Facebook has recently announced that it is going to start charging you up to £11 to send messages to ‘celebrities’.
If there wasn’t enough of an issue already with giving this private corporation a monopoly on the way we communication, this should persuade people to move to alternatives. This comes on the back of huge privacy issues, the profiting from your personal data (on Facebook, you are the product, being sold to advertisers), and the secret ‘algorithm’ which decides what you see on your news feed. An algorithm which allows people to pay to promote their posts.
Facebook represents, and apparently believes in, the model of a society where those with more money have a greater voice. And for those who believe in the right to free speech and the right to protest, Facebook should be anathema: it could be shut down by the authorities when desired, and also leaves the potential for selective censorship (you know when any posts related to Christmas, Easter or whatever pop up on your news feed? Imagine if any posts related to, say, UK Uncut were automatically downgraded…). Moreover, people have been arrested for things said on Facebook and Twitter; and Cameron has been suggested that Facebook could be shut down during ‘social unrest’.
The alternatives are out there; Diaspora is a social network that is free and federated (meaning that, like email, it can be installed on many different servers which can talk to each other – you can install your own ‘pod’ to keep control of your own data).
Here’s a more articulate indictment of Facebook than mine: Why I’m not on Facebook
And here’s an article about how Facebook scans your private messages. There’s also some more information about Facebook changes and privacy here.