With around 2 billion users, irrefutably the world’s largest social media network is no other than Facebook. It has become one of the most widespread and convenient ways that people interact, communicate, and share online with being a major influential force among internet users.
However, Facebook’s popularity isn’t all done without its share of problems. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has seen plentiful of PR nightmares, crises, and criticism over the years. Privacy concerns, cases of ad fraud, illegitimate content on Facebook Live, and much more have endangered the company’s reliability. Though Facebook is the topper amongst the host of social networking and media sites, there are also enough controversies and criticisms surrounding Facebook that does it tantamount to a lotus flower in the mud. Here are some top listed critiques that made Facebook, the one of its kinda social hang-out site in the world we know today.
( It is in global debate that Facebook is a monopoly with too much power – Source: TheGuardian.com )
Sham Accounts & Ad Fiddle ~
Fake accounts are not solely a Facebook problem as bots exist on Twitter, Instagram, and other notable social media platforms with varied functionality on each of the sites. The main role of fake accounts on Facebook is twofold. On the front, bots can lead to a sort of ad fraud, clicking on ads and skewing ad metrics and budgets. This was a bone of contention for several years and in some cases, led to blame on advertisers leading to disputes. Secondly, those bots become a way for gaming algorithms and advancing certain content to the top of feeds.
( Some argue that Facebook has become too big to be effectively regulated – Source: Reuters )
Video Metric Blunder ~
The most outspoken of Facebook’s bloopers is one that can directly affect advertisers. In September 2016, Facebook openly stated that an error was discovered in the calculation of the ‘Average duration of video viewed’ metric that advertisers used as a key to gauging audiences response to their videos.
However, while this key metric does give ad-makers and promoters worthwhile feedback of their content, miscalculations on the part of Facebook can cost advertisers as they feel the audience information and data that Facebook guards so closely is not trustworthy.
Violence Live Broadcast ~
The wildly successful ‘Facebook live’ brought video sharing to another level where users can virtually broadcast anything from anywhere enabling dialogue between content creators and audiences, albeit it has a dark side to it. This powerful “live” access has increasingly lead to broadcast dozens of acts of violence that can be flagged as offensive and dangerous content on Facebook.
Users can make avail of the flagging system to report any inappropriate/violent behaviour on a live broadcast, even though removing flagged videos take time owing to the unpredictable nature of live streams. The company also hired an additional 3000 workforce in May 2017 to deal with and act on flagged content.
( Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the launch of “Facebook Live” – Source: Quora.com )
Not All “Free Basics” ~
Come 2016 February, Indians witnessed the clash of interest between Net-neutrality supporters and Facebook Free-basics followers with TRAI ruling against differential data pricing for limited services from mobile phone operators that effectively terminated zero-rating platforms in India. Zero rating provides access to a limited number of websites for free of charge to the end user. Net-neutrality subscribers from India (SaveTheInternet.in) brought out the adverse implications of Facebook Free Basic program in a bid to spread public awareness. However, the TRAI authorities signalled the end of Free Basics in India by ruling out differential pricing.
Some more ‘Bad press’ed facts!
- The use of Facebook may have adverse psychological effects and social media obsession no less comparable to drug addiction.
- Facebook has also been banned by some governments of Syria, China, and Iran.
- Facebook’s company tactics including tax evasion, real-name user condition policies, censorship, and its role in the PRISM surveillance program have also undergone prominent media coverage.
- One of the earlier and most prominent litigation cases that the company faced was it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke an oral contract to build the “Harvard Connection” social network in 2004 that led to the launch of Facebook.
( Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in one of his videos on Russian controversy – Source: Mashable.com )
All said, there’s no real quick fix for issues like the vulnerability of offensive content or surge of fake news, but as the world moves forward and takes on new challenges in social media and communication, Facebook’s sure going to be at the centre of everyone’s conversation.