Today’s social media websites are mostly possessed by advertisement companies, and have a penchant for converting their user’s every move on the website into data. This inescapable publicity has led quite a few Facebook users to partake in an exodus to new social websites. People have been predominantly going to one site in particular called Ello, which has now been appropriately nicknamed the “Facebook Killer” after having converted too many ex-Facebook users. This up-and-coming site has professed that it is based on the principles that its website should not use advertisements, and will minimize the collection of user data compared to other social media websites. Shifts like these show how the population of online users yearn for the ability to connect without the bombardment of media or loss of privacy.
It is a known fact that Facebook not only relies upon advertisements for a large chunk of their revenue, but also on collecting posts, shared links, and other data to sell for profit to media companies. People have become genuinely frustrated with the lack of privacy that accompanies social media these days. Whereas in the past sacrificing privacy for quicker communication was acceptable, that sacrifice no longer feels like an ideal tradeoff.
And the current flocking towards websites like Ello or the phone application called Yik-Yak, which does not give out IP addresses or user information, gives a sense of anonymity and privacy that Facebook cannot. Although Ello and Yik-Yak are not perfect – each has made its own mistakes in the process of starting new platforms – like Ello’s complete lack of privacy or blocking settings at the launch of the site, and Yik-Yak’s total user anonymity, which has led to cases of harassment and bullying, the large congregation of followers on these two websites is telling; people want freedom from the overbearing presence of media and advertisements.
Media is a domineering force that relies heavily upon consumers, and when social media sites sell out users and consumers for financial gain, it leads to the unending stream of unnecessary advertisements and commercials on one’s news feed. Although I don’t believe that Ello will mean the death of Facebook (remember when Google+ tried and failed miserably?) I do think that this competition could be a cause for change in Facebook policy. Facebook could learn from this shift in a need of space away from media, and hopefully create a stronger website that does not betray its users.
Image: Courtesy of Ello.com