And no, there is no possible argument you could make that says you must use Facebook because of anything Facebook has done except be extremely valuable and easy to use for its users.
Nobody has to use WhatsApp, nobody has to use Instagram, they choose to because other people decided to use them. It's not Facebook's fault entire governments decided to run out of WhatsApp, and those governments/your friends could switch to/add on a different platform if they wanted to, they just don't because what Facebook offers for free (the network) is a lot better than what other technology offers.
So yes, they may be completely-optional-to-my-life in terms of using it directly, and yet choosing to not use them often means disconnecting from people not just on those platforms but in life in general.
An example that's almost the opposite: I traveled a lot overseas and my close group of American friends would use an SMS chat group to stay in touch. While overseas, I'd use a local sim and couldn't receive the group texts. I wanted them to switch to Whatsapp or a similar platform that would work over the internet. A few of them refused. So they stayed on the platform and I felt myself becoming more distant from them, not just in texts but in general. I felt a very similar disconnect after I deleted my FB account a few years back, and then again, after I built a new FB account and muted all of my FB friends.
At some point, I think a company becomes so large and integrated into society that it becomes a pseudo-monopoly and often in the US we treat those as public utilities. Yes, I think I could live without electricity in my city, and yet the electric company would still impact my life.
The sad reality is that if it weren't Facebook, it'd be Twitter. If it weren't Twitter, it'd be TikTok, and so on. The people you're mad at aren't the companies making it easier to communicate, it's the people doing the communicating, and they're doing the communicating on whatever platform becomes most popular.
You may be mad at the users for not... I dunno, saying better things on these platforms, and you're seemingly taking it out on the platform. You're mad at society, and you channel it through to the services that society uses.
Facebook is not causing any of the problems you're upset about, it's just the platform where those problems are manifesting. It's still just a product, and if something better comes along, people will switch to the better thing. Network effects are real, but they're not permanent or impenetrable.
Once again, this is a very Western-centric point of view.
Again, your complaint is about people. You don't like a choice they made, but it was a choice those people made and continue to make.
But... you absolutely can. This is getting pointless. You're not going to be convinced, nor are you willing to engage in any meaningful dialogue here.
You could say the same thing about any addictive substance. And yet I doubt people would argue that controlling substance abuse is a bad thing.
For better or worse Facebook has made a thing that through the sum of its parts is harmful to society. I doubt any specific line-level engineer or product planner ever intentionally decided to end up with this end product, but here we are.
> hearing people bemoan a completely-optional-to-your-life social media company for being too good at getting people to talk to one another.
The issue isn't that it's getting people to talk with one another, it's that it encourages negative engagement.
The same thing happens with news - people are enraptured with gossip and death and will watch that more than something less salacious. But FB has scale and targeting unmatched by any other service. Google probably had a "and there but for the grace of god go we" moment - their search results probably has/had similar problems but hasn't incurred as much outrage. If Google Plus actually succeeded maybe they'd be the ones in the hot seat today.
Of course they do. They may have no legal duty to behave morally, but they, like everyone else, still have a moral duty to behave morally.
Not sure if you’ve been on FB in recent years, but people aren’t really talking to each other so much as they are spewing into a void. By far, the most common p2p interaction is arguing between strangers. Facebook is actually terrible at its initial premise of connecting people who know each other IRL, or those who might want to.
No, super duper no. People are shouting into the void because there's a burning need for humans to shout into voids. If it weren't Facebook's void, it'd be some other void. The common denominator here is people.
Human brains validate their existences by communicating, and Facebook built the most effective communication tool that's ever been created. It's not Facebook's fault that most people aren't able to create anything other than hateful shouting.
Further, this strikes me as a very Western-centric argument, particularly with WhatsApp. WhatsApp is nearly infrastructure in many countries outside the US, and your argument approaches saying "nobody has to use the Internet" -- which I suppose is true? But strikes me as being similar to saying "nobody has to have electricity."
You also seem to frame Facebook as somehow unwittingly finding itself in a position of power through WhatsApp, instead of that being a multi-year strategic campaign through marketing and their free-Internet push in the developing world (but only for FB's walled garden, which is clearly anti-competitive).
The U.S. is currently engaged in two major crises: is our democratic system of government legitimate, and how do we deal with a pandemic?
In both cases, Facebook’s algorithm is encouraging divisiveness in the name of engagement.
I'm no fan of FB but it's absurd to say their algorithms encourage divisiveness. Their algorithms have no concept of divisiveness, they are simply fitting their cost function which is engagement (well, proxies for engagement). It just so turns out that a lot of people in society want echo chambers where their pre-existing views can be strengthened and validated...that's what is causing divisiveness.
I'm not really sure what FB is supposed to do. Does a fast food company have a responsibility to ensure that people are eating a healthy diet? Where do we draw the line?
Which can absolutely be a proxy for divisiveness.
Network effects are real. I would not continue to use Whatsapp unless other people were on it. It got big before Facebook bought them and has dwindled (in my book) ever since. The network effect applies to a lot of things, from the internet to telephones to bars.
Addictive dark patterns are a thing. Facebook is armed with a metric asston of computational power that is all dedicated to getting you to keep hanging out on it, feeding your dopamine cycles, coaxing you in with candy, and distorting reality around you. It is in fact, these myriad reality distortion fields that is its primary path to ad revenue.
> what Facebook offers for free
Because it has hundreds of billions in its bank and sucks in tens of billions of ad revenue. Little competitors cannot do either of those.
No one HAS to look at gore or CP in their feed, they can block that "friend". So why does Facebook bother to remove such content (rhetorical question, i realise the implications of them allowing CP)?
During the fires last year, my county used their Facebook page as the official place to get current info about fire status. The info on the actual county website was copy/pasted from Facebook, with a significant time lag.
But, yeah, sure, we choose to use Facebook...