Facebook, born “The Facebook” in or around 2003 and launched in 2004, was found dead this morning by any and all reasonable standards. It was 17.
Facebook grew in popularity between 2009 and 2012, and by 2014, it became the premier source of information — good bad or otherwise — in the free world. At its peak, the platform boasted more than 2 billion accounts. Publishers spent millions of dollars building and growing their Facebook presence. Content creators from across the globe provided the company with a sea of free material. People flocked to their newsfeed whenever possible to get a good dose of the things they liked.
And then it happened. Sometime between 2014 and 2016, Mark Zuckerberg decided he was our Dad. No longer were we going to have this unrestricted access to the things we created or liked. No longer would we have any real control over the things we see and interact with. Facebook became the moral authority and arbiter of truth, all while vowing to “stay out of it.”
In reality, it was all about the money. Zuck wanted his piece of the pie. Billionaires hoard cash and nobody shows up with a psychiatrist and a Got Junk truck and does anything about it, so things got worse. We started to see fewer of our favorite things. The big names that could afford to advertise flourished and the small pages that had — for years — provided the memes and shareable blurbs that made the newsfeed so enjoyable, found themselves shelved and reaching nobody.
In 2018 Zuck decided to kill that billion-dollar publishing industry he created, without warning, putting thousands of people out of a job and turning huge pages with massive audiences into wastelands. Smaller publishers just quit and never returned. So you got to see “friends and family” for about 7 months before he decided that wasn’t lucrative enough and flipped the switch that would allow publishers to go viral once again. It would never be the same.
At the end of 2020, with the threat of Trumpism being blamed on him coupled with some really shitty algorithms and horrifyingly bad code, Facebook went completely to shit. Nothing has worked right since. Newsfeeds are full of old posts and repetitive ads. Comments and replies are missing or out of order. People are getting 30-day timeouts for things taken so far out of context by the garbage bot system patrolling for “community standards violations” that it’s not even worth posting at all.
The good news is, while Facebook is officially dead for those of us who used it for what it was worth all of these years — good bad or otherwise –, if you’re a simple Boomer who doesn’t require anything other than a mindless newsfeed full of shiny Boomer things to click, you’ll be all set. You’re Zuck’s safety net, and he knows it.
I look forward to this post reaching nobody.