As a company, we’ve come to the decision to delete our Facebook page. Facebook’s policies and business practices goes against our values of honesty and transparency, while also abusing its users’ trust. For Ganttic to continue to use Facebook, it would not only be hypocritical, but it could be potentially harmful to our own clients. Whose engagement with us on the platform could be mined by others without their consent. That’s why we decided to quit Facebook altogether.
It all started after I was done reading the NYT article on how Facebook once again was found to be living by their own rules. To sum it up, Facebook was found sharing its users private data with companies like Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Yahoo, and the Russian search giant Yandex.
The terrifying thing is – to those that were paying attention – it didn’t come as a surprise. It’s not like this had been the first time. However, this time, agreements came to the surface that directly contradicted what Facebook had promised its users in 2014 and then again to the Congress just last year.
For me, this was the last straw. Even though I was skeptical before, the last ounce of my trust was gone.
While listing the pros and cons of keeping my Facebook account, something else dawned on me. That is, even if I’m okay with Facebook gathering data about me and sharing it with the businesses they like, there’s another side to the story.
There’s the side that is feeding the monster. The side that I, too, am involved with.
After raising a discussion about it at our office, we came to a conclusion.
The Business Side of Facebook
Facebook looks like social networking site, works like a social networking site, makes the notification sounds of a social networking site, but actually is an advertising tool.
And it’s a good advertising one at that.
Facebook itself says that the main reason to advertise with them is that your audience is there. There are 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook. There are advanced targeting options like location, age, gender, interests, demographics, behavior, and connections. You can upload the data you have about your clients and Facebook will find them or will draw up a Lookalike Audience.
Even if your aim is not reaching new audiences, it’s still a good place to – as they say it – get your content in front of the people you care about most.
Facebook can also be used for providing customer support, creating brand awareness and other marketing activities. People can find your business, connect with it, and you can make sure that their questions are answered.
The confusing bit is that the users usually don’t see Facebook as the yellow pages. Users see it as a way to present themselves and connect with people. Nowadays also to read the news and tag their friends in funny videos.
Facebook has blurred the lines between private and public and has thus made its users to trust it. Implying that it’s safe to share information that was once considered very private.
It has asked you to share your phone number and location with it. Made possible to communicate to your loved ones about the most intimate things using its services. Learned about what you like and don’t like. It knows the things about you that only maybe your close family and friends know about you.
Then, it took that trust, and the data that came with it, and gave it to its selected partners without your consent. What’s perhaps the shadiest part, the same rules don’t seem to apply to all partners and developers, and there is still no evidence of Facebook ever auditing the partners to make sure that users’ data is safe.
A Two-Way Street
It’s clear that the advertisers, as well as the partners, play an important role in supporting Facebook and its ways to do business. Without users, there’s no data for Facebook to analyze and sell. However, without advertisers, there’s no one to sell the data to. It’s a two-way street.
The two values that we hold close to our hearts (and our work ethic) are honesty and transparency. What Facebook has done again and again is neither honest or transparent.
Although we are not the most avid Facebook users or advertisers, we feel like even having a business page there is too much support for a service that treats the trust and the data of its users the way that Facebook has. And hey, if it reduces our digital footprint, it’s better still.
So we’ve officially deleted our Facebook page.
If were are a part of our Facebook community and used to getting news about Ganttic there or use it to contact us, please know that we will still be active on both Twitter and LinkedIn. The fastest way to reach our support team is using email.
At Ganttic we believe in honesty and transparency. And created our product to reflect those values.