Facebook will reap what Facebook has sown.
First published 2018 … still good?
Technology companies are starting to realise that they are actually responsible for two things. The things they do, and the things they don’t. In this way they are almost becoming adults, which is about in keeping with their age since conception. Their first years were spent in an almost rule free zone, they were the cool kids and could name the game as their own. Facebook and Twitter built platforms that went on to be used for social engineering on a vast scale. The UK Brexit was clearly influenced by Twitterbots, as were the US elections, and hundreds of millions of fake Facebook accounts have been taken down just this year. Facebook is responsible for the consequences of it’s existence, and the consequences of its lack of prioritisation of ethical behavior, both of itself, and it’s users. Cambridge Analytica, data harvesting and mass manipulation and political skullduggery, the tide of public and media opinion has turned irreversibly against the FB machine. As I write there’s an ongoing scandal of Facebook refusing to hand over a password for an account that’s considered to be vital to the investigation into the murder of a thirteen year old girl. Why? Why are they so fundamentally inhuman in their attitude? People have had enough. They just haven’t been given the alternative yet.
The ironic thing, and the massively encouraging thing, is that it’s easy to be good, and to do good. It’s easy. And people like it. Especially Millennials. And this is the opportunity for the next generation of hyper ethical businesses. Do Massive Good. And let those good works act as the marketing for the company. The bigger the company grows, the more massive the good works, the more massive the good works, the more publicity and coverage and customers. Imagine a hybrid of business and charity. Not some ‘not for profit’ fluff but seriously ambitious companies with the intention of becoming global corporations using the doing of good at scale to carve a path.
What will this look like in practice? Companies that are unafraid and unashamedly compassionate. Companies that build their business model around solving real human problems. Companies that shout about the good that they do, that consider the good they do to be the primary reason for the companies existence. If a company uses even ten percent of their revenue for the doing of good, in a commercially strategic way, they don’t need a marketing budget. If Facebook used ten percent of it’s revenue for doing good it would be loved and adored, rather than despised and reluctantly tolerated. Facebook has 280Million EU users, all of whom under GDPR have the right to port their entire profile data onto an alternative platform. One day, this will happen, the emergence of a Facebook alternative that has an entirely different business model and an entirely more human approach. It will happen, soon, within a decade. And when it gains social traction, it will draw away from Facebook masses and masses of users, at viral speed, leaving the husk behind. A heartless data machine, with millions of bot accounts, friends only with itself.
Remember Facebook? We will, as a lesson in karma, in reaping what you sow, and in the power of good.
Photo by Ruben Mishchuck on Unsplash