Maybe you were biting your tongue, Jeff Jarvis, but I would go one step further. We need to remind ourselves that Facebook is not some irreplaceable, too-big-to-fail utility. And perhaps Facebook itself needs to be reminded, too.
Many people reading here are young/old enough to remember accounts at AOL, Yahoo, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Friendster, MySpace that we thought were awesome. But eventually they all started sucking and we all left and life went on.
Likewise, while it’s considered almost taboo to delete one’s Facebook account, or to simply walk away from it, there’s a number of signs people are simply unhappy with it and spending less time using it.
There’s the so-called “context collapse” of people not sharing updates like they used to. There’s the move to ephemeral services where people don’t feel like they’re stuck with permanent records. There’s an increasing number of reports of Facebook purges after the election.
So it may only be a matter of time before Facebook starts circling the drain. And maybe, good riddance to a company that stood by as journalists were targeted by one of its board members.
Addressing the taboo : Maybe it’s FOMO? Maybe the desire to seem “with it”? (Even though the kids are dropping Facebook usage, and it’s really the Boomers who clog up Facebook with garbage fake news). But speaking as someone who weaned myself slowly off Facebook and finally dropkicked my account for good: there’s certainly plenty of life after it! There’s also much less aggravation with being bombarded by neverending listicles, shrill headlines, narcissistic oversharing, and outright bullshit.
There are also a number of signs that perhaps Facebook is not as solid as it seems. It announced late Friday that it would have a stock buyback (maybe to protect its share price?), and that its Chief Accounting Officer is leaving (under what terms?).
This is after a spectacular failure of its satellite launch, and after it has ‘fessed up (twice!) that Facebook Video has nowhere near the audience it claimed.
So really, who knows? Maybe the market will, in the end, decide that Facebook was a nice tech company — and like many tech companies, it may only be worth the user data we left it and the data centers it owns.