I enjoy Facebook (FB for short). It is a great place to connect with people I don’t get to see on a regular basis. I can keep up with my children and see pictures of my beautiful granddaughter. And being largely confined to the house now, those connection is important to me. I get relevant news on topics that matter to me. It a good place for healthy discussion and interaction. And it’s an outlet for trivial, fun information…and a venue to display my snarky side. It’s actually the only social media I use, having abandoned Twitter several years ago. I have a Linkedin profile, but never check the site, and I have no “interest” in Pinterest. I’ve never even visited some of the newer, popular sites. (How strange is it that Facebook is now considered “old school.” I remember when we had to use a Slam Book.)
I know that FB has many detractors; I think they bring much of the criticism on themselves with some of the random changes. However, change is not all bad. I gave it some thought, and came with Eight Changes that I would implement if I were giving the orders.
1. I would charge for a FB account. Now before you click and storm off, hear me out. Facebook has 1.3 billion users, so if each account were charged a small fee, we could do away with ads completely.
Personally, I don’t mind suggestions about companies I might “Like,” based on my profile and my posts, especially local businesses. (I wish it were more accurate at times…but it’s an algorithm, not artificial intelligence.) But don’t bombard me over and over, especially after I indicated that I’m not interested. And don’t “fake post” something on my news feed, which is nothing more than an ad in disguise.
2. Privacy would mean privacy! I would not sell personal information. (After all, I’m making a fortune by charging folks to use FB.)
3. Beyond “Like.” If someone posts something that I like, there’s a button for that. It’s the only button. But if a friend posts that their dog died, it seems heartless to “Like” the post, giving the impression that I find it…likeable. Additional buttons would be helpful to show my friends that I’ve read their post. (They do have these now in FB messaging.) How about a “Sad” button? Or an “LOL” button? The possibilities are endless.
4. No Poking! I admit that I don't understand the purpose for the "Poke" feature, and I’m not sure what to do when one of my friends “pokes” me. Am I supposed to ask "What do you need?" Seems to me that "poking" them back just keeps a cycle going. I would do away with this feature, replacing with something less obscure and obtrusive, like a wave.
5. Enforced Code of Conduct. According to the FB guidelines, a Page, person or comment can be reported for sexually explicit content, spam, hate speech, advocating violence or harmful behavior. Several times, I’ve reported Pages and comments, only to be told by FB that after investigation, they didn’t see the comments as a violation. (One of the pages was called “Kids With Cancer are Funny…because they die!” and it contained pictures of sick kids.) I'm all for free speech, but if I were in charge, the Code would be clear and simple: you cannot promote violence or hate or bullying. If you do, you are gone.
6. Game on…and off! On my “Menu” in the left-hand column, FB continues to include a Games link. And when a friend plays a game, FB lets me know. But I don’t want to play game on FB (!!!), so I should have an opt out. And anyone who attempts to include me would be notified that I don’t receive Game Requests.
7. Expanded Photo “tagging.” I would make it mandatory that adult content be tagged. I’m not a prude, but if the photo includes nudity, the person posting must state that up front. (No pun intended) I have a couple of friends who like to post artful nude photos. It’s their page, and they are free to do that, but not everyone wants to see it. We should be alerted so we can set our privacy to hide all photos that include nudity. (Or put them somewhere for private viewing.)
8. More Personalized Presence. Why do I need a FB page and a website? FB could be my website, if I had some customization control, like adding my own tabbed pages and sections, arranging (or hiding) columns the way I want them to appear, choosing different colors, etc. I would give FB more features in order to keep people on my social media platform instead of having to go to other sites
Facebook users number more than some small countries, but it is obviously not a democracy. So as I ponder the changes I would make if I owned FB (and all my new-found riches), I invite your input. What changes would you like to see?
P.S. I invite you to "Like" my Facebook Author's page.