You and I won’t need to tolerate Facebook’s privacy woes much longer. Recent news about The Social Network trying to change its stripes expresses what’s been a long time in coming: the end of the Newsfeed era.
Keep in mind, headlines are meant to be catchy or sensational. Something like, “The Death of Facebook” is sure to grab attention, which is what every media site online wants to do. Like this blog post!
That said, since billions of people like to look at their Facebook Newsfeed, it’s a huge deal if it is about to go away or fundamentally change because the impact would be vast. Even minor changes in the past ruffled internet feathers.
Check out these March 2019 headline declarations:
Facebook’s News Feed era is now officially over
This could be the beginning of the end for Facebook’s social network
But big news like this isn’t new for Facebook. See this dramatic headline from nearly five years ago, April 2014:
This is the end of Facebook as we know it
I guess time will tell what really happens. But I’m gonna go ahead and call it:
“Facebook Newsfeed is maybe might be dying or dead!”
Sarcasm aside, there is ample reason to think something big is changing for Facebook and the Newsfeed. The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced a sweeping pivot for Facebook. This was followed quickly by two top-tier execs, one in charge of the Newsfeed for many years, suddenly announcing they’re leaving their jobs.
These big shake-ups follow several months of cascading scandals and controversies over Facebook’s business model and data collection practices. These changes appear to be a culmination of the previous problems, touched off by Russian meddling and Cambridge Analytica.
But I’m not here to rehash the issues. I simply wonder, is this really the end?
The way things have stacked up, I’m more convinced that Facebook’s dominance may finally be winding down. But I’m also concerned that it could be ramping up in other ways. I would not be surprised if Mark Zuckerberg wants to grow to become like WeChat in China, which I think would be worse than the Facebook Newsfeed!
Despite its claims to embrace privacy, I think Facebook, if it became like WeChat, would be more ubiquitous (invasive) and reach the utility status it wants. Like electricity or the internet itself, Facebook wants to be needed, as essential to daily living as buying food.
For a capitalistic business to so fundamentally govern billions of people, it would be like a government of the money, by the money, and for the money.
For Facebook, connecting billions of people is a means to collecting billions of dollars.
This is scary. I don’t want one man, or a handful of people driven by shareholders and more money, to have such power over billions of people – more than any single country’s population. It’s dangerous.
I don’t think Facebook has shown that it can properly manage such an influential platform. Sure, it’s got the technical chops to run a network from here to the moon and back. But it lacks the essential ingredients of an entity with large scale influence, like earning trust or understanding its role in civil discourse.
Great power plus not-great responsibility equals great corruption. Right?
Here’s the thing. Maybe Facebook grows bigger and more utilitarian in our society, yet it does not need to. We don’t need Facebook! You and I have been connecting and communicating with others well enough since forever without Facebook; we still can!
There are plenty of other tools and platforms and methods to talk with friends and family. There are abundant other resources for entertainment. And if you want the news, it’s available everywhere, not just on Facebook.
Plus, think of the new websites and services that could spring up if Facebook finally receded into the background. What if the big guy let the little guys have a chance?
I hope Facebook doesn’t grow any more. It’s too big already.
Do you think Facebook is too big?