The world has changed with emergence of social media. It has found news ways to bring the change, revolution, or launch a movement. The prominence of social media has made it easier to spread the word around. Along with a good side, there is a dark side of it. People have been wasting a lot of time on scrolling newsfeeds, tagging friends, and posting updates of every second of their lives. Social media companies have found innovative ways to keep people engrossed on their platforms on design as well as business fronts. The innovative designs and algorithms have been implemented to get people addicted. The instant gratification is also pushing people to opt for social media. On business fronts, giant social media companies have been acquiring other social media companies to strengthen their market share. Instead of competing with other companies, these companies buy them and get control over its user base. The internet age has been dominated by Google and Facebook. Moreover, the smartphone era has augmented the influence of social media.
Always online has become a new luxury and its effects have been hazardous on emotional and mental health. Smartphone apps have made it easier to log in and access various platforms. A sudden dopamine boost after people liking, commenting, and sharing updates has contributed in getting people addicted to these platforms. The brains have been getting hardwired to not go through a day without checking Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds. This addiction has led to new ways to bring changes in the world. The #MeToo movement was launched online to raise voice against sexual misconduct in the world. This movement has changed the way people conventionally brought forth such issues by going to court. However, there is change in a way people have been interacting and discussing these issues. People were inclined to bring social change through traditional ways of civics. Now they are using social media platforms to do that.
Looking at the current scenario, Facebook and Google have captured most of the digital space. When these giants see some other platform emerging to compete with them, they acquire it. Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, while Google acquired YouTube in a move to take control of most of the internet. As competing platform are reducing with acquisition from giants, people have less control over what they choose to see on various platforms. Nearly same algorithms have been deployed on the platforms under the certain company. A lot of criticism has been faced by these platforms about the way they filter content. So, they have realized a need to make changes in the algorithm. Facebook announced it will prioritize posts from friends and family rather than brands for a long-term success. Other social media platforms have been deciding upon redesigning their business models.
The addiction with social media has been misused by certain groups to spread violence and hate speech. The fake news has put social media platforms on the radar of investigators. The role of fake news on social media platforms has been under investigation from authorities in the U.S. Former executives of these platforms opined that they have become addictive and consider it their mistake to be part of building such platforms. More than what these platforms are doing to make people addictive, people need to think about spending minimum or necessary time on such platforms. Apart from what measures they are taking to keep people addicted, it has always been a matter of choice of people. They build platforms, but people choose to click and sign up on them. So, people need to take more responsibility and use efficiently.