It isn’t about being truthful. It’s (just) about making them money.

In case you weren’t paying attention, Facebook’s idea of combating misinformation is to make everyone play ball by their rules. Y’know, in ways that make Facebook money.

In Private Meeting, Facebook Exec Warns News Outlets to Cooperate or End Up Dying in ‘Hospice’

Facebook’s message to media: “We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic…That is the old world and there is no going back”

Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.

This isn’t a surprise. In 2012, I talked about how they broke the social network for small independent authors:

Facebook, on the other hand, made their social network broken on purpose.  We probably should have seen this coming with “popular posts” being at the top of the newsfeed instead of “most recent”, but now they’ve aggressively decided to make money out of making sure that others see your posts.  (Tumblr recently started doing something like this as well, but without the sorting mechanism that makes it broken on purpose.)

And how it was going to change:

In this kind of situation, social media companies will try to make their money by subverting their service so it best serves the advertising and promotion needs of big budget advertisers. They’ll try to do All The Things, and do none of them.

Big media companies will (continue) to turn social media terminology into buzzwords – but instead of awkward and laughable attempts at engaging their audience, they’ll instead “suggest” “improvements” to the service to turn it into another tube of consumption.

And five years ago, I started telling folks they needed to make sure they had their own web presence (either by building their own or by using an independent service).  And earlier this year, my own experiences with Google+ (later mirrored by my experiences with Project Fi), really emphasized for me how centralized – and unresponsive – the big players are.  Hell, there’s still freaking Nazis on Twitter (and maybe that’s because of how much they adopted the platform – see “Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: A Comparative Study of White Nationalist and ISIS Online Social Media Networks” from The Program on Extremism at George Washington University (PDF link, PDF @ for some strong evidence that Twitter’s known they had a Nazi problem for years.

So whether you’re on the consumer side or the creation side, centralized social media is Not Your Friend.

Y’know, though, if it’s taken this long for the problem to become so bad you can’t ignore it, I understand.

But if you’re still ignoring it after this week…

Well, to quote @[email protected]:

Understand my words with full knowledge and reverence for my connection to the void.

My data is not yours to own.

You came here and asked to sell us things, then tracked us with the things you sold us.

You came here and begged for trust, which many gave you, then betrayed it by selling our secrets.

Then you took away our nation.

My data is not yours to own.


Featured photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash