In this episode, I conclude what I think about Facebook after using it for more than 10 years and several blog posts.
If you go on my website and check out some of my blogs under Social Media, you would realize that I have been critical about facebook for a long time. I have written posts about how to stop getting candy crush saga requests, how to unfollow people on facebook so that you don’t see their posts anymore and so on.
What I think about facebook has changed and evolved over the years and I feel now is the right time to sort of look back, assimilate and sum up everything in one podcast episode.
So lets go back, one of the first posts, in this list of posts I have written about facebook, was about how you should try going on a “read only” mode on facebook. Which means you login, you scan stuff and you logout. That used to be easy when you didn’t have an ad after each facebook post. Now all you see are a bunch of ads. But even if you are okay with ads, you might not be okay with all the hatred and venom being spewed on facebook day in and day out in the name of politics and religion. That’s specially if you yourself, like me, have strong opinions about these topics. So read only mode doesn’t work anymore. One of the biggest reasons for that is the fact that on other social media platforms, for example, on twitter, you see stuff that triggers you from an anonymous person so it doesn’t really matter that much but on facebook you see that stuff from people who you know, your neighbours, your friends, people that you thought you had good relationships with. And that’s why you feel the urge to respond and put forth your point of view.
Now here’s a clip from a different podcast I was part of where I was talking about the sorry state of facebook. Here you go.
Now one might wonder, isn’t facebook aware of all this? Doesn’t facebook know that their platform is going to the dogs because of all these haters and trolls?
Well that’s what you might think but I talked about how this is actually good for business in one of my previous blogs. You see in the internet language, hater aka troll is someone who deliberately pisses people off online to get a reaction.
Now here’s how trolls are good for business.
Step 1 – An influencer, let’s call him Mr A, posts an image
Step 2 – Trolls gather around and do what they do best. Drop hate comments, dissing comments, preaching Mr A, arguing etc.
Step 3 – Such comments incite engagement. Many people might drop a laugh emoji and join the troll party but then some of Mr A’s fans and supporters will come to rescue. They’ll reply to the trolls starting an all out keyboard war. As you can imagine, this keyboard war could get way more intense depending on the content being trolled.
Step 4 – Now comes the important part. Here’s how all this is getting monetized. Facebook (just like other platforms) makes money by showing you promoted content and ads. The more involved you are in a keyboard war, the more likely you are to either hang around or open facebook multiple times and see the promoted content and ads
Step 5 – Now you might think keyboard wars are good for facebook as they get to make money but lets get a level deeper. Why do you think Mr A, even after being trolled on every post, is still active on facebook? That’s because inciting comment war leads to audience engagement. Facebook and advertisers get to know that Mr A’s page is where the people are spending their time. It is possible that facebook starts suggesting some other content of Mr A to all those who participate in the keyboard wars. Mr A’s influence is skyrocketing at this point. Now when Mr A posts one of his own video, with ads ofcourse, guess whether he gets high ad rates or low? You guessed it, pretty high because (a) the trolls are watching that video, (b) Mr A’s fans are watching that video, (c) that video is being suggested to a large audience that might be interested in it based on the facebook algorithm and (d) there’s the usual cycle of trolling and defending inciting an all out keyboard war that gets kicked off in the comment section of the video driving more reach and engagement.
Step 6 – Finally, let’s address the trolls. Typically, they are just haters and are pretty satisfied with the likes and reactions they get by spewing hatred. But look no further and you will find many examples of how trolls have become enormously popular and achieved influencer status themselves. Twitter is full of such examples and there’s alot of money to be made in the influencer domain too.
And thus the bottomline is, a keyboard war is,
- Good for social media platforms
- Good for whoever is being trolled
- Good for whoever is trolling
Finally, I think if you want to keep your mental sanity in check, unfriend and unfollow a whole bunch of those posting hatred and toxicity and stop logging into facebook altogether. Even if you do, the “read only” mode will be much easier because you won’t see triggering stuff, you would see posts from pages you don’t even follow, ads, some random people streaming games, some more ads and other such useless BS.
I purchased a new phone last month and decided that I am going to install an app only when I actually need to use it. So when I went shopping and I had to make a payment digitally, I installed Google Pay and that’s how Google Pay got on my phone and its still there. And guess what, its been a month and I still don’t have Facebook on my new phone! I do have messenger because I share my Instagram stories on facebook too and need to chat with a few folks but you can do that on messenger, you don’t need facebook. Ofcourse for my project mgmt website I need to manage my facebook group but I do that on my computer not on my phone.
In the end I would like to mention that the intention of this podcast is not to sell you the idea that you should be deleting your facebook but to only let you know a bit about how facebook works and sort of share the behind-the-scenes of facebook. Its really upto you what you do with your facebook account. Infact if you want to understand more about how facebook works and this whole toxicity and negativity floating around, I would highly encourage you watch two movies or documentaries or whatever they are
- The Social Dilemma
- The Great Hack
That’s all in this episode. See you in the next one.
Refer to the blogs below for further reading,
The Death of Facebook – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/the-death-of-facebook/
How to reconnect with people you have unfollowed on facebook (in 5 seconds or less!) – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/how-to-reconnect-with-people-you-have-unfollowed-on-facebook-in-5-seconds-or-less/
Digital India vs Cyber Bullies – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/digital-india-vs-cyber-bullies/
Get rid of annoying facebook posts (in 5 seconds or less!) – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/get-rid-of-annoying-facebook-posts-in-5-seconds-or-less/
Get rid of Candy Crush Saga invites (in 5 seconds or less!) – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/get-rid-of-candy-crush-saga-invites-in-5-seconds-or-less/
How can he share that on Facebook?! – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/how-can-he-share-that-on-facebook/
How to attain social nirvana! – https://www.shoaibqureshi.in/how-to-attain-social-nirvana/