Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
12 June 2019
Facebook branding now means Big Brother
I am not going to say that Facebook branding is completely failing. It’s just taken on a whole new meaning.
Data suggests that Facebook usage and engagement is declining. I say suggesting because Facebook doesn’t really release its exact numbers. And this data primarily comes from consumer surveys. However, a collection of data from a variety of sources says Facebook usage has seen a decline in the under 25 demographic. The data also states that users in Europe as a whole are logging onto Facebook less.
Not to confuse myself with the target audience, but I stopped using Facebook some months ago. I know a number of others here at Stealing Share who also stop posting and just refuse to use it altogether.
Maybe it’s partly to do with the Mark Zuckerberg congressional testimony. (Although, I am personally much more shocked at the ineptitude of Congress in its lack of a basic understanding of how social media platforms work.)
Maybe it’s also because people realize how much spending hours on the site is a waste of time. Maybe it’s Cambridge Analyitica and privacy concerns.
Whatever it is, Facebook branding no longer owns the pull it once did.
It’s crazy that Facebook does precious little to address any of these issues. In fact, Facebook has become a bit more brazen in its approach to privacy in many ways.
For example, earlier this year, Facebook was paying users between the ages of 13 to 35 to install a VPN on their phones to gather data. Too bad no one was exactly sure what was data it was collecting. Was it all of a users’ phone use or just that on Facebook and Facebook apps?
“Think of it this way. Facebook branding now doesn’t mean being part of a community. Its meaning is now closer to Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984, and these initiatives fulfill that meaning.”
The meaning of today’s Facebook branding means a different kind of community
Now, the new meaning of Facebook branding is further supported with a new app called Study, which pays users to give up their phone security in exchange for a monthly payment. While very similar to the sketchy VPN it was paying kids (and adults), this time Facebook’s making it only available to users 18 and over. Facebook “promises” it won’t look at your videos and messages, and it won’t sell the information to third parties.
But Facebook branding now says we shouldn’t trust it.
Think of it this way. Facebook branding now doesn’t mean being part of a community. Its meaning is now closer to Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984, and these initiatives fulfill that meaning.
Rather than making people feel like their privacy matters, Facebook simply means, “Maybe your privacy does matter. But anything can be bought, so maybe it’s not so important after all.”
Something catastrophic would have to happen in order for everyone to leave the platform. With the user base Facebook owns, it can withstand the drop in users. Besides, it owns Instagram and other platforms.
But the trend should worry Facebook users. And it should worry Facebook. Whatever Facebook branding meant before has been lost. The new meaning says it is just going to pay you to give up your privacy and join a larger community right at home in Orwell’s dystopia.
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