It amazes me how much time “normal people” sink into Facebook. I really don’t understand it.
It all comes down to what job you expect Facebook to do for you. Facebook’s original premise was to keep you connected to your friends and family, and arguably, they’ve never done a worse job of that than now. Its algorithmic news feed makes it near impossible to know if you’ve seen all of the latest updates from your friends, because it is more interested in what it believes is relevant for you than letting you make the choice yourself. As Facebook tried to become more of a force in the media industry, its algorithm really tried to jam content from brands and news sites (and advertisers, although that one is more understandable if they want to keep the lights on) down your throat whether you wanted to see it or not.
Any attempt to convince people you know at Facebook that this isn’t a good product will be rebutted with data and statistics on how engagement is up, so clearly, everything is doing just fine. But of course engagement is up, because you’re feeding people the posts they are most likely to want to engage with. Engagement isn’t necessarily a metric for customer satisfaction, it’s just the metric that matters to Facebook most, because at the heart of it all, they are an advertising company, and the longer they keep you on the site, the more money they can milk out of you.
There once was a time when I could go to Facebook, browse around for a couple minutes, and come out the other side more aware of what my friends are doing, and generally feel good. I can’t remember when that last time was. The Facebook news feed nowadays is the most depressing website I can think of going to on the Internet, excluding poll results for the US general election. If I go to Facebook now, I will leave less happy than I was when I started typing in the URL, guaranteed.
I’ve talked to other people who put many hours a week into being on Facebook, and they agree with me that the product’s been going downhill for years. And yet, it’s become such a habit that they can’t seem to quit. I’ve stopped going to Facebook several times a day, and now only go about once a week. 95% of the stuff in my news feed when I show up is complete garbage, so I can’t say I feel like I’m missing anything. Good riddance.