Brushing Elbows with Snakes & Weasels

More than half the planet now uses social media.

Social Media platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. They helped many of us stay connected with friends and family and stay sane over the last year and a half. Unfortunately, they’ve also served as the conduit for hate and harm.

As a small business, social media offers an attractive alternative to building a website and it’s a simple way of creating a community for you and your customers. These platforms are easy to use and have incredible reach. What more could you ask for as a busy entrepreneur / small business owner with limited resources?

I wrote a blog post several months ago—The Social Dilemma – Where, oh where should I go?—that offered my suggestions on how to choose a social media platform for your business. Facebook (now Meta) is a platform that has the largest reach and still boasts the highest number of active users per month at 2.895 Billion(1), 66% of whom log in on a daily basis. Users span all age groups and all geographies. That makes Facebook/Meta (FB/M) a great choice for your first foray into social media marketing for almost any business.

Facebook Stats and Trends (2)

BUT…there is a bigger story here. Will it affect your decision? Should it affect your decision?

Recent news has placed FB/M under close scrutiny over its actions (or non-actions) when it comes to moderating and eliminating hate speech, human trafficking activities, bullying, misinformation on everything from Covid19 to climate change, and other harmful content from its platform. Publication of the “Facebook Files”(3) across several new agencies in the USA has brought to light just how aware the corporation is about the bad actors using their platform to spread hate and deception.

If you were to say that the job of policing the FB/M beast is not an easy one, you are correct. However, Jeff Horwitz, the Wall Street Journal reporter that whistleblower Frances Haugen approached first, says that he was very surprised at not only how much the corporation is aware of these issues, but the fact that their integrity team insiders have proposed several simple, easy-to-implement, and user-agnostic changes to the moderation algorithm that would have a significant effect on reducing the harmful and hateful content being circulated on FB/M(4). Very few were ever implemented.

The obvious next question is, WHY?!The answer appears to be some combination of “not a priority” and “it’s messy so we really don’t want to deal with it”. It’s a complex problem with a complex entity. The interview with Jeff Horwitz in the video below tells the story from a reporter’s point of view. It’s VERY interesting!

The Facebook Files: Are teens and democratic societies at risk? (3)

Unless truly despicable behaviour on the part of FB/M comes to light, your customers may not care where you set up shop. There are alternative solutions and platforms but, for the most part, users are still present on the platform, doing the stuff that they normally do.

This brings us back to these two questions: Will it affect your decision on whether or not to use FB/M for your business? Should it affect your decision?

One business directing their ad dollars elsewhere won’t hurt FB/M financially, but… you want to rub elbows with snakes and weasels?

Or is that an unfair question? Is it just business? Is any other platform any better?

What do you think?

Unlike wild bears, feeding the content creator is encouraged! 🙂

Data sources:

  3. Thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents provided by whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel.

Additional reading:

© 2021-2022 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting.

Published by tracey copeland

Marketer, Creator, Coach | Brand Communications | Strategic Planning | Talented Leader of Diverse, Cross-functional Teams ― Tracey is an award-winning marketing and communications specialist with a passion for helping others define and reach their goals.

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