Facebook: Evolution, present role and crisis
Facebook is one of the most popular social media in this contemporary era. It is very hard to discover a person who is alien to Facebook. Moreover, young to old, official to unofficial, and individuals from every class are using Facebook daily. Back in 2000, no one could think a social medium in which they would be able to share their emotions, love, views, and so on.
Incidentally, Facebook brought about the platform for the people in a reasonable way. So to say, in this century, it has become a powerful giant not only in social media but also in the entire media history. It has created an influential net around us by crossing everything which we can't go out spontaneously. However, this article is modified by explaining the history of its establishment and the ongoing crisis of it.
Eventually, Facebook was established and launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates and fellow students of Harvard University named Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. Before creating the code of Facebook and launching it, Zuckerberg created 'Facemash' in 2003 for a website and that led Zuckerberg to create a website for maintaining communication among the Harvard students. Though primarily it was only for the students of Harvard, subsequently, it had become popular among the other students as well as in general people.
By the following year (2005), Facebook got 6 million users which is a revolutionary phenomenon in Internet History. Gradually, 'The Facebook' developed their website, made a mobile version, and finally they created many sub-apps with its core application and website 'Facebook' buy cutting off 'The' after buying the domain 'Facebook.Com'. According to Zephoria, a Florida based website, there are 2.6 billion people are using Facebook actively and at least 2.3 billion people use one of their services daily. According to a survey of January 2019, 33,713,000 people were using Facebook in Bangladesh which number is 19.8% of its entire population.
Looking at its positive sides, Facebook is playing a vast positive role in the media spheres. Facebook created a so-called 'Democratic Place' where anyone can express his/her views and opinion freely. It has furnished a place where a job seeker can find a job easily. Also, it equipped a way of getting closer to friends and neighbors as well as the platform of sharing ideas, posting photos and videos which is a common run. In this time of COVID-19, Facebook is playing a role like an 'autocratic social media' by its power and facilities.
It has the option of 'Live' by which teachers are maintaining their class, and the friends can see one another. Recently, Facebook launched a feature named 'COVID-19 Information Centre' which provides its user information of infected and death numbers of people. Overall, Facebook has become the part and parcel as well as the crying need of human life and it takes and advantage of a role that is more valuable than mainstream media.
Although Facebook has an immense positive side, it has also some negative flows. 'Rumors' is the word which made a dynasty of it in the Facebook arena by spreading fallacies and making people feared. During COVID-19, we saw many of us were driven by this type of information on Facebook that is too dependable to find a reliable source of news. Moreover, Cyber-bullying, insecurity, destroying relations of families, getting oneself in the net of wicked fellow, and bad people are the common go of Facebook that can't be repudiated. Therefore, there are also many reasons for Facebook to be alleged 'Inappropriate' for people but we can't neglect its contributions too.
Speaking of its political influences, Facebook is accused of many political crises. During the election of 2016 in the USA, Facebook played a massive role against Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party, in support of Donald Trump and his Republican Party, political analysts say. Some media personnel said, "I Voted' option, as well as some personal information of many users, was used in the election of 2016"! That's why; The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had undergone many questions of senators and judges.
In the meantime, not only in the US but also in the whole world Facebook has become a key-factor of political publicity. Politicians are using Facebook as their own sweet will as a medium to reach people and to provide their messages of the election. Even, in the context of Bangladesh Facebook is the only medium that stands with its 'Democratic as well as undemocratic place'!
Sincerely speaking, the killing of George Floyd made Facebook face 'A Great Depression'! A few days ago, Twitter authority hooked a condition at the ID of Donald Trump for spreading 'unexpected and inconsistent' posts. But, Facebook didn't do the same as Twitter did in the context of spreading political hatred from the side of Republican and Donald Trump, for this reason, Facebook has been questioned of its 'Neutral Place' toward making sure of people's rights.
Even Zuckerberg didn't clarify his position going beyond supporting the posts of Doland Trump. In consequence, Unilever, Coca-Cola, as well as nearly 100 giant business institutions of the US and throughout the world stopped providing Advertisement through Facebook for the scarcity of reliability and for spreading political hatred (especially in the context of the killing George Floyd and the posts of Donald Trump). Adding with Instagram and Whatsapp, Facebook grosses nearly 70 million US Dollars annually. Unfortunately, Facebook lost a big percentage of its income that can be called 'A Great Depression of Facebook'.
In this present world, Facebook is the only outlet that contributes its users with huge advantages as well as disadvantages. Facebook is not only controlling our daily life but also flowing our behaviors and characteristics largely. Recently, a former instructor of 10 Minute School, Shamir Montazid, posted a status in Facebook in support of LGBT rights which was also supported by another instructor, Sakib Bin Rashid, that changed the whole business policy of 10 Minute School. As being a secular and Muslim majority country, Bangladeshi people started to boycott 10 Minute School even this is the inconsistent with Bangladesh constitution.
Ayman Sadiq, the founder of 10 Minute School claimed that some fanatics called his name and threatened to kill him. On the other side, some people are claiming that 10 Minute School is an agent of supporting LGBT. So to say, the whole crisis is going through sharing Facebook posts, photos, and live videos where Facebook authority has no containment. So, is Facebook the perfect social medium for ensuring the rights of people? Unlike that, many questions can be raised.
At the end of the article, some warnings should be raised. If Facebook wants to survive in the world system and technological imperialism, it should not be concerned with only 'Datacenter' but it should be more reliable and ethical to users in the context of providing services. Also, Mark Zuckerberg had better reduce the word of no implication in front of media. However, People are the slaves of self interest. If they do not find Facebook at a neutral position and secured they will boycott it.
In the USA, some specific groups started movements against Facebook. That is a red alert for Facebook to become more conscious about regulating hate speech as well as rumors and giving reliable news.
The writer is a student, Department of International Relations, DU