As many of you know, the social-networking site Facebook instituted some major changes to its platform that have users furious. Many of Facebook’s 9.5 million users are not staying silent about the change.
A Fox News article reports that an online petition against the changes has been signed by over 500,000 people. A Wall Street Journal article details that over 330,000 users have joined the Facebook group Students Against Facebook News Feed.
Will all their complaining make a difference? Maybe. But it also may have the reverse effect. Here’s what WebProNews has to say:
- Facebook has over nine million members logging 6 billion page views a month. Under half a million members protesting does not a revolution make.
- Those who do protest, mostly protest by making Facebook groups and chatting on the site. That’s not a cold shoulder, that’s solid traffic.
In other words, percentage-wise, there are not that many people acting on their complaints. And those who are complaining are doing it in a way that is increasing traffic to the site that they are complaining about.
My favorite quote about the situation is from a student complaining about how easy it is to find out information about people now–“I thought stalking was supposed to be hard.”
My theory is that, by making more information readily available to people about what actions you take on Facebook, this change increases the level of accountability people have for what they do online–and they don’t like that. It makes them uncomfortable because it infringes on their online anonymity.
It was a lot easier for them to justify to themselves that it was acceptable to waste excessive time on Facebook if no one else would know about it. But now that all their friends can easily see how many walls they’ve written on in the last hour, they don’t like it. If you’re not doing anything on Facebook that you don’t want people to know about, then you should welcome accountability.
In our fallen state, we have a natural resistance to accountability because accountability requires responsibility. So, should this new form of accountability on Facebook remain? Maybe. But let this be a reminder to all of us on the need for accountability in our own lives. If you’re not doing anything (and even if you are doing something) in life that you don’t want people to know about, then you should welcome accountability.