Six reasons why the new algorithm of Facebook will damage us all.
Mark Zuckerberg in a post dated 12 January on his Facebook profile , has explained to the world that even if people will perhaps be less connected to the social network, the news is that Facebook loves us, cares about our well-being and has therefore suddenly decided to give priority to significant interactions, such as those between relatives and friends.
It was announced by Mark Zuckerberg in a post dated 12 January on his Facebook profile , explaining to the world that even if people will perhaps be less connected to the social network, it will certainly do so in a much richer and more meaningful way.
Thanks to a brand new algorithm studied at a table with researchers and scholars, the pages of companies and brands will be much less visible, ugly and bad advertising that would dirty the News Feed, just like the articles and videos of in-depth analysis, used too passively and therefore secondary, again according to the words of Zuckerberg.
There are those who have interpreted the new turn in a positive way, as a sign of the will of Facebook to return to the old, the old good social where friends exchange views and photos of birthdays. There are those who wrote that companies have to adapt to the new regime, because in any case Facebook remains a formidable tool to work and therefore you have to make the best of a bad game, despite everything. Web gurus like Marco Montemagno have written that it is important to know how to communicate, not the platform on which you communicate, that can change or evolve in unexpected directions.
But Montemagno – spokesman of the optimistic philosophy that talented freelancers never have anything to fear – speaks of exceptions, or companies or public figures from millions of followers, who can certainly migrate where they believe. But not millions of normal and unpopular people who still have a small business on Facebook who are trying to grow with difficulty and which is perhaps one of the few roads available in an economy in crisis and blocked.
Here’s what I think about the change in the Facebbok algorithm:
1. “Giving more space to friends” and reducing the visibility of company pages means above all one thing: raising the stakes for companies, which will have to pay a lot more money, investing even more money in furious sponsorships. Read in this way, the afflato buonista appears much more hypocritical and it would have been much more correct to announce it with this title: “Facebook, from now on the companies will have to pay more”. The new algorithm will damage millions of small businesses and associations that now work on Facebook, many of which may not be able to withstand the sudden drop in visibility. Who will give them a voice? Who will defend them? Nobody, with certainty, because there is no room for discussion.
2. But then, why prioritize friends’ posts would increase our well-being and that of our communities? Are we really sure that the quality of our life is given by sharing and commenting on posts about cats, dogs, children, parties, birthdays, illnesses and surroundings? And that the wealth of a post are only interactions, that is comments, even if made of hearts, smiles and best wishes, all the same? The emotions conveyed on Facebook are often ends in themselves. We feel less alone, of course, laugh or cry for a photo, but life is also made of reflection, criticism, discussion on issues concerning common life, the quality of our democracy, and much more. Otherwise it is just a continuous celebration of the private, in a self-referential bubble that in the long run makes us even stupid, “private”, precisely other fundamental dimensions for a truly rich and full life.
3. The decision to focus entirely on private profiles is also not without other consequences. If the headlight turns on us, this means that we will be even more visible, studied, profiled in detail. Facebook will probably know even more than us, and this profiling, in fact, is strategic for advertising. Other than, again, the good feelings (think only of how many Facebook app sells our data, albeit with our formal consent).
4. The fourth point looks at us, journalists and newspapers. Unlike what he said long ago, announcing the willingness to make a deal with the newspapers for the dissemination of quality news, now Facebook announces that the news and insights will be less visible, damaging not only publishers and newspapers but above all establishing, in a paradoxical way, that the silent reading of an article has less value than a comment, perhaps on a birthday cake or a new set. For Zuckerberg reading is passive enjoyment, period and time, and patience if perhaps he has generated ideas, or helped to change his mind, to the benefit of the truth.
5. If we make two and two more, the past intention to fight fake news seems to be completely closed. If, in fact, what matters is above all the opinions and exchanges between relatives and friends, at the expense of in-depth content, fake news will be free, because the question of the truth of a content does not arise in the least. What interests Facebook is only the interaction between people, regardless of what is said and supported, beyond the obtuse control of forbidden keywords, without even checking the context in which they are inserted, with often absurd and paradoxical outcomes. It is the failure of truth, of objectivity, of clarity and certainly not good for our democracies.
6. But the most serious of all is the power that Facebook has now on our private lives but also, and perhaps above all, work. It is a company thanks to which millions of people develop their business. Now, it can not be argued that being in the house of others must thank anything the house passes by. The problem is gigantic and it is now that the governments begin to occupy it: it can in fact one of the biggest companies in the world to change the rules of the game without first reflecting on the consequences of these changes, which may send companies, more and more blackmailed on the pavement?
It would really take a “syndicate” of the users of the biggest social network in the world, because our life, and it is not a joke, is now more concretely threatened by Facebook’s decision to change its algorithms than by the threat of war between Trump and North Korea. Can we continue to pretend nothing? Can we accept uncritically what seems more and more like a “social dictatorship”?