Facebook is testing a new system that will allow users to create up to five different profiles linked to the same account, a move that industry observers have classified as a desperate attempt to retain their audience. Recently, Facebook has witnessed a decline in user interest and is now facing stiff competition from competitors. Over the past few years, Snapchat and TikTok have supplanted Facebook, reaching out to the next generation of social media users. It’s no secret that Facebook is currently experiencing an identity crisis, as social networks are rapidly moving away from text posts and photo-sharing days to a future in which short videos are the main ones, and content creators stimulate participation, as well as advertising business.
Facebook has already suffered from Apple App Tracking Transparency, a privacy-focused setting that severely limits its ability to track user activity and show them personalized ads. Even the company has made it clear that it expects to lose billions of dollars in advertising money on the plum field that is the Apple ecosystem. In addition, Meta’s much-publicized ambitions for the metaverse are also eating into the company’s reserves, taking billions of dollars annually in the name of research and development. The company has even slowed down the pace of hiring, as it expects headwinds in the coming quarters.
In times of crisis, Meta turns to its main social purpose with beneficial changes. According to a Bloomberg report, Facebook will allow users to create four additional profiles linked to the same primary account. Currently, during the testing process, users will be allowed to run five different profiles, each of which is dedicated to a specific interest or goal. On paper, this makes sense, especially for users struggling with the clutter of the tape. Singling out a profile for different interests and reserving one to connect with friends and family sounds like Facebook should have implemented this idea a long time ago. Except that the company didn’t always like this practice. Even now, Facebook advises users to refrain from creating multiple accounts.
Multiple profiles mean multiple problems
Creating different profiles for specific interests should tame the chaos of a loaded feed loaded with algorithmic recommendations. Facebook Instagram Meta seems to encourage tactics for Instagram, a practice known as Finsta (short for Fake Insta), but things are going the other way when it comes to Facebook. Looking at Facebook’s history, the potential for abuse is huge. Facebook claims that policy violations related to one profile will be tracked to the main account when it comes to enforcement and taking punitive measures. However, not everything is as rosy as it seems at first glance. Despite the loud statements, the reality is that compliance with Facebook’s policies, especially outside the United States and Europe, was far from effective. From allowing content promoting genocide in Myanmar to the unhindered dissemination of extremely violent hate speech against minorities in India, Facebook’s policy has not really been applied with the same vigor in other regions as in the domestic market, where it removed the incumbent president from office.
The fears are not unfounded. Earlier this month, Meta released its first annual human rights report, which documents the human rights issues it has faced on Facebook and how it has dealt with them. However, experts are far from convinced by Meta’s statements. The Real Facebook Oversight Board — a group made up of journalists, civil rights activists, politicians and academics — called the report a “masterclass in propaganda and obfuscation,” further accusing it of “whitewashing religious violence incited in India through their platforms.”.
The bottom line here is that Meta is already struggling with the existing “one profile per account” system. Of course, the Meta is no stranger to the threat of disinformation farms operating abroad, ready to spread hoaxes and influence public sentiment for a fee. By allowing problematic accounts to create five profiles, you will only increase their reach and multiply the problems. The more profiles there are, the greener the pastures for Facebook to place more ads. But Facebook will fill its coffers for a lot of money, especially since it is rarely held accountable for its erroneous content policy.