Facebook: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

By @TheMarkDalton

Facebook has passed 2 billion users which makes it the most powerful and most influential social network on the planet. The milestone was announced last week by Mark Zuckerberg who said:

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people! We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together.”

Facebook has just launched new tools to make it easier for admins of large Facebook groups to grow and curate communities. The unprecedented reach of Facebook means it is now a more powerful tool than ever before.

With great power comes great responsibility and Facebook has a number of ethical challenges to face. One of the biggest problems they are facing at the moment comes in the form of live video content.

There has been no shortage of controversy around live video on Facebook and broadcasts of rape, torture, murder and suicide have all been aired and shared in some capacity through Facebook Live. Putting the power of Live in users hands is always going to be near impossible to police.

There is no way of controlling what is broadcast at that moment but Facebook has been notoriously slow to react to reports and videos have been left on the network for hours after broadcast before being eventually removed.

Facebook also faces challenges around fake news, a topic which has been more common place since the US presidential election last year. With the ability for fake news to affect current events in the world today, Facebook needs to clamp down on the issue but again it has been noted that for the most part they are slow to react to potential fake news reports.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect the world and there is no doubt that the platform he has built us unprecedented and is a beast in its own right standing out from the competition. However at the same time, personal sharing on Facebook has been noted in recent times to be on the decline.

Facebook has become a place where links get shared and to combat this there have been tweaks to the algorithm as well as prompts to share a status update with friends. I regularly get prompts from Facebook during the football season to post something about Manchester United when the game is on. In my own experience, nothing seems to have drastically increased the volume of personal sharing on the platform so this is something they will no doubt continue to work on into the future.

However the 2 billion mark is a testament to Facebook’s ability to onboard, grow and maintain new users. They have sustained impressive user growth year over year and when you compare it to platforms like Twitter, the difference is night and day.

As well as this, WhatsApp and Instagram which are both owned by Facebook are also experiencing a boom in growth. You can blast Zuckerberg for copying Snapchat, you can label him annoying or whatever you wish but one thing that can’t be denied is he knows how to play the game and he knows how to grow a social platform to its max potential.