The Facebook Empire. Profit over Pain?

I watched on television and YouTube some of the Senate Hearing on the toxic practices of Facebook with its apparent determination to put profit over pain.

Facebook whistle-blower Francis Haugen photocopied thousands of pages of internal documents revealing the morally bankrupt practices of Facebook.

The Wall Street Journal published The Facebook Files revealing leaked documents showing the social harm worldwide of Facebook.

Facebook owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company functions as a surveillance agency accumulating and selling personal information of its three billion users to advertisers.

In its pursuit of children and teenagers to create a new generation of addicted users, Facebook ignored the impact of abuse, especially on Instagram of young people.

One in three female teenagers suffer through their body image. That is far more than any other platform. Addicted to Instagram, youngsters endure online bullying, psychological cruelty, loneliness, eating disorders, experience dark places, thoughts of self-harm, engage in self-harm and more.

Parents, teachers and caring adults find themselves helpless in trying to wean young people off Instagram and other similar platforms.

Facebook knows it can adjust algorithms to maximise protection for the mental health and safety of users. Facebook executives also know that preteen girls and teenagers particularly experience a diminishing of their sense of worth the more time they spend on Instagram. Profits would reduce with reduction of time of users on Instagram so the business takes priority over mental health.

A Worldwide Harmful Impact

Messages and postings on Facebook contribute to emotional distress, envy, despair and manipulation of personal needs. Facebook has developed into an inhuman service.

Facebook knowingly fed the political divisions that led into a tragic and deep polarisation of democratic life in the USA. The company did not cause the divisions but contributed to hostility, intolerance and rage in political life in the USA.

A Facebook document stated: We only take action against approximately 2% of the hate speech on the platform.”

Statements were made that Facebook gave ‘preferential disciplinary treatment for VIP users” and the “company failed to inform investors about a shrinking user base in certain demographics”

Reports emerged that some of the content on Facebook among poor nations feeds child exploitation, human trafficking as well as false accounts of social/political issues which incited violence. Critics say Facebook algorithms permit drug cartels, incitement of ethnic violence, organ selling and suppression of political dissent.

Facebook employed teams of data scientists and social scientists to measure the harm the company causes to the well-being of users. The scientists worked hard to make meaningful changes at Facebook. They spent the last 18 months working for the Civic Integrity team to change the algorithms. Facebook downplayed the worldwide negative impact of Facebook and then disbanded the Civic Integrity team when the bosses read the findings.

The organisation itself faces a growing despair in Facebook offices. The growing public dislike of Facebook, Instagram, Whats App and Messenger casts a shadow over the employees from the top downwards.

Who would want to work for a company that maximises profit through exploitation of users?

What are the Steps to End the Facebook empire?

  1. CEO Mark Zuckerberg needs to resign. His personal wealth amounts to $116 billion.
  2. The board of directors, who have also amassed personal fortunes, need to step down as well. They use their power to ensure profit before ethics.
  3. The CEO and directors need to face severe penalties for their unwillingness to protect and safeguard numerous users of Facebook of all ages around the world.
  4. US government needs to order the breakup of the Facebook empire into smaller companies offering a public service.
  5. US government needs to introduce legislation that makes it a criminal act to exploit children, teenagers and vulnerable people worldwide.
  6. US government needs to introduce legislation that makes it a criminal act to put out dangerous information feeding violence, profiteering and hate speech.
  7. US government needs to act to pass legislation ensuring transparency from Facebook with independent social scientists examining its corporate behaviour to make necessary changes to algorithms.
  8. Congress needs to hold hearings to examine if Facebook damages democracy, the concept of a free society and increases pain of the young continuing into future generations.
  9. US government needs to apply anti-trust laws to break up the Facebook empire and establish democratic social media platforms for the benefit of everybody worldwide.
  10. US government needs to pass laws giving the right to Facebook users to have easy access to the data the company has collected on them. Users also have the right to limit the use of their data, except for specific purposes the user supports.

As Facebook loses its credibility, as users of Facebook lose their trust, this billionaire business will slowly deteriorate. The Senate Hearings this week may prove to be the dramatic turning point in public perception.

The Senate and the public have witnessed for years a history of broken promises from Facebook to change its behaviour. Facebook suffers from obesity.

To their credit, some of the senior staff quit Facebook when the board refuses to implement ethical changes for a healthy company.

The Facebook Board have become slaves to algorithms designed to maximise profit. Neither the board nor the algorithms are fit for purpose.

Dinosaurs never survived a meteor.

Link to three-hour recording of Senate Hearing and Francis Haugen.

Read New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and other news services.

A personal note:

I have a Facebook friends page and Facebook business page.

I use Facebook to post links to my twice weekly blogs.

And occasionally offer a short response to Comments.

It seems to me a waste of time scrolling down messages

 or looking at Facebook pages.

Am slowly switching over from Whats App to Signal.

Time spent on Facebook amounts to about 30 minutes a week.


2 thoughts on “The Facebook Empire. Profit over Pain?”

  1. Dear Christopher and Community,
    Your two posts about fb Christopher ( March 2018 and October 2021) neatly cover the essence, nature and practices of one of the largest hyper capitalist and predatory organizations humanity has ever spawned. Apart from its role in “ethnic cleansing” in various parts of the world you have covered the bases.
    However, your conclusion in the 2018 post to “…prefer to stay within the ugly face of Facebook and express indignation of the abuse of Facebook to Facebook friends” calls out for further reflection by yourself and the many millions of intelligent and aware fb users who while aware of what you write about, knowingly continue to actively support this ( evil?) organization. “ Indignant”?? Is that an appropriate response to fb after what what we know? The words that come to my mind when faced with ‘carry on as normal’ ( plus indignation ) is ‘cognitive dissonance’. In this case it’s ‘self interest’ that requires the reflective examination, not facebooks behaviour. How much worse does fb have to behave before We pull the plug on it? In the words of P. Levi “If not now, when?

  2. Great piece Christopher says it all . We live in a world of extreme Capitalism and the root tenet of this extremism is
    WANT WANT WANT. Not exactly practicing Buddhism

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