Everybody loves to hate Facebook. It is as American as Apple Pie, diabetes, and tripping small children in the mall. Everybody hates it because they have to deal with people they barely know being upset about being unfriended. Everybody laughs when their crazy silly aunt posts another cat video. Everybody face palms when the angry redneck cousin decides to post another racist meme. Facebook is the best and worst thing about the internet. (Well that and Reddit… but that is another post altogether.)
Look, I totally understand the hate that Facebook receives, no one wants to feel betrayed by a dear friend. And who could possibly be a better friend then our dear sweet Facebook? So, we have spent all these years on a service that we spend absolutely no money to use. A service that is valued at over a half-trillion dollars. Did people assume that Facebook wasn’t going to make money off them? How did they think the massive service was going to keep going? I supposed prayers and thoughts!
I have been a user of the service since 2006. I love being able to annoy my friends and family with pictures of my vacations, life events, and children. It is super exciting! Everybody loves kids. Yet I make absolutely no qualms that Facebook is some benevolent saint sent to allow us to connect to our loved ones for free. That doesn’t mean I am going to defend them though. Facebook has gone from a small little startup, a site that was exclusive to college students and certain organizations (if anyone recalls those days) and has morphed into this monstrosity of an all-encompassing site.
Facebook was a place to post a status update and let people know how you were doing. It allowed you to stay connected to colleagues and friends from college. Then suddenly it became this place where everyone was allowed to post their stupid shit and advertisers, analytics companies, and other really shady places could pay to access all your juiciest details. Even some applications were allowed to steal information from the contacts of the people who used the applications. This allowed companies to gather countless valuable information that they could sell to anyone.
How much could your information be worth? Well one study says your data may be worth up to $240 a year if monetized correctly. Cambridge Analytica paid pennies for their data harvesting, using Amazon Mechanical Turk to get 270,000 people to download an app that stole 50 million other people’s data. Facebook has a horrible history of protecting your privacy, allowing apps to steal information. They also have a history of hiring people who have a history of stealing your privacy as well.
For instance, the app that siphoned all that data? They hired the person who created it. They also hired the Husband of one of the managers of the Russian troll farms who they also helped migrate to the US. Remember, they want to protect your privacy. Or they really want to find a way to harvest more of it secretly. The effectiveness of these trolls is amazing. The understand how to create ads that target the emotions of Americans and play off them. Something that Facebook has been missing. Remember, Facebook wants to be your best friend.
But let’s move on from the privacy issue, because if you are on Facebook, your privacy is never coming back. Facebook wants to be your stop fucking shop for everything. They have invaded nearly every space on the internet to some extent. Want to find a website? Why Google when they can be listed on Facebook with a snazzy page. Need to find something for sale? No needs for Craigslist just look on the marketplace. Want to find a long lost relative… send your blood sample into Facebook and they will find every relative ever.
Facebook’s appearance has become a horrid monstrosity of design. It is overwrought with buttons and links everywhere on the page. Control of the appearance is terrible as well. Some extensions allow you to change some minor appearance features but nothing major. Looking at Facebook is sort of like looking into the most ADHD website of all time. It started off with good intentions and simple design language and somehow decided that it needed to become bloated as fuck.
Lack of privacy… lack of customization… lack of focus… all that has made Facebook a near unusable piece of crap that it is today. Lucky for us we are used to shitty design language in our social media… so until a service comes back that operates like Facebook did pre-2010 we are going to be stuck with this ugly cousin of a social media site that no one wants to use but everybody does. (www.path.com may be the closest alternative)
Facebook is why everything sucks.