Are we witnessing a Facebook crisis or an existential crisis faced by the media itself?

TIME published a new cover asking readers if they were ready to “Delete Facebook.” Before joining in the relentless Facebook bashing (spearheaded by the traditional media), perhaps it is good to consider the following.

Are we witnessing a Facebook crisis or an existential crisis faced by the media itself?
Photo: Illustration by TIME

Facebook, like virtually all media (both offline and online), is built on the business model that polarizes society and tends to show people the content that they agree with and thus reinforces peoples’ opinions, prejudices and perceptions, thereby causing even more division. All media play the same game – they traffic in drama and outrage to draw ratings and generate clicks. It is hard to find the media outlet that has not sold its soul for likes and advertising revenue, that has not lost its ability to report objectively… And the problem of fake news has always been a problem. Foreign/government propaganda didn’t start with Facebook or social media either.
 
People are right to be concerned about social media’s influence on society and on people’s health; however, they should be equally concerned about how the traditional media encourages them to interpret and misinterpret those issues. The overwhelming majority of studies suggest that social media can have both positive and negative effects. None of this is to say that Facebook shouldn’t be regulated or that its actions don’t deserve scrutiny. But squashing Facebook, gagging Google, and controlling the internet will not solve the problem, at least not in the way portrayed and/or wished by traditional media (and some politicians/governments). To that end, I would prefer TIME’s photo without the cursor, how about you?

Dejan Trpkovic
Managing Director, PRODIREKT
Founder of Verbalists Education & Language Network

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