The Zuck doth protest too much, methinks

Addressing some of the recent “headwinds” facing Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that we are seeing a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.”

Really? Stop it. Facebook is guilty of everything it is being accused of (and much, much more), but none of that matters. Unless the government decides to nationalize social media, nothing is going to change. If — by some distortion of reality — the government wins this battle (it can’t, BTW), the aftermath will make us wish for the “good ol’ days.”

Facebook does not create content. Facebook does not “decide” what we like. Facebook feeds us what we train it to feed us.

Think about this… when you were a kid, you would have loved to only eat cookies. But no matter how much you begged, someone in authority prevented you from living on a pure Cookie Monster diet, presumably “for your own good.” But cookies taste great! (Please substitute your favorite food for cookies; your “feed” will, by default, be customized for you.) Given a choice, you would only eat cookies. (Do you see where this is going?) Facebook feeds you what you want. That’s all it does.

If you think Facebook is going away, think again. Facebook is one of the most effective advertising platforms in the world. There is nothing to replace it. Not TV, not radio, not other social media platforms, not Google, not Amazon, not Walmart, not Tencent, not Baidu, not chat, nothing.

Why? Aside from the fact that it feeds you exactly what you want when you want it, Facebook is immune to the demise of third-party cookies, and Zuck is committed to dealing with the issues caused by Apple’s ATT privacy policy. (Speaking of Apple’s privacy policies, ask a developer how much it now costs to launch an app. Apple’s parochial attitude is probably a 10x tax on app developers, but that’s a story for another day.)

The only way to stop Facebook is to tell people they can’t have what they want, then to tell advertisers that they can’t use available technology to maximize their return on advertising spend by putting the right ad in front of the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Both of these ideas are non-starters.

There are a couple of very specific ways to add some content controls to all social media platforms; sadly, because they require nuanced thought, experimentation, and complex iteration, none of them are being discussed in the town square. Our politicians are profoundly unprepared to fight this fight, and they are either going to lose huge or do more harm than good.

What you see on Facebook (and any other social media platform) is a highly accurate reflection of you. If you don’t like what you see, you can begin changing the world one post at a time.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it. Facebook is a featured partner of the Shelly Palmer Innovation Series.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, and is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC and writes a popular daily business blog. He’s the Co-Host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and he hosts the Shelly Palmer #CryptoWednesday Livestream. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.

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