The dangers of a rogue social network

Facebook is at it again. It’s a shame that a company that I used to respect, has degenerated to a degree where I’m no more surprised at their malicious & outright misleading campaigns.

When you can’t convince ’em, confuse

In its effort to get people to support FreeBasics (a renamed, it created a page, designed to have two complementing effects:

Instead of addressing the TRAI’s questions, it goes about a modern twist to what essentially used to be the white man’s burden — that India’s poor need Facebook’s FreeBasics to free them.

Questionable ethics

Then there are reports coming in about how Facebook is asking even non-Indians to show support. It ultimately issued an apology, but only after this was discovered.

However, there’s an even bigger issue here.

What does one do when a social network goes about abusing its monopoly status, to manipulate the psychology of the masses for its vested interests?

The critics of FreeBasics certainly can’t use Facebook’s graph in as seamless a fashion as it did. One could argue that the virality of a social network is available to all. But is it available in as seamless a fashion as their own campaign, with all the unsolicited notifications, and prompts?

There’s something fundamentally wrong with a social network that actively manipulates mass psychology, and this campaign just illustrates the tip of the iceberg.

A conspiracy theorist can be forgiven to fear that this position of power, this capability, can be abused to manipulate even elections. For the time being, I’m not going to make that claim, but simply let our leaders & politicians assimilate this fact, and think about reigning in a company that by every single metric, has gone rogue!

Co-founder & Engineer at, Open Source proponent, Proud Indian

Co-founder & Engineer at, Open Source proponent, Proud Indian