Facebook has been around for nearly 13 years already, and, in the last decade, purchased both WhatsApp and Instagram. A current survey by multimedia institution The Verge revealed that more than 50% of respondents were not aware that Instagram's parent company is Facebook. A further 29% of respondents were unaware that Facebook is also the parent company of WhatsApp.
This response only magnifies the obliviousness of users when it comes to the social giant's ever-expanding reach. In this article, we take a look at Facebook’s magnitude as well as the criticism from both the government and the public.
The Power of Facebook
The Verge’s survey results have raised many questions regarding the power and overall influence of Facebook. 72% of respondents feel that Facebook has too much power.
Between 2010 and 2019, Facebook held a firm first-place position for the most downloaded mobile app. Runner-ups include Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, YouTube, and Twitter.
With billions of users scattered around the globe, the social media giant now owns the four most used and downloaded communication apps, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have quickly caught millions of users’ attention, offering better user interface, end-to-end encryption, and improved file sharing.
Facebook Messenger, the primary messaging app by Facebook, has been a standard alternative for millions of American users in more recent years. Today, both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp receive large numbers of downloads internationally.
Lately, Facebook has been rolling out its rebranding strategy, making it better for users to see which company owns their favorite apps. An alarming amount of Instagram users have only recently seen this new addition to their sign-in screen, but Facebook is implementing new and better ways for users to understand how all of these apps are becoming more integrated.
Concerns and Criticisms
With the great power it holds, issues of reliability and credibility soon becomes one of the main concerns for users. Although many users may be unaware of company ownership, a different survey has shown that between 58% and 63% of respondents do not trust or use Facebook for personal communication purposes. Users have become somewhat apprehended, saying that Facebook has become unreliable, but in the same breath praise how Instagram is a better alternative for them.
The company has been at the mercy of public scrutiny for years, facing federal charges on Russian disinformation. Perhaps most importantly, Facebook has been questioned for the safety and privacy of user data and security. In the United States, the federal government has already been at work, trying to clamp down on the flood of personal information passing through Facebook engines.
The US public has become increasingly supportive of rewriting current policies and government regulating big tech companies. But as the company battles thorough investigation, there is still the question of how Facebook uses its power to influence not only the American public but those around the world. An unfavorable opinion about Facebook has aired over time, and it may take some time for the company to instill trust back into their users.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has shared his worries that, in time, the government may need more regulation and involvement to control big tech companies. The problem doesn’t necessarily lie with one company owning another, but rather the underlying issues of user data and security being cross-shared by big tech companies.
Facebook continues to integrate some of the most used and popular messenger apps around the world, but at what cost? Social media has now become the most powerful marketing tool in the modern world, connecting a once secluded civilization and transforming it into a global audience.