The Menlo Park social network is ruining civil society.
The solution? It’s you (and you’ll discover it out at the end of the article). If you read the columns of this blog, it means that you are interested in mobile content creation, communication and innovation in the media world. I have been discussing and spreading the culture of mobile journalism and everything that is changing in my world for years. I talked about media, tools, software, hardware and, of course, social networks and platforms on which our work as communicators, in this moment of great change, is evolving. With this writing I decided to analyze the situation of the main social network, Facebook, to sound an alarm that I have not seen appear in the Italian media. A red alarm. An alarm that worries me even as dad, like Sharingdaddy.
The article by Chris Hughes (passed over in silence in Italy).
Chris Hughes’ article (passed over in Italy in silence) was a punch in the face. I read it and reread it, and after the initial shock, I saw the photograph taken by Mark Zuckerberg from his university and Harvard roommate with whom he founded Facebook, working for a while and earning us good pennies (many to have no more problems). I’ll let you read the piece, which I hope you read to the end and then come back here.
Credit Credit Jessica Chou for The New York Times (Zuckerberg); Damon Winter/The New York Times (Hughes) The last time I saw Mark Zuckerberg was in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. We met at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., office and drove to his house, in a quiet, leafy neighborhood.
It doesn’t look as a revenge
Hughes’ analysis does not seem to have personal motives, since the good Chris has so much money to be frightened. It seems to me, instead, a lucid analysis of the most powerful man in the world. Yes, because Mark Zuckerberg is the most powerful man in the world and shares this power with a few other tech company bosses who could cancel entire nations with just one send button. I’m talking about, for example, a Jeff Bezos or a Sundar Pichai.
Too much power for one
Here, think of the latter: if the CEO of Google decides to get rid of everything that is Italian as a big G, our country would suffer a collapse of the economic system. You would move pil points in minutes. It is not tolerable. It is not tolerable that Marchino is the tsar of our privacy, the master of our desires. It is not possible that a single man, who has the power to decide on the algorithms of his social network, has the right to control the communication of 80% of humanity connected to a social network or an instant messenger (I remind you that Instagram too and Whatsapp are his). It is not possible for him to influence the election of a President (and most think he wants to be a candidate … to be one).
Mark talks about Domination
Just in the worst year of the Social, 2018, Hughes notes that the company has had the best long-term gains in this part. Strange, isn’t it? Not much, given that the cases in history have shown that the vision of Facebook (“Being internet to connect”) is proving true. Not transparent, not democratic. All under our eyes stoned by memes and kittens … or by Salvini. We are not realizing that the Domination strategy of the market (of which Zuck speaks very often) has succeeded with the silent assent of American and European companies that have not been able to cope with the face of Faccialibro. The concentration of power in the hands of a few people is destabilizing the social order and I do not say it, but Hughes himself and many others. Also Marco Montemagno.
Facebook dominates, but does not respond.
Our dear Zuck, therefore, dominates, but does not respond. No one is allowed to press this tentacular monster that is becoming an instrument with which digital populism is taking over our social order beyond the lawful. We users continue unperturbed to use it as Facebook wants us to use it. Place of real interaction and value sharing? No. Dumping of frustration and means for the customs clearance of any opinion or any perception of reality? Yes. At the moment, however, Facebook makes itself aware of the manipulation of consent, it does not report to the authorities on its actions. I had proof of this when I wrote this article for my personal blog Sharingdaddy and when I read the speech by journalist Carol Cadvalladr at Ted Vancouver on Facebook’s influence on the Brexit referendum. There he is.
Al TED di Vancouver Carole Cadwalladr, la cronista dell’Observer che ha scoperchiato lo scandalo di Cambridge Analityca (e che è stata bannata a vita da Facebook per questo), ha spiegato come i social hanno influito sulla Brexit. E come stanno facendo del male alle democrazie di tutto il mondo
We just have to do mobile journalism on Facebook
I am convinced that the role of social networks in the culture of mobile content creation and the media economy is crucial. Social media and the mojo are like two sides of the same coin, as Bradshaw and Hill say in their “Mobile First Journalism”, a true bible of journalism on the move. I am also convinced that this tragic situation in which Facebook is precipitating us, the fall into a domination of those who own all our data, but do not see other laws than that of an increasingly surprising profit (at our expense, given that the products we are sold, it is not something we realized.
What weapon am I holding to overturn this tragic descent into the country of piloted control and consensus? My phone, the Swiss multimedia pocket knife with which I can reverse the direction of messages from the world to me in the opposite direction. For example, producing real journalism on social media, a medium in which my colleagues stand out in one thing only: in firing their opinion.
The virus for the algorithm.
Doing journalism on the Menlo Park platform, stopping to consider it a traffic driver and nothing else, could be a virus for the algorithm able to make Zuckerberg see this behavior of his that will eventually come to an end. Of two types: either his plan will succeed or someone will take him to jail. If your plan succeeds, you and our children would have very serious problems.
But the provocation of raising the quality of posts and articles you see on your wall is one of the most effective ways to corrupt Facebook bias and to expand your circles and therefore your social boundaries. The journalism that you could do on your account or on your fanpage is one of the few things that could overturn the situation and bring out the flaws, especially if corroborated by a connivance of the American infrastructure. Think about it, before it’s too late.