Facebook, and it’s inextricable leader Mark Zuckerberg, have been having a tough time lately. The social media space is getting complicated. Whether it’s privacy related like with the Cambridge Analytica case and settlement, or political bias accusations like from the U.S. Congress’ inquires, and many others, not to mention expression of free speech issues, both Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have had a rough 2019. We’ll address Libra at a later date.
Facebook is racking up serious public social debt in the form of negative sentiment. User trust and confidence is waning. Social media is turning out to cost a lot more than expected. Sustainability is at risk in light of a myriad of ethical, content and data privacy controversies. I’m likely not the only one wondering when the overheads of operating such a social media platform in its present incarnation will overtake profits. From my understanding, there are droves of Facebook hires going through questionable content to make sure it does not turn into another forest fire for them. The AI might be helping by now but it’s still not foolproof.
Many at Facebook must have brought up the idea of letting Facebook users host their own content from their own personal computers. Facebook would only play the role of connecting users to directly share their videos, photos, stories, posts, messages, etc with one another in a peer-to-peer (P2P) fashion. The ultimate pivot for Facebook would be to become a P2P social media platform without any opportunity for media censorship. This way, what people say or post is no longer Facebook’s problem. Facebook wouldn’t need to constantly be concerned with politics, crime, free speech or privacy. The victory against censorship for greater freedom of expression would be the quintessential cherry on top. Facebook would win many hearts, minds, and regain the trust to eliminate their public social debt.
There are a lot of smart people at Facebook. They likely recognize that such a pivot would rapidly turn their situation around. Such a 180-degree change will require serious captaining of such a massive ship, but it could be done. There’s even a nifty peer economic business model or two Facebook could use to continue to profit handsomely. The net result is to gain back the loyalty and confidence of the people and pay back Facebook’s staggering public social debt. Regardless of Facebook’s present day stance on the matter, the decision to make such a pivot within Facebook must be at its tipping point.