There is a way to destroy Facebook, and it is… Facebook

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Recently, Mat Honan spent 48 hours liking everything on Facebook. Every single post Mat saw, received a thumbs up. He only made one exception: a post on the death of a friend’s relative. What happened next was quite surprising. Mat’s Facebook feed turned into an endless stream of (clickbait) articles by Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and the Huffington Post, mixed with dozens of ads. Posts from friends (real people) stopped appearing in Mat’s feed. Not only had he turned his own Facebook experience into an ever lasting commercial break, by liking all of these posts he ruined his friends’ feed as well. Their feed had turned into a stream of commercial posts Mat liked.

I hear people complain about Facebook a lot. “They share my details with advertisers and even the government.” “They keep changing their terms and conditions.” “They’re forcing me to use a messenger app I don’t really want to use.” I think, it’s questionable whether you – as a user – are allowed to complain about all of this when you have been using this tool for free for a very long time and keep using it nonetheless. However, it appears there’s now a way to end all of this and destroy Facebook, by using… Facebook. Or more specifically: it’s famous Like-button.

Mediocracy sells. If you want to appeal to a large audience, you don’t want to be too outspoken, nor too in depth on a certain topic. This is one of the reasons Hollywood is making so many sequels to successful movies and remakes of old successful movies. This is one the reasons watching commercial television is like eating a burger at McDonald’s. It tastes good, but one can hardly call it an exquisite meal. When a lot of people are watching, you can show them an ad, which might help them think they need to buy a certain product or service. And as long as companies are willing to pay for reach, mediocracy will keep on selling. Ads that is.

However, too much mediocracy (or too much of anything for that matter) isn’t very much appreciated by any one. No matter how much you love McDonald’s, eating there every day would ruin the experience for you in the end. The same thing is apparently possible on Facebook. Liking too much, enables users to turn Facebook into an overcommercial monster, obese with ads and commercial content that pushes real people who share real information out of their feed and that of their friends. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm might actually be it’s Achilles’ heel…

When I shared Mat’s article on Twitter this morning (“Looking to get rid of all those real people on Facebook? Like everything and you’ll be done in 48 hours.”), it received a few ReTweets and Favorites. A confirmation of the aforementioned sentiment towards Facebook. One person responded “What if everyone on Facebook started doing this?” and then it hit me: What if everybody would start liking everything they saw on Facebook? Then all of our feeds and our friends’ feeds would turn into a giant shit stream of clickbait and ads. We would ruin our own Facebook experience, and that of our friends. In the end, leaving Facebook with no users and no one to sell ads to. And all it would require, is a bunch of people with 48 hours on their hands and nothing else to do then clicking Like-buttons on every single piece of content the platform offers them.

Curious to see whether people have the guts to kill the monster they helped create. What do you think?

Main image: Jochem Koole, license: CC BY

Published on: 13 August 2014