Hey Facebook, it’s 2018 and it’s about time that you did something to clean up your act. I get that freedom of speech and press is one of the core principles that this country is founded on, but when it starts to affect other people, something needs to be done about it. So I am really happy that they’re testing a “downvote” button on some mobile users in the US.
As of right now, Facebook has become a platform where it is incredibly easy to post whatever your heart desires. My timeline is littered with pages (most of which were legitimate at one point or another) posting whatever clickbait they deem captivating enough for the time being. Nothing is actually worth the clicks though. Everything is questionable at best, and almost nothing is worth my time. And there is nothing I can do about it. Wow! I can react with a mad face! That’ll show them! Yeah, right. Any press is good press for these people. fake news is good news if people are willing to click on the links.
Because of this, I am spending less and less time on Facebook, as it is literally just a time pit that I get sucked into for minutes to hours every day. I could be doing anything else: homework, hanging out with friends, watching the Olympics, etc. But no. I digress.
What is important to me is that finally Facebook is doing something to help clean the garbage out of its newsfeed. It is finally working on a downvote button, which is essentially the report button, but made more convenient and user-friendly. Instead of being hidden in the drop down menu, it will (potentially) be right there in the post next to the like and react buttons. The button will hide the post, and give a convenient way to report the post as spam, inappropriate content, fake news, or whatever other way you want to categorize it.
What is so important about this button, however, is that Facebook is actively making it known that this is not a “dislike button.” In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg stated in a Q&A, “We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create.” With the way that society has become, people reacting in the real world to what people say about them online, it is key that there isn’t going to be a voting system on posts. With an emphasis on the mental health aspect of social media – people are more and more reliant on affirmation from people, even strangers, online for self-esteem – Facebook is taking the correct path with this aspect.
But the next step is Facebook Live. Facebook Live has come under fire since it has been launched for allowing Facebook users to post whatever they want, with absolutely no way to censor what they post. From shootings to domestic violence to overdoses and more, thousands and thousands of people have been exposed to some of the worst that humanity has to offer. Yes, fine, eventually these posts will garner enough negative attention that they are taken down by Facebook, but until then anyone is able to see. Especially on a platform where the age restriction is as easy to get around as making up a fake birthday and clicking the box that says, “I am 13,” this is a huge problem. Little kids are seeing what no kid should see. An argument is against censoring Facebook Live is that it’s free speech, and people have consented to seeing everything by clicking that box. Still. It gets to a point where changes need to be made. Nothing has happened with this as of now, but at least other more popular apps have learned from Facebook’s mistakes.
The founders of Snapchat have come out and said that they have no intentions of giving live streaming capabilities to users. Whereas Facebook Live (and Instagram live videos, for that matter) gives ordinary users the ability to reach countless eyes, Snapchat’s live feature will only be available to professionals. Nothing good has come out of letting people reach beyond their direct web of people, and it gets really annoying when I am getting alerts every few minutes that some person or another has started a live video. Who cares? By only giving live streaming capabilities to pros, like NBC during the olympics for coverage of important moments, it allows Snapchat to censor what is being spread to the masses. Only quality content will be shown. So thank you Snapchat. Even though I (and literally everyone else on the planet) hate the new update that you forced on people, you are doing something right when it comes to live streaming. Facebook take note.