It is not necessary to be a tech whiz to understand that Facebook is a morally reprehensible company.
Are you among those who wonder if we should cease to use Facebook in light of the many scandals that demonstrate the harm it causes?
Every new revelation in the media about Facebook shows the hypocrisy of the megacorporation. Despite its idealistic claim of providing a “service for the people,” Facebook has covered up numerous instances of wrongdoing, including rampant greed, dishonest business practices and concentration of power.
During a court case in London, more than 250 pages of internal messages among directors of the company were published. These messages show that Facebook is becoming rich from selling personal information, provided by its users for free, which is then used for advertising purposes (not to mention other less transparent purposes). Facebook then gives preferential access to this information to its most profitable partners, such as Netflix and Airbnb, while eliminating those that it perceives as threats.
There is no doubt that Facebook has played an important role in the erosion of democracy across the world. It has been used to encourage ethnic and sectarian violence in countries such as Nigeria, Germany, Egypt, India and Sri Lanka. It has equally been used to disseminate propaganda for white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups and extremist parties. The United Nations has denounced Facebook for its decisive role in spreading hate messages about the Rohingya people in Myanmar, which resulted in genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Facebook is one of the most common sources of “fake news.” Moreover, it is well known that the social media site played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with the use of propaganda. This led to Donald Trump’s election. Without Facebook, there would be no Trump.
One of the biggest crises in the history of the company occurred last month, when it was discovered that it had recruited a research team affiliated with the extreme right to spread negative information about investor and philanthropist George Soros. Soros gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, denouncing the power of social networks, especially Facebook and Google, as responsible for “far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.”
The list of lies and wrongdoing goes on and on. It is not necessary to be a tech whiz to understand that Facebook is a morally reprehensible company. Most Facebook users probably think that because they only use the social media site to upload photos of themselves and their pets, none of the aforementioned issues concern them.
Even if the problems associated with Facebook’s business practices do not affect some users, there are still other ways the network can cause harm. Facebook is not only time-consuming and addictive and lowers productivity, but it also causes depression, exacerbates anxiety and diminishes self-esteem.
Research commissioned by Facebook itself showed a very strong connection between mood and time spent on the social network. It concluded that Facebook is alienating, and negatively affects the well-being of its users.
Facebook and its directors have the same attitude of so many multimillion dollar corporations. They cheat people, deny wrongdoing, conceal the truth and hide their intentions. The internal messages show that the image Facebook has promoted for years of being a business dedicated to bringing the world closer together is a smokescreen to hide the race for financial growth at whatever cost.
There is immense international pressure on governments to start producing legislation with the aim of controlling social media sites, in particular Facebook. However, this is going to take time if it is to happen given the company’s incredible power and huge profits. In other words, the future of Facebook is in the hands of its users. If you are not ready to put an end to your Facebook use, at the very least, limit your time on the site. In fact, limit your time a lot.