Nothing Is Free On Facebook

Veritasium, a science video blog posted something interesting about what is currently happening in Facebook.

Veritasium created a video highlighting how Facebook has started monetizing the access and distribution of information and content. Content creators and basically anyone who posts something on Facebook are being encouraged to pay to get their message out. But the problem is the underhanded way Facebook is going about to make you avail of the service not to mention the service Facebook is offering is not delivering as advertised.

Veritasium’s first video highlighting this issue.

Veritasium’s follow up video.

Unfortunately what is happening to Facebook is only natural. Facebook has grown so big that it needs to generate revenue anyway it can and the only products it can sell or monetize, other than advertising space, are information access and publicity. There’s already a conspiracy theory that Facebook is secretly selling their users information to governments and companies. So now Facebook has turned itself like a magazine or postal service.

So why the fuss when one can simply choose not to use the service? The problem is Facebook is surreptitiously using their filtering ability to make you pay them to deliver your content to your audience. Like what it says in the video, you have 1,000 page likes but only 50 get to see your posts.

Right now the only people that get affected with this scheme are those who have Facebook public pages. The users of those pages are mostly companies or individuals using it for marketing and advertising.

No More Free Marketing?

I think the days where the idea that Facebook is a free platform for you to publicize yourself or your company is long gone. Maybe it was still like that 2 years ago.

The fact of the matter is Facebook is not free nor any of the social media services like Google, Twitter or even Youtube. A while back there was a lot of brouhaha about Youtube, which is now owned by Google, enforcing draconian copyright laws which affected all Youtube creators. Basically most Youtube videos operate under the “fair use” doctrine; meaning most Youtubers use some form of copyright material in their videos but transform them into something new.

As much as people complain about the practices of Youtube or Facebook, people forget that nothing is really free. All those free services and web space cost money.

During the mid to late 2000s, individuals and later companies saw the advantages of social media from a marketing and promotions standpoint. They saw a cheap and cost effective alternative to traditional marketing and promotions. Sometimes with enough time and work put into it, you can market and promote yourself or your product for FREE through social media.

It is still possible to do that today but Facebook should not be looked upon as THE only option and place to market and promote yourself; especially when it’s not as free and as effective as it used to be. People should look at Facebook as just one branch of the social media tree.

Know What You Want

I learned that it is important to know what you want to get out of Facebook and from social media. At first, I was excited of a way to stay in touch with friends. But as time passed, attitudes of people in Facebook changed. Facebook morphed from a way to stay in touch and connected to friends and family to a networking tool.

I started getting random people I don’t know or haven’t met before send me friend requests. And the ones who I do know from high school or wherever, I don’t really want to stay in touch with them. I have nothing against using Facebook for networking but I just realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to use Facebook for. I don’t find it attractive to have over a thousand people on my friend list which most of whom I don’t know. 

I felt weird sharing my personal thoughts and opinions on my wall to strangers. So I ended up creating a Facebook public page specifically for things I don’t mind sharing publicly. But after doing this, I just stopped altogether from posting anything personal on my private Facebook account. 

Now I only use my private Facebook account as another form of email. Surprisingly it’s faster to get in touch with someone on Facebook than through email.

At the end of the day, all I can do is be careful of what I post. Facebook is just a tool that has the possibility to be beneficial or harmful depending on how I use it. Nothing is perfect but it’s good to know about those fake Facebook accounts and Facebook’s manipulation of access control of people to your posts.

It’s just more things to be wary about whenever on Facebook.


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