Ah, so that’s how we kill Facebook


We just have to spread the word about what Facebook is really about.

Tech reporter Kevin Roose argues that what he sees in the revelations is a company that is in a desperation mode. He says that what keeps Facebook executives up at night is not the threats of lawsuits (that it has ample resources to fight) or fines (that it can easily afford to pay) or Congressional investigations or government regulations (that it feels that it can circumvent) but an existential threat that they cannot control: they are losing the desired younger demographic that is the key to their revenue stream. He points out that social media companies come and go as young people’s tastes change and that Facebook may be seeing its future as similar to that of Friendster and MySpace, both major players of their time that eventually became irrelevant. While Facebook has outlasted them, it is already seen by young people as a space for old people, which is a devastating image for the company..

All these problems have led to speculations that Facebook may be on the way out, sooner than we may think.

Oh, yeah, Facebook: that’s the place where uncool boomer grandpas and dotty old great-aunts go to share racisms and stupid conspiracy theories, right? Why would anyone want to join that? Everyone would rather hang out in the cool spaces, like Instagram.

Instagram is where vapid “influencers” pretend to be celebrities when all they actually are are shallow poseurs who can be lured off to Fyre Festivals. No one wants to be seen dead there. The hip people are flocking to…whatever the next fad is.

With the right degree of cynical ennui, the language of disaffected teenagers, we can kill off any nascent social media juggernaut!

Comments

  1. HappyHead says

    Any social media giant will turn out just as bad, Twitter has problems, Instagram has (wait, isn’t that owned by facebook? That explains a lot…) They all screw people up.
    We need to chase people away from any large scale social media stream by making sure it’s seen by the kids as “too popular to be any good”.
    The way to save us all is to make sure everyone is …. Hipsters.

  2. raven says

    Why would anyone want to join that? Everyone would rather hang out in the cool spaces, like Instagram.

    Which is owned by Facebook.
    Youtube is owned by Google.

    What all these companies are doing is buying up their competition as fast as they can.

    I was kicked off Facebook years ago. My crime was not posting antivax lies, trying to overthrow the US government, or stalking people online. It was refusing to use my real name for safety purposes and never posting anything.
    Who cares. More or less none of my Boomer friends and relatives are on Facebook anyway.

  3. raven says

    The idea of Facebook (or Myspace for that matter) was a good one. Everyone gets their own blog or space on the internet.

    For various reasons, and I’m sure Facebook itself was part of the problem, what it did is turn into a toxic swamp that actively harms many of its users in general and the USA in particular.

  4. says

    If you expect to hate whatever replaces facebook as much as facebook, then what you hate is actually america’s decadent media culture and facebook is just a symptom.

    I used to wish the banner ad economy would collapse – and it did, but was replaced with shills influencers – be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

  5. robro says

    The Washington Post is running a series on how to better manage using Facebook, or stop using Facebook altogether. Yesterday’s installment was interesting because it ostensibly covered the alternatives, but admitted up front that there really aren’t any good ones…or better ones. Many of the alternatives, like Twitter or TikTok, have the same problems as Facebook.

    And yes, Facebook is widely thought of as Boomer-vile by younger folks, at least according to the one Millennial I know.

    Incidentally, Facebook’s strategy for circumventing regulation is to advocate for new regulations. I’ve seen their ads for it (on WaPo by the way). Of course, if they help rewrite the regulations they won’t have to “circumvent” them per se because they will be favorable to them.

    My impossible dream is to have a social media platform that’s crowd-sourced and funded more like Wikipedia.

  6. StonedRanger says

    Im a boomer. I dont use any of the social media apps. Getting a bit tired of hearing about how woke everyone is until it comes to those of us over fifty or sixty. Im not a racist or misogynist, or a republican, nor do I follow herr dumpf. Just because I was born in the fifties does not make me automatically the bad guy. Its a little hypocritical to talk about how much you support certain groups of people for their attributes that they dont have control over like skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity etc… but when it comes to something you have no control over like ones birthdate, its okay to talk all kinds of shit about them/me. You too are a boomer PZ, does that mean you are all of the bad things you say about boomers? I didnt think so. Ageism is a thing, please stop perpetuating it. I come here to freethoughtblogs because for the most part I like the things that people say that give me pause to think, and because I too share many of those same thoughts and feelings. But the more I come here, the more Im seeing people dissing people my age just because of our age. Dont take any time to consider we arent all shitheads. I will admit that there are plenty of people my age who suck, but we can say that about people of any age cant we? At this point, being called a boomer is getting to feel just as derogatory as using the N word to describe all black people. Please stop.

  7. leovigild says

    Cynical ennui is how the right-wing was allowed to reach its current state in the first place. (Remember Gush v. Bore? The Naderites?)

  8. says

    Hmm Social Media Obsolescence. Never thought about it that way. It makes me think of the TV shows that went on way too long and jumped the shark. Itself a reference to a TV show. With waning ratings happy days aired an episode where the iconic character Fonzi jumps a shark while water skiing. It did not save the show.

    I think MySpace jumped the shark when Arctic Monkeys played SNL for example. If you forgot about that very forgettable band, they were a group of teenagers who friended everyone they could on MySpace and played mediocre pop/rock music. And within a year they were the musical act on SNL.

    Has FaceBook jumped the shark yet? Not sure. But like Happy Days, it already has spinoffs like Instagram. Is it fair to compare a social media company to the typical American sitcom? Not sure there either, but they seem to have the same lifespan.

  9. says

    robro@#6:
    My impossible dream is to have a social media platform that’s crowd-sourced and funded more like Wikipedia.

    I used to imagine some bored billionaire would whip out their wallet and develop an alternative. With facebook’s huge footprint, there is a pretty gigantic tech footprint, though. Its software architecture is pretty impressive, though it has to be a mass of kludges somewhere, because web is a mass of kludges and clean design is not an option. So: throw hardware at it.

    I’d pay $10 for facebook to fuck off and never bother me again. If we all paid that, maybe they would. Who am I kidding? They’d just get bigger.

  10. says

    raven@4

    Everyone gets their own blog or space on the internet.

    We certainly don’t need facebook or any other social media site for that. I don’t know about the situation in the USA, but every internet provider I’ve ever used in the Netherlands provided me with space for a hosted website.

    refusing to use my real name for safety purposes

    That’s a valid concern. Especially for women, activists and journalists.
    OTOH, I suspect that a certain percentage of jerkwads would reign in their ranting if they didn’t get to hide behind a handle.

    StonedRanger@7

    You certainly have a point about ageism.

    Marcus Ranum@12

    About the last thing we need is another mega platform.
    Just individual internet providers that provide WordPress, Blogger or plain web hosting should be fine for most people.

  11. DanDare says

    Social media does have the potential to connect people into communities large and small. The capitalist model warps it. We need a democratic socialist social network.

  12. robro says

    DanDare @ #14 — At the very least, we need a not-profit motivated social network. Unfortunately for the US that probably means a government provided service (the “digital” USPS), and that means the First Amendment could be invoked to prevent blocking people like Trump, et al.

  13. beholder says

    All the moderation problems with the big platforms ultimately come down to one owner, therefore a one-size-fits-all policy.

    I wouldn’t mind social media if it weren’t so heavily centralized. Something more like a protocol than a specific platform, where if I didn’t like what a few assholes were saying on one node, I could silo myself off in another node with different ownership and sane moderation, or an assocation of nodes for the same effect.

    Of course, the problem is convincing enough people to use such a protocol so that it doesn’t wither and die in obscurity, which takes a slick promotional push, which requires marketing agencies, which requires a profit-driven business model and all the cancer that is killing social media today which flows from that. I have no idea how to solve that part.

    tl;dr I just want Usenet back.

  14. John Morales says

    Part of it is the advertising-driven model.

    Way back in the earliest days of the internet (early 1990s) there was talk about a micropayment system; alas, that never took off for various reasons, thus the current model.

    Ah well.

  15. says

    John Morales@#7:
    Part of it is the advertising-driven model.

    Yup. The advertising model requires presenting the user with “here is some content that I am 99% certain you don’t want.” If I am interested in a thing, I go out and pull knowledge, reviews, pictures, etc., to me so I can learn. So: good indexes and unbiased search engines are fine. What is not fine is a pay-to-play algorithm that sneakily intersperses paid ads into my search stream.

    The ad economy is inherently stupid and annoying. I only buy used cars; don’t insult me with ads for stuff I will never buy based on an internet ad. What’s more pernicious is when I search for “8tb hard drive” don’t send me sponsored links. That’s even more annoying because I can sort and cost-rank listings in my head – that’s what my brain is for. Shit.

  16. says

    Also: the ad model brings us crap like youtube “before you can look at what you actually wanted to see, you have to sit through 6 seconds of an insurance ad.” Geezefuck, that’s going to totally make me want to switch my policy to whatever company has such stupid lazy ads.

  17. cartomancer says

    And you’re working to make facebook more associated with irrelevant old people by getting OFF the site?

  18. Kagehi says

    @17

    Problem with “micro transaction” schemes is that, to put it frankly, you end up paying for everything and someone that a) can’t, or b) gets obsessed with it, can find themselves either unable to use the system, or worse, bankrupted by it. Now, you might say, “Well, just make sure the costs are not that high, or obnoxious.”, to which I have to point out that, much like ad driven BS funneling garbage into your feed, which I am “sure” was never intended, is anyone really that naïve? There is a reason why the term “pay to play” is a) a thing, and b) hated by a bloody stupid lot of people (though, ironically, not necessarily kids, who can just beg their parents to buy them a gift card, so they can piss away money on some “new and exciting game”).

    Yeah, I don’t see such a thing “solving” problems, instead of just creating ones that are just as bad. And.. to be clear, such micro transactions are, apparently, not enough in some cases, because there are plenty of games, at least on tablets, which give you the option to “buy” a micro transaction OR watch an ad. One of those, which I have, is a sudoku game, which doesn’t allow the micro transaction, but does constantly bombard you with ads, which you can’t report, and which have recently been, more and more, crap from altie-med types, claiming that some fake doctor has found a miracle cure for diabetes. Which “that” could go away, I can’t help but wonder what insanity they would replace it with – some sort of “ransom ware” feature, where every X number of days you have to “pay” to play the game you already bought (or, since it was free, probably more like “are renting”)? Yeash…. I don’t see a solution, other than to do what the cowards and con artists currently running the government refuse to, which is, “Set regulations of what the F you can actually put in an ad.”, and that should, imho include going back to, “No, drug companies are not allowed to direct market to the public!”

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