Facebook continues to value profit over people

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A person holding a smart phone.

Ally Formeller, Columnist

With just one Google search of “Facebook,” several articles about how to permanently delete your Facebook account instantly pop up.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has been the subject of scandals and court cases that left users uneasy— and Facebook can only blame itself. 

As such, Facebook should start changing for the better, or at least issue an apology, however insincere it may be. Either that or users really should begin to move to other platforms.

Earlier this month, data scientist Frances Haugen called out Facebook for its blatant acceptance of misinformation and the dangers the website poses to the public. Sophie Zhang, another former employee of Facebook, has also agreed to testify against Facebook. 

The latest scandal should be the nail in the coffin for Facebook, but it probably won’t be. After a slew of scandals over the past 18 years, the bar is already low for Facebook.

Over the past 18 months, Facebook has clearly disregarded the public by allowing misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Facebook has also allowed conspiracy theorists to thrive, promoting content that claims the 2020 election was fraudulent, despite their campaign against election misinformation.  

For Facebook, profits matter most, not users. 

It’s time for Facebook— and perhaps the rest of Big Tech— to face the consequences.

“I feel like they have an obligation to change,” said Bill Cassidy, professor and director of graduate studies in the department of communication. “In the long-run, (changing) could benefit them.” 

But the desire to change must come from within, and we have yet to see that from Facebook.

Looking to Congress to do the right thing is dubious. In fact, Congress can’t, stating possible violations of the First Amendment if social media content is regulated by law. Since Facebook is a private company, it can choose what kind of content to host and what to deny. The blame is entirely on Facebook.

“What would be the right thing to do would be to take these things into account,” Cassidy said about Facebook’s vast user base and the obligation to share correct information as a media organization.

In a perfect world, Facebook will get more than a slap on the wrist, and it will start taking accountability for its content and users. After making nearly 30 billion dollars in 2020, and paired with Facebook’s long history of scandals, accountability is unlikely— profits are just too high.

“(I) hope that things will change, but I just don’t know,” Cassidy said. 

With its declining user base, Facebook should be getting desperate to keep users, not drive them away. The bar is already low. By continuing to promote harmful content, Facebook is only ensuring a quicker death for itself.