OPINION by Bill Collier- A recent article on CNBC about Facebook/Meta losing over 2/3rds of its stock value in a year has analysis and investors wondering if the tech giant will even survive. Whereas in 2021 at around this time, Facebook was valued at around a trillion dollars, this year, it is $377 billion in total value.
Not surprisingly for a globalist corpostate press organ, the CNBC article totally misses the elephant in the room, which is that Facebook’s core problems revolve around poor community governance (things like moderation and “fact checking”) and a fundamental misunderstanding of and lack of appreciation for their users, many of whom do not feel they and their creeds are treated fairly.
I like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, the core business model is for FB to become more of a platform for all than a private community with a more globalist corpostate ideological bent.
Allowing people to connect to family, friends, interests, and causes in a dynamic manner and with civility and common decency that is governed with fairness, common sense, and consistency, without bias or editorial (disguised as “fact checking” bit which is really opinion policing), would work.
This would be a great path forward, as opposed to reacting to activist (usually on the left) “demands” coming from audience groups (young wokatarians) who don’t use the product is, in my estaimation, a massive distraction from the core business. It is costing users, reputation, and now revenue.
Facebook serves an older demographic and, frankly, the older set will remain a core constituency well into the next 30 plus years. Providing other platforms for the younger set would be good, but it would be a mistake to simply roll out another iteration of a more popular platform.
Facebook has long suffered poor governance issues, not least because of the perceived editorializing-as-standards and the clear globalist corpostate bias of its “fact checking”, which creates distrust and which opens the platform up to constant criticism from right and left. All these fires keep distracting key decision-makers whose talents are essentially a wasted resource.
People don’t want a “free speech platform” that is “anything goes”, but if the user base is diverse in its religious, political, and philosophical perspectives, tending to favor one part of the user base over others, as it is perceived is the case, will necessarily decrease the engagement and participation of the “offended” group. It doesn’t matter if this is factually true or if it is the intent.
This is a perception at least partially caused by the inconsistent, often illogical, implementation of governance and, frankly, the oddball way “fact checking” is applied which makes the platform both seem biased and illogical.
For instance, to refute the statement “there are only two genders”, Facebook’s “fact checkers” cited the extremely rare case where people are BORN with a mix of gender traits as “proof” there are more than two genders.
The exception does not disprove the rule. but this illogical, upside-down, and absurd, use of an extremely rare exception as “proof” that the claimed rule, “there are only two genders”, is wholly false did nothing good for Facebook’s reputation or bottom line.
This kind of thing, as well as many instances of inconsistent application of standards which are perceived as putting the thumb on the scales against half their user base’s creeds, is anathema to being perceived as an honest broker and neutral arbiter. It is bad governance.
To be clear, while the rank and file bias of most of Facebook’s staff are likely leaning toward corpostate globalism or leftism in general, it may in fact be unfair to say Mark Zuckerberg wants to push a “leftist agenda.”
The fact most moderators and community governance staff may tend toward a bias, and perhaps it shows, is less a reflection of ownership bias and more a function of a poor governance architecture.
Instead of investing in new tech that is not taking hold, the whole metaverse, Faecbook should reexamine its entire governance system and the structure of the platform to provide a safe and friendly environment that is welcoming to all, regardless of creed and etcetera, but that insists users must, foremost, decide the content and entities they wish to be exposed to without being able to demand the platform cancel others who are otherwise well behaved.
Facebook/Meta isn’t focusing on keeping and growing a user base to whom advertisers can pitch themselves and their messages. What is really happening is that Facebook is trying to claim to be such a platform while its governance and “fact checking”, and how it spends its political dollars, all tend to lean in direction that half or more of their user base do not fancy.
Facebook is seen as a booster for the Democrats that tries to also pretend it is a platform for all, even if this may be an unfair characterization. The reputation hit among those on the right cannot be good and is not substantively addressed while kowtowing to the media-induced and leftist-activist supported frenzy of the hour hasn’t earned the support of the Democrats or the coveted younger demographic who, one suspects, Mark Zuckerberg thinks are represented by the very loud but tiny woke minority.
It may be true, though I am not prepared to claim it is true, that most Facebook users represent a more “conservative demographic” than a leftist demographic and that if Mark MUST use ideological sympathy to gain more users who are more engaged he may want to radically change course and lean right.