Would you like to work with me? Drop me a note.

I’m taking the Facebook diet

I haven’t deleted the Facebook app from my phone, or from my iPad, or blocked it in my browsers but I’m taking a well needed Facebook diet. I have turned off all the notifications, background refreshes and removed it from my homescreens. Facebook: We are on a break.

I’ve long believed that no good can come from the way most of us use it. The silly time wasters, it’s relentless focus on making users present themselves as happy, and it’s full frontal attack on democracy because it’s more profitable to act as if you’re a platform rather than a media company… The list of negative side effect is almost endless.

The past few weeks have shown that this company is either woefully unaware of these unintended consequences, or — more likely — wilfully blind of them. Yet even their own study has concluded that using it’s product can be bad for your mental health.

The last few days have also shown that the company leadership has drank too much of their own Kool-Aid. While they might believe they’re bringing people together, their algorithmic filter bubbles pull them further apart. The way they casually traded data in order to collect even more information about its users is worrying. The missing sense of wrongdoing is probably worse.

So a whole lot of downsides to a product that doesn’t really offer too many upsides. While it’s really great to know that Anna from high school is proud of her kids and #blessed… I have to give up too much privacy and mental well being. All of this so that Mark Z. and his thousands of employees can make a living selling slightly better targeted ads, unintended consequences be damned. Seems like a pretty bad deal for me and you.

Can Google & Facebook regulate themselves?

The search and social behemoths receive nearly 20% of all advertising spending in the world. They receive those billions without a lot of rules — let alone oversight — and they want to keep it that way.

The American congress is investigating wether or not the online advertising market needs to be regulated (spoiler alert: it does), and what can be done to prevent more foreign meddling in elections. Google and Facebook, together with the IAB, have taken the position that it would be more efficient if these companies regulated themselves (spoiler alert: They won’t).

The IAB argues that it’s members will employ common sense, technology, human intervention and self regulation to eliminate bad actors. This coming from the same people who brought you:

  • Mark Zuckerbergs VR tour in Puerto Rico
  • Privacy erasing tracking systems
  • A denial that they’re in the media business in the first place
  • A laissez faire approach with shady advertisers promising love/unseen riches.

Banking was the last sector which enjoyed sweeping self regulation with the abolishment of the Glass-Steagal act. It only took 9 years to completely implode on itself with the crash of 2008. But I guess we can trust these two giants to act in the best interest of the market and consumers. Spoiler alert: They won’t.