I have been on the fence for Facebook a few times. They were never innocent, but they were to a larger degree guilty of certain events. Now it is time to add to those events.
You see, Facebook has been guilty of both deceptive conduct and harassment in a few ways, in ways they will never see it as such, and they are also accused to some degree by Bloomberg through ‘Facebook Grew Too Big to Care‘, which is a clear coffin nail in their upcoming casket.
Yet I digress, first the accusations from me. Those who rely on the mobile Facebook experience can relate to these issues.
The first is the messaging icon with a big fat 6 there (6 in my case), when I look on my PC, there are no messages there. It is there idea of harassment through curiosity. ‘Did I miss a message?‘ ‘Perhaps it was important?‘ all done hoping that Facebook messenger gets installed. It is time for Facebook to wake the fuck up and fix it right quick. People lost confidence in Facebook messenger for a reason, or in less emotional terms, as some sources gave us: ‘How Facebook and Messenger Apps Drain Phone’s Battery‘, battery power is the holy grail of mobile ability and Facebook messenger was a direct threat to it, so to keep messenger of our systems is a good call, the fact that I get an indication that there are messages waiting does give a push to check and for two years it has been a bogus stage. The fact that this is one of a few paths that are pissing us off is actually a concern to consider removing Facebook from my mobile environment and merely check on it once a day in the evening. I might miss out, but I see no chance that Facebook will actually amend its current path, forcing us to find another avenue, which is a little upsetting as Google+ is already leaving us, an app that is perceived as much more reliable.
The second issue is another pressure point forced upon us. As Facebook is losing value, it is pushing for more and more connections, even when we do not want it. Whenever I go to notifications, I get a ‘people you may know‘, I did not bloody want that, I wanted my notifications. I see the suggestion list when I look into the friends tag, yet growth is not fast enough for Facebook, so they push it onto us in notifications as well. That is until you realise that the newsfeed is a forced stage of top stories, some people require it to be chronological (whilst the home button always resorts to top stories), for international reasons and it is there that we see that Facebook has lost the plot, it does whatever they need to do to force flamed stories and clicked articles and reduce our genuine need for social interaction to something close to zero, it is there that we see that the only solution for Facebook is to actually fully fail so that we can evolve social media into something that actually serves a purpose.
Yet in the same setting it is important to take heed of ‘Facebook’s controversies now extend to health and medicine issues‘ (at https://www.statnews.com/2019/02/20/facebook-health-medicine/). We can argue it in several ways, you see having an interest in “journalists reported that Facebook allows advertisers to target users who have demonstrated interest in anti-vaccine information — and that anti-vaccine ads promoted on the site has been viewed millions of times. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California also sent a letter to the company urging it to stem the flow of vaccine misinformation“. It goes beyond the standard setting of interest, and with: “A complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission last month and made public Tuesday accuses Facebook of improperly disclosing information about its users who joined these groups with the expectation of privacy. Facebook took heat on this one, too, from federal lawmakers who want the company to brief them on the matter by the end of this month“.
We see that Facebook sets interest aside and pushes for awareness and engagement in that very same act, where a person might merely be trying to find out the truth and viewing the other side (opposed to those not against vaccinations), having an open mind and looking into information offered is not the same thing of being an interested party. So when the excuse “a spokesperson said that the site isn’t fundamentally about anonymity and makes clear to users what information is visible to other members of a given group” is given, the fact that the view of the people was not tested beforehand is a much larger no-no than one might expect. If the page was on their profile, we see the danger that an insurance company might make an assumption driving health premiums up and that assumption might in my humble opinion make Facebook liable for those additional costs, so take that times 325 million and smoke those shares reducing them to a value of $1.61 (a mere 99% drop).
So even as excuse number two “Facebook also told Bloomberg that it’s considering demoting such content in search results and blocking it from being recommended to users” is offered, the notion of “Facebook’s raging health-related headaches highlight the deep sense of distrust with which many people now regard the site” might give a first indication that Facebook is up for another trophy, the one of being the first commercially driven anti-social site is not entirely out of reach for consideration.
All this, whilst only an hour ago, we got treated to: ‘Another Facebook privacy scandal, this time involving its mobile analytics SDK‘ (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/another-facebook-privacy-scandal-this-time-involving-its-mobile-analytics-sdk/). We are treated to the quote: “the Wall Street Journal revealed that 11 popular mobile apps are sending data to Facebook servers, data that for some apps contains sensitive information such as heartbeat rates, blood pressure, menstrual cycles, and even pregnancy statuses. This data isn’t collected by Facebook intentionally, but app developers use Facebook’s mobile software development kit (SDK) to collect metrics and analytics of how users are engaging with their apps“, ZDNet gives the clear warning ‘this time the social network may not be as guilty as some people might think’, and that is fine. The people have however moved to a ‘guilty until proven innocent‘ stage in the Facebook setting, which is much more pressing; the fact that credibility is gone is a huge issue for Facebook. The fact that we see (mostly in Universities) a growing interest in Tencent’s social network, WeChat in non-Chinese people is an interesting rise. Of course most students are interactively hormone driven in the desire for Asian companionship, but it is a growing wave, and we have seen how Chinese entrepreneurs have been eagerly willing to embrace a multi lingual population, Russia seemingly tried that with OK.ru in the past, yet dropped the ball, and for now it is uncertain whether they can undo the damage done (by a unmentioned source).
A situation that was unimaginable 5 years ago, is now becoming an element to the forefront of it all, if they are losing members into the other directions they will also lose the open part they desperately that they have been trying to hang on to: Advertisement Money! We can agree that Americans will always select Facebook for advertisement, yet in Europe and Scandinavia it is a lot less clear, as the visibility of OK.ru grows, so will the optional effort to push cash that way. The advertiser might be swayed by the high numbers from Facebook. The clear stage of distrust, fake accounts and scandal after scandal makes Facebook not as great a consideration as it was a few years ago and that is one part Google Ads will love, for the most Facebook did this to themselves, they decided on revenue driven actions without taking moments to consider the long term impact and half a dozen impacts later Facebook is no longer the great advertisement opportunity it was a mere 36 months ago.
And all this before Buzzfeed News gives us a mere 11 hours ago: ‘Mark Zuckerberg Promised A Clear History Tool Almost A Year Ago. Where Is It?‘ Perception of unreliability, and a growing concern of unkept promises will haunt Facebook through 2019, is the question: ‘Will they still be here in 2020?‘ too far fetched? I do believe that they will be around long after that, yet the consideration that they will record more losses over the board is decently clear and reliable. The second part that this relates to is that when it comes to 5G innovation, Facebook is least likely to be a banner party to that presentation, and seemingly the only way at present to get there is by breaking even more promises.
We can accept the Facebook defence that is given with: “Facebook was in no way involved with the data collection, nor do they store the data in usable form (they’re stored as bucketed ‘events’, so the developer can sort user actions, per whatever internal analytics philosophy they have),” Martínez said. “Facebook is basically a bean counter here“, yet the SDK allowed programmers to get a hold of data that should not have been available and that is still a matter that is up for debate. The SDK did not have a link to limited data access, it seemingly gives access to close to everything. It is like screaming that the development kit does not allow for a nuclear weapon to be made, the fact that it gets its fingers on the uranium making for a dirty bomb is not to be ignored. So even as we can to the smallest degree agree with: “This is blaming the ruler for what gets measured“, the issue that the ruler gets to measure privacy driven issues by people who were unaware that there was a ruler measuring them (yes that was a simple penis joke) is still up for debate. The connection at Facebook fails when we see that this is not merely about measuring, but that every person is a collection of EVERY measurement that the SDK asks the maker ‘Which measurements would you like to have?‘ So it is very much up to Facebook at present (as I personally see it).
Should you think that it is not as bad as I make it out to be, consider the article 6 weeks ago (at https://piie.com/blogs/china-economic-watch/growing-popularity-chinese-social-media-outside-china-poses-new-risks) where we see not only ‘The Growing Popularity of Chinese Social Media Outside China Poses New Risks in the West‘ with the quote: “The overseas penetration of Chinese social media poses a substantial security problem, however. Social apps gather a lot of data on users; if this information is sent to China, it can be easily accessed by the government and leveraged, say, to make Beijing’s surveillance software better at recognizing Western faces, or at extracting intelligence on Western military activities. US and EU authorities have not paid sufficient attention to these risks“, even as we need to partially invalidate the fear mongering by Claudia Biancotti, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. We need to add to this that the one rule everyone forgets is that the power of social media is with the users, Facebook is about to learn that the hard way and consumer driven solutions will always win when it takes the highroad of the needs of the user, Facebook forgot about that path, in China it will cause a massive slide towards opening western markets to Chinese solutions and consumer goods. Do you think that Beijing surveillance software needs this solution? They have well over a dozen other methods at present, and more than one was implied to have been facilitated for by Facebook. The Chinese options can steer clear and watch their economy grow whilst Facebook driven solution merely start breaking even over the next two years, a consumer slide that we have not seen since 2007-2009.
It is my view that Facebook faces several convictions and the largest issues are not in any court, it will be from the people seeking another social media platform, the media has been pointing at too many smoke stacks for that not to happen.