Google used to tell their team “don’t be evil” before embracing projects that are, well, evil. Apple was founded on the principle of “think different” before realizing they could make everyone do and think the same. And Facebook has always wanted to be “liked,” even making “likes” the centerpiece of their platform. But today’s Facebook really doesn’t give a damn whether you like them or not.
Yesterday, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a market call that the company no longer concerned itself with whether or not its users liked them. As long as they were “understood” about their controversial policies, such as permitting political ads whether they were misleading or not, that’s all they really expect going forward.
“One critique of our approach for much of the last decade was that because we wanted to be liked, we didn’t always communicate our views as clearly because we were worried about offending people,” Zuckerberg said on the call, according to Money and Markets.
As the largest social media platform in the United States, the company wields tremendous influence over aspects of day-to-day life. Hundreds of millions of users broadcast their mundane activities to their friends and family through Facebook. Despite the prominence of user-content sites like Twitter and YouTube, Facebook still holds the lion’s share of America’s attention. They understand that people will use their service whether they like it or not.
Conservatives have expressed concerns over the past four years about Facebook’s seemingly one-sided censorship of right-leaning figures and publication. But Facebook has countered that their personal biases are not part of the algorithm that determines what people see or don’t see. We have felt the opposite here at NOQ Report as our Facebook page has lost over 80% of its engagement over the last three weeks despite no change on our end. The content is as it has always been. We did not suffer a loss of “likes.” But where we once garnered dozens, hundreds, or sometimes thousands of likes, shares, and comments, today we have posts that allegedly get zero engagement. (It would be very beneficial if our readers would go to our page now and “like” or share some of our posts to see if that jump starts the algorithm again. Thank you!)
When you have a captive audience as Facebook does, it makes sense that they would take on a different corporate strategy. That doesn’t make it any less insulting that they would disregard the perspectives of their users just because they can.