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Social media

Treat Facebook like a hostile power

Mark Zuckerberg in an Instagram video posted on 4 July

We should treat Facebook like a hostile foreign entity, says Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic. It certainly behaves like one. The social media site is single-mindedly focused on its own expansion and ruled by a man obsessed with power – Mark Zuckerberg. Recently he announced that Facebook was developing a cryptocurrency called Diem. Financial regulators fear it could “throw off the global economy and decimate the dollar”. Years ago he conspicuously started calling the site’s 2.9 billion members his “people”, not “users”. This is autocratic stuff. What’s more, Facebook has no sense of civic obligation, loathes the free press and subverts elections. “If Russia or China were taking the exact same actions to undermine democracy, Americans would surely feel differently.”

“Social media is a net good for society” as long as the platforms work in the public’s best interest. Facebook does not. It is designed for blunt-force emotional reaction, it reduces human interaction to the clicking of buttons and it pushes users towards extreme material with dodgy algorithms. “Facebook is a lie-disseminating instrument of civilisational collapse.” Governments must start taking it seriously.