In an effort to fight the proliferation of fake news on its platform, Facebook has announced steps to stop the spread of misleading content on its platform. It recently released a new, 12-minute video of its processes and explained its oversight protocol. This couldn't have come at a better time since many marketers are considering, rightly so, how they will continue to use a platform that has come under so much scrutiny these last few months.
Customers are becoming keenly aware just how much Facebook knows about us and while many small businesses would like to wean themselves off the platform, right now, Facebook remains very much a marketing darling. This is a mistake.
As marketers and business owners, relying on any one platform, including Facebook, to market your business is suicidal. Jaron Lanier's new book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, outlines in detail the many reasons our reliance on social media has been to our detriment. The business plan of social media platforms, he reminds readers of his book, is to "take data from you and make money from it".
By definition, using data to better market to customers is exactly how marketing should work. That's not how social media works exactly. I've always argued that social media isn't "free" in the sense that we're paying for it with our data. Lanier recommends social media platforms lessen the data noose and let us pay for their services so we have greater control over how our data is used.
Lanier doesn't have any social media accounts and doesn't plan on getting on board any time soon. He feels podcasts are the only platforms right now that aren't designed to manipulate its customers. "Podcasts still rely on stores and subscriptions, so they maintain a person-to-person structure instead of a person-to-crowd/algorithm/hidden-manipulator structure," he writes.
He's not the only one either refraining from partaking in social media or taking a social media diet. Inc.com contributor Damon Brown shared how leaving social media increased his bottom line. I've taken off Facebook from my smartphone and my productivity has benefitted. I have no plans to add it back on soon.
As business owners, it's almost impossible not to use social media platforms to market your business. Lanier admits as much in his book. FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a very real concern as it relates to having or not having a presence on Facebook. According to Facebook, there are 2.20 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2018. Businesses today really can't afford not to be on Facebook. It's become the default website of choice for many of our customers.
It's a hard sell to any business owner or marketer to entirely leave Facebook as a marketing tool. What we can do is build up our other marketing tools, like building our email list or consider other ways to market to our customers that don't rely solely on the success of social media.
Customers are wary of social media platforms right now. While Facebook won't likely go away, it is working hard to convince its users to stay until they figure it out.
"Over the last couple of years, we have been working hard to reduce the spread of false news on Facebook through a combination of technology and human review," shares John Hegeman, Head of Facebook's News Feed, in a Facebook post.
Facebook revealed three announcements related to their goal which is meant to provide more transparency. How effective they'll be in convincing users to stay with them until they figure it out is a different question.