Before I begin I must confess that these days I am finding it harder and harder to like Facebook. Every time when I am about to forgive them for something untoward we learn of another thing then another and another. The only conclusion I can reach is that Facebook really is a company that doesn’t care or even pretend to care about its users. They only think of how they can exploit users without regard to ethics or morals.
If you think I am being dramatic and moaning over nothing, as some of you might argue. Big Tech companies like Google exploit their users for profit too. The thing though is that at least the others pretend to conform to norms and values of society and do it in a classy way. Facebook seems to be making a mess of things. Still not convinced? Here are some things we have learnt about them over the past few weeks thanks to leaked documents:
- The company knew that mostly black people were being auctioned on it’s platform to be used as slaves in countries like United Arab Emirates. Despite this information Facebook did not act in a timely manner to shutdown these auctions. The BBC and other news organisations did exposes on these markets and still nothing was done. They are now fighting these markets but a lot of them remain up and running. Either Facebook doesn’t care or are simply struggling to police their platform.
- Facebook actually knows that Instagram is toxic to teens. They have known for a while because they do have internal studies and researches that they do. Instead of acting on this they decided to suppress the reports. In fact, a number of whistleblowers have alleged that Facebook habitually suppresses internal research when it doesn’t say what they want. Countless teenagers have comitted suicide over social media issues that could have been prevented by Facebook if they had acted ethically. The company knowingly and willfully pollutes the minds of teens on Instagram in a bid to keep them hooked and make money
- Facebook has two sets of rules when it comes to what you can post on their platform. There is one rule for the Big Kahunas out there and another law for an ordinary Taurai and Tarisai like me. Celebrities like Donald J Trump were left to freely bully, lie and cheat while ordinary people like us were heavily censored.
- It has also been revealed that Facebook regulary cozies up to despotic and restrictive regimes. They will happily dish out your data in order to avoid getting blocked in these countries even if that puts you at risk.
- The company shamelessly pushes positive stories about itself to the top in order to give the impression that it is a good and ethical company. User feeds are pumped with positive stories about Facebook on the platform in a bid to influence wider public opinion. It’s like having the referree habitually kicking the ball in the goal of the team he dosn’t like.
- Mark Zuckerberg is more a little Napoleon who constantly overrides the advice of his employees especially when it comes to moderation ideas. When the company tried to push algorithms to clean up it’s feeds the algorithms had the opposite effect. Staffers pointed this out but Mr Zuckerberg would have none of it. He insisted that they keep doing. It’s a bit of a habit of his-overriding employees it seems.
I could go on and the exposes are still ongoing but all this proves that Facebook is indeed a toxic company that is struggling to clean up its image. I don’t even know if that’s possible. The thing though is that with more and more becoming disaffected by their behaviour they risk becoming another Ecocash.
You see EcoCash was an indomitable company once and the authorities resented that. Eventually due to things like failed transactions and such EcoCash managed to alienate the public. Authorities seized their chance and docked their tail. The same thing seems to be set to happen to Facebook.
Conservative America has always loathed the left-leaning platform and the oversized influence it has in the political arena. With these leaks and more damaging information on the way, they have their chance. The company has now been summoned before the Senate. More and more countries are also starting to try and regulate how Facebook is used in their countries. Like conservative America, the authorities in these countries now have the ammunition they need.
These revelations are also going to hurt Facebook in the long run. We have already seen Facebook try and launch a cryptocurrency of its own. Panicky authorities moved fast to block this move because they felt Facebook was already too powerful and didn’t need more power handed to them. Expect these kinds of attitudes to prevail and hinder the company’s plans in the long term.