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  • Raghav Sand

Facebook Doesn’t Care About You!

The most important metric at Facebook is user engagement. This single-minded pursuit is the hallmark of toxic capitalism. Facebook, also being the parent company of Instagram and Whatsapp, hosts the largest chunk of misinformation and hate that is available on the internet. In the past, political, human and child rights activists have flagged concerns about lack of credible oversight at Facebook. A recent investigation undertaken by The Wall Street Journal has revealed disturbing details about blatant disregard for community standards. The one-way love and adulation of social media users towards their preferred platform/s is the biggest such exercise undertaken in the history of humanity.

Facebook Knows

Netizens are unaware how their personal information is being used to influence their decision-making and emotional well-being. Facebook executives are aware of the ways the platform causes harm, but executives often lack the will or the ability to address them. The investigation reveals how a separate set of rules has been applied to VIP users like celebrities and politicians, allowing them to at least briefly escape restrictions and penalties that are applied to other users. Ordinary users at social media platforms are helpless and clueless at the same time.

Even after knowing the shortcomings, users scroll through their news feed for sharing personal moments, getting entertained or catching up with current affairs. Lack of alternatives and the feeling of being left behind in an increasingly ‘connected world’ forces netizens to keep using platforms which do more harm than good. The pandemic forced all of us indoors and under the pretext of ‘bringing humanity closer’, companies like Facebook have poisoned the soul of humanity. By not removing objectionable, divisive and abusive content at the right time, those charged with governance at Facebook have fallen short of the promises they made to cleanse the filth from the system. Artificial intelligence has made a lot of progress in the past decade, but it seems Facebook has deliberately chosen not to deploy all the resources at it’s disposal.

Ring the Cash Register

In the aftermath of the investigative article, Facebook, being the flag bearer of irresponsible capitalism, is bothered for just one reason: erosion of market capitalisation due to fall in share price. A generation that craves attention and seeks constant approval for their appearance and achievements from insignificant acquaintances has already started to feel lonely, even after having hundreds of connections.

Social media in all it’s forms and formats, is like a drug. The next time you want to experience an artificial substance-induced high from using it, unless you consume it in higher quantity as compared to the last time, you won’t get the kick you are looking for. Does a fast-food chain or sugar-based beverage stop serving you after you have consumed certain number of calories? Consumers have to set their own tolerance threshold if they wish to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, how much social media is sufficient has to be resolved at an individual level. Any infringement by the state in this area will invite fury from personal liberty crusaders.

Ceaseless Ordeal

Facebook highlighted that it now has 40,000 employees working on safety and security, and that it invested more than $13 billion in these areas since 2016. Playing the victim card, Facebook’s post stated, “How technology companies grapple with complex issues is being heavily scrutinized, and often, without important context.”

The Oversight Board, an outside body that Facebook created to ensure the accountability of the company’s enforcement systems, said it planned to release details on what it heard from Facebook in October as part of its quarterly transparency report. “The choices made by companies like Facebook have real-world consequences for the freedom of expression and human rights of billions of people across the world,” the group said. The Oversight Board added, “By having clear rules and enforcing them consistently, platforms can give users the confidence that they’ll be treated fairly. Ultimately, that benefits everyone.” The public relations and crisis management personnel at Facebook are working overtime to extinguish the anguish.

Image consultants, attorneys and advertising professionals hired by Facebook are already busy formulating a strategy which will try to deflect the attention towards other issues. A well-choreographed distraction and diversion will be staged by Facebook and dozens of false promises will be made by mixing fake emotion and cheery-picked words from the English vocabulary. Today it is Facebook, tomorrow it will be some other company and the day after it can be an online retailer who shall knowingly and deceitfully milk dollars out of your data. If you value personal liberty and dignity, try to figure out a way which doesn’t isolate you technologically. At the same time, find ways to terminate the sophisticated cognitive games played by indifferent people and unethical artificial intelligent machines.

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