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Six hours were long Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram last week unavailable. The failure affected around 3.5 billion peoplewho use these services regularly. They all depend on a single company. This monopoly must be broken – not just because of the technical dependency, but rather because of the massive power imbalance that such a monopoly brings with it.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has the majority of the voting rights and can therefore make all decisions on their own. This affects decisions about the programming of the algorithms, which are responsible for what content is displayed to users, but also which parts of studies are kept secret and which are published.
Only profit counts
the Enththe former employee Frances Haugen show that in the end, only profit counts on Facebook. Although one of the developments in the company Fake news or Hasspostings followed closely, Facebook did nothing. Also on the subject data protection It took a lot of “persuasion” to achieve minimal improvements. But Facebook has also started to link WhatsApp data with the online network in order to find out more about the individual users. This means that the Group’s data treasure will be even more extensive than before. From Haugen’s revelations, it also emerges: Facebook prefers postings that evoke (negative) emotions over those that refer to external content.
However, the group only ever does something to counter negative developments when it has been legally forced to do so. For example, Facebook has adapted to Austrian law, so Hatred on the net can be reported with its own button.
It is not enough just to regulate
But that also shows a problem: It is not enough to just regulate a company like Facebook. You have to first make sure that from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp three separate companies will. If the group is not broken up, strict regulation would only result in other, smaller groups with similar business models being disadvantaged. They would have to adhere to the specifications, but they cannot afford a crowd of employees who ensure that laws are complied with. Facebook, on the other hand, has enough financial resources to hire employees to take care of it.
After every scandal, Facebook throws its well-functioning PR machinery and vows to get well soon. But these are mostly just empty words and few alibi acts.
In addition to breaking up the group, each individual must also take responsibility: We need more media skills in all generations. Users need to know what alternatives are available. And not just to have them ready in case of an emergency if Facebook fails again.
It’s also up to the users how powerful Facebook really is.
You can read more about the Facebook files and what’s behind them here.