Facebook has shown its true face … and it’s not pretty
They say when one door closes, another always opens.
Facebook's move on Thursday shut the door for Australian users to read or share news on its platform.
But it also opened another door to new opportunities.
At its best Facebook was a platform that connected people, found long lost friendships and helped create new ones.
It was an exciting new example to show that technology too can be humane, social, a friend.
But the truth is, Facebook was never our friend and it never will be.
In its infancy, it was a chauvinistic prank website Mark Zuckerberg created in his college dorm to rank women based on their appearances - a fact Zuckerberg has confirmed but laughed off in the past.
Today, it is a virtual space that breeds cyberbullies; feeds insecurities and, even more concerning, fosters extremism.
It has stripped us off the ability to see all content. Instead its powerful algorithm controls what content we should see.
The result? We are no longer exposed to a richness of opinions, instead we see a one-sided view of the world.
Misinformation is not policed and our data is not ours to keep.
Facebook divides and controls.
And the only aim is to make us stickier, more addicted, to its platform.
Too many times have I scrolled through my personal feed late at night only to find myself throwing the phone to the side with a feeling of emptiness.
Nothing was gained from my time spent on the platform, other than disappointment and anger.
You could argue we all need Facebook. We need it to promote our businesses, our stories or our identities.
But the truth is Facebook needs us more.
It needs the content, whether it's well-researched, expensive journalism or trivial status updates.
Because with more content comes a bigger audience.
And with a bigger audience comes more advertising money.
And that Facebook has a lot of.
Combined with Google, the two tech giants control 80 per cent of the entire digital advertising share in Australia.
Despite the money-making machine Facebook is, it refuses to pay a fair amount to the industries that invest in the only quality content the social media juggernaut offers.
When Australia's new Media Bargaining law was proposed, Facebook had an opportunity to prove that it placed a real value on quality content.
It had the opportunity to promote an environment that was fair, balanced and accurate - not one-sided, divisive and misinformed.
Facebook perfected the art of making people addicted to its platform. It had the opportunity to perfect the art of making people come to its platform out of free will.
But instead it showed its true face.
Facebook chose to close its doors to real information.
But while Facebook closed its doors, Google may have started opening its own.