Facebook has been hit hard by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been called to testify before Congress, Facebook security chief Alex Stamos has been removed over disagreements on how to handle the spread of misinformation and $40 billion worth of Facebook stock has been wiped out. On top of that there is the #DeleteFacebook campaign. But is that really an option in today’s world?
The call to ‘#DeleteFacebook’ has been echoed by such names as famous musician Cher and co-founder of WhatsApp Brian Acton. However, departing the now infamous social network is nigh impossible for a lot of people. Facebook has existed for over a decade now and boasts over 2 billion monthly active users. Even if you account for duplicate accounts and fake profiles, that is a huge community. No single social network even comes close. And there lies the problem.
What is the Charm of Facebook?
Facebook has become a sort of digital passport on the internet. Not having an account on the site is akin to self-imposed social exile, especially for 15-24 year olds. Their zeitgeist IS Facebook. On top of that so many sites offer the option to simply link you Facebook account instead of making a fresh one. So many of people’s fondest memories and photos are on Facebook and for so many it’s an easy way to connect with loved ones and friends separated by distance.
Why won’t the #DeleteFacebook Campaign Work?
Facebook is almost indispensable for its users today. To find out why, we reached out to a few of them. Omar Alavi and Maha Khan mocked the idea of the social networking, commenting that it was the conventional way for society to waste time as a whole and for individuals to procrastinate. Others, like Nida Karamtullah and counted among its merits as being helpful to people in difficult situations through social groups and communities as well as offering practical solutions to those in need. “To get information and quick suggestions to problems on various groups,” says Nida.
Some, like Aamir Abbasi, acknowledged Facebook’s power as a marketing tool. Tariq Mustafa even pointed it out as a source for behavioural research such as the one used to collate these remarks as to why users use Facebook. According to both Brigitte Corbin and Sheeraz Aleem, the social network helps create, maintain and expand on connections. An increasing number of users, according to Syed Talha Izhar and Muhammad Umair, rely on Facebook for marketing purposes. And while a lot of people use Facebook out of habit, Talea Zafar, CEO of The New Spaces, echoes the sentiment that the #DeleteFacebook campaign will not work. “Either for business or pleasure, the platform is part of the social fabric and won’t be going away any time soon.”
Facebook has become so integrated into our lives that it’s almost a necessity now. Hence, the campaign to delete it simply won’t work. What is happening is the demand for increased protection for user privacy. Apps linked with Facebook are reaching out to their users to ensure that their policies have been read and understood. Stricter laws should be imposed for harvesting user information and selling it to the highest bidder. To modify a quote from Aldous Huxley, this really is a brave new world we live in and all the rules are being written as we go along.