A couple of the largest social networks are experiencing a drop in their user count. There are a lot of factors involved, but here are some of the most commonly mentioned reasons: reportedly fake news, spam, hate speech filtering, and privacy concerns. Certainly, there are numerous other reasons for the decline in users.
Facebook has been taking heat over the last year for a number of privacy concern issues. Twitter recently deleted a host of accounts that were suspected spam accounts. The Geekz Twitter account, @thegeekzweb, experienced a significant drop in followers due to this clean up effort. Many Twitter users were frustrated to see their follower counts drop significantly.
Yesterday, there was a lot of coverage on the amount of money Mark Zuckerberg supposedly lost in share value, a reported $16B. That is 16 and 9 zeroes. While Zuckerberg will not be lining up in his local soup kitchen for a handout, he definitely has to feel the impact of that amount of loss. Even he richest among us does not want to see money flying out of their pocket.
My suggestion to Twitter, Facebook, and other current social networks is to reconsider their value to their users. Facebook provides the ability to stay in touch with disconnected friends and family. Twitter allows for quick, some might say quirky, comments to a social network. What has happened in recent years is a push from these networks to copy one another. There has been so much duplication of features and services that it is hard to tell these networks from each other.
Privacy also has to be a chief concern for social networks. No one wants their private information shared to the world. When it comes to settings, all of these social networks need to allow more granular controls for determining what data is public. Even more importantly, these networks need to get their act together when it comes to the security provided. Companies like Facebook and Twitter should have top talent in the security area.
Time will tell how much these recent numbers really dictate the future of some of the largest social networks. While users become increasingly dissatisfied with these networks, there are no real alternatives to turn to. This adds to the frustration. Maybe it is time for a new player to enter the market that really values privacy and is not so focused on copying the work of others.