Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meet the enemy of the internet!

Not the government, not some anonymous hacking group, virus or terrorist network; the greatest threat to the internet as it exists today is from none other than its biggest site, Facebook!

Facebook likes you, but hates the internet!

Before I explain why or how, let me first give you a quick background about why Facebook is in a position to threaten the internet.

The back story:

Newspapers, radio and television are the three main sources of news for us till date. They are typically run by Governments or Businesses that have commercial and political interests to cater to. There is always a danger of the news being censored, biased or sensationalized and one can never really believe every word one reads or hears through these mediums. Such is their reputation that the villain in the 1997 James Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was a media baron who controlled and manipulated news to his advantage. That was the year before Google was born and the rest as we all know is history.

Once the flood gates of internet opened, mainstream media was no longer the only gatekeeper of news, it was a free world and anyone was free to post anything anywhere on the internet, my blog is an example of the same. Most of the online content was discovered because we searched for it, mainly via Google Search. Then came social networks and the concept of sharing came into prominence. Twitter and Facebook bring news straight into our News Feeds and we do not have to go anywhere else searching for news.

If it is not shared on Facebook it does not exist!

While Twitter still remains a niche network with a small percentage of active users who make all the noise, the dominance of Facebook has been so huge that almost everyone we know in real life is a member there, and quite active too. Apart from this we have celebrities and brands who keep screaming at us to LIKE their Pages on Facebook at the expense of their own official websites. Facebook Pages are far more attractive to them because that is where all the people are. In due course of time Facebook has become not just another website but...

Facebook is ‘The Internet’ for many!

This places Facebook in a position of great power. And like that famous dialogue from the Spiderman movie “With great power comes great responsibility”, we expect Facebook to act with maturity as people depend on it to bring them the news. Instead, it is slowly turning out to be a very smart villain and with the IPO money, things can get really bad. Hence the focus of my post is on Facebook, on how it treats ‘The Internet’ as its arch enemy, and why we should be concerned about it. When I say ‘The Internet’ I mean the internet that exists outside the walls of Facebook. With respect to Twitter, I already called it a BITCH once; it is now time for Facebook to face the heat. Here it goes...