The Voice Of A Generation

Patience is running out for the Facebook CEO

Pressure has begun to mount on the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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After fourteen years of mistakes the pressure has begun to mount on the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and so it should.

You could have forgiven Zuckerberg for any mistakes he may have made in the first few years of making what is now that biggest social media site in the world. After all, who could have predicted it, but we’re in 2018 now and it seems Mr Zuckerberg still hasn’t got on top of how to run the world’s biggest social platform.

The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal which Zuckerberg labelled as “a major breach of trust” after it was revealed that the British political consulting firm had improperly gained access to over 87 million Facebook profiles, is only the latest in a long history of Facebook privacy scandals.

Since its creation Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have faced numerous privacy scandals which all seemed to stem from the company putting growth before anything else. Growth means more people using the platform, and more people using the platform means more data to collect, and in Facebooks world, data equals money and higher profit margins through ad targeting.

In its attempts to make advertisers lives easier, Facebook seems to have put income above users privacy. Facebooks Platform API which helps developers monetise their business and allowed developers to access information about user’s friends as well as the user themselves.

“We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools,” he said and he also added that as a company they didn’t take a broad enough view of what their responsibility is.

The last decade has thought the world that advertising and data-collection models don’t work well for the end user and perhaps if we want a social media platform that works for us we’ll have to pay for it, as was hinted to by Facebooks COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

“Facebook is really good at making money. But I wonder if your problems could be somewhat mitigated if the company didn’t try to make so much” said Sandberg

A subscription-based social media platform probably would have failed when Facebook first forced its way into our lives back in 2004. But subscription services such as Netflix and Spotify show that people are now much more open to paying for services they find useful.

Users paying to use a social media platform would mean a better user experience for everyone. The creators wouldn’t have to worry about relying on the gathering of user data to keep it running, and at the same time wouldn’t have to clog up users feeds with ads.

Paying for the platform would mean the user would have more control over decisions. If the creator makes a change the users don’t like, such as Instagram removing the chronological feed or Snapchats recent re-design, the user can stop paying their subscription and the company will be forced to revert back.

But there’s still one over looming issue with a subscription-based social media platform, who can we trust to create this social network? How do we know that they still won’t use our data for monetary gains?

This brings to light the realisation that maybe it isn’t the method that the social platforms use to make a profit that is important, but rather who’s in charge of It. For social media platforms to work its users need to trust the people in charge of it and after fourteen years people are beginning to realise that Mark Zuckerberg may not be their guy.

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