $754 million for Facebook’s founder each month. I wonder how many years it would take you to make that much money, and if the count reaches the thousands I would not blame you at all!
Naturally, some people are disturbed by this status quo, and there were companies that, over time, have decided to withdraw from Facebook and not pay for advertising. For example, Coca-Cola took a firm stance when it stopped paying for ads on its products as they realized that in the Facebook community, their paid ads often exist right next to samples of hate speech and other inappropriate content. But most other companies pretend that nothing is happening, cutting Facebook six- and seven-figure checks each month and hoping to make that money back and then some.
Sale of personal data
Of course, paid advertising on the scale of billions of dollars per month is great news, but how about turning the users’ personal information into another source of income? The Cambridge Analytica scandal confirmed that your telephone numbers, emails, home address and anything else you tell Facebook about yourself is anything but safe.
Emotional damage and no freedom of will
Ever heard about the freedom of will? Hopefully not, otherwise, you’re gonna have a helluva lot to forget. Social platforms like Facebook are created to be addictive, to feed your vanity, and to nudge you in the direction beneficial to the advertisers so that, when you are primed to spend your hard-earned dollars on things you don’t need, it doesn’t even occur to you that you are not acting your own will.
Narcissism and Facebook are a match made in heaven: the amount of respect you get is a function of the number of friends, followers, and, above all, likes you get on the platform. Some years ago, studies were carried out among young adults that showed Facebook induces depression because people, in general, upload photos or videos sharing the happiest experiences of their lives creating a false sense of what their life looks like on average. Those who took that artificial average for real felt miserable as they realized their own lives could not compare.
The future of Facebook
Currently, there are three different scenarios for Facebook’s future. They depend largely on the government’s decisions regarding the business model of the social network, and on the changes that the attitude of the platform’s users may or may not undergo. Let’s consider them all.
Increased popularity and more regulations
If the Republican stays in power until 2024, both in the Senate and the White House, they could retaliate against Facebook’s monopoly, with the consequence that Zuckerberg ends up dissociating himself from Instagram and WhatsApp; and that, in turn, these companies end up being “nationalized” by their original founders.
However, as a result, Zuckerberg could earn a greater sum of money compared to what he had invested in acquiring these companies in the beginning; and since pocketing that money would mean enormous taxes he would be essentially compelled to reinvest within Facebook.
At the end of this scenario, Facebook would establish itself as a much more powerful company than it was before the regulations, floating above reproach (at least among those willing to forget its shady past).
Less popularity and higher regulations
In this scenario, the party’s supervision that took the reins of the country would not be satisfied with just applying the antitrust law. In this case, Australia would fulfill the promise it made in July 2020, where it mentioned that Google and Facebook should make a payment to traditional media organizations for each journalistic action that takes place on their platforms.
Then governments around the world with ideologies similar to that of the Republican party would realize that the media, such as online journalism, is the best way to banish Facebook from its throne, and with it, all the false news that daily haunt the platform.
At this time, the journalistic world would be searching for revenge against Facebook due to the massive dismissal in 2010, when Zuckerberg inflated the audience thanks to offering subsidies for the videos that various organizations dedicated to the media had, which they couldn’t afford to reproduce.
Finally, for the 2024 elections, a great scandal would come to light. It would be affirmed that there are manipulations by Facebook, so the candidate of that moment promises to destroy the social network, thus obtaining more voters and a ticket to the presidency.
Then gen Z people begin to demonstrate, who have already left Facebook to join other platforms, and driven by traditional media, they make people move away from Facebook in a massive way. Even though the platform will not completely disappear thanks to its Messenger function, users’ numbers will continue to decrease.
Regulation plummeting, popularity increasing
In this case, Biden would win the election for president and look the other way when it comes to the antitrust regulations that Facebook represents as the social platform proved highly effective in promoting liberal propaganda both within the USA and the rest of the world. In this case, Facebook becomes a master in Public Relations, turning the world into a replica of Orwell’s 1984, all while the naive users are celebrating their own brainwashing and demanding more of it.
This success could be consolidated by hiring a female CEO of dubious national origins and sexual preferences that would make her equally palatable to the most diverse user groups. Naturally, all this would be only of small or no interest to Mark Zuckerberg. Protected from further anti-monopoly scandals by the Biden presidency, he would focus on his Libra cryptocurrency, potentially creating an electronic concentration camp for his users who could live in a dreamlike world right on the platform and conduct any economic activity that is necessary for maintaining their meaningless existence.
Facebook sucks, or a bleak future for all
If you are an optimist, welcome to the club, but the truth is: reality is against us. Facebook sucks: not only it has the data of billions of its users, but it is also capable of predicting their reactions and behaviors to certain stimuli. Therefore, it would not be surprising if, in any of these scenarios, Facebook could quickly renew its image and regain its popularity while continuing to make profits at its users’ expense. And in the end, there won’t be anybody who understands as the users themselves will turn into what many of them fear: zombies.