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Facebook Is Not A Service!

Posted on 3rd April 2022

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This report on the BBC is primarily about Facebook users who are angry that their accounts have been locked for no apparent reason. It does, however, highlight a common misunderstanding about Facebook, that it is a service for the likes of you and me.

Facebook is a service for advertisers and for customers who are willing to pay for personal data about their users. Individual users are not valued by Facebook, and the company does not consider them to have any rights other than those enforced by regulators. Users are a source of revenue, pure and simple. Everything else follows from these basic facts:

  • No effort will be expended to protect any rights that users might feel they have. Individual posts and whole accounts will therefore be blocked by the decisions of automated algorithms (because vetting the decisions using people is simply too costly).
  • Everything is a numbers game - the impact of losing a few users as a result of unfair blocking is outweighed by the constant inflow of new users.
  • Facebook is not a secure place to store your photos, contacts, resumé or other vital data (the company has never made any guarantees in this regard).

I do use Facebook, in a limited way. I post little, do not expect anything that I post to be securely stored, and will not post my photos (because their terms and conditions state that I grant them ownership of the copyright of anything that I upload). The main reason that I use it is as a source of humour. I have better sources for news, opinions, music and video trailers (as do we all!).

Have no illusions: other Social Media resources are no better.