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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Facebook – having your cake and eat it

Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook is “a platform for all ideas”. In and of itself, this claim is probably true. However, Facebook urges you to use their tools to filter your newsfeed. It’s unlikely that you will opt for seeing news with which you disagree. Most likely, most readers will opt for the type of news that supports their beliefs. Newspapers still use that business model.

The remark of Facebook’s CEO was in response to a Donald Trump claim that “Facebook was always anti-Trump”. In and of itself, this Trump claim is probably true. The reason for this is (my blog) the arrogance of Left and ignorance of Right. Trump might be the best example of ignorance as he does not read and only watches TV news that supports his views. The arrogant Left are usually full of (biased) opinions and Facebook provides them with an excellent platform.

A recent Wired article‘s heading claims that “Facebook built its vision of democracy on bad math”. Given Facebook’s continued blocking of my recent blog on a popular Netflix series, I have some sympathy for Wired’s view on Facebook’s algorithms.

In case of criticism, Facebook does not make a choice between its IT platform (Tech) and its content (Media). Facebook either hides behind (i) its lack of accountability and/or responsibility given 3rd party content on its sole IT platform, or (ii) the constitutional right of freedom of speech. Facebook has found a unique way of “having your cake and eat it“.

Facebook’s current threat is directly related to its business model: (i) advertisements (ads), and (ii) “a Facebook “retargeting” tool, called Custom Audiences, to send specific ads and messages to voters who had visited those sites” (WP). Facebook’s “vision of democracy” was – ironically – undermined by Facebook’s mere existence.

Washington Post: “Russians took a page from corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters”. [] “The tactic resembles what American businesses and political campaigns have been doing in recent years to deliver messages to potentially interested people online. The Russians exploited this system by creating English-language sites and Facebook pages that closely mimicked those created by U.S. political activists.”

The current political view that Facebook has undermined (American) democracy may result in regulations for the social media industry and end their unique way of “having your cake and eat it“. Two other simultaneous trends will also increase Facebook’s worries: (i) the scale-back in online marketing by large advertisers, (ii) the hiring of many thousands of additional employees (eg, checking ads, monitoring content).

Recently, NielsenLab reported that most Americans tolerate annoying online Facebook ads because it’s free of a paid subscription. Politicians may well force Facebook in accepting only verified users through paid subscriptions. As Machiavelli once wrote in his book The Prince: “The end justifies the means“.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M. (1987)

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

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