The Financial has published an opinion piece by John Thornhill entitled “It’s time to think about a post-Facebook world.”
The writer said that with 2.8 billion Facebook users, representing about 60 percent of the world’s connected population, the company has become “too big to manage, let alone set regulations.”
Despite this fact, he added, a range of measures could still help “push social media in a better direction”.
The writer considered that the “painful testimony” presented by former Facebook official, Frances Hogan, before the US Senate this week, “further evidence that the company is harming society, which needs a response.”
He pointed out that the most prominent accusation is that the company’s leadership was aware of the problems caused by Facebook and the company’s Instagram application, “but preferred its large gains to people.”
“There seemed to be a rare bipartisan consensus in the Senate hearing on the urgency of the issue and the need to intervene,” Thornhill said. “Some drew comparisons between Facebook and the tobacco and auto companies, all of which denied that their products were causing serious harm until lawmakers concluded otherwise.”
And he considered that “senators should summon Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond to Hogan’s testimony and encourage more independent research into the impact of the company’s services and the ways in which its algorithms work.”
“They should also support legislation to protect children, defend privacy, and review free speech and antitrust laws,” he added.
“Facebook has no chance of fully dealing with toxic content,” the writer said.
“How can Facebook monitor the flood of harmful content in dozens of languages and cultures it does not understand? In Myanmar, and elsewhere, the company is accused of allowing its services to be used to incite ethnic violence,” he asked.
He concluded by saying that “the best hope may lie in reining in the company by providing more competition and more local networks.” But he cautioned that this might not work if the new platforms worked the same way.