Facebook Instant Articles – Part I

The biggest media news for May were about Facebook Instant articles.

Facebook social media platform announced in an appealing blog its new service called “Instant articles”. A step that is welcomed by many media outlets (better put main stream media). I am going to discuss in a series of three articles why this is dangerous and take the heart of journalism -Honesty.

After appropriating Whats App, Facebook controlled most of the conversations of the world. Whats App to those who do not know it is an application used mainly through mobile phones and was a revolutionary creation in the world of text messaging. After appropriating Instagram, which is the most recognized photo-sharing application, Facebook controlled most of the images shared world wide. In other words, Facebook is almost controlling the world’s humans’ communication.

Whats app not only provided Facebook with huge lexical corps of humanity unofficial conversations (19 billion messages a day, yes billion), but also with phone numbers. That is to say more personalizing and identity verification. To understand why lexical content shared in private messages is important one needs to understand the two main reasons people use Facebook for. Huge research contributed to this understanding, but it can be summarized under two main categories; 1.Sense of belonging and, 2.Self expressing. As Facebook users, we have two identities at least, a publicly shared one, and an inbox hidden another one. Facebook black mail us without even saying that. Facebook is our new psychiatrist who does not give us any direct advices. And this psychiatrist has a much bigger advantage; he did not promise us to keep our secrets, and by contrast, he made us sign an authorization letting him use our data in whatever reasonable way he finds! So our much truer identity is hidden in our inbox. And by the way, since we are talking about privacy, research show that -we- know almost nothing about how our privacy is invaded. We just click and the cost of this click turns out to be costly. With Whats App appropriation Facebook go further to confirm if our inbox behavior patterns are identical in the two inboxes; the Facebook one and the Whats App one. What is the point of this? Knowing us, and it worth buying it for $16 billion on 2014. Do not forget there were 700 million photos shared on a daily basis through whats app in 2014. Knowing us is not just knowing for the sake of knowing, in fact it is knowing for predicting, and predicting for controlling. This is not a conspiracy theory, In fact i worked out 70+ theories in communication related to influence. Its is really scary how manipulative this can be. But wait a moment, it has some adrenaline rush in it too. And the good news is that we have the upper hand under one condition. But this is the subject of the last article in this series.

With Instagram, The photo-sharing application, Facebook identifies us and our preferences visually. Despite the huge success of Instagram today it only cost Facebook a $1 billion in 2012 to have all these potentials. Instagram does not only provide more and more images about me which make learning machine softwares work better and eventually visual recognition get more accurate. No, Instagram is about the power of image. Most of the content shared on facebook is images. Facebook learned that through us, when they first launched back in 2004 they did not know that enough, within time they did. In fact, they learned well enough to make them pay that money to buy instagram. Image power is amazing, it motivates people and deactivate them! Image power can really be destructive -specially when the images are faked-.

So now that Facebook has the power of knowing us -more than we know ourselves– YES this is the subject of what does facebook know about us? Now Facebook has the power to control us through images and messages, let us see how they already did this, and how they will continue to do it in the near future. Facebook Instant Articles – Part II


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  1. Facebook Instant Articles – Part II | Bilal Zaiter - May 29, 2015

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