Facebook isn’t going anywhere soon, so let’s stop trying to dig it an early grave.
It’s been nearly a week since The Observer broke the story about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. In that time, the social media giant has been “in crisis”, “on the brink” and “out of control”. If you were to judge the news coverage alone, the death knell would have been rung already.
But in reality, Facebook is alive and well. It’s still the world’s most popular social network and that shows no sign of changing any time soon. Despite a brief campaign to #DeleteFacebook led by parts of the old media, I don’t think anyone really believes it could happen.
And that’s part of the problem. The public is being wrongly led to believe that Facebook is entirely at fault for Cambridge Analytica’s misdoings so that the old media can push a much bigger agenda – to punish Facebook for years of declining readerships and ad revenues. The coverage says it all.
Within days, the news quickly pivoted from focusing on Cambridge Analytica to scrutinising Facebook. “Where is Mark Zuckerberg?” the papers asked. “Is it time we deleted Facebook?” radio presenters debated. Ironically, Facebook was awash with #DeleteFacebook articles.
In newsrooms up and down the country, I imagine editors and reporters must have been rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of finally giving their evil overlord the elbow. Finally, no more praying to the Facebook algorithm gods in the hope they’ll bestow them with bountiful website traffic.
Sadly, by peddling these reports about Facebook’s supposed “mass propaganda violation”, the old media is inadvertently creating more mass propaganda. Publishing stories that don’t always tell the full story, knowing full well the public isn’t au fait with the complicated world of data-driven advertising.
Let’s be honest. Any tech giant is at risk of its data being misused, which is exactly what Aleksandr Kogan reportedly did by using the 50 million Facebook profiles he collected for commercial purposes. And like any other tech giant, Facebook did everything it could to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.
So let’s quit with the unnecessary Facebook bashing and give them a break. Instead, let’s focus on its plans to change the platform for the better. Let’s work together to realise the positive benefits technology and social media brings to all our lives. There’s enough room in this world for the old media and new.
What are your thoughts on the whole Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal?