Updated: Nov 23, 2019
It may seem a little strange that someone who has dedicated his entire life sharing information does not use one of the most populated social media platforms available, but there is some convoluted logic behind this madness. It somewhat has to do with Facebook being overpopulated and very negative, but mostly it is about algorithms. Facebook shows you what you want to see, not what you need to see, and this enforces your ideas rather than allowing you to expand knowledge of a topic.
Facebook has just over one and a half billion monthly users, and a survey conducted a few years back determined over 80% of them users sourced their news solely through the medium. Status with links to articles, blogs, pictures, and videos flood the site. Users share private moments such as engagements with the world willingly – this is not to mention all the internet browsing history, purchasing potential and consumer profiling, AI alpha and beta testing, and location tracking data gathered by the company in the process and unknowingly. Because of this, Facebook is a haven for all things advertising (including which friends get priority sharing with you) and does so at the expense of its’ users, profiting Facebook billions of dollars a year and giving no money back to their website’s content creators. The site’s click-through rate is much lower than that of common sites. To counter this, Facebook launched ‘Facebook News’, keeping users on their site and requesting publishing companies directly provide content to their servers rather than clicking through to a monetised article.
It seems Facebook has done what founder Mark Zuckerberg intended to do and shift the way the world connects while catering to the highest bidder. We now see text messaging as an outdated method compared to online messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber. Our holidays are posted to the public, leaving the knowing of what we did on vacation dependent on the inquiring individuals (aka Family and Friends). The days finding out something from your mates, or asking about someone’s holiday, family, or career path are gone. I got into journalism because I believe in discovering new things and exploring fresh ideas from people, and I firmly believe we all have some part of us begging that this increasingly connected and systematic world had an “off” switch.
Facebook takes this one step further and only shows posts and information which you have previously liked, commented, or shared. It also measures how long you spend on a clickthrough, feeding that information to its’ algorithm and tailoring your feed even more. Although this is amazing and incredibly innovative, it is also immensely depressing to discovery. When you read the paper, you get everything no matter what you like. Facebook caters so much to your interests, its’ users seem to forget there is a world beyond them.
Call it an impromptu protest but I think ‘bubbling’ information acts as a wall of censorship between you and reality. Yes, you may be interested in politics and have a strong liberal view but by being completely cut off from stories which may let you see things in an opposing light, is not a way of educating yourself in the age of information. I use Twitter to find out what is happening in the world because it feeds me information in real time, which is mostly unfiltered – given I follow an array of viewpoints. There is a lot more crap this way, but I’d prefer to dig through the crap then be feed it.Everything has a price, and Facebook is putting a price on information; a principle which stands against the values of a free internet. I do not agree with an algorithm censoring my world, therefore, I do not log in and browse one.