Why Facebook is Bad: Intro
In the last decade, Facebook has grown from a website for college students to become one of the most influential companies in the world.
From its humble beginnings as a social networking site that connected people with their friends and family members, it has expanded into an all-encompassing platform used by nearly two billion people worldwide.
Many users are unaware of how Facebook can negatively affect them on both a personal and professional level. This article will explore why Facebook is bad for us and why you should consider deleting your account.
Before Facebook Was Bad
The history of Facebook dates back to 2004. Facebook was launched in February 2004, and it was a project by a Harvard student named Mark. On 28 October 2003, Zuckerberg created a social media website, Face mash, and hacked the security network of Harvard University to copy the student ID images.
Unfortunately, this website could not run for long as Zuckerberg was alleged to have a security violation. But the shutdown of this website did not dodge Mark’s dreams, and he launched another website called Facebook on 4 February 2004.
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Facebook’s Bad: Unsuprising Origin
Initially, the website was restricted to Harvard students to share their personal information and photographs. But, soon, the website amassed immense popularity and registered thousands of people in a single day.
Students from other institutes such as Yale and Stanford universities and around 250,000 students from 24 schools joined Facebook till June 2004. Moreover, the introduction of the ‘tagging’ people feature, in 2005, further its popularity among the people.
In the following years, Facebook continued to be a successful project among the students. By 2016, individuals over 13, having valid email addresses, could create their Facebook accounts.
Currently, Facebook reports around 2.70 billion monthly users. Besides, its total revenue during the second quarter of 2020 is estimated at 18.7 billion U.S dollars. Facebook operates in almost 37 languages, and the platform is also common among businesses for marketing purposes.
Bad Facebook Scandals
The first significant scandal came in 2006 when it was revealed that Facebook allowed advertisers to target ads based on people’s interests which were determined by looking at what pages users “like” and who their friends are.
- In 2007, it was revealed that Facebook had an automated system to allow advertisers to target ads based on users’ profiles by race.
- The company came under fire when it was uncovered that its ad targeting options allowed people to exclude certain races from seeing their ads.
- In April 2016, Facebook removed almost 30,000 fake accounts, spreading phony information about France’s presidential elections.
Yet Another Reason Facebook Is Bad
Most people know that Facebook is a data aggregation company, using its information to sell ads.
But what most people don’t seem to realize is that they’re not just selling advertisements; their business model is specifically designed to share your personal information with other companies without your consent.
It’s known as shadow profiling.
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Facebook and the FTC
It was revealed in late 2018 when multiple developers reported that Facebook continued to track them and their users even after permission was revoked by the user.
This prompted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation, which found Facebook violating consumer privacy laws. The FTC placed restrictions on using consumers’ data until 2023 but declined to fine them for past violations.
Facebook’s efforts to cover up this information and downplay the issue resulted in more bad press. Their stock price hit significantly as multiple users threatened to delete their accounts over concerns about how user data was being protected or even used against them.
Facebook’s Response To Society
In response, Facebook has promised to do better, but many of its initiatives are designed to deflect attention instead of dealing with the root cause of these scandals.
They’ve released several new features in recent months that allow you greater control over your data and how it can be shared with third-party apps.
But until they start treating your data with respect – instead of harvesting it like Big Tobacco does nicotine – serious questions will remain about what they’re doing with all of this information.
Facebook’s Bad Coverage Of Elections
We look back at Facebook’s role in the 2016 election as something that was either grossly negligent or downright evil.
When divisive political issues were becoming increasingly heated, Facebook provided people with tools to spread misinformation without fact-checking it first.
This allowed all types of blatant lies to be circulated, even those which claimed Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant.
The problem got so out of hand that President Obama personally called Mark Zuckerberg about the issue during his final months in office.
And while they did make some changes to their news feed, it wasn’t enough to stop Donald Trump from winning the presidential election, thanks in part to “fake news.”
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Facebook’s Bad Get’s Worse
There’s also been growing evidence that there was more to the story than just negligence or incompetence. In 2017, it was revealed that Facebook hired a PR firm that tried to discredit critics by linking them with George Soros.
Though he isn’t a fan of Donald Trump, George Soros doesn’t like Mark Zuckerberg either – and he criticized Facebook for having such an impact on society during his speech at Davos in early 2018.
Facebook has consistently denied any involvement with these smear efforts, but when your company name is synonymous with “fake,” people will not believe you no matter what you say.
Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The Cambridge Analytica scandal is fundamentally different from most other problems we’ve mentioned because it represents Facebook’s most egregious violation of user trust in the company’s history.
While selling advertisements or disseminating fake news may not be illegal, this scandal affected millions. It involved exploiting personal data for purposes that its owners never authorized.
The whole thing began with a quiz app taken by 200,000 users around 2014. The developer behind the app was supposed to only access information available to friends on their list. Still, this rule wasn’t enforced, and he collected over 50 million profiles instead.
Cambridge Analytica Continued
Many users willingly signed up for his quiz game, but others had no idea their information was being collected until years later when the story broke into the mainstream media. But even if they had known, they had no idea what Cambridge Analytica would do with their data.
The Trump campaign hired the firm. While it initially claimed to be working for multiple political groups, there’s only evidence of them ever working for one – the effort to get Donald Trump elected in 2016. So it seems as if this whole thing was done illegally at best or part of a criminal conspiracy at worst.
Cambridge Analytica is now under investigation in England and America for various crimes related to the 2016 election.
What’s worse is that as of 2018, there are still millions of compromised accounts out there who haven’t been notified yet and probably never will be.
Facebook’s Russia Problem
Facebook has already been implicated in some collusion with Russian operatives during the presidential election (more on that later); these revelations have opened up countless new questions about how this might be connected to Vladimir Putin’s campaign operation for Donald Trump.
More Bad Publicity For Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg has spent most of his career surrounded by controversy, but it isn’t always clear whether these scandals hurt or help his company’s bottom line in the long run.
While all Facebook users have likely heard about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, not everyone knows what it means for them. The further they get from direct involvement in political affairs, the more people care about their data being stored and shared online without their knowledge.
At best, this only leads to a drop in ad revenue for Facebook. At worst, users start to panic and leave the platform – or even worse, Facebook is forced to pay hefty fines and change its policies to avoid further government regulation.
But up until very recently, lawsuits haven’t been a problem they need to deal with on an international scale.
Attempts To Stop Facebook
In the United States (where all these problems seem more prominent because they’re the only ones being reported on), various states follow Europe’s lead by consolidating consumer privacy laws in ways that could spell the end for Facebook and other social media platforms.
Once again, Mark Zuckerberg’s youth is starting to become a liability rather than an asset, and certain politicians like Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have been clamoring for him to step down as CEO since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
Facebook And Bad Culture
Facebook has created a negative culture in which we constantly try to keep up with what everyone else is doing, leading to a stress and anxiety epidemic.
Research shows that the average person spends over an hour on Facebook scrolling through their newsfeeds, liking posts or pictures, etc., despite having already spent eight hours staring at the screen during work hours.
This discrepancy leads many people to feel they never have enough time in the day because they’re stuck on social media instead of living their lives.
Another reason why this might be a problem: It’s been estimated by Statista experts that nearly half of adults feel like they are addicted to their mobile devices, with the most addiction being attributed to Facebook.
Facebook And Cyber-Bullying
Another dangerous thing about why Facebook is bad for us is the ease of cyber-bullying. The anonymity associated with social media makes it easier than ever to bully people online, which can cause real mental and emotional damage.
With everyone having a smartphone or other internet access, we could be bullying someone even if they’re standing next to you in line at the grocery store. However, this has always been an issue in some ways (such as bullies telling their victims ‘I’ll see you after school!’).
There’s no way around cyber-bullying because it will remain anonymous unless reported by witnesses who saw what happened.
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Final Thoughts On Facebook Being Bad
It’s been shown by many studies that most people aren’t even aware of how often they’re on social media or why they keep going back to it.
In conclusion, why Facebook is bad for us comes down to cyber-bullying, mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression), personal identity being changed because we compare ourselves to others’ profiles, and privacy concerns.