A few months ago, when the campaigning for the presidential election was going on across the states, Mark Zuckerberg shared some thoughts that indicated he doesn’t like the newly elected president Donald Trump. He said,
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls, and distancing people they label as ‘others’.”
In fact, he was so much against the concept of deporting the immigrants and building the wall at Mexico border that he clearly stated,
“We stand for connecting every person. For a global community, for bringing people together, for giving all people a voice, for a free flow of ideas and culture across nations.”
Zuckerberg loves freedom of speech
Seeing such remarks, you may say that Mark is truly a liberal person. He may want a country where people can live freely without any fear of racism and enjoy the freedom of speech. However, no matter what he says publicly, it is a fact that Facebook, as a social media platform, has helped Donald Trump influence voters’ thoughts and win this election.
Reality differs from the facade
Technically you may argue that Facebook connects billions of people across the globe. But truthfully, it did nothing but created barriers between friends, families and in the society itself. Facebook promotes anger, hatred, fake news and even conspiracy theories. Why Facebook does this? The only reason is retaining users’ attention and thus, its enormous profit from the PPC ads. Facebook personalizes your news feed to make sure that you stay glued to it. You may have hundreds of friends and liked thousands of pages and groups. But Facebook makes sure that you get to see only those status updates and comments and shares that give you an adrenaline rush. It simply prioritizes stories that you are interested in and hides anything that challenges your prejudice. Facebook spent years to create an algorithm that will compartmentalize thoughts and ideas so that there is a divide among the communities across the world.
Influencing the thought process of voters before election
Many people accused Facebook for spoon feeding us information and damaging our ability to think rationally, but Facebook never flinched. Influential people across the globe urged the world’s most popular social media website to set some editorial standards because dozens of fake news stories are shared on Facebook every day, but Mark Zuckerberg simply said,
“People who are editing content… That’s not us… We are a tech company, not a media company.”
So, how does this affected the USA election results? Well, almost everyone thought that Clinton would win, but Trump proved them all wrong. He, or rather his supporters, used the “personalized newsfeed” strategy of Facebook to spread conspiracy theories. Some teenagers in Macedonia realized that both Facebook and its users love sensational stories, without verifying if it’s true or not! Thus, these Macedonian teens spread dozens of conspiracy theories targeting Hillary Clinton and supporting Donald Trump’s ideology. Immediately, those inaccurate stories went viral.
When a senior journalist asked a top level Facebook executive about its role in such hyper debates and whether the company feels bad, he simply said that their job is to do give people a voice, not to dictate what they will say using their voice. Basically, what he meant was Facebook didn’t play any role to aggravate the common people of the nation; they were already angry and decided to vote for Donald Trump because he touched their emotional pressure points.
The argument in defense
While many people blame Facebook for the rise of Donald Trump, there are also plenty of individuals who believe that it is wrong to blame Facebook. One such person is Krishna Subramanian, the owner of social media analytics company Captiv8. He and many others believe that it is the responsibility of users to decide what they want to see in the Newsfeed. After all, nobody forces users to like a page that caters to their ideology. Similarly, nobody forces people to share something they don’t like. In fact, Facebook has given its users an option to hide posts if they don’t like the content. The founder of Kik also supports Facebook. In order to prove his point, he said that the average income of American families, especially, the working class, reduced as much 50% in the past 15 years. Thus, they were angry and voted for Trump.
It may not be practical to give credit to a social media network for the surprising outcome of the USA election. But it is also an undeniable fact that Facebook somehow provided a platform for its users that helped them distort facts and influence common people’s thought process. By becoming the president of the world’s most powerful nation, Donald Trump simply proved the marketing potential of Facebook once again. If you know how to promote a person or a business on Facebook, nothing can stop you from achieving your goal.
This article is written by Vinod Jethwani. He is the CEO and Founder of Walnut Solutions and he helps web based companies withhis SEO strategies to grown their revenue. He started his career in 2007 as a software developer with an Indian based MNC and laterin 2011 became an entrepreneur. Follow him on Twitter or through his blog.