Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Facebook's new restrictions disprove Zuckerberg's "More sharing"

Why Facebook is making it more difficult for its users to share information?

Messages to non friends, and now Recent Posts by others and text-only posts cannot be shared anymore on Facebook Social Pages.


In the past few months, Facebook has introduced a series of restrictions to prevent its 1 billion users from sharing their posts on the social media and in a wider spectrum to freely communicate with each other and with the social pages they like.

The immediate consequence was that many of its users started to question why Facebook introduced this new series of restrictions, given that still at today, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, keeps claiming his personal goal in life is "to bring more people to share and access more information, and help build a “better social fabric".

In fact while Zuckerberg keeps affirming his inclusive attitude, we are witnessing a progressive reduction of freedom within Facebook as a free communication media.

It all started months ago when Facebook limited the possibility of sending messages to people who are not friends..

Before Facebook introduced this restriction, if you didn't like receiving communications from folks you didn't know, you just had to turn off the message button on your profile. Quick, Easy, Freedom.
So if this function was already provided, why you had to completely shut down the possibility of messaging new people? They didn’t shut it down, just made it more difficult for people to make new acquaintances.

Indeed the new settings strongly limited communications among Facebook users and the chance to interact and meet new people through private messages, which was instead the initial purpose of Facebook: making new friends, making more friends, making as many friends as possible!

However Facebook did not completely cut off the chance for its users to contact people outside their network of friends. Another mailbox was added: the "Other Messages" mailbox, which despite being a little bit blurred than the average mailbox, it still gives you the chance of sending and receiving messages to/from people you don't know. (To be frank with you, that's the only mailbox I check as the most interesting messages I receive are dropped from people I don't know in the "other messages" mailbox).

The new layout indeed, discourages people from sending messages to people who are not in your network of friends, because the message goes into a sort of hidden/blurred mailbox, that when you see it, it gives you the idea of undesired messages, like a sort of spam box. So whoever decides to use that mailbox definitely has a bad sensation. If you are the sender you feel like being an annoying stalker, while if you are the recipient you feel your privacy is being almost violated. Although it’s only a psychological barrier, not a real one, but still works out its purpose of discouraging people from contacting “others”.

At the beginning of this "initiative", Facebook made a  promotional campaign affirming this new layout that limited user's communications had in fact a commercial purpose, as famous people like Mark Zuckerberg and other VIPs would have allowed paying users to contact them by paying a petty fee of about 50c. So basically this first restriction was justified as an incentive to make people spending more money on Facebook while having the chance of contacting famous VIPs…

Today, one year or so after this "great initiative" the payment system has been turned off and we are back at square one, with the only difference that Facebook users have to check two mail boxes instead of one...with most of the people completely ignoring the "other messages" mailbox. Mission Accomplished!

Discouraging people from networking.

I am not sure this was Mark Zuckerberg’s initial idea when he made Facebook

Maybe this was the ultimate goal since the beginning? To make it more difficult for Facebook users who are not friends to communicate with each other?

Even today, Zuckerberg's position has not changed: "to enlarge Facebook's possibilities". Maybe Mark Zuckerberg has lost control over Facebook' settings? Indeed it would be very interesting to know who, among the Facebook management had this genius-like intuition of limiting people's interaction and communication. I would love the Facebook CEO to say something about this, although I am completely hopeless he ever will.

But this is just one of the many restrictions Facebook has introduced without you even realize.

After the message restriction, the latest initiatives to decrease Freedom of Speech within Facebook, concerned the user's interaction with social pages, which as we are going to see hereafter, is the very target of all the attacks to freedom of speech on Facebook.

Indeed the most number of restrictions affects the Social Pages, as if someone behind the curtains of Facebook does not like people interacting with pages.

From now on, any Social Page Admin cannot share on the Social page-timeline, text-only content posted by page-users on the page-timeline.

Regarding the text-only posts, Page Admins only have two choices: Like and Comment. These posts  cannot be shared on the page timeline. Not anymore.


The highest numbers of posts that a social page receives are text-only posts. Why Facebook is restricting the chance of a Social Page to share the most common type of user-generated-content on Facebook? Is this happening for real? Why Facebook is making it more difficult for people to share basic information?

It would have made more sense if they restricted the sharing of  posts containing images, maybe for memory saving purpose, but denying a Page admin to share a text-only post can only be considered as "totally meaningless". Again the question is always the same: Why?

There is more: Since April 2013, IOS mobile users started having no more access to the "Recent Posts by others" section, while some social pages have seen their Recent-Posts-by-Others box completely disappearing from their admin panel and the same thing happened to the Page subscribers.

I warmly invite you to search google for: "What happened to "Recent Posts by Others"

Then, it was the escalation: a few social pages started seeing their "Recent Posts by Others" completely disappearing.

Among the pages that underwent such a substantial limitation there is a page called "Support Dr. Steven Greer and the Disclosure Project".

A supporting page of Dr. Steven Greer, a South Carolina Medical Doctor who is also the Director of The Disclosure Project, a nonprofit research project, whose goal is to disclose to the public, the government’s alleged knowledge of Life in the Universe and advanced energy and propulsion systems.

A very sensitive subject, which has been always ridiculed by the traditional media but that thanks to Facebook is taking a new turn because being Facebook a confrontational mechanism and not a one-way megaphone it gives you more chances to understand complex subjects.

Another attempt to seclude Facebook Social Pages was made with a tool called “Graph Search”, which one morning appeared out of the blue on the Facebook layout. The Graph Search was a drop-down menu that took over the old search box. The only difference was the fact that the Graph Search did not include Social Pages in its search results. Would you believe it? Yes because it’s the absolute truth.

I also have published an article on this. Obviously right after the Graph Search kicked in, Facebook Users around the world went absolutely crazy, because it completely screwed the whole searching activity without any apparent reason nor any pre-existing need for change.

The Facebook Help Center was literally filled with questions on how to get rid of that “thing”. Indeed if you are still “trapped” in the Graph Search, you can easily get rid of it by switching the account language from “US English” to “UK English”. Emblematic, isn’t it?

Whose idea was the introduction of the Graph Search? Total mystery.

The problem is most of the people perceives these “initiatives” like “marketing differentiation initiatives”, instead than real attacks to people’s freedom. And they are not going to stop.

Maybe it is a coincidence but if we combine all these restrictions with the major "initiative" that started to decrease Facebook's attractiveness, the whole picture makes more sense. I am talking about Edward Snowden' statement that "NSA violated the privacy of Facebook Users."

That's a normal reaction. When people are told they are under surveillance they start restraining themselves. NSA privacy violations caused people to flee Facebook and about half the people who left Facebook cited Edward Snowden's revelation on privacy concerns.

This also seems to confirm that Edward Snowden's goal was not to reveal something crucial for our lives, but just to spread more fear among Facebook users, so that they would have left the social media or completely restrained themselves.

Here we need to ask ourselves a major question which always matters in these things: Cui Prodest?  "to whose benefit?". Who is going to benefit from a massive escape of users from Facebook?

Is Facebook a nest of dangerous terrorists whose lives have to be constantly eavesdropped?
Well I don’t think any terrorist would use Facebook at all!!! As the main objective of the Facebook user is SHARING. What’s wrong about sharing? Sharing ideas is against the law maybe?

Why would someone be against people sharing ideas? Why Mark Zuckerberg publicly affirms he wants more sharing while putting more restrictions on Facebook sharing mechanisms?

In the past few articles published on this blog, we warmly praised the great importance of Facebook as the first example of global consciousness. Indeed having Facebook 1.15 billion users, it's the largest connected community in world's history and if we consider the fact that these users can exchange ideas, opinion and views in real time, you understand that Facebook looks pretty much like the very same idea of Consciousness, the hugest consciousness in world's history: the World's consciousness.

It doesn’t sound like something bad or dangerous to me. So why restricting human beings from sharing ideas? It doesn't make sense!

Individual consciousness is the fabric that defines human presence and makes us different from animals. It's what defines the dignity of our species and it represents the very meaning of Human Life itself.

For the first time in History we have the chance to achieve a primitive form of a higher level of consciousness: the world's consciousness, which according to the principle of Oneness, it represents the next step in human evolution. (For those who still ignores it, Consciousness is the greatest sign of Evolution).

My spontaneous question is: "Why in the world is someone willing to stop this process to go on with our evolution process?"

On Facebook, people have the chance to confront each other on all kind of issues and to understand subjects much better than with the old media system, because you can see the whole complexity of a subject throughout the mechanism of dialectics, which is the very basis of the Western Culture way of thinking since the beginning of our civilization. Indeed it represents the ancient Agorá, which is Greek for “Square”.

Apparently some people are not happy with Human Evolution as they are willing to stop such a process by putting more restrictions among us to prevent humans from interacting with each other. 

However even if you manage to completely shut down Facebook or make its users leave it because of privacy issues or because you make it more difficult to share information (like they are doing now) and even if you shut down the Internet, history tells us that Human Evolution acts on the very same basis of the communicating vessels principle, that means that if it's not Facebook that embodies the world's consciousness there will be another social media to cover this crucial role for human evolution.

Making people leave Facebook is not just meaningless, it's completely dumb.

E Pluribus Unum

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