Facebook Hasn’t Seen the Last of the Drama
July 30, 2018
Social media giant, Facebook, has seen some rough times over the past few months, and it looks like they aren’t in the clear just yet. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the accusations of creating havoc in Myanmar and India from last spring to the Russian meddling debacle reported only recently, the team at Facebook has their hands full.
Unfortunately for this business-based sharing platform, the last of their 9 lives look to be spent, at least financially. The “Delete Facebook” campaign, which has ignited across the internet, proves that the age-old slogan, “any publicity is good publicity”, isn’t always true. Rather than gain followers from their recent notoriety, Facebook has lost money, stock value, and millions of users following their original scandal, and are now seeing an epic loss of over $100-billion in their market value because of further scandals. This coincides with the loss of over 4-million users, who had been contributing regularly to the site’s success.
Public opinion of Facebook’s haughty rise and fall seems split among users, with some believing the they just got caught up in some “bad stuff” and will bounce back. Others have called Facebook out, calling the creation of the social platform nothing more than a financial-led business strategy, and not at all like the social sharing site it originally seemed to be.
Fake News Making It’s Rounds
One of the ways Facebook has tried to make up for their recent fall is through the monitoring and deleting of fake news stories and the accounts which are linked to them. The team faced a challenge, however, when a group which is believed to be based in Russia, began contacting American activists in the hope of causing chaos and confusion. One citizen even received a megaphone for the occasion from an account which originally pretended to be a like-minded American and was later linked to Russia.
The account registered under the name Mary Smith even sent thank you flowers to one of the protest organizers, Ms. Pineda. After interacting with Mary Smith and agreeing to take on the cause, Mary sent the megaphone, and later flowers. Ms. Pineda told CNN reporters that she wasn’t concerned with any kind of enemy tampering, even after the account was deleted and Mary Smith was no more.
It’s not that the protestors are protesting, as so far these demonstrations have been peaceful and in favor of meaningful causes, such as better healthcare. The problem with the recent protests in NYC and Washington, D.C. is that they’ve been instigated under unusual circumstances. The fear, of course, is that there is a political agenda at its base, which is cause for concern with Facebook, considering the Cambridge Analytica issue.
Facebook Making Real Changes
Facebook has responded to the allegations by tackling the fake account problem head on. The company promises to remove spam accounts to try and make the site a more peaceful and safe community for sharing. Even with these promises stocks continue to fall. There has been some movement by Facebook to show shareholders how serious they are about controlling fake news and online trolls as well.
The company went so far as to announce their intention to put approximately $4.5 million toward this effort of promoting real news across the platform. The money will go toward nonprofit news companies which are working to publish true stories and push out the spam. Of course, for Facebook, $4.5 million is a small sum. This past quarter alone, Facebook claimed to have earned $5-billion. Still, every little bit is thought to help the cause, and whether this will encourage more local news, or national news, at least it will be genuine.
Real Life Reviews
It might seem like Facebook is taking action in all the right ways, but many users have written to suggest that the site is working for their own gain. The platform allows information to be shared and makes money from the sharing of this information but produces none of their own. Some see it as cheating the system, while others argue it’s a good business move.
This isn’t the first time a website has made gain by the content of others. Google and other search engines function in a similar way, earning money from ads and user traffic which is ultimately cultivated by the websites of other businesses and individuals. Is this the way that Facebook hopes to function in the future? For now, CEO Zuckerberg is happy to encourage the funding for real news and work to reform the website. It could be a tactic to save face, or it could be a real makeover for the once large and in charge site.
While most opinions are on the fence regarding the integrity of this move, most are relieved that fake news will be minimized. The sharing of fake news stories has caused something of a problem for police departments, school boards, and even parents who are reading misinformation and making decisions based on this “news”.
For a closer look at what’s new with Facebook, you can follow along through their official announcements page, or through a variety of news sites, now including CNN. The future may be a bit blurry around the edges where Facebook is concerned, but one thing is certain, the company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and its founder and CEO is taking the issues reported by users more seriously than ever before.