Week 8: Facebook!

Facebook is one of the top trending social media networking website in present time. With so many people using Facebook on regular basis, Gehl, in his article, explores various ways in which Facebook has failed to attract him and other users who have left it for different reasons. The reasons, as described by Gehl, may be different for every individual who decides to say good-bye to Facebook. However, it is clear that ultimately it comes down to Facebook being a business and one of the companies that “don’t listen to their customers.” (Gehl, R. 2013. pp: 224).

Gehl bases his central argument around the same notion that Facebook is merely a business designed to get as much profit as it can by involving more and more users while ignoring their customer’s say in the matter. Furthermore, Gehl supports his argument using quotes from ex-Facebook users , explaining and supporting their specific concern about deactivating Facebook. One interesting aspect of going off Facebook is that one can never be exactly sure if they can be considered totally withdrawn from Facebook. For example, in his article, Gehl mentions three ways of such uncertainty in addition to the fact that due to its policies even if a user deactivates their account, Facebook is entitled to make use of their personal information anytime. Firstly, fake accounts, secondly, having an account deactivated and not deleted is not the same and thirdly, memorial accounts to keep someone’s memories alive through Facebook. I agree with Gehl’s point about dissimilarities between deactivation and deletion. But, Gehl writes he has two fake accounts that he has to use for keeping up with Facebook’s settings and at the same time he claims to be ‘quit[ting] Zuckerberg’s social graph”. (Gehl, R. 2013. pp: 221). In my personal opinion, it can be considered a contradiction of his statement. Even though he does not have his personal account on Facebook and he might not have his friends/family added as friends on his fake accounts, he is still able to ‘use’ Facebook and therefore be a participant. He briefly mentions about his participation by writing, “How much of ‘me’ is in my fake accounts?” (Gehl, R. 2013. pp: 226) demonstrating level of uncertainty regarding his own participation. Whether the participation is for his professional life, it is considered being an active user on Facebook and providing data to Facebook for its use. On the other hand, I agree with Gehl’s most important point about Facebook being a typical business platform demonstrated by holding voting in 2009 and 2012. No matter what the results of the voting, Facebook ended up adopting new policy anyway illustrating the point that it never bothered to care about the voting results and it was a superficial concern for its customers.

From my personal experience, I have tried deactivating my Facebook account four times during the last 5 years but I have failed to stay away from it mainly due to the peer pressure and Facebook integrated with other websites as well. Also, Gehl mentions about Facebook becoming overwhelming and a source of interference in our personal relationships. He writes about a blogger named ‘Cass’ who writes, “…people deleting their grandmothers because they can’t stand the pressure anymore.” (Gehl, R. 2013. pp: 228-9). To relate to previous example, my brother has not added his family members on his Facebook since he does not want his personal life to be disclosed via Facebook. Overall, I agree with Gehl’s arguments about frustration regarding Facebook as a social media site trying to take over the internet.

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