Around the world, Facebook and other social networking platforms are facing backlash over their failures to safeguard privacy, combat disinformation and curtail the digital reach of hate groups.
At least a dozen designated terror groups have a presence on FB, as shown by a review conducted by Bloomberg Business Week.
Among them Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram. They can simply be found by typing their names into FB's search bar either in English, Spanish, or conveniently, in Arabic. Many of these groups proudly link their FB pages on their home websites. And even when FB takes down one of the sites they quickly reappear with tweaks to make them seem new.
Social media has become a receptacle of hate. Everyone is against everyone else, everyone is complaining about the other group and everyone is saying the same horrible things. It is a basket of deplorables.
The phrase #DeleteFacebook has flooded social media, and for the first time daily user counts are falling and the time spent on the site plummeted by 50 million hours a day. Years ago FB was a novelty. It is becoming ubiquitous and mundane for many, it has reached critical mass, and Twitter’s only claim to fame is Trump's daily garbage spewing.
Private, locked, exclusive, restricted to paying or recommended members only, alternative social media networks are popping up all over.
Can they still be called "social" if they are open only to an elite? Sounds like an oxymoron but that's what they are.
Here are a few:
1. RichKids: For 1,000 Euros a month ($1,200) it is the social network for those spoiled kids who love to post pictures of private jets, lavish pool parties, and exotic destinations, away from the masses.
2. LuxuryKids: The spoiled brats don't even have to text, only post outrageous pictures flaunting their wealthy lifestyles.
3. ASW: (A Small World), is a community of high-end travelers. It allows its members to rent a villa on any Mediterranean Island, meet friends for dinner in Hong Kong, and be a guest at one of the many parties around the world. The paid subscription includes discounts on trips and free access to over 100 exclusive night clubs worldwide. Transportation to and from airports is free.
4. VERO: This is another private social network for a limited number of chosen friends. It aims to share daily life automatically through its app. In the month of April it had more than 500,000 downloads. Members do not have to write anything, with the smartphone in their pockets every movement is recorded. (Talk about loss of privacy.)
5. TUENTI: This is a play on words between TU - Spanish for "You" - and "Twenty." And 20 is the number of real friends allowed in your circle. The premise is: "Why should we call friends those who are only mere acquaintances?"
6. YAMMER: This is a restricted and private version of LinkedIn. It is geared to appeal to people involved in work projects, research and development, allowing the exchange of feedback, comments, ideas, questions and upgrades with other experts around the world.
There are also private social media platforms for newly engaged couples and for new parents but those are limited to a very small numbers of contacts.
These are the seeds of a digital revolution. Like many other fads Facebook is losing its "coolness." Its hold and monopoly are beginning to disintegrate, Social Media is becoming extremely fragmented, and the trend is to stand out from the herd.
With all this "we are more connected" technology, we will be even more apart.
Asocial Media is here to stay.
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