Happy 15th Birthday for tomorrow Facebook! Here's fifteen things you gave the world
1. Fake News
Even this week you were exposed as a platform where lies masquerade as truths - to the detriment of social minorities and politics everywhere. Where 20 fake news stories from the US 2016 election can attract more engagement than 20 top real ones.
2. Tone deaf corporate morality
This week you admitted paying 13-year-olds $20 monthly gift cards in exchange for near 'limitless' access to their personal data via an app called Facebook Research, which tracked the children. Srsly.
3. A distain for privacy
Because of persuasive companies like yours, we mostly just click 'agree' and give away our data, although in the case of the Cambridge Analytica story, you let it be stolen from us. The tide might be turning...
4. The super-geek Mark Zuckerberg
At 34, your CEO from White Plains, New York remains the world's richest nerd, with much to answer for, including that grey t-shirt/blue jeans Silcon Valley uniform. Many believe 2019 will be make or break for his leadership.
Launched 10 years ago next week (February 9th 2009), the thumbs up like button has become a social media addiction. More likes = more popular! Fewer likes? Hm. No wonder the engineer who invented it, Justin Rosenstein, logged off you in 2017.
6. Birthday reminders and memories
You make sure we'll never forget a birthday again. Actually useful. Memories? Who doesn't like it when Instagram (bought by you in 2012) sends For You video compilations of long forgotten holidays we couldn't be bothered to collate.
7. A new apologist-in-chief
Former deputy PM Nick Clegg and now your latest 'sorry' man used his first speech in the job last week in Brussels to do what he does best - show remorse. Top choice - this is going to be endlessly entertaining.
8. Unhappy children
Your Instagram platform is habitually the worst app for young people's mental health. Most recently, the father of British teenager Molly Russell, who killed herself after being assailed by images of self harm allowed on Instagram, said: “There’s no doubt that Instagram played a part in Molly’s death.”
Where would the world's most annoying people be without Instagram? Still singing into hairbrushes in suburban bedrooms. Now you want a slice of the money pie with your Brand Collabs Manager delivering 'personalised' advertising experiences. PS Please God, if anyone knows an influencer whose ROI is greater than his/her fee, tell us pronto.
10. A 'donate' button that raises millions for charities
Launched in 2013, that donate button makes it super simple to be generous. Also, your 2017 don't-send-presents birthday fundraiser feature has since raised $300m. Genius. Your cut? A processing fee of 6.9% plus 30 cents per donation, obvs.
11. A platform to connect 2.3 billion people
Increasingly it's older people who still absolutely love you. All those pictures of babies and pets, all those supportive Facebook groups. You do keep a lot of people happy. Teens? They're leaving in their millions, with figures drastically falling.
12. A masterclass in how to copy ideas (mostly Snapchat's)
Early on, you copied the like button from social aggregator site FriendFeed, before buying the company. But when Snapchat refused your $3bn offer in 2013, you went into overdrive, copying its 'story' format, its geofilters, the selfies mask ... basically every fun thing. Brutal.
13. A perfect money-making machine
Despite disastrous PR in 2018, your profits remain impervious - a record $6.88bn for Q4 2018, compared with $4.27bn the year before. Businesses love your targeted advertising (which has killed off the poor newspaper industry).
14. A 'Film-it-all' era of social media
What was once carefree fun has, for many, been transformed into endless brand maintenance that makes narcissists and bores of us all. Concerts, parties, festivals, restaurants and events? Often only seen through the lens of a phone.
15. The creeps
I tried deleting you once and you simply didn't let me. Just kept popping right back up. This piece about how you lie and this one about shadow profiling and your spooky People You May Know recommendations epitomises everything that's dark and sinister about you.
Anyway many happy returns.
Perhaps it's time to start acting less like a teen and more like a grown-up?