Facebook: there's no escape from idiocy

Facebook promote
Facebook clearly hasn't learned its lesson

The more time I spend on Facebook, the more I'm convinced that the whole thing is one big horrible social experiment, boiling a frog for the internet generation. "Hahahah!" I imagine Mark Zuckerberg cackling. "They're still putting up with it! Crank up the Crap-O-Meter!"

Just when you thought there wasn't room for any more crap in your news feed, Facebook's come up with a belter: people will be able to pay to promote their posts.

This is, of course, a bloody awful idea.

The kind of people who will pay to promote their posts are exactly the kinds of people whose posts shouldn't be promoted. They're the marketers, the oversharers and the egomaniacs - the very people for whom the "hide everything this person posts forever" option was created.

As my esteemed colleague Kate Solomon rightly points out, promoted posts are "the digital equivalent of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME I'M PULLING A FUNNY FACE WHY AREN'T YOU LOOKING?"


A user's promoted post. Lovely.

Such posts should be eliminated, not encouraged.

The next step, of course, is bound to be a paid-for option that removes the promoted posts, Facebook selling the cure to a disease it created.

The thin blue line

Facebook has always walked a very thin line between usefulness and outright contempt for its users, but I think it's veering significantly into the latter category. If the future is mobile, then Facebook's own iPad app shows that the future is foul.

I'm not exaggerating. On the iPad, the Facebook experience is hopeless. You can't hide the oversharers and marketers (you need to go back to the web version for that) or even share your pals' posts, and you get huge blocks of promoted links that fill most of the screen with ads for cars you can't afford, clothes you wouldn't wear and happy-clappy new age bollocks that you thought had been laughed out of town in 1968.

The ads are awful, but they work: speaking to USA Today, COO Sheryl Sandberg says that such ads are "eight times more engaging" than the ads you've trained your eyes to ignore.

The USA Today piece contains the dread phrase "really focus on monetization", with particular reference to the mobile app: in other words, Facebook is going to start squeezing every penny it can out of its mobile apps by cranking up the Crap-O-Meter - and as long as everyone we know is on it, we'll still put up with it.

I'm curious. What does Facebook have to do before you - we - dump it?

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.