When one designs one of the most popular platforms the world has ever seen, it’s likely that you’ll have your haters. In this case, the founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has plenty. And they’re heard through online forums, at the water cooler and even between close friends. Simply put, it’s Facebook fatigue. And it could become a pressing issue as the company has floundered when it comes to internet privacy.
Zuckerberg famously announced recently that online privacy is dead. In many cases, if you choose to opt in, you’re giving up certain rights to your private information online. But many experts, including Microsoft senior researcher Danah Boyd, disagree. In a Wall Street Journal piece in 2011, Boyd expressed that public and private platforms shouldn’t act as opposing forces, but in fact work together. But that’s a far cry from what Zuckerberg has produced with Facebook.
In his latest development, Zuckerberg introduced a revised search engine, which compiles all your shared content to make the process simpler. In which case, it gives third-parties an easier way to access your information and feed you countless advertisements. And it’s doing this without your knowledge. It’s as if Zuckerberg thinks that he’s entitled to our private data.
But people don’t want to share their private information. Hence the word private. A recent TRUSTe report in the Consumer Confidence Edition revealed that 94 percent of U.S. online adults want to control what information gets fed to the site and what information doesn’t. But Facebook doesn’t take care. It exposes your private information to third-parties. It’s even gone one step further, covertly browsing your web activities on different sites that employ the Facebook “Like” button (regardless of whether you use it).
In 2012, the Associated Press revealed a poll in which three out of five Facebook users didn’t think the company put their best foot forward when it came to protecting their personal information. Even more? Of the people who were polled, a staggering 51 percent of them (mostly young adults) saw Facebook as a passing fad, to be overtaken by more privacy-centric platforms like Path, Sgrouples and DuckDuckGo. Clearly, they can improve upon these matters.
But unfortunately, it’s not good for business. And it’s driven people away. According to ComScore estimate, 4.8 percent of unique U.S. visitors opted out of the service in the past six months. Other countries are starting to share the same sentiment. Socialbakers estimated that Facebook lost 600,000 users in Great Britain were lost while Australia saw a 3.3 percent drop in Facebook usage. The only driving force for the social media giant is in the developing world, but still, their monetization per user is much lower.
So when can we see the demise of Facebook? While we don’t expect the website to implode in the next few years, the numbers suggest that Facebook is heading in the wrong direction. And when that does, there will be plenty of new social networking sites ripe to take over with a twist of privacy to renew your faith in social media.