Facebook

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Facebook is 3 things: bad interface, bad management, and biased policies. I want a social network that gives me control of what I see and share -- both to my friends and to advertisers. I realize they need to make a buck, and my information is their product, but the point is you can still give users the illusions of control. But Zuckerberg seems to have falling into the egocentric pit that many young billionaires do, they think because they timed things well, and worked hard, and got lucky that they're smarter than everyone else. This makes them arrogant, less mature, and slower to grow than the average human: Dunning-Kruger, inflated by being surrounded by yes-men.
Facebook & Congress -
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Mark Zuckerberg got called before congress (a couple times)... he got bullied by congress, for all the wrong things. Congress is not filled with the technically knowledgable. Mark dodged and lied about censorship and bias, he looked like a robot (which didn't help with the meme folks), but in the end, he defended the Internet, Freedom of speech, the gig-economy, and advertising... just poorly. Fortunately, the Congress was even less focused, so it may have been "good enough". But we have a long list of dodges, lies, and obfuscations. Those lies/obfuscations will come out over time, and that will work against him and the Internet Freedom in the long term, because those with the most invested in it (like Google, Facebook, Twitter) are such lousy stewards of Freedom of Speech.
Facebook Backlash -
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Facebook's obnoxiousness has not only lead to natural attrition (and a decade in users), but it started a movement called #DeleteFacebook... and some prominent names like Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak decided to lead by example and delete his presence. It doesn't have much momentum yet, despite some upstarts like MeWe or Gab are trying to encroach on Facebook turf.

I don't think any of the competitors have a viable platform yet, and one of the problem of these alternatives is that they're only going to filter for edge cases at first -- and that means the ratio of extremists/activists will be higher than in FB itself. So combatting partisan echo-chambers, with a new echo-chamber, is a big millstone around their neck. And the other platforms can be anti-competitive under the excuse of protecting us from the racist/bigots on those other platforms (while ignoring the ones on their own).

Either way, the point is that many customers aren't thrilled and they're starting to look for alternatives or quit. Whether that's enough to ruin Facebook today, is irrelevant to me. It shows that Facebook is like Quark: a tech company that made a hugely successful desktop publishing / Page Layout application, that was the dominant player for 10+ years -- but were such jerks to their customers that when Adobe finally made InDesign to compete with it, Quark's entire market moved over in a few years because they were so tired of dealing with Quark. Facebook is desperately trying to re-live the Quark-Effect.

Facebook Bias -
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There's many dozens of documented examples of FB bias and double-standard. If they get enough publicity, they're an "honest" mistake, and might get corrected -- but there are thousands that will never get that exposure and get blocked or censored, with the gross majority going in the far left's favor (or against conservatives, moderates, or inconvenient truths against liberal orthodoxy). Things like using the far left hate group, the SPLC, their political donations, bans for ads against conservative groups or movies, Jesus on the cross is considered too violent while Jews being strung up from nooses as part of the BDS or Palestine is fine, dozens of conservative folks getting banned while far more offensive/abusive lefties do not, Chick-Fil-A appreciation day is blocked but Antifa or BLM calls for violent protests are fine. And dozens of others. A few is a mistake, a few dozen is a pattern. Zuckerberg claims he's about diversity, just not diversity of thought.
Facebook Goodness -
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Of course not everything Facebook does is bad. I use the platform, and Social Networking has done some good things for society as well as bad. I'm hoping like advertising that it teaches people to be more skeptical and critical thinkers in the long run. (So there could be some long term net benefits as well as short term costs). The jury is still out. And on a less macro level, I even like some of the things Facebook does or pushes like the following:
  • 2017 - While FB has done a lousy job of FakeNews filtering (and what they filter is just conservative truths they don't like), but then they do some good by fighting even further left governments (like Germany) who want to decide what people can see/read, in the name of marxist fascism. Maybe that's just two socialists fighting over which one gets control of the proles, but it's something. [1]
  • 2012 - Eduardo Saverin, Argentinean billionaire co-founder of Facebook Inc., renounced his U.S. citizenship to save hundreds of millions on his taxes when Facebook IPO'd. Demonstrating the problem with over-aggressive taxes, is a good thing, even if Zuckerberg didn't make a more overt display. But at least it's something. [2]
Facebook Obstructs Justice -
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I lean civil libertarian, but I also believe in balances. From a cousin (Detective who went after child exploitation and other abusive family issues) would tell many stories about how Facebook ("Fuckerberg") would give him the run-around, while trying to stop pedophiles and child abductors -- and put their agenda above public safety. According to him (and some buddies in the Police), Facebook would change the name of their account services group -- so that after they had gotten the proper warrants, they would say, "Oh, sorry, that group doesn't exist", and they'd have to figure out the new organization name, and get the warrants re-issued and stuff like that. And they'd notify the suspects that the cops were going after their accounts, all aiding criminals. I like standing up for the little guy, and there's plenty of places that the Law can go too far. But I don't think amber-alerts and trying to protect child safety is is one of them.
Facebook data scandal -
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Facebook actively gives our data away to those they want to (like the Obama campaign in 2008, 2012, or Hillary Campaign in 2016). Then when Cambridge Analytica does some analysis that was in Facebooks guidelines, they change the rules after the fact, then help sensationalize a story about data abuse. Why? Because it might have been used by the Republicans, or [Gasp], Donald Trump's campaign (before the primary). Also, by pretending their data has more value than it does, it might inflate their ad value -- though evidence of successes are greatly exaggerated.
Facebook's Bad User Interface -
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What do I want in a social network:
  • Ability to customize what I see: who and topics.
  • Ability to customize what I share, how it looks, and who sees what.
  • Competent searching, organization, and management of my stuff
  • Competent feedback

Facebook fails at all that that. It doesn't give me control of the layout, nor easy management of people and what they see, nor what and who I get to see. Searching is crap, there's no grouping or reference for what I make available or see from individuals (being able to show some people some categories of posts, or block them from some people), and if I don't like something, I can't even put a thumbs down. Then there's the lack of privacy controls, them force-feeding me (or censoring) stories I don't like, or things that just don't work. One friend is a font of information but will load 30 art posts, another gets drunk and plays music with some service that tells me every song he's listened to, and a third spews dimwitted politics from places like ThinkProgress. I like all off them, but want to block that one sector (or at least group them up into single updates, for when I'm in the mood). This is basic stuff that Facebook can't figure out. Incompetently bad User Interface.

Facebook: Hate speech -
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I got FB-slapped. Imagine my surprise when I go to check FB and am forced to re-log in, and get a, "This post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech" welcome dialog. Hate speech? Me? What are they talking about?

It turns out a little douche-nozzle-troll that didn't like something I said in a group, had scanned my page, called me a racist Trump-loving Fox-News watcher, and reported something as "hate speech" because it had a few trigger words, and logic that went beyond his pea-brains ability to comprehend. And FB's automatic theology checkers probably saw a few keywords, and punished me by blocking my post, and a somewhat condescending note about reading their guidelines. But it had an appeal option. I appealed, and the human checker was much more able to get the nuance, and my post was restored. So it wasn't the worst experience possible. However, a much better one would have been to have a human checker validate BEFORE calling me a hater.

Facebook: Reported -
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Sunnyvale Dept of Public Safety is doing a gun buy-back Sept 29th (2018), along with a few other departments.[3]
  • Ignoring the math that since a used lorcin arms .380 goes for $29, and you can make a slam gun for $20 in parts, and they’re paying $100 pistol, there’s some real arbitrage opportunities.
  • Or others were talking about showing up with an FFL, and a sign that said, “I’ll pay $120/gun”, and raking in guns below market value from the gullible rubes.
  • A bunch of CalGunners were reporting the post for violating Facebook rules for advertising or buying/selling guns using the facebook site.

Hey, rules are rules. However, since Facebook doesn't follow their own rules, so it didn't matter. They allow buying/selling of guns, as long as it is economic stupidity. The rules only apply to conservatives or individuals: proving the corruption of Facebook. And at least a few people that are pro-Gun decided to leave the platform over the bigoted asshattery of Facebook.

Instagram -
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Facebook bought Instagram, so what Instagram does, reflects on Facebook. And Instagram withholds likes from people, to get them to post more often, and is a known partisan outlet.[4].
Mark Zuckerberg -
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While I have no problem with Zuckerberg personally, he has a reputation as an arrogant, contemptuous (of his customers), man-child billionaire. Sort of a "Steve Jobs knows best" view of the world, without having the talent to back it up. And he lets his ego get him into things he knows nothing about (like politics). (Even Steve knew better when to shut up and let their employees and customers disagree with him ideologically). While all celebrities get mocked and Meme'd, Mark Zuckerberg has uniquely been able to parlay the bad will he's earned into being a parody of a caricature. He's one of those rare people that is a founder who hurts his company and it's stock, more than the cult of celebrity helps it. And the Facebook management team is both semi-competent in the short term, and highly alienating and creating problems for themselves in the long term.
Russians ads swung the 2016 election -
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There was like $6.8B spent on the election versus you have like $50,000 spent on a few troll ads on FB-- most of them were before/during the primaries (or after the election) and they were spent on things the Democrats usually support (Black Lives Matter, anti-America, anti-interventionism, etc). All things the Democrats support. They weren't campaigning for Trump, they were slamming everything, or trying to insight unrest, and undermine confidence in everything.

So when someone claims the Russians swung the election because of their Facebook ad spending, they are claiming that a few Russian trolls throwing random shit-memes are 68,000 times more effective in their ad spends than the entire American political system at swaying voters? If so, then they deserve to win.

Conclusion

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So I don't mind Facebook as a company. I think they probably have done more good than harm. Maybe. But they're an embarrassment to what they claim to be about -- and I hate hypocrisy/dishonesty. They're a lousy social network (from a UI and policy PoV), you couldn't pick a worse person than Mark Zuckerberg to be a steward of free speech or the Internet, they have lousy policies and hypocritical and inconsistent implementation of their "rules", and they'll lie for their agenda, poorly, and get caught -- ultimately doing more harm than good for the very causes they care about. They're the epitome of modern fake-liberalism. They were smart enough to beat the competition in the short term, and dumb enough to not beat their own egos or get how their actions would come back to bite them in the future (an echo chamber with zero introspection, and less diversity).

References

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