Facebook, the real-time book of some 2.5 billion faces. Very interesting name, if the founder has chosen that could do something beyond anyone, can ever imagine. Facebook’s largest market is India followed by America. Facebook statics are very high. Nearly some 3 billion people use Facebook . The more increase in Facebook’s user base is the more increase in Facebook’s revenue but also the threat and vulnerability to society and governments. Read my previous article on how tech giants influence us
In recent years Facebook has come under severe scrutiny by many governments. The most popular is the Cambridge Analytica(CA). The scandal was burst to post the U.S presidential elections where this British firm has influenced the voters to change behaviour as the targeted. A whistleblower Christopher to The Guardian said that the foundation of the firm itself based on the Facebook data. He said that the firm is harnessing millions of user profiles to the targeted goal by changing users perceptions and behaviour. Even the user doesn’t know if his/her data is being stolen or if he is being manipulated or influenced. Facebook did give enough permissions to CA to harvest that includes private messages.
So lets us understand how this could happen? Facebook’s algorithms are just like a superhuman Or AI computer. Let’s assume (in simple terms) a post, a video, an advert in Facebook. Human behaviour, mentalities of different kinds. Not everyone may like the same post or pages. Some may like nature, automobiles, some computer, food, shopping etc. Now facebook algorithms capture all the actions that you have done in it. If you did like a post-it means you’re interested of that kind. If you do share a post or video, then it captures that network of friends and their interests as well. At some maximum magnitude, facebook concludes your behaviour. The same happens to all profiles. To understand this psychologically watch this BBC video
But why this? The simple answer is Money. 85% of facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. Facebooks ads could reach some 1.9 billion people, a very vast customer base. Facebook profiles were the greatest asset and can be targeted with adverts. Image type ads were very effective up to 90% that advertisers can not ignore. Also, Facebook was alleged to give complete profile info to advertisers without citizens consent, a blatant violation of right to privacy. More statics about Facebook.
How Facebook is dangerous?
There was enough examples or circumstances to say how it became a headache to governments.
Fake news: Spreading information on Facebook is very easy and could reach millions in just minutes. However, Facebook can not detect if it is fake or not but, just shares. The is very concerning until last year when fake news is being spread widely on WhatsApp that was owned by Facebook. Still, neither governments nor Facebook can detect the origin of news. The measures taken by Facebook is inadequate to contain fake news. Limiting forward option to five in WhatsApp isn’t effective. There was no clear studies or reports on deaths relating fake news by facebooks and allied platforms.
Protest & Violence: Facebook is playing an effective role in civil unrest causing political instabilities in societies. Ironically, some governments are using Facebook as a social weapon to erupt mass violence. In Myanmar(2017), top military officials weaponized facebook to a mass massacre. UN termed this violence against Rohingya Muslims as ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.
In India, very recently, politician T. Raja Singh has said ‘Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques’. According to a report by Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Facebook India’s top public policy executive Ankhi Das refused to apply the Hate speech rules to Singh citing that (internal) the company’s business would damage.
Nearly 88% of online users are 18-29 years of age on Facebook. Facebook and Instagram have become a social place to showcase ourselves. In the USA alone, post-2009, hospital admission for non-fatal self-harm arose by 62% (15-19 age) and 189% (10-14 age) girls. The suicide rates rose by 70% and 151% for the respective ages. This horrifying rates of self-harm and suicides were clearly attributed to social media. This statistics could be more terrifying when calculated over the world or among all the social media users. ( The Social Dilemma, 2020)
To an interview for BBC by an anonymous working at Facebook content review said that the post and videos marked for review are really shocking. They include child pornography, terrorism, animal abuse and other suicidal videos. One lady has told that she has seen a video of 6 months child is being raped, committing such a heinous, cold blood crime.
Facebook has grown to such an extent that it became the dry grass(users) to spark with a single matchstick called a post/Video could really make a big social fire. Since its incorporation Facebook founder apart from saying “apologize” has nothing changed much. It is the right time to scrutinize Facebook and make it adhering with stringent data policies. Facebook users can be manipulated and influenced in elections. Data breach and privacy is a serious concern of citizens. As said in my previous article, if social media and techs giants were not regulated then ultimately, the next generation of government is formed by Techs but not by politicians.