Facebook have had some of that Apple headphone-jack ‘courage’ lately. And they’ll need a lot more to have any chance of survival into the future.
Everyone knew that the popularity of Facebook has been in decline for a while now, but up until recently this was only for natural reasons- for example, natural overcrowding of the platform, and the emergence of newer platforms with ‘something new to offer’ such as Snapchat. However, lately- I feel like the company have decided to start taking themselves out from the inside.
This all started late last year, when it was reported that Facebook were working with the Chinese Government in order to implement a censored version of the platform in the country. This may not have caused everyone on the platform to quit- but it certainly enraged many campaigners and activists- many of whom would have used the platform to convey their messages in the first place. It’s okay, we get it: how can you make money for your company and please the government at the same time?
Another catalyst for mass dumping of Facebook might have been the ‘news feed experiment‘ scandal- which first emerged in 2015. Back then, it was reported (by wired among other sourced) that the company had been changing the news feeds of different users without their consent. On these people’s news feeds- they had removed a lot of the positive content so that only negative news remained in order to see what the reaction of the user would be. At a time when so many young people are being diagnosed with clinical depression- this perhaps wasn’t the best move…
Many other things have happened since then, but let’s fast forward to just a few days ago. The BBC led an investigation which found that despite the alleged efforts of the company, Facebook was rife with illegal child pornography and paedophiles who would congregate on the site. After this heavily publicised report was carried out and broadcast- Facebook asked the BBC for proof that what they reported was indeed backed up with evidence- to which the BBC replied yeah sure, here you go! Facebook then responded by suggesting that the was the authorities’ responsibility to handle this now.
And now, today, the very reason I am writing this post. Facebook have added a ‘stories’ feature to their messenger app. For many years now you have been able to add pictures to your story on Snapchat, which then disappear after one day. Facebook have now made a carbon-copy of this feature. In all honesty, this should be no surprise as the company did exactly the same thing to Instagram last year.
Its now very clear, that although many people may use this platform still, that it is indeed shrinking in popularity and support- even if it’s still growing in profits. Maybe there’s no bouncing back from this one…