And none of them are good. Cambridge Analytica packaged and sold our identities. Russia tampered with American (and other) elections. Brexit won. Trump won.
Facebook sold us out, screwed up or got careless – or all of the above.
Oh, and it’s far from over.
Yet, we continue to use Facebook. A lot. I, personally, use it daily. I still recommend Facebook services to many of my clients. And I don’t plan on stopping any time soon either.
Why? How can we in good conscience use a service that has proven it won’t protect consumers from manipulative and harmful influences? A service that appears a little too inclined to make a profit based on our sensitive information. Your sensitive information. (For my fellow Canadians inclined, as ever, to think it’s happening in the States but not here, think again).
Or even before that; isn’t Social Media making us dumber, more insensitive, more narcissistic and less socially capable in real life?
I am not the kind of person that can operate in a professional vacuum, devoid of morality. Skyrocket is not the kind of agency that blindly prioritizes company interests over personal conscience.
I still use Facebook because I think it’s a company like most others — run by well-intentioned, flawed people with interests that sometimes conflict. I think Facebook has done some good and changed the world for the better. Like most things, when taken too far there are, often serious, problems.
But the idea that we can be connected like never before. That whether it’s my family in Jamaica, old friends from high school or casual acquaintances of today, I can see something of their lives and how they’re doing. For someone like me, who has never been the best at reaching out, this is an amazing ability.
I’ve listened to the stories of my parents and all the people they’ve lost contact with over the years. I know there’s no reason I need to have that problem. I can go years without speaking to some people, even family, and even though names change, addresses change, phone numbers change, I know I can find them and reconnect with a few clicks.
To my clients, I often speak of the window Facebook provides us in to the real heart of our audience. As consumers, we like it when a company understands us. When they know where our real interests lie and can serve those interests. Perhaps more than any other company on the planet, Facebook provides the clearest window to seeing and understanding the customers we serve.
Don’t mistake me, this is not a full-throated defense of Facebook. The list of their transgressions is longer than this post can contain and for many of them there simply is no defense.
But if you ask me why I still use it, why I still recommend it for my clients and believe it will be a key piece of the digital landscape for many years to come it’s this: Facebook continues to provide a necessary, key social function in our lives all the time.
Maybe it’s scary to know that a for-profit company plays such a key role in our culture, but it does. The problems that stem from it, that’s for all of us to solve, including the people at Facebook.
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